Greetings Loyal Team Seagal Fan! Let's get one thing perfectly straight. That is, let it be known that if you are going to attend/participate in only one race per year, it should be Burnin' at the Bluff. No questions asked. "But Mr. Ryback, what if I live in New Hampshire now? *sniffle*" I said no questions asked, douchebag. This is one of those races that you plan for at the beginning of the year. The type around which you change your wedding plans. The type which, when presented with the dilemma of going to this race or going to your first born's funeral, you go to the race. Or simply arrange to have the funeral at the race, in between your laps.
Many lucky soldiers were deployed to Council Bluff this weekend in the form of two 3-man Singlespeed Teams and one 12hr Solo avenger. Teams were: Pile-Driving Miss Daisy, consisting of myself, The Doctor, and Gino Felino; Flock of Seagals consisted of Cockpuncher, Mason Storm, and Jack Taggert. Nico Toscani was our lone Solo fighter, armed with a mind that is so superiorly hardened that his mind alone can actually impregnate you, without you even having to come into contact with him. Yeah - think about that.
(It's worth noting that thanks to an inattentive bitch driving recklessly and illegally and then leaving the scene of an accident, our other 12hr Solo Soldier, Lt. Col. Austin Travis, was man-down and not able to attend the race. Few things can take a Soldier down; Stripper-AIDS being one, and vehicles being another. Just fuel for the fire for next year.)
Things encountered during this weekend: suicidal cockroaches, cancer-throat-boxes mistaken for waterfowl, suprise Lightning Bolt energy drink courtesy of Marshall Lawson, cramps in every muscle including the butt-hole muscle, taco'd wheels, Chinaman herbs, smashed hopes and dreams, fulfilled hopes and dreams, Little Buddy asleep while reading in his tent with the light on, lots of Pabst, a girl laying on the ground using a parking barrier as a pillow, smashed resolves, melted brain-matter, and oversized pocket knives purchased for $3 at Country Mart:
One thing that was lacking, though, was proper fire safety - Smoky the Bear would be upset:
The race weekend didn't just begin the moment that we woke up to race, though. It started, for some brave Soldiers, up to two nights prior when rolling into the campgrounds with plans on a glorious day of pre-ride reconnaissance, and repeated assaults on Dos Primos. The Doctor reported flat tires while scouting the trail, and that proved to be a fore-shadowing of things to come. Friday night was meant for relaxing, as I found out when I arrived late friday night to see this already having sprouted:
Race Day started early. Like before dawn, in order to make the racer's meeting. No matter that we had to wake up early, as I couldn't sleep the whole night because I was thinking of the race the whole night! No fan-fucking-tastic race like Burnin' can start without a badass breakfast, courtesy of Mason Storm at the helm:
After our bellies were full of eggs, coffee, Lightning Bolts, random sugary foods, and after our bowels were completely evacuated of all their contents, it was time to toe up to the line. After months of anticipation, training, trash-talking, and telling and re-telling of Lakeside Boxing tales, it was on. Running through a freshly mowed field, we emerged from the fog like blood-thirsty soldiers storming the beaches, chargin' towards the trail, everyone trying to get the crucial-to-a-12-hr-race hole-shot:
The first lap had me wishing I hadn't huffed all that jenkem at the start line. It was definitely a jam-job of epic proportions. The first real traffic-thinning opportunities came at the fire road climb. The trail conditions had many racers unprepared, as evidenced by the sheer number of fallen soldiers on the side of the trail fixing flats and other chance encounters with ground-stuff. I, Casey Ryback, was also caught up in a battle of wits with a flat front tire that was the trail-side equivalent to the scene in Princess Bride where Vizzini faces off with the Man in Black. Vizzini (me) thought he could defeat the Man in Black (the flat tire) handily, only to find out that the Man in Black was positioning itself to poison me, or rather, my lap time. That's what happens when your spare tube is flat to begin with. Shit. Thankfully, Mr. Toscani rolled past me (as did most other people on course) and being the true soldier that he is, left me with his pump which allowed me to continue on my horrific path of devestation. None were spared.
Me and the guilty tube in an intense stare-down:
Nico is all smiles early in the day at the top of "the climb," or rather, the "mind-destroyer:"
Here, Mason shows why it is advantageous to have a beard as he is out of the saddle at the top:
No man is an island, unless he is incredibly fat and adrift at sea. And no Soldier can get far without the best-looking support in-between laps:
Things settled into their pace while enjoying weather that was beyond-perfect. The weather gods really seem to be responding positively to this yak-semen weather dance thing; we're going to have to stock up for the future, so as to have amazing weather more often.
Flock of Seagals kept the pace moving steady and sassy, with many miles covered and having dealt many snapped wrists. Nico, utilizing his iron will and legs of quantanium, crushed his way through 7 laps of 6th place glory. He is one sick bastard. Either that, or he's secretly huffing jenkem as well. In the Pile-Driving Miss Daisy camp, we were in position to step into 3rd place as long as we went out for a 10th lap. This task was beset upon Gino, who accepted the challenge, and then proceeded to come through the finish line at 10:01pm holding a cold PBR and a still-warm brat:
Once all the hardened racers were through with their final lap, and once the janitor had finished mopping up all of the melted brains off of the ground at the top of the final climb and near the podium, the awards/festivities began.
Nico demonstrates a task that he will not be able to effectively do for a while after having done approx 90 miles of Council Bluff - firmly hold toilet paper:
When Dos Primos is not readily available after a race of such magnitude, tubed meats are a suitable replacement (specifically beer-brats, and jalapeno chicken sausages):
Nico and I toast to a job well-done:
Superior props should be given to Christine who found herself the victim of a freak wrist-snapping incident (we didn't do it, we swear) this summer which left her unable to ride a bike. The last 5 weeks have been spent only on the pavement, which must have been enough since she actually had the fastest womens' lap! (was edged out only by 10 seconds in the end.) The kicker - this was her first mountain bike ride since the snapping! She was kind enough to have lent us her x-ray for the t-shirt:
There are many things in this world that I don't want to experience. Near the top of that list, right below Stripper-AIDS, are the saddle sores like what this guy had after his cotton-underpants night lap:
Word is he left a whole bucket of t'aints on the side of the trail around mile 11.
Burnin' 1x1 Podium!
Burnin' Fast in the Past Podium!
Burnin' Wicked Fast Podium!
Fast M-Fing lap - Chris has been gunning for the sub-hour lap for years, finally success with a 59:59 lap! Guess I should quit the jenkem, eh?
The big story of the day was the epic battle between DRJ's D-wayne and Mesa's Zach Brace for 12hr Solo, it came down to a matter of minutes. When Zach crossed the line, no one knowing who was going to emerge from the woods first, a cheer erupted that actually caused some ripples in the lake. But I found the secret to Zach's success - he's literally does not weigh anything, thus making him climb like a fucking rocket:
Insert joke-caption here:
This is a scary sight, one that is even worse depending on when exactly you see it (I took this photo while peeing - true story!):
It's like I always say, you can't drink all day if you don't start first thing in the morning. This being The Doctor's birthday weekend, he can get away with living by that idiom:
Whew, what a weekend. I know we've been looking forward to it all season for sure, and it certainly did not disappoint. It's a race in which fun and highly competitive riding don't go hand in hand - no matter how serious you are about winning or placing, you are guaranteed to have a shitload of fun. No really, you could endo while riding across the dam, land on your neck, soil yourself, and then be forced to lay there, unseen down the embankment, paralyzed from the neck down, and laying in your own smelly poo, and still be thinking "I'm having such a great time! I can't wait till next year!"
Mesa continues to make this bigger and better each year, and it is even more pro this year with the timing chips. Not enough can be said for all the hard work and stress to help us all have this much fun! Even better with Pabst having thrown down some serious support for this event! Next time you see the rep, Dave, give him a handshake. He'll probably buy you a beer:
Tons of fun was had with all people around us, Matt with Wash U was riding super well (email me yer contact info - firstname.lastname@example.org) and it was awesome to meet even more of the MTBUnited dudes! (Those jerseys look baller.) Seriously, there isn't even enough time to hang out with all the excellent people that show up down there. Can't wait till next year.