Nevertheless, with weather forecasted to be fantastic this past Sunday, a couple of ride options came into Team Seagal Headquarters on our room full of tele-types that bring us up-to-the-moment news to keep us on top of all ride-related information, For Great Justice. We indeed sent a small, surgical-strike-force in the form of Orin Boyd down to the Ouachita Challenge, an event that has been a staple of the team since the first time we atteneded it in 2007. Another ride was in our sights: the Route 66 Bicycle's "Death By Gravel" 90 mile gravel adventure through some of the same roads used in the Rally in the 100 Acre Woods, attended by our own Ad0rm Ryb0r.
Those events are all well and good, though Ole' Crotchy is here to tell you of another tale - one with highs, lows, happiness, sadness, laughter, crying, hope, despair, and above all, manliness. A murder of 4 Seagals, K-Weezy, Pry0r, Punch0r, and myself (the Coach) convened at the boat launch where we were afforded our first views of the most serene of Missouri's water features:
Punch0r and I set off in the Cockpunch0r Mobile - but before meeting our comrades, we had to plan out our morning constitutionals so as not to have to go all equestrian, and take a shit on the trail. Punch0r spoke with Energ0r atop the Mt. Kohler at the MacDonalds, while I was able to keep the dam plugged until reaching the boat launch, where I would be able to visit my favorite pit toilets in the whole state. This time though, I had a guest, who obviously heard about the kind of noxious gases available in that stink lodge, and had to get a taste:
Windy it was, as we rolled out onto the trail, with more than just a breeze coming off the lake. In fact, it was a rare thing to see the lake water have white-caps. Like an on-the-fence juggalo attending his first Gathering of the Juggalos, we briefly questioned our clothing choices, but within a mile or so, the trail peeled us away from the shoreline, and we were headed deeper into the woods, away from the gusty wind and towards the Telleck Connector, where we would be able to continue on to glory.
Approaching the first noteworthy climb of the day on South Trace, our questions about of clothing choices quickly turned into questions about bike part choices, particularly, the presence of antiquated mtb tech on our bikes. Things such as standard 9mm quick releases, threaded bottom brackets, non-taped steer tubes, a front derailleur, and worse of all - only *one* bike that had tires of 3" or wider. I mean, what fucking year is this, 2013? I was amazed we were able to get up the hills with any kind of "verve."
We climbed up from the Trace Creek/Middlefork intersection to the DD/32 trailhead, to find a group of 5 or 6 dudes fully loaded with at least a couple of days worth of gear on their backs. Unable to stop, since glory waits for no man, we pressed on, crossed Hwy 32, and proceeded to shred epic gnar-gnar on the nearly 3 mile descent to CR 72. I mean, we were like Shreddie Van Halen down that fuggin' trail, brah.
The trail was rolling nicely, buff as Homer's head after sticking it in the bowling ball polisher:
It was so smooth, a fat bike wasn't even necessary to feel like we were having "the most fun we'd ever had on a bike:"
Climbing over the Ozark hills, my only hope was to attempt to latch onto the K-Weezy locomotive as he choo-choo'd up to the hill crests.
Our turn-around point on the OT was Wolf Pen Hollow, an excellent stopping point for some food, water and rest, having already done 12 or 13 miles:
|look at those to fucking SS Raijins!|
Deciding not to do the climb up to Hwy 49, we instead headed from whence we came. Punch0r, punching his was back down the descent to CR 72 and Adam's Creek:
What fun it was. Climbing back up to Hwy 32 and the John Roth Memorial was also tons of fun, riding the Weink0rn train taking smooth lines through all the creeks. Oooooweee!
The couple of miles between the DD/32 trailhead (a Team Seagal Satellite Office) and the Telleck Connector were pretty awesome too. Punch0r and I stopped to try to get a glimpse of a wet beaver:
...the spring was flowing heavily right next to the trail thanks to the recent rains and karst topography:
It wasn't long before we were back in full view of the Lake:
The loop around Council Bluff is very different terrain from the OT proper. It is much more physical, requiring more short bursts of power, and more wrenching of the bike in and out of coves, and not to mention the hills, i.e. the fire road climb:
|happy to report that Pry0r's shorts are in good shape, with only moderate stretching|
|Punch0r proceeded to snap the both my wrists quite handily moments after I snapped this pic|
Arriving at the Enough boat launch, I found that we were too late to the party:
|Trojan brand, Shaq-size|
We only had two climbs left at this point - oh, and a shitload of rocks. Around this time, fatigue was becoming a big part of the equation. My mind was wandering, though not due to my preferred method of induced-euphoria. I had thoughts float into my head, like how the name "Anne-Elise" sounds an awful lot like "Anal-Eaze" and how I would like to start my own political party called the "Constitutional Party." (This is different from the Constitution Party. Very, very different.) I could then run for office on a platform of regularity and a promise to re-invest in our nation's sewer system, with a possible re-circulation system for the gases that can be harnessed for fuel. Or just to get high as shit.
We had more trail to crush, like the notorious R.O.C. garden - so what does a Murder of Seagals do, but go all Shredward Shredderhands and c-c-c-crush it:
Don't forget the crushing of the spillway:
From here, there was little to do besides lay down suppressive fire in the form of a man-train passed the beach, and then back to the boat launch, victory clinched tighter than the the b-holes of the little league team at the moment Criss Angel's name was announced as their new head coach and jock-strap inventory manager. (or JSIM.)
Truly, a 33 mile purely-singletrack excursion deep within the Ozark hills got our minds right, and or t'aints sore. No matter, Superior Attitude and Superior State of Mind saw us to the end of the ride with no flats, no mechanicals, or bonks. The Sun was out, the rain held off until the drive home, and PBRs waiting back at the car. Does it get any better than that?
I don't think it does.
-Casey F. Ryback
P.S. Look what fucking came on Pandora the other day: