Monthly Archives: January 2012
As the Super Century draws closer and closer (it’s this Sunday!), I’m realizing how awful this idea truly is. When I wrote the first post about the Super Century, I really thought everyone would call us stupid and try to talk us out of it. While we had a handful of people do that, we had way more support than I ever dreamed we would have. Not only did we get support, we actually had a lot of people interested in joining us. I guess misery really does love company, huh?
So far we have several Missourians, Kansans, Illini, Iowans, a Wisconsanite, a Pennsylvannian, and a New Yorker participating in the Super Century by either riding a metric century (62 miles) on a trainer or outside. On top of that, we have a handful of
nutjobs brave souls that are doing stupid amazing challenges in lieu of the Super Century… 31 miles on a treadmill (that’s even worse that 62 on a trainer), 150 pullups (a LOT harder than it sounds), and 1,000 (or is it 10,000?) “proper form” air squats (also a LOT harder than it sounds).
Since there are so many states participating, the state with the most participants will win the State Super Century Challenge (SSCC), so be sure you drop us a line to let us know you participated. When this thing goes worldwide, we’ll have to make t-shirts or something and make a trophy for the Super Century World Championship. Until then, though, you’ll have to settle for bragging rights until next year’s challenge.
There’s still time to
crap your spleen into your chamois join in on the “fun.” If you’re in MO or crazy enough to make the drive (Kage?), we’ll be getting together in a basement somewhere (Aaron, does your offer still stand?) at 6:00 AM. I’m still trying to hunt down a trainer for Adam, so if you have a spare, let me know.
The only thing left to do is pick out what we’re going to watch during this ride. Maybe some old “ALF” re-runs? “Driving Miss Daisy” perhaps? It’s always inspiring. I think my number one pick is the under-rated “From Justin to Kelly.” Do you have any suggestions for us?
We already have Vir-Tuesdays, and now we have TNT… Thursday Night Throwdowns. That’s right, this Thursday night is the first of many TNT’s. Bob posted it on the Team Red Wheel blog, and I thought I’d post it here as well.
I hate to admit it, but Adam is the one that actually realized that “Thursday Night Throwdown” could be shortened to TNT. In fact, he made a lame (yet funny) joke about how these training rides would be “dynamite!” He’s fired for not letting me think of it, though.
I thought we should call it “Trinitrotoluene” but nobody agreed with me. So, TNT it is, and “TNT” is pretty fitting since whenever Team Red Wheel and Team Virtus get together, you’re guaranteed to have an “explosively” good time. Wow… That was worse than Adam’s joke.
Anyway, tomorrow night we’ll be doing a Katy Trail ride. Meet at the N. Jefferson Lot (the one right on the Katy Trail, not the commuter lot) at 8:15. We’ll probably roll out by 8:30 for a ride to Hartsburg and back (with perhaps a fried pickle or two if the bar in Hartsburg is still open).
So come join us for a 20 mile night ride on Thursday. You can go at your own pace, and the trail is flat and smooth. So you don’t have to worry about “blowing up” on this ride, and it will definitely be a “blast!” Damn! It’s still not funny, is it?
We have 5 Virtusans stupid enough to do the Dirty Kanza 200: Bob Jenkins, Robby Brown, Adam Laffoon, Casey Lamb, and me. The four of us that live in MO (which excludes Casey) decided to do our first group training ride this morning in preparation for DK.
Unfortunately, I had to be at work by 11:30, so we had to meet fairly early at 7:oo AM. When my alarm went off, I was pissed at the alarm clock. Then I looked outside to realize the weather man lied. Instead of 45 degrees and partly cloudy, it was completely overcast with a light mist, temps hovering around 35, and lots of nasty wind. I was pissed at the weather man. All I wanted to do was go back to bed. Then I remembered that Bob, Robby, and Adam agreed to meet me. I was pissed at the idiot that suggested this ride. Wait… That was me. What was I thinking?
If I wasn’t meeting up with my team, there’s no way I would have gotten this ride in. So I dragged my chubby buttocki out of bed, loaded up my bike and met the fellas at the Katy Trail Pavilion/Commuter Lot.
We headed out on a mile or two of pavement before we would hit the gravel. There was a really strong headwind, and the light mist made it really cold. I was really wishing I was not on my bike at that moment.
We soon found ourselves on the gravel, and I started to warm up. We talked, joked, laughed, and made fun of Adam. I was finally glad that I was on my bike with my pals.
It wasn’t too long before we came up on some heavy machinery. It’s a Virtus rule that Adam must pretend to drive any type of tractor/heavy machinery that we find. Bob and I yelled ahead for Adam to come pose for a photo, but he and Robby pretended not to hear us. So Adam was once again fired from the team. Bob and I decided to take some photos anyway.
While we waited for Robby and Adam to realize that we weren’t behind them, Bob decided to do some serious planking. Check it out:
Eventually, Adam and Robby came back to see why we weren’t right behind them. Adam then begrudgingly posed for the photo that should have already happened.
It wasn’t long before we were back on the gravel riding back into the vicious wind. We had all warmed up by now, and we were having fun. The wind sucked, but it was good training for Dirty Kanza. Anytime there was a frozen puddle, Bob tempted fate by riding as fast as he could through the middle of it. I kept waiting for the ice to break and reveal a deep ditch, sending Bob flying through the air to fall flat on his face. Sadly, I was disappointed every time.
The ride was great, the wind was harsh, and the miles were flying by. I don’t need to go into great detail, so I’ll just share a few photos with you…
After 35 minutes… Okay, it was only a minute or so, we hopped back on our bikes. We soon found ourselves back at Highway 94 after 10 miles of riding. This is where Bob had to leave us because he wanted to stay employed. As we said our good byes and shed a tear or two, we noticed a truck coming by salting the road. Seriously. I guess the weather man was WAY off.
Bob decided to hop on the Katy Trail to hustle back to his truck so he wouldn’t be late for work. However, there was a deep ditch with a lot of water in it preventing Bob from crossing. As Bob put it, “There’s an effing moat there!” So he had to ride pavement for just a bit before hopping on the Katy.
Robby, Adam, and I made our way on the Katy Trail into Tebbetts, MO. We then hopped back on the gravel to make our way back to the commuter lot and our vehicles. There was one stretch of gravel where the wind was absolutely sucking the life out of my legs. Fortunately, we decided to stop for a snack break by the Missouri River at about the 20 mile mark.
Before we got too cold by the river, we started on our way again. We were feeling pretty good, and with the wind finally at our backs, we were once again making good time. There was plenty of cool sites to hold our attention. Like this little creek crossing:
It wasn’t long before we were back on the Katy Trail for a short stretch before getting back on the gravel. All was going great, and I was going to be done with plenty of time to make it to work on time. Until we got about a half a mile from the Haunted Bridge where I got a flat tire. Bob is usually the one to get flat tires, so I normally don’t have to worry about it. With him gone, however, I guess I had to take one for the team. Fortunately I always carry an extra tube, and Adam had CO2 for me (again, he was trying to buy his way back onto the team).
I quickly had a new tube in place, and was ready to roll. But then I heard a dreadful hissing sound. Damn it! I guess I had a bad tube, or I missed something in the tire that had punctured my new tube. Robby and Adam were on cross bikes, so their tubes wouldn’t help me. With about 7 miles left, I was going to have to walk my bike back and risk being late for work. Robby volunteered to haul ass back to the parking lot and come back with my van, and Adam volunteered to walk with me.
I was glad to have Adam’s company on the walk. Between that and letting me use his CO2, I guess he’s back on the team. Now, don’t worry. It won’t be long until he does something Adam-like and winds up fired again, I assure you.
After walking just under 2 miles and 35 minutes later, Robby arrived with my van.
I loaded up my bike and climbed into the warm van. Adam decided to ride the last few miles back to his car. I would have liked to stay with Adam, but I was running short on time. I had to get going, so Robby and I drove back to the commuter lot.
It was a great ride with great friends. On more than one occasion, my mind wandered to Casey. I’m VERY fortunate to have my friends and teammates so close. It’s so much easier to train and push yourself when you can do it with your team. Casey, however, has yet to find a group of like-minded people to train with in NY. It’s gotta be tough to train for Dirty Kanza by yourself. If anyone can do it, though, it’s Casey. When he wraps his brain around something, he’s a very determined dude. I guess I just wished Casey could be here to train with us.
Anyway… What was supposed to be a 32 mile ride, ended up being a 24.5 mile ride, a 1.9 mile hike-a-bike, and about a 6 mile car ride for me. The route was relatively flat, but with the wind and the rough gravel, it’s an ass kicker.
Thanks to Bob, Robby, and Adam for riding with me. And thanks to Robby and Adam for helping me out at the end. It was a great day.
And by the way, I made it to work in plenty of time. Bob, however, was just a few minutes late for his job.
So, there you have it. Our first group training ride for Dirty Kanza is in the books. Our next scheduled group ride is the Super Century on February 5th. Wanna join us? And we’ll keep you posted if we plan another ride before that. Until then, Buh-Bye.
About a week ago, Casey called me up with a “great idea.” Now usually, Casey’s ideas are mediocre at best. Just have him tell you about his ideas for Saturday Night Live sketches if you have an extra 5 or 6 hours. This time, however, I think he had a pretty good idea. Here’s how it went down…
Casey: “Hey, man. Why don’t we all do a Metric Century (100 km = 62 miles) on our trainers on Super Bowl Sunday so we can eat whatever we want during the game?”
Me: “Uh… Because that sounds terrible.”
Casey: “I know.”
Me: “Uh… Sure. That sounds cool.”
And that was the end of it. I thought… But then the idea started to grow on me. Yes, riding outside is more fun. Yes, the trainer can be boring and painful. Yes, it will completely suck. Yes, our taints will be destroyed, and our minds will turn into a steaming pile of dog poo. But that can only help our minds and bodies prepare for the Dirty Kanza 200 and Cedar Cross, right? So… I’m in!
So on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th, I’ll be getting up early to get a metric century in on my trainer. Casey will do the same thing in NY, so we’ll be suffering together, thousands of miles apart.
I’d love it if some others would join me. Maybe we can get together in someone’s basement, rent all of the
Twilight Die Hard movies, and suffer together for a few hours. I have to be at work at 11:30, so I’d like to get an early start. Maybe 6:00 AM? Is that too early for you? Well, too bad. It’s not like there’s ever a good time to start such a long trainer ride, is there?
I see this thing really taking off. I bet with the power of Team Virtus and our vast fan base, we’ll have people from all over the country joining us. And by “all over the country,” I mean at least MO and NY.
We’ll be doing live updates on Twitter and facebook, so be sure to check that out. And please tweet back at us or hit us up with a comment on facebook to give us encouragement or to heckle us. We’ll need it.
Don’t have a trainer? Beg, borrow, or buy one. Or you could do it the easy way and do a metric century outside. We’ll still count it. So, who wants to join me? Are you brave (crazy and stupid) enough?
Perhaps the best group ride that has ever taken place since the dawn of time went down this past Saturday. Seriously, it really was the best. If you don’t believe me, it’s because you weren’t there. And it all started on a whim on our team’s facebook page back on December 23rd, 2011:
This small little post got a decent response. It sounded like 4 or 5 people were interested in getting together for a ride on the Berryman Trail. So, I decided to throw up an short “Just for Fun Friday” post here on our blog to make it official by inviting everyone that reads this blog (all three of you) to the ride. That post also got a good response with a couple of “maybes” (Kage and Travis), and some “definitelies” (Kage’s brother, Jim, all the way from Wisconsin and four Hoosier Daddies). We also had a couple of new people commenting on the blog and showing some interest in the ride. Then Jim Davis posted our ride on the GORC forums. This drummed up even more interest with at least two more confirmed riders. (Thanks, Jim!)
At this point, this was quickly turning into the largest group mountain bike ride I’ve ever been on.
As the 14th of January drew nearer, I wrote another blog post with more details about the when and where for the ride. In the comments to that blog post, we had more riders interested, and we received a great lesson on why you should NEVER use UrbanDictionary.com to check your spelling (although, I don’t think anyone other than Casey needed that lesson).
And then the Hoosier Daddies made the ride even more irresistible with a blog post promising brats, burgers and beer. So between our blog posts, our facebook page, the GORC forum, the Hoosier Daddies, and any other site that posted a link to this ride, it had snowballed to around 30 riders that might show up. I was blown away.
So, on Friday the 13th, Bob and I headed to my sweet, little Grandma’s house in Cuba where we were meeting Kage and Jim. Now, my Grandma will be 90 years old on February 9th. She is blind in one eye. She is missing part of her femur and literally has no hip on one side. Despite all that, she still lives alone, and she still made us a feast of Teriyaki roast, rotisserie chicken, green beans, corn, salad, mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh cantaloupe, strawberries (lots of strawberries actually), sheet cake (delicious), and of course her famous chocolate chip cookies:
The next morning, Bob and I awoke before 5:00 AM to sign up for the Dirty Kanza, and then we went back to bed. It wasn’t long, though, before the tantalizing smell of bacon filled the room. We all woke up to another feast of scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy, cantaloupe, grapes, toast, and of course more sheet cake and cookies. And my grandma actually apologized for not making the biscuits from scratch! Can you believe that?!? She lets me bring 3 of my friends to stay at her house, and she has the nerve to use Pillsbury Biscuits instead of making them from scratch?!?!? I apologize to Kate, Jim, and Bob for such inhospitable accommodations. But seriously, my grandma is an amazing woman, and I can’t thank her enough.
With the snow we had recently received and the temperature in the low 20’s when we set out for Berryman, I was really expecting a much smaller turn out than we previously anticipated. I figured we had 10 people between our group and the Hoosier Daddies, and I thought a few more might still show up. If there were 15 riders, I’d still be ecstatic. When we pulled into the parking lot, however, it was clear that people were needing a group ride as badly as I was.
The parking lot was packed, and although I didn’t take an official headcount, I counted 25 riders altogether. I couldn’t believe it! There were many friends that I had already met, and there were even more people that I had never met. If I never got a chance to actually introduce myself and say hello, I apologize.
I tried to get Bob to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance or our National Anthem, but he chickened out. He’s soooo worried about what people might think of him, because you know, “Image is everything” with us Virtusans. We quickly geared up and got our bikes ready. The Hoosier Daddies handed out maps to anyone that needed one (including me since I forgot to bring one), and more importantly they handed out some travel-size Blackberry Whiskey, courtesy of Bourbon Family Center. Big thanks for the whiskey!
After stocking up with maps and whiskey, we headed into the woods on the Berryman Trail. The faster riders naturally headed out first, and the slower riders (me) stayed to the back of the pack. The trails were snow-covered at the start of the ride, but as the day wore on, only the trails that hadn’t seen much sun stayed covered with snow and ice. The trails were surprisingly ride-able, though. My small back-of-the-pack group consisted of Kage, Jim, Travis, Aaron, Bob, and me. I knew I’d be too slow for Aaron, so I let him around me when I stopped to take some photos.
The first 5 or 6 miles of the Berryman Trail heading clockwise from the Berryman Campground has had a lot of work done to it. I’m not sure if it was the Ozark Trail Association or GORC or both, but I’d like to say a big “Thank You!” to anyone that has worked on this trail. It was a lot more fun and a lot more ride-able than it used to be. The creek crossings were so smooth. Take a look:
It wasn’t long before we needed to stop to shed some layers. Even though it was only 25 degrees or so, the sun was out, and we were staying warm. The only time I ever felt cold was when we stopped on top of a ridge in the wind (not very smart). We leap-frogged two of the newest Hoosier Daddies, Jake and Ryan. It was amazing that Ryan was actually present for this ride. Since it was cold and snowy, everyone thought he’d have to stay home because one of his kids might be “sick.”
I can’t tell you how much fun I was having. I love the Berryman Trail, and I love riding in the snow. So this was simply the best. We were taking our time, stopping for snack/whiskey breaks, photo opportunities, and to try to ride stuff that we didn’t think we could ride. To see some photos and videos of us you should check out Kage’s write-up (just let me make it clear that photos and video NEVER do justice to how cool or gnarly the trail is).
Travis needed to leave a little early, and Bob wasn’t really feeling it on a rigid singlespeed. In addition to that, free beer and BBQ was waiting for them back at the campground. They decided to kick out on a gravel road at around mile 8 or 9 to take the pavement back to the campground at mile 15. We made sure they had a map, and we made sure they really knew where they were going so they didn’t have a repeat performance of their last Berryman Ride.
Kage, Jim, and I decided to push on to Brazil Creek Campground. Since Jim had driven a wee bit farther than everyone else, and Kage had driven quite a ways as well, we wanted to get as much riding in as possible. The next two miles were mostly flat with some downhills, and we had a blast. After that, though, we hit some stretches that were destroyed by horses:
Some of the climbs had us off our bikes and walking, but there ain’t no shame in that. There were some fun downhills too. We even came across some sign that other riders had indeed made it this far.
Right before we hit the Brazil Creek Campground, there was a really fun stretch of trail that skirted along the side of the hills with nice, flowy ups and downs. Kage was in the lead, followed by Jim and then me. She flat-out rocked this section. I can’t even tell you the transformation I’ve seen in her. She hasn’t even been riding a mountain bike for a year yet, so I was very impressed. We flew through this section, and it was one of the best parts of the ride for me.
Once we got to the bottom, we crossed a creek without getting our feet wet.
We then took a snack break to keep Betty White at bay. We checked the map to make sure we could get back to the campground, and we set out on the pavement with hopes of burgers, brats, and beer awaiting our arrival. Unfortunately, the climb out of Brazil Creek Campground is brutally long and steep with a few false summits where you think you’re done, only to realize that the hill in fact keeps going on and on and on. To make things worse, Jim’s gears kept jumping around and locking up which made it even more difficult for him. But we forged on with our minds on the post-ride festivities.
As we finally reached the Berryman Campground, we could smell the food and hear the laughter coming from the pavilion. We had finally made it after 6 hours. I could not wait to get into dry clothes, drink an ice-cold beer, and eat a freshly grilled brat. Kate had other plans, though. Being a true blogger, she needed a photo by the Berryman sign. We quickly took a couple of photos and then made our way to our vehicles.
We got to our vehicles and began changing into nice, dry clothes. As we were trying not to freeze while changing clothes, a Hoosier Daddy (I think it was Ryan, but I’m not sure) actually brought each of us a cup full of Blue Moon beer with a freshly squeezed orange slice. Now that’s service!
Then I met my new best friend, Bruce. He had ridden his bike a few miles with his daughter and son-in-law (neither of them had ever ridden any single track before, by the way), and he then turned around to man the grill for the rest of the day. And man the grill he did!
He promptly had me fed with an amazingly delicious cheeseburger (and two brats… and another cheeseburger). I can’t even describe how tasty the grub was. And I can’t thank the Hoosier Daddies enough for providing the food, beer, grill, and and grill master. These guys made this event a party, and there was definitely a party atmosphere when we arrived at the pavilion. Here are a few shots from the par-tay:
I believe the gentleman in the red jacket above was actually supposed to be meeting a few of his friends at Berryman that day. However, they stood him up. So he did what any true mountain biker would do. He rode with us and stuck around for some free food and beer. I never actually caught his name, and I feel bad about that. But I’m glad he was able to ride with us and hang out afterwards.
Just when I thought the post-ride party couldn’t get any better, Justin and Bruce came up with the best thing ever. Justin dropped one of Kage’s delicious homemade cookies onto the grill. Before he could grab it, Bruce said, “Wait! Give it a minute.” After a couple of tries, they determined that two minutes on the grill led to a perfectly warm, chewy, and moist cookie. I have to say they were right. I think this is by far the most important accidental discovery since Penicillin.
As the fire died down and people started leaving, the conversation took on a much more serious tone. We bantered back and forth about Mike Tyson’s Punch Out, how the Spread Gun on Super Contra was waaaaaay better than the stupid Lazer, the proper way to shoot a deer, Martin Luther King on a mountain bike, and certain topics of which we will never speak again.
We also decided that the MLK ride has become a tradition. We know there has only been one MLK ride, but if you were there, then you’d understand how it has already become a tradition. If you weren’t there for the MLK Ride, I’m really sorry. Just make sure you’re there next year for MLK 2. It will be bigger and better, I promise. And if you were there, thank you for showing up!
The only thing that leaves me feeling badly about the ride is people thanking Bob and me. We really didn’t do anything. All we did was suggest a group ride. The Hoosier Daddies are the ones that made the MLK Ride what it was. They are the ones that need to be thanked. They are the party gurus. Not only are they gurus, but I now consider them all friends. Their philosophy when it comes to racing and training is right in line with ours: It’s all about the experience. I can’t wait to ride with or race against you guys again. Seriously… Thank you. You made the ride an amazing event that I truly look forward to next year.