Failin’, Bailin’, & Nailin’ it at Bittersweet
When the alarm went off early Saturday morning, I was pissed. It was way too early. Then I looked outside, and I was even more pissed. There was an inch or two of snow on the ground, and snow/rain was still misting the ground. There’s no better way to start a day of mountain biking.
Zack, Bob, and I decided to head down to the Lake of the Ozarks to ride Bittersweet and then Honey Run. Zack had to leave around noon for some family Christmas stuff, so Bob and I were going to set up a short orienteering course for a non-race that we are planning for Team Virtus over New Year’s weekend (although this is still hush-hush… More on that later). So we rolled into Carl’s Market & Hardware store to start our ride.
Bob had to drop a deuce, and he always feels guilty about destroying a fine establishment’s toilet. So he felt compelled to buy something, and it suddenly became clear that this was going to be more of a fun ride than a training ride.
What’s cool about Bittersweet is that it has many man-made stunts and obstacles on the trail. The first real one we encountered was a banked boardwalk corner. Bob, being the master that he is, nailed it. Zack went for it, his back tire lost traction on the icy boards, and his ass-end spun out from under him. Below you will see how he ended up:
After picking himself back up and hearing us laugh at him, Zack went back once more to try to clear it. Although we don’t have video evidence of him nailin’ it, here is photographic proof:
After seeing Zack go down hard, I was a little hesitant to ride this thing. It doesn’t look that bad in the pics, but it was icy and, as they say in the Midwest this time of year, slicker than deer guts on a skinnin’ knife. So Bob grabbed my camera and switched it to video mode to see how I would do.
Listen closely to Bob and Zack giggling in anticipation of my impending doom, and then listen to their disappointed laughs when I nail it. Okay, I wouldn’t call that nailin’ it since I went pretty damn slowly, but it was successful nonetheless.
We kept on riding at a decent pace – nothing too hard, but fast enough to have fun. We came to a nice little view of Lake of the Ozarks, and it turned into a 3 hour break where Zack and Bob told stories.
That’s all fine and dandy, but I was the only one dressed to actually ride. They both had twelve layers on and were ready to hunker down and spoon each other to wait out a blizzard. So while they chatted like two little school girls, I did jumping jacks to stay warm and literally watched a deer decompose into this:
We finally got back on our bikes and headed down the trail. We soon came up to the next stunt – a broken down teeter-totter. I’ll admit that I was the first one to say I was NOT doing that. I know, I know… I failed, but if you saw this thing, then you wouldn’t have ridden it either – unless your name is Bob Jenkins. Zack proceeded to make fun of Bob until he agreed to ride it. Check it out:
Can you blame Bob for bailin’ out at the last second? Again, the pics and vids don’t do these stunts justice. They are bigger and scarier than they look. That thing was sketchy, broken, and icy. Bob even points to his shaking legs at one point in that video. But would that stop the great Robert L. Jenkins III? I think not. Take a look at his second attempt:
While we were watching Bob do his thang, my new – old ride, Dolly was just chillin’, taking it all in. Ain’t she pretty?
Obviously, we were not setting any speed records, but the fun meter had already been shattered with a lot more fun sprawled out ahead of us. We kept riding down the trail, and soon found our next huge, gnarly obstacle. Okay, it was actually a log with a small board leaning against it as a ramp. Since Zack had pretty much forced Bob to ride the teeter-totter, Bob told Zack he had to bunny-hop the log without using the ramp:
As you can see, Zack didn’t quite clear the log. In fact, I’m amazed that his rear tire is still functional. Although he may have been momentarily deterred, he was not defeated. Unfortunately for me, he simply had to try it again so he could salvage some dignity. While he clears the log much better, the landing still needs work:
Um… Yeah… That was awesome. For another look at this awesomeness from different angle where you can hear Bob laugh harder and hear me groan in pain right at the end, click here. As you just saw, Zack lost control on the landing and literally rode his bike up my chin and knee. Don’t believe me? Have a look for yourself:
After placing a tourniquet on my leg to stop the blood from profusely leaving my body, we ventured on. We came to a sign that read “Men —>, Boys <—” with the “Men” arrow pointing to a sweet-ass jump and the “Boys” arrow pointing to a trail skirting around said jump.
Unfortunately, a new house had been built here, and the trail had been re-routed. So, there was no good approach to the jump. That is the only reason I didn’t do it (well, that and the fact that I would have killed myself). Bob was once again going to try this. The board however was iced over and really slick. There was an easy solution to this, however. Bob and I peed all over it, and Zack spread the urine with a branch.
This stunt really was ridiculous, though. Even with our ingenious pee-pee plan, it just seemed like a bad idea to try it. Although it’s not very exciting, if you want to see Bob bailin’ right before he hits the ramp go here. Zack’s words of encouragement in that video are inspiring. You can also see Bob trying to redeem himself by jumping off a rock right here (again, it doesn’t look as impressive as it did in real life).
Zack needed to get back home for some Christmas stuff, so we needed to finish this section of the trail and then skip the last section to take the road back to the cars. There was one last stunt on the way out, though. It was just a simple little board crossing over a 2-3 foot deep ditch. No problems at all, but we took a video with Bob’s phone anyway just to prove that we could ride it (my camera batteries were dead):
You really need to watch that video several more times. Listen to us laughing (especially Bob). If that doesn’t brighten your day, then you have serious issues. When you’re having a shitty day, come back and watch that video again. Zack, to his credit, did ride the bridge successfully on his next attempt.
So we had a really great time on a cold Saturday morning. We ended up skipping Honey Run since we took way too long on Bittersweet, and we simply had too much fun.
Zack headed back to Jeff City for his Festivus celebration, and Bob and I headed down to a super-secret location to plan our upcoming Adventure Non-Race. Right now, it’s top secret because only the cool kids can come out and play. In fact, it’s so super-secret that the only photo I can show you is when Bob tried to use his cat-like speed and quickness to cross the creek. It was amazing, and I haven’t laughed that hard in a loooooong time. I truly wish I had it on video, but all I have is this:
Alright, the non-race is not just for us cool kids, but this is our first attempt at doing anything like this. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time. This is kind of a dry run, and if we think it works out well then we’ll plan another one in the Spring or Summer. If you want more info on this mock adventure race anyway, then post in the comments section – but you have to use the code word to show that you’ve read this entire post. The code word is “Blathering Blatherskite.” You also get a bonus point if you can tell me what that quote is from. It may suck. It might be fantastic. There are no guarantees.
Until next time… Buh-Bye.