Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Sexy Sixty Gravel Grinder

I’m not really sure what was sexy about this ride, but I couldn’t come up with anything that sounded better or rhymed with “sixty.”  So, we’ll call it the “Sexy Sixty.”

Anywho, Bob posted the map for this 53-mile ride along with an open invitation to all (including you, Corey!) on his blog.  Then he managed to tinker with the route so we would start and finish at Dos Primos, a fine Mexican eatery in Holts Summit.  Moving the start and finish turned this ride into a 63-mile ride, although I didn’t know about this until 5:30 in the morning via a text message (thanks for the heads up, Bob).  I wasn’t worried about it, though, because I had planned on cutting the ride short anyway.  I really didn’t think I could make it the whole way, but I didn’t want Bob to think I was a girly-man.

Bob at his frosty truck before a long gravel road bike ride

Note how much ice Bob actually scraped off his windows - Not much

Bob and I met at Dos Primos at 6:00 AM, and we looked over the maps while we waited for Phil to arrive.  Phil had already said he needed to cut the ride short because of some family stuff he had to do (we later found out that he was actually getting a mani-pedi).  It was dark and cold when we left, and we had to bomb down a big hill past the Summit Lake Winery.  I wanted to stop the ride right there since my hands and feet were rendered completely useless by the frigid wind.

We hopped onto the Katy Trail, and I realized why we had started so early. Thankfully, the trail was still frozen, so the riding was fast and easy.  If you’ve ever tried to ride the Katy Trail when it is wet and mushy, you know that it’s about as fun as a swift kick to the pills.  But I digress… As the sun started to come up, the visibility did not improve all that much due to the early morning fog.

Riding the Katy Trail in the snow and fog

At one point on the Katy, while Bob and Phil were waiting for me to catch up, Phil had an urge that he needed to satisfy:

Phil Icecycles

I should have photo-shopped this, but you can use your imagination

It was still very cold – cold enough for me to start transforming into my alter ego… Iceman!

Ice Beard on the Katy Trail

Opening my mouth or smiling would tear at my face - hence the permanent scowl

We hopped off of the Katy Trail at Claysville and headed out onto some gravel roads.  Everything was going fine.  The sun was finally burning off the dreary fog.  The temperature was rising slowly.  We were getting into a groove.
And then… we ran into a viciously wild, ferocious dog coming full speed right at us.

Cute Puppy

He's meaner than he looks

This poor little puppy was shivering badly and wandering around in the middle of the road.  We knew we had to do something for the poor little fella.  So Phil gave him some water and a cereal bar which the young pup devoured.

Puppy Eating a Cereal Bar

Then we did what any group of manly men would do…  We took turns holding the puppy while we talked to him in our cute, little puppy voices.

Bob with the puppy

Luke with Puppy

We knew we couldn’t just leave the puppy there.  We decided that we’d take him home and put an ad in the paper and contact the local vet to see if anyone had lost this precious, little schmoopy-poo.  Since Phil was only planning on doing 30 miles or so and we were already at mile 15, he said that he would just turn around and take the puppy home.  I had the biggest pack, so we transferred some gear, and Phil and I switched packs.

Puppy in a Golite Rush Pack

Come on. Now, THAT is cute!

Bob and I named the puppy Falkor, after the luckdragon in “The Never Ending Story.”  Actually, now that I think about it, that would be a great name for my new bike, because every time I ride it, I feel just like this.

Once Phil left with Falkor tucked away safely in the pack, Bob and I took off again.  I knew Bob would be faster than I would be, so we agreed to meet back up in New Bloomfield.  We were supposed to cross Highway 63 on Zumwalt Rd, but when we got to where I thought we should cross, the sign said that it was “Old 63” or something like that.  I rode towards the highway, and then I saw that “Old 63” and Zumwalt Rd. are one and the same.

I was a little worried, though, because I couldn’t see any of Bob’s bike tracks. The snow and ice on the roads were pretty packed down, though, so I figured (and hoped) I was going the right way.  This part of the ride was great.  Riding the icy, gravel roads was pristine, serene, and beautiful.

Biking on icy gravel roads

I was actually feeling surprisingly good, but my toes were frozen.  I managed to make it to New Bloomfield and stopped at the only gas station I found.  Bob was nowhere in sight.  Did he leave me here all by myself?  I called him up, and he had blown right by “Old 63″/Zumwalt Rd.  He ended up going 4 miles out of his way, so he was behind me a little bit.

This was where I was going to cut the ride short and head straight back to Holts Summit.  Other than my toes, though, I was feeling great.  So I figured, “What the hell?”  I took off to complete the full ride while Bob got some grub and coffee at the gas station.  If we wanted to finish at about the same time, then I needed a head start.

The ride to Tebbetts was a lot of fun.  The roads were starting to thaw a little, but the scenery was great.  I was still feeling strong when I rolled into the metropolis that is Tebbets (population around 700) at around the 45 mile mark. From here, the gravel roads were completely flat, long, and mushy.  It seemed like there was no gravel at all on the roads.  They were just nasty, muddy stretches of pain.  I was begging for a hill or at the very least a turn in the road.

Endless muddy road stretched out behind me

Endless muddy road in front of me

Endless muddy road stretched out in front of me

This muddy stretch sucked the life out of me.  When I FINALLY made it back to the Katy Trail, I was hating Bob for dragging me into this.  The Katy Trail was completely mushy and soft by this point in the day, and it was going to be brutal.  I got off my bike to ease the pain in my ass (literally).  I grabbed a snack, and decided to wait for Bob.  It wasn’t too long before Bob rolled up.

We decided to try to ride Highway 94, but when the shoulder ran out, we decided it was too dangerous.  So we decided to alter the route slightly and take some different gravel roads back into Holts Summit.  Bob graciously rode more slowly with me, and we finished the ride together – hand in hand.  Okay, we didn’t hold hands, but we did finish the last 10 miles or so together.  We got back to Dos Primos, and we changed clothes in the parking lot.

Bob's muddy ass

I couldn’t wait to scarf down some chips and salsa while they prepared my Chicken Chimichanga.  Bob decided to forgo looking at the menu (as he always does at Mexican restaurants) and go with the Chicken Nachos with extra jalepenos.  He also decided to go with the “Monster” strawberry margarita.

Monster Strawberry Margarita

Bob ended up doing roughly 61 – 62 miles or so, and I ended up doing around 57 or 58. Check out the map below:

View Interactive Map on MapMyRide.com

At the end of the ride I was beat, but I felt a lot better than I thought I would.  I was glad I didn’t wuss out by cutting the ride short.  This was the farthest I’ve ever ridden my bike at one time which I think is pretty damn cool.  We ended up eating a ton of great food – to replenish our glycogen stores of course.  Then we called it a day.

So, we rode roughly 60 miles in the cold and snow, rescued a puppy, and had a crap-ton of fun – all in one day.  What did you do yesterday?  Next time we ride, you should really join us.  Seriously.  I’m talking to you.  Come out and ride with us.

Until next time, keep on truckin’.

Bob Goes Mining for Lead – He Got In!!!

Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race

Well, Bob just burned his last ship on the shores of his enemy.  He was just informed that his entry into the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race was accepted.  Yeah, that’s right.  Bob Jenkins will be riding 100 miles in the mountains of Colorado with some of the best racers in the world.  The race is Aug 14th, so Bob has right around 6 months to get ready.  This is AWESOME!  I wish I had the cajones to do this with him… Maybe next year.  Anyway, good luck, Bob!

Virgin Snow for a Virgin Ride

In case you haven’t heard, I got a new bike.  With all of the crappy weather, I had only taken her out for a 10 mile road ride.  When the pre-planned gravel road ride for Sunday was canceled, it opened up a perfect opportunity to really test out my new bike.  Zack, Bob, and I decided to head down to Council Bluff. We chose Council Bluff because it holds up much better in wet and snowy conditions than any of the trails around here – and it also just happens to be one of the most beautiful and most fun rides in the state.

Council Bluff Lake, MO

We decided were were going to do two laps since the trail is “only” around 12 miles, and we wanted to get some endurance training in.  After getting only a little bit of sleep (I was too excited to be riding my new bike for the first time), we left my house a little after 6:00 AM, and we got to the Lake around 8:45 or so.  We thought there would be less snow than what we had in Jefferson City, but we were mistaken.  In some spots the snow was 6 inches deep, in others only an inch or two.

The weather was great, the snow was beautiful, and the ride was spectacular. Here are some photos to give you a taste of what you missed out on:

One of the many creek crossings

Stumpjumper 29er by Council Bluff Lake

Cheesy posing by the lake with my new bike

Mountain biking in the snow is always fun, and snow riding is a great way to improve your bike handling skills.  Plus, you’re almost guaranteed to have the trails to yourself.  However, the snow makes things much more difficult.   A mild, gradual climb like the one below becomes a tortuous mountain of pain when you have to grind your way up through the snow.

Snowy Mountain Bike Tracks

Gradual climb in the snow

And long fire roads become impossible to ride:

Snowy fire road at Council Bluff Trail, MO

Bob trying to climb the fire road in the snow

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true mountain bike ride if Bob didn’t get a flat.  There are only a handful of rides that I’ve done with Bob where he hasn’t gotten at least one flat.

Bob with a flat tire.

We've all seen this before

We all got our feet wet at one point or another.  Zack slipped off a rock while trying to walk across a creek.  I got my feet wet when I thought I could ride through a creek only to find my front tire sink into to the muddy, mucky cesspool in front of the creek (it smelled like Bob’s dukey at the trailhead).  Bob, however, has Zack to thank for his wet feet.  As Bob started to cross a creek, Zack gave him a nice, friendly push on the back.  I’m sure Bob appreciated this.

We also all crashed several times:

Council Bluff Mountain Biking in the Snow

Look closely and you'll see Bob on his back

There were several bridges over the larger creeks, but the snow made them tricky to ride.  All but one of the bridges had railings, though, so they were fairly safe to cross.  The one bridge without a railing crossed a creek that was at least 4 feet deep.  There was also huge hole in the middle of the bridge.  This particular bridge was in the middle of nowhere, so if we had fallen in, we could have been in trouble.  So, we erred on the side of caution and walked our bikes across.  That is until Zack offered to buy Bob a beer if he tried to ride it.

Once again, the video doesn’t do this bridge justice.  It’s A LOT more sketchy when you’re actually there.  There was no way I was going to ride that thing.

I have to say, I love my bike even more now that I’ve actually gotten her out for some trail riding.  The big wheels and the Reba shock make a world of difference.  I could barely feel any of the rocks and logs, and I felt like I could roll over anything and everything.  There is a fairly nasty rock garden at council bluff (at least it’s nasty to me).  I’ve never even attempted to ride this thing before.  I always chickened out and walked my bike over this section.  On this day, though, I had all the confidence in the world with my new Stumpy 29er.  The snow couldn’t even scare me away.

I actually came to a complete stop at the beginning of this stretch, but I somehow managed to keep my balance and then continue pedaling.  I felt like I was nailing this thing.  I was rolling over and in between all of the rocks with ease.  I looked like a pro (okay, it was probably pretty ugly, but in my head it was a beautiful thing).  I made it probably 90% of the way through when my front tire got wedged between two large rocks.  I went down.  I managed to land in the soft snow, but my new bike wasn’t so lucky.  The frame landed right on the biggest rock, and it chipped the paint on the frame pretty good.  I hated to see that, but at least I earned the chip, right?  And now I don’t have to worry about babying the new bike anymore (not that I was anyway).

As we kept riding, I was getting tired out.  Every little hill seemed huge.  Zack seemed to still be feeling strong as he powered up most of the hills while I walked.  It seemed like this trail was twice as long as it really was.  We kept looking for the damn dam, but it seemed like we would never get there.  We kept thinking it was right around the corner – Wrong.  We eventually made it, and we knew we didn’t have much farther to go.

2010 Stumpjumper 29 on the dam at Council Bluff mtn. bike trail

My Stumpjumper 29 on the dam at Council Bluff

The dam at Council Bluff

Bob and Luke at the dam at Council Bluff

We all agreed that we were not going to do two laps.  It was taking more than twice as long as we had anticipated, and the snow was absolutely killing us.  We left the dam and rode the last couple of miles back to the parking lot.

Council Bluff Mountain Biking

Snowy mountain biking at Council Bluff trail

Ghetto Vibram Five Fingers

Bob forgot extra shoes, so he invented Ghetto Vibram Five Fingers.

Parts of the trail were completely thawed, and it was gloriously good riding.  Even the snow covered trail was a lot of fun, and it was great practice.  We all had a great time, but we were all glad to be done.  We headed back to Jeff City, and we stopped in Cuba, MO at Missouri Hick Barbeque.  Bob and I destroyed the All-You-Can-Eat-Rib-Special, while Zack chose a more reasonable meal.  I waddled out to the truck, and we headed back home after a great day of riding.

From Clydesdale Racer to Chippendales Dancer Part II

Well, it’s been about a month since I last posted photos of myself.  If you missed that post you can find it right here, but make sure you’re prepared.  It ain’t pretty.

In that post, I took a stand against being fat and lazy.  I promised to make permanent changes.  I promised to get below 200 pounds so that I am no longer considered a “Clydesdale.”  And I promised to post photos of me every month to show my progress and to keep me accountable.

Luke The Clydesdale Racer
Was I named after him, or was he named after me?

Well, things have changed.  No, I haven’t fallen off the wagon.  I’m actually down to 218.5 pounds as of this morning, and I started the year at 230.  I trained 24 out of 31 days in January, and I ate clean most of the time (I had a cheat meal for my birthday-date-night with my wife, and my kids made me cupcakes).

The only thing that has changed, is that I’m not going to be posting my pictures on this blog.  See, I volunteered to be part of this accountability blog/contest over at thefitcast.com.  They produce a weekly fitness and nutrition podcast every week, that I listen to religiously.  If you’re interested in those topics, be sure to check them out.

Well, I was selected to be part of this blog/contest.  Since they have over 6,000 downloads of their podcast every week, and who knows how much traffic to their website (I’m sure it’s more than all 3 of you that read this blog), I thought participating in the contest would hold me even more accountable.  So, if you want to see my updated photos, then you’ll have to go here.   I’ll be posting photos every week along with training and nutrition updates.

Rest assured, I’ll be busting my ass to get in shape.  Syllamo’s Revenge is going to be here before I know it.  And now that I have a super-sweet, big-wheeled, lighter mountain bike (See the post before this to check it out – man, it’s so sweet!), I’m going to shed even more weight from my fat gut.  I’ll probably post an update once in awhile here on this blog just to keep you guys in the loop, but if you want to follow along with me then be sure to check out thefitcast.com.

Completely Flabbergasted!!!

For those of you that know me personally, you know that I have never been short on words – EVER.  I always have something to say, and it’s usually something that I find to be hilarious even though everyone else thinks it’s stupid.  Well, yesterday I was left totally speechless.

You see, I was completely blind-sided.  It seems everyone was in on this little shenanigan (except me of course).  My wife knew about it.  My brothers knew about it.  Nick at Redwheel Bike Shop knew about it.  My parents were the culprits behind it.  I think I was the only one left in the dark.

When my parents stopped by my house yesterday evening, my mom asked me to help her carry something out of the trunk of their car.  I walked outside, and out of the corner of my eye I see this propped up against my van:

Specialized 2010 Stumpjumper 29er

Wow!

Umm… Yeah… At first I walked right past it.  I thought it was my buddy Phil’s spare bike since he has a white Trek.  I thought it was odd that he would leave his bike at my house, though.  Then I noticed it wasn’t a crappy Trek, but it was a Specialized Stumpjumper 29er.  I did a double take, and I had no idea what was going on.

Things got kind of fuzzy at this point.  As I looked at my parents, I started to figure out that it was a gift from them to me, but I’m not really sure how I reacted initially.  I think I squealed, “Whaaaaat?!?!?!?!” in a pitch so high the neighbor’s dogs were yelping in pain.  After that, I don’t really remember anything else.  I was in such shock that I didn’t even say thank you to my parents for at least 20 minutes while I was ogling and caressing my new Stumpy (that sounds really dirty, doesnt’ it?).

Luke with his new '10 Stumpy 29er

I hopped on and rode up and down the street several times.  It is ridiculous how light and fast this thing feels compared to my 400 pound Rockhopper.  The Reba Shock felt amazing.  I loved the Body Geometry Ergo Grips that Nick threw on.  And I absolutely love the white frame.  I didn’t think I’d like a white frame, but this thing looks soooo sweet.

The only negative to this whole thing is that it might be hard on my marriage. I’m going to want to ride way more than I already do.  Not only that, but Becca had to sleep on the couch.

Bike in Bed

Becca snapped this shot this morning right before she punched me in the face.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get my new ride out on the trails anytime soon.  I think the trails are going to be pure mud for the next week or two (at least) according to the forecast.  If it gets cold enough to freeze the trails, I’ll definitely take her out.

There’s a huge gravel road ride this weekend here in Jeff City, so I’ll probably ride her on this (although I’m not sure I’m ready for 56 miles yet – but maybe it’ll be easy with my new, sweet, sweet ride).  I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted on how she rides.

And to my parents: THANK YOU, thanks, seriously thank you, THANK YOU SO MUCH, I don’t deserve this, but thank you, I love you guys!!!!

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