Monthly Archives: February 2014

What you get for $40 in Missouri

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This past Groundhog Day weekend, I had the unexpected honor of being invited to the annual Jim Davis GROUNDHOG weekend. Details of the event were sketchy, save for being given the location and being told to bring camping gear, a boat and a bicycle.  This was definitely gonna be my kind of trip. With the pending ice/snowstorm, there was a liberal amount of “spirited conversation” between the wife and I about the safety of driving, but eventually she came to realize I’m not a fan of common sense. And so it was with great determination and forgetting most of my gear that I eventually hit the road for the 2 hour trip to Sutton Bluff, Missouri.

I wouldn’t call the drive perilous, but I certainly wouldn’t want to re-live it any time soon.  I can’t confidently say how much time it took to get to the campground, but I can say it took 4 coffee refills and one bag of cheddar popcorn. Needless to say,  I was happy to roll into the campground around 1130 that night. The rest of the group was already tucked away in their cars/tents, so I got my hammock hung and called it a night. We were camped only about 20 feet from the river, so I had an excellent night of sleep listening to the water. It doesn’t get much better than that.

BLD Basecamp

BLD Basecamp

Waking up the next morning, I realized I’d forgotten my kayak and paddle. Probably not the best way to enjoy a float trip, eh? Undeterred, Dan and I drove into the Metropolis that is Lesterville, and after chatting it up at the local gas station were introduced to a man who rented kayaks. I paid him $40, promised to bring his boat back, and the day was saved. We grabbed some coffee and headed back to camp.

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It rained all weekend, so Jim’s tent/canopy thing was very handy. We put our boats in the water, made sure we had all the necessary provisions, and began what would be an excellent adventure.

The Black River is hands-down the clearest river I’ve ever paddled. It was absolutely fantastic. The temps were probably around 35-40(?) with no wind and a light

fog, so conditions were very ideal.

20140201_111043Pictures or video never do justice to nature’s beauty, and these photos are no exception.

Pierce, aka Pierre

Pierce, aka Pierre (Jim Davis photobombing)

One thing I never really considered is that a sit-on-top kayak allows water to crash into the your lap, effectively turning the seat into an ass/testicle freezer. I think we’d been on the water for all of 30 minutes when I took a wave over the side and got “marinated”. Another little tidbit I failed to realize is that rainproof does not equal waterproof. In retrospect, wearing rainproof pants over denim jeans was pretty damn stupid.

icenuts

****I can’t figure out how to make that video play slower.

But why would I dwell on frozen testicles when there was so much beautiful scenery to absorb? The water was crystal clear, Pockets of ice lined our surroundings and I was among friends. Friends with beer.

Drew and Dan. Note Dan's 'cooler' in the water

Drew and Dan. Note Dan’s ‘cooler’ in the water

Jim spoke at great length about the upcoming Ozark Trail 100, a point-to-point mountain bike race he’s planning later in the year. He’s got a lot of passion for the race, which will be used as a fundraiser for GORC. I don’t know if I’ll ever be man enough to finish that race, but I think I’m gonna try it anyway.14 - 8And apparently there’s an app on my phone that combines photos automatically..which resulted in this super-creepy photo of Dougan with a little mini-Dan sitting in his lap:

He looks just like his father..

He looks just like his father..

A bald eagle was sighted and we all sat stupefied in our boats watching. Nobody even took a photo. I guess it was one of those “had to be there” moments. Either way, it was pretty awesome.

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Throughout the day, I got to see Dan and Jim both flip their boats for various reasons. Neither was captured on video, but I assure you both were hilarious.

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As with all things awesome, the paddle seemed to be finished all too soon. With falling temps and only 2 dry asses out of the 5 dudes, we decided to return the boat and head for the campfire.It took quite a while, but I finally got my socks dried out:

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Around the time darkness fell, the freezing rain had gathered intensity to the point of ridiculousness. Dan and Pierce decided to head for home, while Drew, Jim and myself stayed for one more night in the woods. Leaving was probably the smart thing to do, but I just couldn’t do it.

I can remember sitting there by the fire and just really feeling like I’d been part of something special. The river, the cold temps, the scenery..all of it had culminated into such a kickass experience, and I was reminded that this is why I love adventure racing. I couldn’t care less about victories or split-times or any of that bullshit; I love the experience of getting out there and doing something I’ve never done before. The whole day had been like a Beer/Viagra commercial, and it had only cost me gas money and $40 for a kayak rental.

I think the last time I spent $40 on something I loved this much was my 3rd date with Cara, when we went to see Transformers.

 

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Missouri’s Best Kept Mountain Biking Secret – Two Rivers Bike Park

Not many people know about Two Rivers Bike Park, but let me tell you: It is incredible! This past weekend, Bob, Adam, and I met up with Travis for his 30th birthday party. We decided to ride at Two Rivers Bike Park before the party.

None of us were too motivated to ride, but we decided to go anyway. And we are all glad we did. Even with a few inches of snow on the ground, we had a ridiculous amount of fun.

Rather than bore you with words, I’ll simply show this video. Just know that photos and videos never show how truly awesome this stuff is.  Here you go:

Big thanks to Trailspring for building such an amazing park. There’s some great single track, a skills course, a pump track, a downhill course, a slopestyle course, and a cool spot to hang out between runs where you can chill by a fire or have a snack or just relax and recover. We didn’t even ride it all since we had a party to get to, and we still absolutely loved it! There is absolutely no fee (which is unbelievable), although they accept donations in a lock box. If you’ve never been there, do yourself a favor and go as soon as you get a chance.

Another big thanks to Travis and his lovely wife, Crystal, for inviting us and making us feel welcome. We had a blast at the party, and some of us may have had too much fun (ahem… me). We really enjoyed getting to meet some of Travis’s friends and family.

And so it begins…

Well my friends, February is upon us and that means it’s time to ride gravel. Frozen boogers and beardscicles have taken the place of tanned skin and sunglasses. It’s time to get outside and freeze your ass off among friends. These are the miles that prepare us for the big dance.

Dave--I have no idea how he can see Dave–He can’t see shit

I hope you’re having as much fun in this shitty weather as I am. I can honestly say this is the first year I’ve ever had trouble with my eyelashes trying to freeze together

Chuck..he can't see shit either Chuck..he can’t see shit either

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a scarf being frozen to your face. At least that’s what Chuck says. You should come ride with us tonight and see for yourself.

Night time Group rides will be happening every thursday night in the Weldon springs/HWY 94 area. I’ll be posting ride times/locations on the Team Virtus and Cedar Cross Facebook page.

All people of all skill/fitness levels are welcome to join us. Unless you’re a douchebag.

Oh, and don’t forget to register for Cedar Cross.

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