Monthly Archives: February 2015

Riding Jonesburg

Last weekend, Kate and I toured the gravel roads of Jonesburg. The following is a brief account of the awesomeness that took place.

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The proposed route was roughly 25 miles, boasting scenic river views and glamorous upscale housing.

Kinda made me homesick for Callaway County

Kinda made me homesick for Callaway County

Since neither of us had saved the route ahead of time, (y’know, cuz we’re dumbasses),  there was a bit of confusion as to the actual route. But like things usually do, it worked itself out and we were on course in short order. A bit of pavement led us to the beginning of Massas Creek road, which we followed to Tower  road. Tower road lived up to its name with some nice climbs, but the scenery was worth the pain. We saw a lot of run down homes and unleashed dogs, but there were also a LOT of really nice homes out there.

My view for most of the day: Dusty roads and Kate riding off into the distance

My view for most of the day: Dusty roads and Kate riding off into the distance

I had told my wife we’d be doing this ride at a “training pace,” but that turned out to be a dirty lie. We did a fair amount of picture taking and non-race scheming, so time got away from us a bit. It was totally worth it though, because we found a LOT of cool shit…like this sun-bleached rib-cage for example:

*Gasping sounds*

*Gasping sounds*

Scenery abounds along this road. Check out this bridge..

*Probable CP location at future non-race*

*Probable CP location at future non-race*

The road cuts through a fair bit of National Forest area, and highlights some really great landmarks along the way, like the old house in the picture below. There’s a big “No Tresspassing” sign on it, so we didn’t walk inside and see evidence of fire damage and a pillow on the floor where someone’s been sleeping inside. But if we had walked inside and seen that, it would’ve been really interesting.

 

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Further down the road we encountered a few more respectable climbs, but you’d never know it by the way Kate flew to the top and waited patiently for my fat ass to catch up. I’m gonna blame my sub-par performance on  knobby tires, but it would’nt have hurt to be a few dozen pounds lighter.

And what’s the deal with all of these plastic bags on the barb-wire fence? Is that to keep horses away or something?

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The downhills. Oh, the downhills. Toward the end of Tower road we began our descent toward the Katy Trail and it was a face melter. Fast and furious, I loved it. Here’s a shot of Kate before the big drop.

Proof that she's not quite yet over the hill

Proof that she’s not quite yet over the hill

It’s really sad the way pictures do such an injustice to the beauty of nature. Anyway, when we got to the bottom of that rip-tastic downhill, we turned east onto the wet, soft Katy Trail. This was probably the only part of the ride I didn’t like. Riding the Katy when it’s soft just sucks. But eventually that part was over and we were on our way up Massas Creek road.

Massas Creek road is totally badass. There are times when it’s so rocky and loose you wonder if it’s even a road at all. There’s definitely a felling of remoteness.The creek crossings and rock formations are a visual treat, as was the bald eagle we saw overlooking the creek. No pics of him though; he  blasted off as soon as he saw us.

We rain into a friendly local at this bridge. The Eagle was near here.

We ran into a friendly local at this bridge.

This rock face was enormous, but you’d never know it from looking at the photo.

Totally not a staged photo at all

Totally not a staged photo at all

….And Kate got to try out her fancy new waterproof cycling boots in this creek. I took the easy way out and rode across.

Handlebar mitt photoboming.

Handlebar mitt photoboming.

The rest of the way back to the truck was almost all uphill, so that was a peach. And while we both could’ve ridden further, I think we were glad to call it a day. This route was fantastic, and I mean that. Total mileage was just under 29 miles, but that included some wrong turns and a few off-course exploring rides. This ride could easily be streched to 30-50 miles, and I think it’s safe to say we’ll be riding it again very soon. Hopefully next time we’ll see you there.

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Virtuesdays are Back

The more we get together, the happier we’ll be.

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Being as I have moved to the St. Louis area, I suppose it’s time we established an East-side (of Missouri) Virtuesday tradition.

In addition to the weekly Thursday night ride, there will now be a gravel ride leaving from the Mound every Tuesday at 6:30. Distances and effort levels will vary, but the level of awesomeness will remain at a solid 10 out of 10…unless Chuck brings another flask of his homemade booze, in which case the Awesomeness will be elevated to 11 out of 10.

Tonight’s ride will be approximately 20 miles long at a moderate pace.

The only 2 requirements for these rides are as follows:

1.) If you’re a dickhead, don’t show up.

2.) We like to have a craft beer potluck after these rides, so bring a few bottles/cans of something to share with the group.

People of ALL fitness levels and body types are more than welcome to join us.

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Super shitty photo taken after last week’s ride

 

Tour of Sufferlandria: Stage Nine + the Super Century

I’m sad and happy, exhausted and energized. The Tour of Sufferlandria is over (you can start at the beginning right here). I’m sad because it’s over, and super happy to have finished it. I’m completely worn out after 9 straight days of suffering, my legs especially, yet I feel great, almost supercharged in a way. It’s weird.

Start of Stage 9 of the Tour of Sufferlandria

Ready to go. Rockin’ the old-school TV jerseys.

Adam and I went over to Robby’s house to suffer together. On tap for the final stage of the Tour was “ISLAGIATT,” the longest video in the Sufferfest lineup. “ISLAGIATT” stands for “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”

I borrowed Robby’s Speed/Cadence Sensor and Adam’s Dongle again (see Stage 8 for that explanation), so I was fully hooked up to TrainerRoad for Stage 9.

I really liked “ISLAGIATT.” It didn’t feel like 2 hours even though there were 4 tough “climbs” and some attacks and fast spinning throughout. I even managed to hit 5 personal bests in Virtual Power!

All three of us were drenched with Holy Water, but we made it to the end, and finished our Tour. We finished “ISLAGIATT” with 31.52 miles.

Tour of Sufferlandria finale

The end of the Tour: 3 Virtusans and now 3 Sufferlandrians.

But our day was not over. For we had to continue on and finish the 4th annual Super Century. There were far fewer participants this year. As far as I know, it was just the three of us, my brother and teammate Casey in NY, and our friend and Virtusite, Christina.

That was kind of a bummer. There was very little back and forth on the interwebz via Twitter and Facebook. It was much less fun this year because of that. Although, it’s never exactly fun, but when we know there are more people suffering out there with us, it makes it a lot better.

We watched “Bicycle Dreams” to finish the Super Century, and it was really good. Those dudes and dudettes are nuts. The movie ended when we only had about a mile left. Almost perfect timing.

We stopped at the 45 minute mark for short break – to save our taints and refill our water bottles and to drink a delicious smoothie courtesy of Mrs. The Darkness – DELICIOUS! Then we stopped again at about an hour and 20 minutes in for the same reasons. Then we finished it up strong, although the last 8 miles or so were pretty shitty.

Super Century Complete

Super Century complete!

The Tour of Sufferlandria was so much more than I could have imagined. I’ll try to put together a recap post when I gather all my thoughts on the Tour in the next few days.

ToSfinish

It’s weird to not have a Stage to get ready for tomorrow. But this Tour came at the perfect time for me. I’ll take the next week to recover, and then I’ll take the following week to get ready for our first race of the year: The Rocheport Roubaix.

Soon, I’m heading back to Robby’s house for some hard-earned food and drink while watching the Super Bowl Commercials (since my beloved Bears decided to give someone else a chance at the Championship, I don’t really care who wins).

If you’ve followed along all through this Tour, you have serious issues. But thanks for reading.

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