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Category Archives: Luke didn’t get to go

Monstercross pre-ride:

It has long been a goal of mine to put together a kickass Monstercross course. Over the last several months I’ve scouted most of the gravel in Callaway county and a large portion of the Cedar creek trail. This is all in hopes of creating a 50 and/or 100 mile course. This report is a chronicling of our most recent trip into the unknown.

Mountain Feedbag and ipod: required gravel-riding gear

Sunday’s scouting ride was supposed to be 40-ish miles long…more on that later. Adam and I rolled out from Dos Primos at around 9am, and it wasn’t long before we were riding North on County Road 363.

Familiar territory, this is the first leg of the Dirty Jenkins

The weather was absolutely magnificent. Seriously, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the high-temp was only going to be around 80 degrees. Perfect weather for anything, except working or cleaning the house. Laundry be damned, we had more important things to do.

Adam's got a fancy system for his earbuds

For those unfamiliar with the Cedar Creek trail system, do yourself a favor and print this map.  (It’s a friggin’ nightmare to find online.) A combination of singletrack and gravel roads, the trail system is largely unused. When you’re out there you almost never run into another person. The trails are pretty nice, save for a few sections that have been horse-trampled.  From 363, we turned left onto 364 and followed it all the way to the National Forest entrance. Once you’re through the gate, you get ride through stuff like this:

What, this doesn't impress you?

Follow those tracks for a while and you’ll eventually come to this opening:

That yellow dot is Adam leaving me behind. What a dick.

From that hill, it’s only a short ride until a steep piece of downhill singletrack drops you onto the gravel of Burnett School road. Burnett School road becomes Shelton road as it snakes Northward. This section is almost all uphill, but the view on either side of the road is a welcome distraction from the effort you’re putting forth to get up the climb.

Adam climbs Shelton road like a hoss

About 100 yards before you get to Hwy Y, theres’ an area on the right that has been mown down. This is actually a part of Cedar Creek trail, which was put there to keep people from having to ride on Hwy Y. Very thoughtful, in my opinion.

This connector puts you straight across the street from "Bob Veach Rd."

That connector will put you straight across the street from Bob Veach road. Bob Veach Road is a relatively flat piece of gravel with a few rolling hills. It goes almost straight North for several miles.

Not a single cloud in the sky.

There are a few nice houses and a couple of families who are really into horses. It’s not uncommon to see people out here just riding around on horseback.

17-ish miles into the ride

Eventually you’ll see a sign for Clinkenbeard rd. This is where you wanna hang a left.

You dont wanna miss this turn. Trust me.

Clinkenbeard has a few more climbs, but nothing too earth-shattering. Eventually, you intersect Engelwood road, where you turn right and immediately turn left onto Johnson Cemetry rd. At this time you will be promptly attacked by two asshole dogs. Bring your dog spray or a pistol, I know I will next time.

Johnson Cemetery rd runs into Ginn Lane, where you take a left. Ginn Lane has got some nasty climbs and a twisty downhill that’ll streak your chamois if you don’t tap the brakes. This is a fun road.

A pretty pic, but we all know pics dont do justice

Barnes Chapel road leads you to the Moon Loop Trailhead, and this is where Monstercross truly begins.

Moon Loop is marked with Yellow Diamonds

***A little bit of history on the Moon Loop: When the US Forest Service took ownership of this area in the 1930’s, the area was so eroded that it looked like the surface of the Moon. Hence the name “Moon Loop” . ****

Anyhow, Adam and I made our way into the woods and commenced the taint-bashing experience that is riding a cross bike on singletrack. The first 100 yards or so is pretty bumpy, but then it opens up.

Ahhhhh...the glory of MONSTERCROSS!!!

The “open-air” type of trail soon ends and you find yourself riding through a very nice piece of our National Forest.

It doesnt get much better than this.

Every good cyclocross course has barriers, and this one will be no exception. There are a number of “barriers” out there, and when this race finally happens you will come to love each and every one of them.

"Natural" barriers

A run-up is a staple item for any decent cross course, so it’s only natural that a Monstercross course has one or two of them. We crossed a dry creek, and on the other side is a steep “run-up” past the old Mill Site.

Fat guys don't enjoy run-ups

Towards the end of the trail, Adam smacked a hidden log and went for a little trip over the handlebars. It was awesome, and I made him stay in the thorns until I got this picture.

I may or may not have laughed my ass off.

Truly great race-courses don’t happen on accident. It takes a lot of careful planning and scouting….and getting lost. Somehow, we wound up back at the trailhead, having done the entire loop instead of only the first 3 miles like we’d planned. To say I was frustrated would be a serious understatement.

We were both running pretty short on water at this point, but we got lucky when we found the water spigot in front of Barnes Chapel Church.

We would've been pretty screwed if we hadnt found this water.

By now we were both feeling a bit drained, so we opted to alter the route. There would be no more scouting of virgin trail today, the smart thing to do was take our candy asses back to the gravel and head for Highway J. Along the way, we stopped to take a leak, (read: I had to walk the hill) and Adam found a McDonald’s cup with 2 Monopoly stickers still on it. He was rewarded with a coupon for a free 1/4 pounder with cheese.

Proof that only assholes win at Monopoly

After crossing Rutherford Bridge, we took a left and headed up county rd 354. This is a super-shitty piece of road that we will not likely include on raceday. The one highlight to this piece of road is when you get to ride past the home of a very “Shrek-like” guy who REALLY doesn’t want you trespassing on his land. Check out the sign in his front yard.

Wow.

I’d really like to get a closer shot of that sign, but I’m pretty sure this asshole is just dying for an excuse to shoot someone. Just in case you’re curious, this is how it reads:

Property owner will shoot to kill any man woman or child dispensing weaponry toward this property

Said owner will engage and subdue anyone dispensing weaponry within 150 yards of said property

No Trespassing

Unwelcome domestic animals are killed

No aid now available to distressed National Forest visitors

Someone must have really pissed that guy off. The funny thing is that I’m pretty sure he spent more time working on the sign than he did on his house. One whole side of his house doesn’t even have siding on it, just plastic-wrap.

Once we hit Highway J, we rode pavement all the way back to New Bloomfield. I dont know about Adam, but my ass was dragging pretty bad at this point. I must’ve eaten a bad snack or something, because my stomach was all kinds of messed up. When we finally made it t0 a gas station, I got some beef jerky and Coca Cola. I thought the sugar would calm my stomach down…I was wrong. I walked out of the gas station and promptly vomited 2 cans of coke and a bag of beef jerky. And while that was disgusting, it was even more disgusting that Adam took no pictures. I think you know what that means.

After I got all the puking handled, we were back on the road…headed for that glorious plate of shrimp nachos at the end of the rainbow. At the end of the day the cyclometer showed 56 miles, but that doesn’t account for any of the hike-a-biking or tree-hurdling we did out there.

Paved roads are so much easier to ride than gravel

It was a day full of triumph and failure, but the greatest shock didn’t happen for me until we got to Dos Primos. I ordered a pitcher of beer and my beloved shrimp nachos….then couldn’t eat or drink any of it. After barfing jerky and coke, the prospect of a followup performance with shrimp and beer was too much, even for me. Luckily, Adam fell short on the photo-taking once again..thus saving me years of embarrassment.

The next day, I went out there and figured out where we went wrong. We missed the connector, but if the trail were better marked, we wouldn’t have had any problems.  I have since “re-marked” the connector, and am looking forward to scouting/pre-riding this course again very soon. When this race-course finally comes to fruition, you better be there and you better pack a lunch.

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O Captain, where art thou?

This week’s Virtuesday ride was one for the ages, but Luke will never know why… because he wasn’t there. Technically he’ll know since I’m posting about it, but I’m really trying to lay on the guilt here, so work with me.

Things started out innocently enough. Robby was kind enough to bring his extra cross bike so Rusty woud have something a little more gravel-suited than his regular steed. And believe it or not,  Adam loaned him a pair of bike shoes. Now, don’t let yourself get to thinking Adam is any less of an asshole, because I also brought Rusty a pair of shoes. Clearly, Adam loaned his shoes out first to make himself look like a better friend than me. What a dick.

Rusty gets a feel for the cross bike while Adam's inferior bike shoes lay in my driveway.

Robby informd me that Luke would not be joining us this evening, and panic washed over me. We were going to be riding off into the great unknown without our leader, and that was some scary shit. What if someone bonked or didn’t have an extra tube or something? Luke always saves our ass when things go bad. This was adulthood at its most terrifying. All we could do was hope for the best.

Clearly terrified

 Tonight’s ride saw us riding in 60 degree-ish temps on dry gravel and zero wind. Everyone was in good spirits, so the ride  got off to a fairly brisk start. There were very few cars, no dogs and it looked like the ride just might be a success. Then it happened.. we stopped to take a leak and noone said, “Quit playin’ with your  dinghy.” Luke always says that. It felt really weird to urinate in total silence, especially with the horses staring at us…..judging.

sunzabitches.

The pace was good, and Rusty seemed to be doing really well on the Singlecross. Robby and I were both feeling great, so we made sport of racing one another up nearly every climb. It was a bit exhausting, but it felt good to sprint it out. We made it to the National Forest trailhead in what felt like record time, and next thing you know we’re dodging cow patties and living the good life. Maybe we could survive without our leader after all?

Right about that time, Rusty says he needs to get off the bike and take a leak. No big deal, right? Wrong. Next thing you know, we see this:

A bit of Taco Bell finds its way into the National Forest

Between heaves, all he would say was, “This wouldn’t have happened if Luke was here.” Poor guy. (I bet Luke feels terrible.) We  took some time to regroup and get Rusty’s stomach back in order before continuing the ride. We could only assume it’s what Luke would have done. When we were ready to go, we got a bit of proof that Rusty felt better.

Photo does no justice to vomit pile

After that it was all smooth sailing. The moon was so bright we didnt even use our headlamps on the way home. This was truly a kickass ride.

 

The last leg of the ride was over before it started. As we found ourselves at the final climb, Robby and I engaged in what I like to call a silent race. We started out riding side-by-side, then started pushing the pace.. bit by bit. No words were spoken, but we both knew what was about to happen. Next thing you know, we’re both foaming at the mouth riding as hard as we can until the other guy taps out. A toothy grin was across my face the whole time. I hadn’t cranked it out like that in a long time, and it felt really good.

The incomparable Robby Brown (pre-sprint)

 

A ride like this had to be capped off with some sort of fine beverage, so we made way to Casey’s.

This beer sucks, but its only 55 calories

And there you have it. Another Virtuesday ride is in the books and we all made it home alive. Hopefully you and Luke can make it to the next one:)

Monstercross Friday

Sexy bikes on a sexy trail

Thanks to a dying camera battery, Adam and I weren’t able to get a lot of photos from our Monstercross trip on the Cedar Creek Trail last friday. Even so, it was great training for upcoming adventure races, and a great way to add to our ever-growing collection of tick bites. If you want to follow our route, a copy of the Cedar Creek Trail map can be found here.

We began our voyage at the Dry fork campground, proceeding North along a gravel road in 90+degree heat. The riding was difficult at first, but after a few minutes we were in the woods and somewhat shaded. For the first mile or so, the trail was in good shape with a few creek crossings.

After that, it pretty much turned to crap. My only complaint with the Cedar Creek trail system is that horseback riding is allowed there. At the risk of sounding like a crybaby, those horses absolutely ruin a good trail. There are unavoidable patches of mud out there so deep your entire foot goes underwater. I’m not even going to elaborate on the gargantuan-sized piles of horseshit littering the trail.

Eventually, the hike-a-biking got so frequent we decided to hide the bikes along the trail and set out for the rest of our journey on foot. It was easier to take in the scenery while on foot anyway. On this section, there is a steep cliff just to the right of the trail.

Once the trail joins up with the Smith Creek section, there are some quad-busting climbs and very nice scenery. The rock outcroppings lining the trails are a sight to see, but of course you can’t tell by photos. It’s almost sickening when you compare photos to reality.

Total loss of awesomenss when seen in 2D

 Along our descent into the creek, Adam noticed a very unfortunate cicada and a very fortunate spider.

I really need a better camera

At the bottom of the descent, we found ourselves standing in Cedar Creek.  We had expected the water to be cool and refreshing..we were wrong. It was warm and disenchantingly murky. Our plan had been to hike North, (in the creek), until we found ourselves at Rutherford Cave. By my estimates we would only be hiking in the creek for 1/2 a mile. We would later learn that I haven’t learned much about navigation.

 The water ranged from ankle to chest deep,  and we were fighting the current. Forward progress was slow and hard earned. Slugging along, we talked about how much harder this would be if we were 20+ hours into an adventure race. We also discussed the fact that we had left all of our food back at the bikes. Who could guess how many calories we were burning trying to walk in chest-deep water.  Too bad Luke wasn’t with us, he would have never let that happen.

I’d say we sloshed along for about an hour before I saw what could only be Smith Creek, and that meant I’d made a pretty serious navigational blunder. Thanks to my mistake, we’d been wading in the creek parallel to a dry trail about 50 yards off the bank. Passing Smith Creek also meant we were close to the cave, and the thought of being in a 60 degree environment was very motivating.

We hid our packs near the cave entrance and went in with helmets and headlamps. The cave was cold indeed, and the water running past our feet was absolutely frigid. About 30 yards into the cave there’s a place where you can go either left or right, but you eventually end up in the same spot. The only difference is that if you go left, you have to walk in ice-cold water up to your thighs. Needless to say, I watched Adam go left as I went right. It was very entertaining.

Spooky fog

By now I was starting to bonk, so I had to take several breaks along our cave-tour. On one such pit-stop, I had the good fortune to spot a small cave-frog. Very interesting little guy, I can’t help but wonder what possible food source he had in there.
 
Soon we could see a light ahead, and we knew our trip into the cave had come to an end.
 

From the inside, looking up and out

It would have been fun to climb completely out of the cave, but it looked pretty dangerous and we knew nobody had a clue where we were. Dying in a cave isn’t really something either of us wanted to do, so we turned around and headed back out.

Well crap, time to turn around

I think it’s worth mentioning that the above photo was taken in complete darkness.  I guess this is one scenario where a camera captures better recorded detail than the human eye.

After making our way out of the cave, we both started to really feel like crap. We could only surmise it was from all of the temperature changes we had experienced. Either way, we decided to float around in the creek to relax before we left. As luck would have it, we encountered a couple of guys toting a cooler full of ice-cold beer. Talk about a lifesaver, that was the best can of Stag I’ve ever had. It was also the FIRST can of Stag Adam had ever enjoyed. I guess dreams really can come true on these little adventures.

It was a long hike back to the bikes, but we both got our second wind when the sun started to set. A large amount of horse destruction lead to and even larger amount of profanity, but we made good time.  After one epic crash, and quite possibly the biggest bruise I’ve had in my adult life, we finally made it back to gravel roads and then to the Dry Fork Campground.

We’ll be doing this trip again quite soon. In fact, I plan on doing something very similar to this on wednesday or thursday this week if anyone is interested.

The Augusta, err….Treloar trip

 
 
On friday morning, Adam and I met at the crack of 9am to test our mettle against the forces of nature. Thunderstorms and rain were predicted for the entire weekend, but what else is new. The plan was to ride the MKT from North Jefferson to Augusta, drink a couple gallons of beer and camp. The next day, we’d get up and ride back to Washington to catch a train home. It was gonna be awesome, as long as we didn’t die in a freak hail-storm.
 

Mr Laffoon strikes his best "hero pose" as he stares off into destiny....or something.

  The trail was mushy from all the rain, but it’s not like you have to worry about tearing up the Katy Trail.  We were just excited to be outside doing something, and it seemed like we had only just begun when we rolled into Tebbetts.

I’ve ridden past this shelter several times, but never checked it out. Adam and I did a little investigating and found out that it’s open to anyone for only $5 per night. There are bunkbeds inside, along with a bathroom and refrigerator. Very cool stuff, and it’s good to know places like this still exist and aren’t completely vandalized.

Right across the street from the shelter is this fine establishment:

Well, I guess if I can’t bring my own soda, beer or “whisky” in the store, I’ll just go somewhere else. Seriously tho, if you were staying in the shelter, this would be a perfect place to grab some hot-dogs or something for the bbq grill. Hopefully, they’ll be open next time we roll through.

Back on the bikes and and moving westward, Mokane was our next stop. Anytime we’re in Mokane, it’s a rule that we have to stop at this place and get a sandwich.  It’s just one of those cool little stores that’s been around for a long time, and has never been re-furnished.. When you walk inside, you get a sense of history. Order a roast-beef sammitch with pepperjack on wheat. (No onions) It’s pure awesome.

Everyone in the store seemed  quite surprised we hadn’t been injured in “the hail-storm that came through town 5 minutes ago.”  We would’ve hung out longer to talk about the weather, but I had just bombed the restroom and we needed to get out of there fast.

Back on the bikes, the humidity was really starting to kick some ass. We took a few bridge photos, but the lens was foggy.

I’ve never been on the Katy after or during a hard-rain before, so I’d never gotten to see how much runoff passes along  and/or underneath the trail. At one of the bridges, we stopped to get a few shots of the fast-moving water. It was very cool.

10 feet off the trail-pic does NO justice

This shot was from the same spot, just looking the other way.

I believe the next town we rolled through was Portland. I just barely missed getting the “Administration photo”, but you can see how happy Adam is after re-applying  Chamois Butter. That stuff really does work wonders.

Ahhhh....

The weather was deteriorating rapidly, as is evident from this photo. This was taken in nearly the exact same spot 5 minutes later.

Well.....that happened quick

 

I believe we’ve mentioned the “Really Big Rock’ on the blog before, but Adam had never seen it. There was a goose nesting on top of it, which was amusing.

I'm always impressed with the size of this thing

By now, we were both pretty hungry. Rhineland was only a few miles away, so I wasn’t too worried about it…til Adam got a flat. It was one of those “ghost-flats” that you patch 3-4 more times until it finally holds air. Very frustrating. I mean, what kind of asshole gets a flat tire during a training ride anyway?

Adam was immediately fired from the team for slowing me down. Jerk

After we got the flat tire squared away, we made a quick telephone call to the microbrewery in Augusta to check on their hours. They were open til 9, so if we had any chance of getting there before they closed, we were going to have to quit dicking around. We decided to ramp up the pace, pushing past Rhineland to fuel up in Hermann instead.

Then I bonked and pretty much ruined everything. I guess I just wasn’t paying attention to my calorie intake and I ran out of gas. In my defense, I was pulling a bob-trailer on the wet Katy Trail..so let’s try to keep the ribbing to a minimum.

The Hermann gas station made money that day. I did my best to breathe while eating  3 blueberry donuts, 2 cinnamon-sugar pop tarts, a Jack link’s jerky stick, Monster drink and a bag of cheddar pretzel Combos. Oh, the glory.

Back to the trail we rode, and it didn’t take long to find more shitty weather and more cool stuff to take pictures of:

Just think how awesome this looked in real life.

I bet I’ve been on the Katy trail a hundred times and had no idea that it was home to so many beautiful waterfalls:

Believe it or not, this is one of the smaller ones. There are lots of purple and yellow flowers that dont seem to show up in the photos

The man-train was back up to speed now, but it was clear we’d be cutting this ride short if we wanted to play it safe. The thunder and lightning wasn’t really on top of us, but  it would be soon and the rain was really starting to come down. As luck would have it, we saw a small shelter next to the road, and decided to hide underneath for a bit.

Adam was fired from the team again for vulgar hand expressions

The rain started to die down a bit, so we loaded up and hit the trail once more. As we crossed through a small town called Treloar, we could see a small building with a neon sign in the window. Beer and hot-wings were only a short distance away, but we decided to push through to the next town. It would only be a few more miles and we figured we could outrun the storm.

Wrong.

I’d say we were about a 1,000 yards past Treloar when a bolt of lightning struck in the field right in front of us. That was all the convincing we needed to turn our asses around and go back to Treloar. There was a bar called Murph’s Place, or something like that. The menu revealed $1.50 draught beers, hot wings, cheeseburgers and more. It was time to get down to business.

After inhaling several beers, we took turns changing into dry clothes and ordered some food. The final pic of the evening was just as the sun was starting to set and ANOTHER storm was moving in:

I think we met every person in Treloar that night, and they were all very cool people. The cheeseburgers in that place were phenomenal, and the hotwings were pretty badass as well. Adam couldn’t finish his cheeseburger, so he was once again fired from the team. Leave no trace, Adam. Leave no trace. Adam would later violate the no-trace ethic once more, but that’s later in the story.

The fine folks of Treloar spent the evening buying us shots, draught beer and teaching us how to find morel mushrooms. There are some really nice people in that town. I don’t know how late it was when we finally left there, but I know we were both shit-hammered. We bade farewell to our new friends and got back on the trail. We found a suitable place to make camp and set-up the hammocks for the evening.

I know I slept well, but judging  from the pile of vomit on the ground the next morning, I’d say Adam had a rough night.

Fired again.

The only hitch we ran into during the night was that we had unknowingly camped reeeally close to the highway. We were basically forced to wake up early the next morning when people were roaring by on their way to work. At least we didn’t get pelted with empty beer-bottles.

Whoops

And so it was with wet clothes and pounding headaches that we re-mounted our trusty steeds and pedaled about 16 miles back to Hermann. I think we were both ready to be done with riding in the rain on a mushy Katy-trail, and we were definitely ready for some dry clothes. The miles ticked by slowly, and we eventually cruised into Hermann. from there, we made a bee-line for “Wings-a-Blazin” for some more  hotwings and microbrewed beer. It was the perfect finale for a really great ride.

We had an epic weekend and we’ll be doing it again, (weather permitting), on the weekend of May 21st. Make plans to be there so we don’t have to drink alone with this guy again.

Don't mind me, just drinkin' whiskey with Arminius

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