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The Rapture Ride

A while back, Adam and I decided we were man enough to ride the Katy to Augusta. Mother Nature thwarted our plans with lightning and hail, forcing us to cut the ride 20 miles short, ending at Treloar. It was a hard-fought 60 miles of soggy trail  to that  promise-land of cheeseburgers and beer, but definitely worth the effort. Upon our return to the capital city, plans were immediately set into motion for a repeat performance on May 21st… Yes, on the day of the Rapture.

The weather forecast for “Augusta, v2.0”  was pretty grim. Rain was predicted for the entirety of the day, growing into severe thunderstorms as evening came. When we met at the commuter lot, I think we were all a bit surprised to see partly cloudy skies and a dry Katy Trail.

See how stupid you look when you don't have cool sunglasses?

Excitement was in the air.  Luke and I got our bikes and gear ready while Adam took the opportunity to apply some anti-chafing creme. I don’t know why he puts it on while running, but I still managed to get a photo:

Everyone had installed fenders for this ride since the trail was supposed to be wet. Adam and I both had these on the back, while Luke had bought this kit.  Luke was pretty proud of his fancy fenders, but never got to see how well the rear one worked. Apparently it blew off the bike going down the highway. I guess we can mark that one off the next list of “Gear We Reccomend“. At least he had a front fender…for now.

Now that everyone was ready to go, we pointed our steeds Eastward and started groovin’.

Look closely and you'll see the bracket for Luke's missing fender. Serfas fenders are built to last...

This was Luke’s first time heading East on the MKT, so we stopped for a minute in Tebbetts to give him a grand tour of the $5 per night shelter. When you walk inside you’ll see this:

Plenty of room to sleep in here, too.

Need to work on your bike? No problem.

And perhaps the most smile-inducing part of this whole building…A clean bathroom complete with toilet, shower, soap and paper towels.

I'm Bob Jenkins, and I approve this bathroom. And yes, I was wearing a helmet while on the toilet.

After the tour, there was no time to dally. There were roast beef sandwiches waiting in Mokane, and we needed to get there as soon as possible.

The Katy Trail was really dry, so we were holding a much quicker pace than last time. In fact, we were going so much faster that Luke and Adam weren’t even hungry when we got to Mokane. I guess it was because they had gone to McDonald’s that morning without me, but I’m not bitter.  Fuckers.

Nearly every brick on that wall has someone's name scratched on it. Purty cool, if you ask me.

There’s just something about these sandwiches that makes me all warm and tingly inside. There isn’t anything fancy about them, but DAMN are they good. Pair ’em up with a bag of Sun-chips and a Black Cherry soda and you’ve got yourself a little thing I like to call the American dream. I mean… my American dream, anyway.

That's what I'm talking about

On our way out of Mokane, we noticed that someone had actually ridden their lawn mower into town to buy groceries. With stars in his eyes and a dab of urine in his pants, Adam jumped aboard and lived out an American dream of his own.

John Deere 420, bitches!!

Heading further East, I noticed some cars hidden in the trees. I pointed them out to the other guys and inadvertently set off an unfortunate chain of events. Luke ran into my back wheel and wrecked… I offered my support by taking this photo.
I’m not sure why Adam is tea-bagging the poison ivy in that photo,  but I guess we all have our bad habits. After we determined who was to blame for the wreck, (me),  we managed to get back on the trail before the mosquitos got too thick.
Despite such a nasty weather forecast, there had still been zero rain. We decided to capitalize on the dry trail and pick up the pace. We also needed a good shot of Luke’s tricep and Adam’s calf…you’re welcome.
I could hardly believe my eyes when we rolled up at the “Big-Ass Rock.” The miles were literally flying by; this had to be double the pace  Adam and I had ridden when the trail was wet. This was getting a bit ridiculous, and by ridiculous…I mean awesome.
Team Virtus, “Rapture Division” posing at the Big Ass Rock
With the Big Ass Rock growing ever-smaller behind us, our sights were now set firmly on the town of Hermann, a place where the beer flows like wine. (Free Honey Stinger waffle to the first Virtusite to name that movie reference)  Everyone seemed to be doing a good job keeping up with caloric intake/hydration, and the miles were passing easily. As we were taking the exit going into Hermann, Luke decided he wanted to sprint to the nearest gas station. I was feeling froggy, so the race was on. He had the jump on me, so I went for broke… for about 2 seconds.

That'll slow you down in a hurry

The sound of a bike chain snapping and the resulting loss of control is unnerving. Losing a sprint kinda sucks too, but I knew fixing the chain was going to be a problem. Lucky for me, I had a pair of supportive team-mates there to take photos of me pissing into the wind.

um..No, seriously.....I can do this!!

We could be in Treloar by now......

I finally admitted defeat and let Luke fix my damn chain. After leaving Hermann, there was only one thing on our minds… Treloar cheeseburgers. We’d lost a significant amount of time fixing the chain, so we we needed to push the pace a bit. Everything was going fine until Adam ruined everything by getting a flat tire. Dick move, Adam… dick move.

**stomachs rumbling in background**

At long last, we arrived in the town of Treloar. Cheeseburgers and fried mushrooms were CRUSHED and the world was right. No beer was consumed…this ride was serious business. I don’t have a clue why no pictures were taken inside the bar, but we did manage to get a shot of this building…which serves as an architectural representation of Dawn Daly’s penis.

(That's a gonorrhea joke)

Our final destination, (The Augusta Brewery), was only open until 9 o’clock. If you’re not there by 9, you don’t get any beer. With that in mind, we got our shit together and hit the trail.  Now that we had passed Treloar, it was officially the furthest East any of us had been on the Katy. We couldn’t help but wonder how long this perfect weather would last.  The predicted thunderstorms and 6pm Rapture had clearly not happened, so for now it looked like things were destined to go our way.

Rapture and thunderstorms, my ass!!

Marthasville was the next dot on our map, and that town was BUSY. Mud pits, monster trucks and corndog vendors… this was a redneck y’allapallooza. We watched from a safe distance… don’t wanna get too close to a crowd like that whilst wearing spandex.

Long shadows as the sun begins to set

Speaking of spandex, we made a startling observation on this ride. It seems that my most beloved pair of bike shorts is a bit… worn out. They say the eyes are the window to the soul. Well, apparently bike-shorts can be a window to your ass.

Bob's ass in spandex

Yikes!

After Marthasville, the only town left to roll through before Augusta was Dutzow. I’m sure there are lots of nice things to see and do in Dutzow, but by now we really didn’t care. There was cold beer in Augusta and none of us felt like stopping here to mess around.

Kiss our ass, Dutzow

The man-train was gaining speed as we grew closer to our final destination. Conversation ceased as our tempo increased , and it wasn’t long before Team Virtus, “Rapture Division,” was in a full-on sprint to the finish. All energy had to be burned before we could call this ride a success. Luke and I traded places at the front all the way into town. To be honest, I don’t remember who won.  Editors Note: Bob prevailed, thus redeeming his earlier chain-snapping loss.  It was exhausting, but the payoff was well worth the effort. Behold!!

Like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow

The Augusta Brewery was everything we had hoped for and so much more. The place was much classier than we expected, so we were a bit under-dressed. Oh well, it wasn’t the first time. We found a place to sit and wasted no time ordering our souvenirs….

Virtus rule #47: Always get a growler.

Food was ordered, conversation was started and much wind was broken. We couldn’t help but lament the absence of ALL OF THE REST OF YOU JERKS, but we know you’ll come next time.  There’s just something about these overnight trips that takes all of your cares away. We may have actually been a little bit too happy. Just look at how “comfortable” Adam and I look together…

Adam was fired from the team for making me look gay. Seriously, Cara thought I was cheating

As you can clearly tell, we arrived at the brewery with plenty of time to spare. Now that the beer situation had been handled, there was an even more important decision to be made:

Puled pork tacos?

Or something a little further off the Virtus grid:

Clam pasta stuff with bacon and corn

It wasn’t an easy decision, but I think we all did ok. Tonight was more about drinking beer anyway, and we did just that. 9pm was upon us in a flash, and we were getting ready to leave when a waitress informed us we could stay as long as we wanted.  we’d just have to sit in the dark. So….we each ordered another growler.

...and then we had the place to ourselves

It wasn’t long before we found a fire-pit and a few pieces of wood. Next thing you know we’ve got a fire going and there are 3 drunk Virtusans stumbling around an otherwise empty brewery. It’s amazing noone was killed.

I'm encompassed in a black cloud created by of one of Luke's pulled pork farts

In the interest of brevity and our public image, I’ll leave the rest of the evening out of the report. I will, however, reveal the location of our sleeping quarters for the evening:

Oddly, this was quite comfortable

For reasons still unknown, we were all awake very early. So early, in fact, that we had all of our gear loaded in the van and ready to go by 7 am.

That'll probably never happen again. And yes, the Virtus Van is fully equipped with a cassette deck

Next stop: Lindy’s restaurant in Hermann for breakfast . I don’t do well with winding hilly roads, so when we finally got to the restaurant I did quite a bit of dry-heaving before the motion-sickness wore off. Lucky for me, I had 2 team-mates there for support. And by support, I mean they took photos and laughed.

F.M.L.

Of course, this isn’t the kind of team that lets a little bit of vomiting get in the way of gravy consumption. We went inside and got down to business.

Luke's plate, I suspect this may be part of his American dream.

And just when I thought that maybe Adam was coming around…he went and ordered something like this:

Not a drop of gravy on that plate. That shit is disgraceful. You sir, are fired from the team.

This wasn’t exactly a training ride, but I think we all benefited from it. Once again, the weather man was wrong and we had a great day. We’ll be doing more of these rides all summer, and I predict they’ll get longer and longer as we get closer to the 24 and 36 hour adventure races scheduled later in the year.  Be there next time, you won’t regret it.

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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’.

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