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Last Call for CAC!

We are now down to crunch time, everybody!  If you want to non-race on April 21st, then you need to let us know RIGHT NOW!  The CAC will be very satisfying to all who come to enjoy it.

The CAC Adventure Non Race Logo

To ensure we have the maps in time, we need to order them by Thursday afternoon.  That means you have until Thursday, April 12th at 12:34 PM to let us know whether or not you’ll be non-racing at this year’s adventure non-race.  For more info regarding the what, when, where, and what to bring, simply go here.  And to see who else is already signed up, just go here.

As of now, we have 10 teams consisting of 18 racers from all over Missouri as well as a few racers from Iowa and Illinois!  Very cool.  And just to entice more out-of-state teams to come down off the fence and sign up for this, we have now lowered the entry fee to all non-Missouri residents to… Wait for it… ZERO DOLLARS!!!  Okay, so that’s not a huge discount since it was already free to anyone that wants to join us at the CAC, but still, it’s a FREE race.

Mystery Event at the Deuce Adventure Race

Derrick of Orange Lederhosen at a mystery event from last year's Adventure Non Race. Will there be something similar this year? Perhaps, but maybe with a slight twist... Then again, maybe not.

Also, we just got some pretty cool news regarding the CAC.  I don’t want to spoil it, so you’ll have to show up to find out what it is.  We’re also working on acquiring some schwag for this adventure non-race.  That’s right.  We’ll be giving away a few small prizes at the CAC!  Cool, huh?

So, this is a free adventure race, with free camping, and free schwag.  I mean, c’mon!  There are no excuses for missing the CAC.  I even know of someone that is skipping a 50K trail race to do this non-race.  You’ll hate yourself if you miss this, and you know it.

One last thing… I’d be remiss if I didn’t pay homage to our friends at Team Seagal for bringing the idea of non-racing to our attention.  Big thanks to those guys.  To find out more about how non-racing got started for us and ultimately led to the upcoming CAC and Cedar Cross, then you really need to check this out.

So, please let us know if you want to take part in the CAC before Thursday, April 12th at 12:34 PM!  Either leave us a comment below, contact us, or hit us up on facebook or twitter.  Hope to see you in a couple of weeks!

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Prelude Deuce Report

3 years ago I “competed” in the first annual CXMAS non-race put on by our friends at Team Seagal. It was 8 degrees below zero with the windchill and when my sweat got into the fabric of my jacket, it actually froze. It was certainly an epic ride, and one I’ll likely never forget. All non-racers were rewarded for their efforts with one of these:

Behold!!

That, my friends is a spoke-card. I like to think of it as a cool scar; something that shows where my bike and I have been and what we’ve done. I look at that photo and I’m able to recount the day’s events: the bitter cold, the bomber downhills, and trying to draft Pete Goode for 10 miles down the Katy Trail. Mostly, I remember being impressed at how the members of Team Seagal functioned as a unit to make the event so seamless.

The Godfathers of non-racing. Matching jackets and everything!!!

A spoke card wasn’t all I got that day. I left with a free PBR hat, PBR t-shirt and 12 pack of beer. Needless to say, I was a happy camper. There were something like 25 riders that year. Sadly, I took no photos.

 In 2009, the race was anything but underground. Over 140 people showed up, donated money to GORC and had a great ride. Luke’s wife had a kidney stone, so he stayed home.

CXMAS is a festive painfest. Whiskey, cupcakes and bacon abound. I remember being offered various brands of delicious whiskey and enjoying them all…before the race even started. I don’t remember ever crashing, but I do remember being drunk, lost, and having nothing to drink other than a camelbak full of bourbon and Pepsi.  You might say I got a little bit dehydrated.

At long last, I came to the manned checkpoint where each rider had to drink at least one cup of eggnog. My good friends, Sir Mason Storm and “Lawman” Jim Davis were manning the cups, so I was obliged to hang out for a bit. They told me Nick Smith had the current nogg record at 5 cups. Well, I just couldn’t let that happen. I drank five and felt good, five more and I was feeling full. After 12, I knew i was eventually going to puke so I went for broke. After 15 cups of disgusting egg nog, I called it done, joined a group of riders and pedaled a few miles to the finish. Along the way…there was epic vomiting.

Mr Storm was raining eggnog. (See what I did there?)

When I crossed the finish line I was awarded with a pair of speakers for my efforts. I didn’t know it was a legit contest with prizes so I was thrilled, especially considering I was one of the last riders to clear the course.

Pictured here w/ Mike Bobelak who donated the speakers, Wendy on the left

Needless to say, CXMAS is a non-race I look forward to every year. The routes are always well planned, fun and challenging. The event is FREE, the schwag’s  endless and the beer is free. Sadly, Adam Hempelmann crushed my nogg record in 2010. Personally, I think it’s bullshit that any man with huge pectoral muscles and 6-pack abs is able to consume that much nogg in one sitting. He probably has an enormous penis too, the bastard.  I’ll get you in 2011, Hempelmann.

 A Team Seagal non-race is a lot like a family reunion, minus the fried chicken and awkward forgetting of names. You always leave with more friends than you came with, and there’s always a story to tell….a badass story about bourbon, bacon and the geysers of egg-nog I saw shooting out of Luke’s face last year. You should have seen it.

So why am I telling you this? Two reasons, actually:

1. So you will be at CXMAS next year.

2. To give credit where credit is due

Team Seagal brought non-racing to Missouri. We’re just trying to help carry the torch and spread the love. And now that your history lesson is over we can finally talk about “The Deuce”…..tomorrow.

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Hot Bliss – Team Seagal’s Middle Fork XC Non-Race

Who knew that NOT racing could be so fun?  Well, anyone that has ever done a Team Seagal non-race before would clearly know how much fun could be had at an event such as this.  For circumstances beyond my control (my wife’s kidney stone, a family Christmas party, and just being a wuss among other things), I had never attended any of their non-races before.  I’ve read all of the race reports from past non-races and felt like such a jerk for missing out on the fun. Well, I was NOT going to miss this one, though.  We even rescheduled my son’s first birthday party (Happy birthday, Otis!) so I could make it to this non-race.  And it was worth it.

Bob and I were two of the 31 official entrants for the first of Team Seagal’s 2010 Non-Races.  All we had to do was submit a postcard before the deadline.  There were no fees, no waivers, no anything other than sending a postcard.  It was just enough to keep the posers out of this non-race (I’m not gonna mention any names, but his initials are… Corey Case).  Once the deadline passed and some info regarding the “secret underground” race was leaked, many people wanted to get in.  I don’t blame them.  They knew they were going to miss an incredible day.  And oh, what an incredible day it was…

Bob went down to Council Bluff on Friday to help with some trail preparation and to partake in some celebratory festivities.  I didn’t make it down there until Saturday night.  I guess I should say I didn’t make it down there until 1:00 AM on Sunday morning since I got a little lost on the way there.  I found Team Seagal’s HQ, and I was greeted by Casey Ryback and Mason Storm who graciously let me set up my Hennessey Hammock in their campsite.  Bob was already snoring away in a tent nearby.

We got up the next morning, ate a little bit of food, and got ready for the ride. Bob and I drove down from the campsite to the trailhead together where we saw many of our comrades.

Bob & Roger at MFXC Non-Race

Bob and our friend Roger "The Animal" Mackay

This was the last time I would see Roger since he is just a wee bit faster than I am.  I also figured that this would be the last time I would see Bob until the non-race was over, so I figured we better get a pic together for our scrapbook…

Luke and Bob at Middle Fork XC Non-Race

The parking lot was buzzing with excitement, adrenaline, and even a few hangovers.  We staged our bikes and then headed a short distance into the woods.  Storm said, “Go!”  We went.  Many riders took off and were riding into the single track before I had even gotten to my bike.  I think Bob was somewhere near the middle of the pack.  I wasn’t the last one into the woods, but I was probably one of the last 5 or 6.  This was by design, though.  I knew it was going to be a long, hot day for me, so there was no reason to kill myself early.

It wasn’t very long, though, until I caught up with Bob who, along with John Farinella, was helping Team Seagal’s very own Sasha Petrovich with a flat.  She was crushing the course before this flat derailed her, and she wasn’t exactly happy about it.  Bob and John got her going pretty quickly, though, and we were all on our way again.

Bob helping Wendy with a flat

Sasha was gone and out of sight in no time, and Bob and Farinella were putting a little distance on me as well.  After only a minute or two, I caught back up to both of them contemplating a sign on the trail.  I think it was a sign for Sasha and things to come, but I’m not sure if she saw it.

Middle Fork XC Non-Race is #1

That's not the "pointer" finger sticking up.

We kept rolling.  It was already really hot, and the uphills were already taking a toll on me.  About ten minutes later we found Sasha on the side of the trail again with another flat.  Someone had given her another tube.  Bob checked her tire for any debris while Farinella got the new tube in place.  A little CO2 later, and she was on her way.

Sasha at the MFXC Non-Race

Two flats and a sign of her own for Middle Fork.

We kept on riding, more or less as a group, with Bob putting some distance on us while trudging up the hills.  If you’ve never ridden Middle Fork, you need to. The uphills are long and arduous, but the downhills make them all worthwhile. Just as you think you can’t go up anymore and you’re cursing Middle Fork, you get to roll down some sweet, downhill singletrack that makes you forget all about the pain… Until the next hill you have to climb.  And the cycle repeats in perpetuity.

We soon rode past Casey Ryback taking some photos and recording times. Then we met “The Most Interesting Man in the World” face to face.  Well, Bob was so interested by this most interesting man, that he kind of met him “ass to face.”

Bob and the Most Interesting Man in the World

I, on the other hand, was able to keep my composure and act cool.  I introduced myself, and we became good friends.

Luke and The Most Interesting Man in the World

Bob and I rolled on, and Farinella must have stopped to talk to Casey Ryback or something because we didn’t see him for a little while.  We rolled up on another rider who was messing with his tire.  He had a flat, but he couldn’t get his tire inflated.  He had some huge, weird looking rims that only allowed the stem of his tube to only protrude a little bit.  He couldn’t get his pump to latch on.  Bob worked his magic and got a little more air into his tire, and the dude (who was in the top 5 before this flat) took off.  We saw him a short time later walking his bike in the other direction.  He must have gone back and found someone else with a pump that actually worked for him, because he passed us a little while later.

Shortly thereafter, we met a rider named Ben sitting on the side of the trail.  He looked to be completely wiped out, but he still had an enormous smile on his face.  You could tell that he was having a blast and hurting at the same time. We asked if he needed any food or water, but he said that all he needed was to sit there.  Gino from Team Seagal soon came up behind us.  He was sweeping the course, making sure everyone at the back of the pack was okay. Knowing Ben was in good hands, we rode on.

Farinella caught up to us, and we pedaled on, enjoying the perfect conditions of the sweet single track.  Team Seagal and the OTA did an amazing job getting this trail in primo shape.  The heat was getting to me, though, as I drained my Camelbak.  Bob seemed to be the strongest of our trio on the hills, so he would drop us pretty quickly.  At the bottom of the downhills, usually at a creek crossing (of which there were many) or a gravel road crossing, Bob would be waiting for me, followed by Farinella.

Resting at the Middle Fork XC Non-Race

Resting at a gravel road crossing as the suns melts our flesh.

We made it to the first water drop at mile 17, and I was elated that there was plenty of water left.  This had worried me ever since I realized I had already consumed 3 liters of water and one of my two water bottles of e-Fuel (like I said, it was really hot).  The three of us filled up as Farinella said sarcastically, “It’s good to know that we’re almost halfway.”  Damn.  I wasn’t sure I was going to make it all the way.

We had to ride a little bit of gravel to get back onto the singletrack.  It might have been a nice break from the trail if we weren’t getting scorched by the sun.

Bob on the gravel at the MFXC non-race

Bob up ahead on the gravel.

Luke and Farinella on the gravel at the Middle Fork XC non-race

Me with Farinella waving behind me in the blistering sun.

Even though, the sun was beating down on us unmercifully as if we looked directly into the ark, I still managed to surprise Bob and blow by him on the gravel:

Team Virtus on Gravel

Bob is shocked at my speedy domination.

Okay, that’s not true.  Bob slowed down to wait for us as we made our way back onto the trail.  We kept on rolling, but I was struggling on the hills.  I’ll admit that I walked a couple of spots.  The downhills were still amazing. Somewhere along the way, we picked up another rider.  I never caught his name, so we just called him Salsa Dude since he was wearing a Salsa jersey with peppers all over it.  We all kind of separated at this point with Bob in the lead, followed by Salsa Dude, me and then Farinella.

With about two miles of single track left my freewheel became jacked up.  I could no longer coast.  Whenever I stopped pedaling the chain would go completely slack which would lead to chain suck, and I was afraid I was going to really jack up my bike.  I could sort of ride my bike here and there, but I walked a lot of the last mile or so.  My bike was shot, and my race was over.  I was pretty sure I was not going to make the final 10 miles of gravel and 2.5 miles of single track.

I figured Bob was long gone at this point, so I was pretty damn happy to see him at the next gravel road.  He and Salsa Dude were both there, Salsa Dude sitting in the shade and Bob fixing a flat.  I told Bob of my problem, and we weren’t sure what to do.  I filled one of my water bottles (I could have used more probably, but I didn’t want to kill the water in case there were others still behind me).

Just as I was about to give up, Farinella came rolling out of the trail.  I wasn’t aware of this at the time, but he works at a bike shop.  He had me take the back wheel off, and he was going to try to get some lube down into it.  As he was doing this, he noticed that the spoke protector was rubbing the cassette. This was the problem, and he whipped out his Alien Tool so we could cut the plastic disc off. He then adjusted my rear derailleur to make sure it wouldn’t get caught in my spokes.  Thanks to John, I was back in the race, battling it out for the back of the pack.  A big thanks goes out to John.  I really appreciated the help.

As we were getting ready to ride on, we noticed something peculiar.  When Bob bought his Specialized Epic Test Bike from Nick at Red Wheel Bike Shop, Nick had told him that he would probably never see another bike like it out on the trail since it was a Test Bike.  Well, here is proof that Nick is full of shit:

Three Specialized Test Bikes

Not one, not two, but THREE of the same bike - and one Salsa Dude.

As we were getting ready to head out on a 10 mile gravel stretch, we noticed that Salsa Dude was having some digestive issues.  We started to roll out when he said that he thought he needed to take care of some business.  Farinella turned back to give him some TP and make sure he was okay.  Bob and I trudged on, feeling bad for Salsa Dude.

The gravel was great.  And by great I mean shitty.  The sun was killing us, and it felt like we would never make it to the finish.  Then we hit what has been dubbed “King of the Mountain.”  Let me just say that this climb is brutal.  It screws with your mind because you think it’s over as you come around a corner only to find this mo-fo keeps going… and going… and going…  The 90 degree heat really added to the enjoyment of the climb.  Bob just bared down and crushed it.  I had to walk two of the steepest sections, but I rode more of it than I thought I could.

Bob was waiting for me at the top and the final water drop.  There wasn’t much left, so I only filled half of one water bottle.  A couple of refreshing creek crossings, a near-miss with a dog, and one amazingly/frighteningly fast downhills later, we were faced with a five mile stretch of flat, hot, seemingly never-ending gravel road.  I seriously thought we were never going to get back onto the shaded trail.  Just when I was about to stop and rest, Bob spotted the yellow arrows on the road pointing us back onto the trail.

Bob dropped me on the first climb of the singletrack.  This was good, because I felt bad that he kept waiting for me.  I knew I was going to finish with only 2.5 miles left.  I was pretty damn slow on the uphills, but I rode most of it.  As I crossed the highway, I knew I was within a few hundred yards of the finish.  As I rounded a corner, I saw Bob sitting perfectly still in the woods to the side of the trail.  He sat motionless, avoiding eye contact and hoping to let me pass by without noticing him.  I guess he thought I was a legally blind T-Rex whose eyes only picked up motion.  Too bad for him, his bright red bike caught my eye.

I kind of felt bad that Bob had waited for me yet again, but there was also a part of me that was really happy to see him.  We rode that last little piece of trail together, hand in hand, sharing a warm embrace, tears streaming down our faces as we crossed the finish line to a standing ovation.  Okay, that’s not exactly how it happened, but we did finish together.  I think Mason Storm said something like, “I wrote down the same finishing time for both of you since you rode in together holding each other’s cocks.”  Way to ruin a beautiful moment, Storm.

We finished in 6 hours, 45 minutes, and 25 seconds (although Bob technically beat me by a second or two and could have beaten me by a lot more).  All of the top ten finishers were under 4 hours which is just ridiculous.  We sat down, had an ice cold beer, and we were awarded with “I Heart Pabst” bell for our bikes.  I got three so I could put them on my daughters’ bikes so they can be way cooler than other kids.

A little while later, John Farinella and Salsa Dude came rolling in together, and then a little while later Gino (the sweeper) came in.  It appeared that Ben hadn’t made it.  Then Gino informed us that Ben was just a few minutes behind him.  We also learned that Ben refused an offer to hitch a ride in a truck when he was on the long stretch of blistering gravel road.  Kudos to Ben.  That guy has some serious guts, heart, true grit… whatever you want to call it.  I would have bet against him when I last saw him.  To me, that is more impressive than a sub-4 hour finish.

So, we hung out for a little while, and then we made the long haul back to Jefferson City.  I had consumed roughly 10 liters of water while completing this non-race, yet I was still dehydrated.  I had a wicked headache by the time I got home and felt pretty shitty.  But it was all worth it.

Team Seagal put on an amazing event.  The trails were perfect.  The course was marked better than any other race I’ve done.  I got a sweet, free t-shirt.  I got to ride my bike with a great friend while making some new ones.  It was a great day.  Make sure you don’t miss the next Team Seagal non-race.  They are definitely worth the entry fee.

 

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