Monday, July 18, 2011

st. louis circles

Awesomely epic weekend in st. louis. And I got 2nd place on my single speed against the dudes with gears.

Friday evening had Mason and I rolling out of Potosi to get up to the lou. Got there and met up with a friend, Mr. Andrew Graff. He and I decided we needed to drink a 1/5 of vodka and we decided that Castlewood State Park would be a great place to do that. So we hiked in a little on the trail, found a sweet ass bluff overlooking the extremely swollen Missouri river, then proceeded to get schwasty faced. Good times. Pretty sure we ended up at a Quik Trip at some point for $0.69 fountain drinks and 2 for $2 hot dogs. Ahhhh, not too different from home :)

Andrew left us around 10:00 to go see Harry Potter with some ladies so we headed towards the Arch. I had never seen it that up close, only from highways passing by. It's pretty insane; hell of an engineering marvel that's for sure. The whole area reminded me of downtown Kansas City actually. Glitzy, upscale, surely overpriced bars/restaurants slowly creep to extreme ghettoness, then slowly creeps back to the ultra nice. Ah, old cities are pretty cool. Plus is was cool to be on the Mississippi riverfront for awhile. Think the Missouri is swollen? Ya, all that water plus a lot more dumps into the Mississippi. Crazy to see a river that large.

Any who, we were planning on trying to bum a camp down by the Mississippi riverfront and found out real quick that wasn't happening. So we decided to try to find a place along the Missouri out towards St. Charles. After a few hikes/scouting looks, we found the craziest place ever to set up camp. 40 feet from the swollen river, in the floodplain still, standing water everywhere from flooding that was in the area within the last 2 weeks. But it gets better...under a railroad bridge along HWY 370 as it crosses the river. Total hobo camp. It was badass, other than waking up 3x during the 4 hours of sleep I got because of locomotives roaring over the top of us. However, how many people can say they've seen the bottom of a moving train because they were sleeping under it? I can.

We broke down camp around 7 am to get out of there before we were spotted by the locals. Ended up driving through downtown St. Charles and I saw a sign for a bike shop cafe. We took a quick u-turn and stopped to check it out and hopefully get some real food in us. The Second Street Bike Stop Cafe was by far one of the coolest places I'd ever been too. Where else can you order an egg/cheese/peppers/onions wrap, an iced vanilla latte and buy new Ergon integrated bar end grips, all at 7:30 am from the same nice lady? No place in Kansas City, that's for damn sure. Pretty sweet to see the right side of the shop with bike gear/mechanics stand, and the left side full of food and coffee making equipment. Damn good food too. I recommend the Juarez wrap.

Didn't have too much to do, so we headed for Klondike Park, since I was told that it is the must ride trail of the area. I rode a quick, very short lap and got the first flat I'd had in 4-5 months, damn! Tried changing it and the tube I had had a hole in it from stuffing it in on top of my multi-tool, arghhhh. Last tube from the racing stash and I got it back up and going. Mason took a quick spin on the plastic big wheel (my 29r) and ended up crashing coming down from the top of the hill. BIke was all good, Mason's wrist not so much. Very swollen...more on this.

Andy Mac ended up meeting us out there around noon and he and I spun a lap on the east side of the park, using the Katy Trail to connect us back to the park's west side. Klondike trails are pretty sweet, nothing too redic. A couple skinnies, a couple extremely well built teeter-totters, and a nice platform jump that you can get anywhere from 4-10 feet of air off of depending on how east you hit it. I did the smaller 2 foot rock drop off to the left side. Wish I had some rear travel sometimes, or not such a nice bike so I wouldn't feel bad on the inevitable crash. Ok, both of those are lies. Except I would kill for a carbon enduro from specialized. sickkkkkk.

After ripping some trail for awhile we headed back into the burbs and grabbed some chinese buffet around 3:00 pm. I murdered some food in preparation for Sunday, since I still had not decided what class to enter in. We then went to Ft. Zumuwalt park where Andy Mac and I jammed some guitars and I blew on a little harp action as well. It was good, damn good. Around 6:00 we started heading back towards Klondike where we were sitting up camp for the night. After a stop at a bike shop for tubes/GU, Wal-Mart for dinner, and a quick check of Brommelseik, we were back at Klondike. I got the tent up and was out by 9:00 pm I bet. Slept like a baby. Best I'd slept all summer while out camping. It was good stuff for sure.

Woke up about 6:45 hearing Mason get into the car. I still hadn't decided what class to race, so we got camp torn down and headed to Brommelseik. Got there around 8 am and I got registered...for the CAT 2, 20-29 class. Racing the single speed against the boys with gears. I didn't have the highest hopes, but was gonna give it my best. It was absolutely insane seeing how many people came out for this race, and especially all the lady racers!!! Hot chicks on sick bikes? Yes please.

Watched a little marathon class and beginner class. Did a pre-lap. This course was gonna be super super fast. 100% throttle the whole time. 4.5 miles, not really much technical with a few short steepish climbs. the 34-20 gearing on the jamis was perfect. Marathon guys were cranking out 20-23 minute laps for the fastest guys, so I was hoping to throw down in there somewhere about. I had some amazing pre-race nutrition of a nutella sammich, nut-tritous bar from Planters, gummy life savers, some jet blackberry gu, some margerita clif shot blocks, and a ton of water/gatorade. oh, and half a red bull. I was ready.

Got a nice little 10 minute warm-up in actually before they called us to staging. Did a little 3 minute spin to get the legs loose, then did some short sprint intervals just to peg my cadence and heart rate for a bit, then 3 minutes of spin around again to keep fresh. CAT 1 guys/gals/singlespeeders started before us and I got a great position on the line, middleish towards the inside. I knew the hole shot would be vital for the sketchy creek crossing we had to hit very soon. Gun went and I had a little trouble getting my left leg clipped in but finally found the clip and pedaled my ass off to hit the hole shot in 4th behind 2 other guys in my age group and a 30-something year old guy. I was soon up to 3rd, 2nd in my age, since the Mizzou dude directly in front of me bobbled in the creek and wiped out making the turn up the gravel climb. I punched the climb and all of a sudden the 3 of us up front were opening up a huge gap. Mizzou latched back on about 1/4 of the way through and sucked my wheel for about 1/2 a lap. I let him around me in a grassy section so I could return the favor and get pulled through 1 of the 2 LONG sections of prairie trail. Anyone who has ridded Palen's farm (cruise the blues), Brommelseik is the st. louis version. Mizzou dude and I were neck and neck going through start finish where Mason gave me a hand-up of a gu and a fresh bottle of ice cold water. I think this kind of took some wind out of Mizzou dude's sails since I heard him mumble something to me about the handups (he was wearing a black was hot, not the best choice.) He ended up bobbling through the creek again, so I punched the climb again and really got the heart rate pegged up and started flowing like crazy. Somewhere in the mix, not really sure where, Mizzou dude started bonking and a CBC guy from another class got on my wheel, as well as another dude who was in my class. I asked them if I could suck their wheel through the 1st grassy section and they obliged. Awesome! problem was the dude in my class stated pulling away from CBC and good, oh well, still sitting 3rd in class, 5th overall. Second lap had a lot of passing singlespeed class guys, cat 1 women, and marathon peeps. Awesome course for passing though, even in the wooded sections.

So I come through start/finish again, Mason hands me another gu and fresh bottle and I'm off again in front of CBC who had stopped to self-handup. Settle in behind a couple single speeders who are ripping at about the perfect pace I want to be. I suck their wheels the rest of the lap and finish the 13.5 miles in 1:08.47. Damn!

First impressions were, I finished and got 3rd, 4th overall in cat 2. Didn't blow up, ever have to stop, and only bobbled my bike once trying to put a bottle back in the cage during a grassy section. Found out the other dude from my class who had passed me earlier flatted out! So I finished 2nd on the day, 3rd overall CAT 2. Every other person in CAT 2 had gears. What up st. louis! hahahahahaha. I finished 4 minutes off our age group/overall cat 2 winner. not bad. I think with gears I win that race easily. After peeping times, my laps would have put me on the podium for the SS class as well. Extreme confidence booster, especially since this was my first real race of the year. I was just surprised that my heart didn't explode. working/training down here in the forest is starting to pay off :)

So no pics yet, but there will be hopefully. Tons of people out snapping stuff and got the coolest plaque for an award! You gotta see it to believe it. It involves cedar wood, co2 cartridges, and mtb tires. It looks sweet!

After the race, we ended up in the hospital. Mason's hand was swollen like crazy. Looks like it's not broken, but lots of tendon/ligament damage. Epic trips aren't so until you make a trip to the hospital...check.

By then it was 6:30 and I had eaten nothing all day but the aforementioned pre-race nutrition. Found a bar/grill, got an ice cold 22 oz beer and a chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. Yep heaven. Gassed up and headed back to Potosi and the OTA house.

great trip. great times with great people. special shout out to Mason for the handups during the race. They were perfect and absolutely vital for me finishing the way I did.

so st. louis doesn't suck so badly. I'd like to take another trip/two up there sometime soon to do a few other things we didn't get to do...six flags, the zoo, cardinals game, riding other places, dirt jumping, etc. One day.

peace and riding!!!

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