Monday, April 14, 2008

Went and Arkansaw a lot o Hills...

Back from Arkansaw, 360 miles in 5 days, not Cullenesque mileage, but good enough for me. Training camp with the Chippewa Valley Cycling Club goofballs.
No pictures,
day 1, Left Joas house with Johnson, Tischler at 4:00 AM. Drove to southern Missouri and rode on a course that held a race the previous weekend. They didn't do a very good job cleaning up after the race, the ditch was full of water bottles, picked out the cool ones. Although I must say that I suspect not all the garbage was race related unless the race was sponsored by Busch Lite. Rode 70 extremely up and down miles, non-stop rollers, nothing huge, but killing my legs. I don't think I should've done lunges and one-leg presses on Monday night, I am hurting... The other 3 are frisky and we're sprinting at every city limit, county, insurance salesman sign. Somehow I win one sprint, Mikey takes the Juligan insurance sign... Found a pristine county road that was absolutely beautiful, one car in 15 miles, we ask him for directions, he has a wonderful southern drawl and tells us he's fished in Minnesota and Alaska, I believe him. Get dropped on the way back in after the boys charge up successive hills, I make the time cut but am drilled.

Spend the night in Branson, which reminds me of Wisconsin Dells except it has bigger and better churches. The one thing about Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas, the people may live in squalor but god lives in big, spacious brand new churches, somehow he's rich but they aint, go figure. Day 2, the storm passes, bringing sunny WINDY 70 degree temperatures. Get the first case of sunburn for the season. Ride in the Mark Twain forest, another day of unending rollers and did I mention WIND. Do a 10 mile stretch into the wind that seems like 50. Feeling better today, hanging in there for the first 40 miles then I start to weaken. Get dropped on the steepest climb of the day, ride off the road, get buzzed by a cop. Catch the guys on time to refuel. Johnson and Joas hit it hard after the stop, Tischler motorpaces off a car to catch them, I miss Tischlers wheel and get hung out, I'm dead. Ride in the last 25 miles on my own. Ride by some kids with bb guns, they excitedly start pumping them up as I approach, I'm thinking FUCK i'm going to be the first victim for a future Timothey Mcveigh, so I charmingly smile and wave at them, they drop the barrels, saving their ammo for a whimsical bunny or skunk. Whew, there's no way they could've missed my ass, it's as big as the broad sign of a barn... I finally make it back, somehow I make the time-cut, I don't think I did but they guys are being generous. Head to Arkansas, drive over a dam that is about to be unleashed, flooding homes downstream. We're oblivious, trying to figure out why there's so much traffic, ambulance and TV Vans... find out later on the radio. The Metzapotamia wonder bus is supposed to be heading to Arkansas, but they've made a side trip to NORTH FUCKING CAROLINA! Mikey leaves them all love messages on their phones, except for Metza...

Day 3, the mild guy bus from CVCC is already at the cabin 10 miles south of Jasper Arkansaw, headed by Joe W, owner of Spring Street Sports, and 5 other guys, Frank, Tim, Dave, Joe and Potter. The cabins are awesome and the food is great. The Metzapotamia wonder bus in in Georgia/Alabama or Tennessee depending on which version of the story you hear. So now it's time to hit the climbs. The cabin is on a rocky road 1.3 miles from the paved road, I blast it, feeling like Tom boonen on the pave. Unbeknownst to me, I lose a water bottle in my joy. I discover this later to my chagrin, right before the 1st big climb of the day. Before that we hit a nice 3-5 mile twisting descent. With the addition of 20 pounds my climbing has declined severely since my last visit here 3 years ago, but funny, my descending has improved! I finish right behind Johnson and Tischler. Johnson is the best descender I've ever seen, and he's blind as a bat without his glasses, go figure. We hit the Ponca switchbacks and I'm suffering, then we hit the 14% climb at Low Gap then up to the top of Mt. Sherman. I'm hurting, I'm the last guy up, a snake sunning himself on the road is moving faster than I am. Finally I get the payoff , the 5 mile descent to Jasper. After some NOS energy drink and an apple puy, I get some energy and manage to ride pretty good for the next 20 miles or so up the never ending steep climbs that lead us to our prize of the day, Mt. Judea. 3 years ago I paced Johnson up this climb, this year? Last one up. The view on top of Mt. Judea is breathtaking as you can take in the Buffalo River valley, I barely noticed as I struggled. Thankfully Joas waited for me, so we could limp in together. The death march begins heading into an insane 30 mph headhind, crosswind, tailwind all at the same time. After 90 miles and 8800 feet of climbing, we hit the pave and I blast into camp, only a minute or two behind a group of 4 or so, so we didn't do too bad.

The Metzapotamia fun bus finally arrives, bringing the leader himself and Cehaski, Borgy, Tristan, Kent and Tim. Wow, these guys are just as crazy as I last remembered them. Day 4 starts with the wonderguys hungover, we're off for another day of fun and games. I'm progressively getting better as the days pass, Johnson takes the downhill sprint into Parthenon, splitting between a car and a van to take Metza, fucking unbelievable. We do the longest climb of the trip, the 5 miles up Mt. Sherman from Jasper. Again, 3 years ago I was the first guy up the climb, this time I wasn't last finishing ahead of a few others. There was a road race on this road today, they didn't have much of a turnout so they were still giving out gatorade in spiffy discovery bottles so we all got fed on the top of the hill, cool. Then another fun descent followed by the 3.5 mile climb up Boxley, another switchback climb. Metza stops at the bottom to piss, fart and scratch himself, he brings up the rear then collects us all and we fly up to catch the rest. He's got quite the engine on him. Another 70 miles down, bringing us to 300 for 4 days. The night brings a campfire and lots of beer and tomfoolery. We'll just leave it at that. The weather is getting colder, with a high of 40 for the Jasper area. So after about 6 hours of deliberation, fighting and cutting up a few roadmaps the Metzopatomians (the A team) and us (The B team) head south 45 minutes for a warmer ride. Surprisingly it was about 10 degrees warmer, and we get in a nice recovery ride of 60 miles with a few sprints, hard efforts and a funny fucking echelon, with Metza using eloquent language to keep us in line! Johnson wins the last sprint thanks the A team for being so gracious to let us ride with them and we head home. Fun shit....

5 comments:

StevenCX said...

Damn dude, that's the most words I've ever seen you string together. Ever! I used to vacation there when I lived in St. Louis during college. Pretty country.

Dan Cleary said...

What? You went where? Seriously, wtf?

Tenacious T said...

You are verbose as shit.

Also, there are no girly pics. At least Big Dave tried.

Tone Coughlin said...

THERE ARE HILLS EVERYWHERE! ALL AROUND US! HILLS, MOUNDS, MOUNTAINS!

Erik said...

Skibby,
that was a damn enjoyable post.