Sponsorship Announcements and a Call for Help

We still need a beer sponsor, but that’s not what the call for help is all about. We’ll get back to that.

This year we’ve got some pretty legit sponsorships happening, and I think you’re gonna be excited.

First up.. our good friend Steve at JCMG Rheumatology. Steve’s donation to last year’s Cedar Cross was the only reason I was able to buy this amazing backpack leafblower.

20140419_153950It is only through steve’s donations that we’ve been able to get these trails cleared off so well. If it weren’t for him, we’d still be out there with rakes and one shitty, gas-leaking handheld leafblower. If you see him on raceday, tell him thanks. He’s a hell of a nice guy.

 

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kuatrackloveObviously, someone at Kuat knows a thing or two about advertising. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s just something about this picture that gets me really excited about Kuat racks. In fact, I think I’m gonna buy one later today. This will be Kuat’s third year sponsoring the race…and they’re giving us a Sherpa rack to give away. This is definitely something to be excited about.

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The first sponsor we ever had was BackCountry Research, and I’m proud to say they’re back for the 3rd year in a row. These guys have probably given us over a thousand dollars worth of free stuff, so if you haven’t gone to their website and bought something yet….you’re kind of an asshole. I was browsing their website this morning and stumbled across this photo:

8160212877_7f2ce48947_o….and if I didn’t know better I’d say that photo was  taken on County Road 388, which is part of this year’s Cedar Sapling route. Very Cool stuff, if you ask me. Please, go to their website and buy some stuff. These people deserve our business. I highly recommend the Tube Tarps and The Fon Bags. Good, good stuff.

NEW SPONSOR: TaddiHogg Handmade Cycling Caps.

Finding a cycling cap that actually fits is SUCH a pain in the ass. The only one I’ve ever actually enjoyed wearing was made by this guy:

Hand Made in the USA

Hand Made in the USA

Thad is going to be giving us an undisclosed number of his fine, handmade hats to give away on raceday. I’m probably gonna keep one more for myself, but that’s just because I’m a greedy asshole. And if you’re still not convinced that Taddihogg is the finest, most badass cycling cap in the world, refer to the picture below.

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The man in the photo is Jim Phillips, and he is *earmuffs* one bad motherfucker. Jim Phillips eats pavement and shits a mix of gravel and sunshine… all while wearing Taddihogg cycling caps. If Jim Phillips says the hats are good, you don’t ask questions….you buy the hat.

And now we come to the call for Help. Each year, we try to use the Cedar Cross as a means of helping someone/something in need. In 2012, the race was free and we donated nearly $1,000 to an animal shelter. Last year, I give away cash prizes to top finishers who then donated their $600 to the Team Noah Foundation. 

I had planned to keep the money for myself this year in hopes of buying my own frame from Monster Bicycle Company, but then I saw a story that just grabbed me by the heart and I knew we had to help a brother out. Meet Ernest Gagnon:

ernestcxErnest used to weigh almost 600 pounds, and when his Doctor told him he could either get a gastric bypass or die, he chose the hard road instead. He bought a bike and started pedaling himself back to fitness. The man has lost over 200 pounds and HE RACES CYCLOCROSS. Ernest’s journey to peak fitness is far from over, but I think we could all learn a lot from this man. Being a plus-sized fellow myself, I have a deep appreciation for anyone with a few “problem areas” that isn’t afraid pull on the lycra and go for a ride. I’ve never met Ernest and I don’t know his whole story, but I don’t have to… everything we need to know is in those pictures. I have a lot of respect for this man.

It turns out Ernest has a bit of trouble with seatposts snapping, so I got on the phone with my buddy Jim at Monster Bicycle Company.

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Jim was immediately on board with building a custom titanium seatpost for Ernest. I’ve also been in touch with BackCountry Research, Kuat and Taddihogg, who will be adding their own schwag items for Ernest. If you’re signed up for this race, you’re a part of making this happen.

So now you know….this year’s Cedar Cross is officially a fundraiser to build Ernest Gagnon the most badass, indestructible titanium seatpost in the the world. Yeah, I said the world. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone joining together to make this happen. At the end of the day, I think we’ll all have something we can be very proud of, and we might even make a new friend or two.

 

 

The Trails Have Never Been Better

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The trails you’ll be riding at Cedar Cross have never looked better. Bob and I rode part of the course and we had a blast. Will it be easy? Nope. But I guarantee you’ll have a great ride!

Weedeating/leaf-blowing is serious business

Weedeating/leaf-blowing is serious business

We’re busting our asses to make sure everything is as good as it can be come race day. Well, Bob is busting his ass. The rest of us are just along for the ride, helping out a wee bit here and there.

We did a lot of weed-eating and leaf-blowing to remove thorns and other debris, and we also removed a lot of downed trees… with a fucking hand saw. No, seriously. Bob Jenkins doesn’t do anything the easy way.

Trail Work for Cedar Cross

Who needs a chain saw when it’s way more fun to do it by hand?

Although we saw several horse trailers parked near the course, we literally saw zero horses and almost zero horseshit. That is a very good thing, my friends.

While we removed most of the obstacles, we left a few of the smaller ones for your riding pleasure. We also strategically left a few of the larger obstacles to encourage the horses to fuck up the trail somewhere else. But worry not, we’ll go back and remove the big ones before race day.

Tree on Trail at Cedar Cross

With a fence on one side and a steep descent on the other, we’re hoping the horses stay away.

And for those of you who are Cedar Cross veterans, I’m sure you’ll remember “The Staircase of Pain.” It is in great shape too. And if you think pushing a bike up it is hard, you should try carrying a 400-pound industrial-strength leaf blower up that sumbitch.

The Staircase of Pain at Cedar Cross

Bob made it look easy, so quit bitching.

If the weather cooperates and all the horses continue to stay off the trails, you are all going to have a blast. I’ve never seen the trails in such great shape. And yes, the trails can be ridden on a cross bike, although fatter tires are probably a good choice.

cyclo cross bike on single track at Cedar Cross

Bob was faster on his cross bike than I was on my mountain bike.

Race day is coming up quickly. If you’re not signed up, there’s still time to do so. And if you’re not ready for the full shebang, there is a shorter option, The Cedar Sapling.

Get excited. Get very excited. See you in a couple weeks!

Help us spread the word on this race. Share this post, facebook it, tweet it, and whatever else you can do to pass it on would be great.

Raceday is drawing near…and we’ve got cupcakes

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Well my friends, after a solid weekend of trail cleanup I can confidently report that this year’s course will be more badass than ever. When you combine the recent deluge of rainfall with copius amounts of horseshit…you’ve got yourself a recipe for adventure. Rocky, wet adventure covered in horse-poo.

Even my wife, (who doesn’t even ride bikes), is really pumped about this year’s course. Just look at the excitement on her face!!!

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Man, she’s gonna be pissed when she sees that.

The trail has certainly changed a bit since last year, and I’m sure we’ll have varying opinions on whether or not it’s for the better. The one thing I know for sure is that the singletrack will play a critical role in who wins the race this year. Tire/bike selection is gonna be a big deal. I predict a lot of shredded skinny tires.

Just remember this is a multi-surface event. One minute you’ll be riding on this:

benchcutAnd the next minute you’ll be riding through this:

creekcrossinAnd the next thing you know, you’re riding past this:

NOOK

Do not adjust your computer screeen; that is a NUCLEAR reactor surrounded by gravel roads. Have you ever seen a Nuke reactor in the Flint Hills? I don’t think so. **EDIT– I am a dumbass…there is indeed a reactor out there** This ride has gravel, singletrack, horse-poo, a NUCLEAR reactor, baked potatoes, beer and cupcakes. That’s right, my mom is gonna make cupcakes again…the ones with pink frosting. I’m pretty sure nobody was giving away cupcakes at Dirty Kanza last year.

CUPCAKES!!!!

The Return of Kayne

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Folks who raced the Cedar Cross in 2013 (hopefully) remember that we had Kayne Kirchner  kick off the race by playing the Star Spangled Banner.  Nothing says patriotism like a teenager shredding the guitar before riding 113 miles of gravel and singletrack…and then chugging beers and eating baked potatoes afterwards. I’m happy to say he’ll be back this year to do it again. If all goes well, Kayne will be freestyling some guitar jams before the National Anthem as well.

This weekend I’ll be out clearing trails, so watch facebook for trail updates. Remember, this year we’re using the full course so it WILL be harder than last year.

Speaking of hard…Holy shit the Tour of Hermann was totally badass!!!

 

 

 

One Month to Go, and Heavies Ride for FREE

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For those who don’t already know, the Boydsville loop was removed from last year’s course because it had been completely trampled by horses. This section of trail, while only a few miles long, is what makes tire/bike selection so important for this race. It also goes right past a handful of abandoned, dilapidated homes in the middle of the woods. It’s pretty kickass if you ask me

As of last weekend, the entire loop is cleared off and race ready. It’s in the best condition I’ve seen yet, so we’ve got plenty to be excited about.

 

Downhill straightaway

Downhill straightaway

In other news, I read a Facebook post today that absolutely pissed me off. I’m not going to elaborate much, other than to say it disgusts me when people condemn others based on their level of fitness. In that same vein, I want people to know that while the Cedar Cross is “a race”, our main goal here is to have a good time. It’s not about who’s the fastest or the fittest, it’s about getting together with like-minded people and riding our damn bikes.

These guys get it

These guys get it

I’m not going to lie, I LOVE seeing fast riders on raceday. It’d blow my mind to watch people like Dan Miller, Peat Henry, Jim Phillips or Emily Korsch sprint it out for first place.  But the real thrill for me is watching those last place finishers limp their way across the finish line. These are the people who thought they’d never make it; the ones who wanted to quit but didn’t.  It’s quite a feeling to hand that person a cold beer and watch them stare into the fire. Moments like those makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.

John Regions - Last place finisher for '13. A man to be celebrated.

John Regions – Last place finisher for ’13. A man to be celebrated.

But I’m straying from the point. This is an event I want everyone to attempt twice.  I’ve always made it known that folks who DNF’d in the previous year can race for free the following year, and this year I’d like to expand on that a bit.

Effective immediately, anyone wanting to race Cedar Cross who weighs 250+ pounds can race for free. On top of that, if you weigh 300 or more pounds, not only will I let you race for Free, I will personally run your SAG support. You will want for nothing. Water, GU…whatever; I don’t give a shit. I’ll ride right next to you all day. I’ll fix your flat tires, lube your chain and take pictures. You WILL have fun.

There’s no reason to miss out on this event. You think you’re too fat or out of shape to finish this race? Bullshit; I finished Dirty Kanza weighing 260 pounds. By cycling standards I’m fatter than the guy from LOST.

And if you don’t weigh 250 pounds and you still want to participate….it’s a frickin $20 race, man. Quit your crying. Raceday is in one month.

All Systems Are GO

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Well my friends, it would appear that all the pieces are moving into place. I’ve got all the permits ready to go, the insurance is paid for and… as far as I know, we aren’t breaking any laws this year. These are exciting times indeed.

Speaking of great times, Josh Schrock is putting on a fine gravel event this weekend. Looks to be  like a 25-mile fun ride with beer and music afterwards. I plan on being there after doing some trail work on Saturday. You should be there too. And check out the Frisco ride, it looks like a a good one too.

And never forget the 2 basic rules of gravel riding:

...as it is written in the book of Daly.

…as it is written in the book of Daly.

At present, I have no idea as to the condition of the singletrack portions of this year’s course. But there’s one thing I do know: we won’t be cutting out any of the singletrack this year. These are basically unmaintained, forgotten trails being used by deer and the occasional horse. I’ll do everything I can to weedeat, clear off the leaves and kick horseshit out of the way, but the course will not be changed. I feel like a lot of people got cheated out of the full experience last year, and that just makes me feel dirty.

Kate Geisen trains hard for Cedar Cross.

Kate Geisen trains hard for Cedar Cross.

There will be mud, there will be horseshit, and there will be dogs. There will also be kickass scenery, trails you never knew existed, a nuclear reactor and free beer and potatoes as the finish line. For $20, I don’t think you can do much better than that.

 

Support Missouri Gravel and Win Free Racing

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As we all know by now, The Show-Me State is literally packed with quality gravel roads. It doesn’t matter if you wanna ride 10 miles or 300 miles, there’s a way to make it happen. And fortunately for us, there are plenty of folks who want to make it happen.

Take for example, the L’Eroica Aux Arcs, which is happening this weekend. Dan Fuhrmann put this one together free of charge, so all you have to do is show up. If your significant other will let you out of the house this weekend, you should definitely be there.

TOH

The Tour of Hermann is put together by Jeff Yielding, who is best known for his ability to create excellent cyclocross courses and take selfies during Cardinals games. Click on that link and sign up; Jeff knows his shit and you’ll get what you pay for. I missed out last year and I still regret it, so don’t be a dumbass like me.

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Hopefully by now everyone knows about the Hairy 100. Mr. Butthead Johnson organized this race last year and literally everyone I’ve spoken with said it was a solid event. The finisher’s glasses were totally badass as well. This one is held in Columbia, so there’s really no reason to miss out.

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And who can forget the Ogre, put on by Bonk Hard Racing. Any race whose mascot is a mythical beast with a green forehead-vagina has got to be worthwhile. I still have nightmares about the climb into Checkpoint 1. And seeing Dave Beattie’s reaction when the finisher’s glass slipped from his hand and exploded on the concrete….totally priceless.

He didn't even move his feet as they swept up the glass

He didn’t even move his feet as they swept up the glass

But why am I promoting other races on this website? I’m glad you asked. Mainly it’s because these are all great events IN MISSOURI that we should be supporting anyway. Secondly… Jeff, Dan, Josh and I have decided to give away free race entries to one another’s events. So right now, I’ve got 2 free passes to each of the OGRE, Tour of Hermann and the Hairy 100 to give away, however I please.

But how to choose the winner? I’ve never really wielded this kind of power before. Searching for inspiration, I decided to look thru some old Cedar Cross photos where I found these:

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Both of these pics really capture what Cedar Cross is all about: Good times, good friends and good scenery. I can’t remember the Cowboy’s name, but our friend in front of the nuclear reactor is Michael Raine Kauk, and he is today’s winner. Yyou can email me or post in the comments section regarding your free entry into one of these kickass Missouri gravel events.

And So It Begins

Well my friends, February is upon us and that means it’s time to ride gravel. Frozen boogers and beardscicles have taken the place of tanned skin and sunglasses. It’s time to get outside and freeze your ass off among friends. These are the miles that prepare us for the big dance.

Dave--I have no idea how he can see

Dave–He can’t see shit

I hope you’re having as much fun in this shitty weather as I am. I can honestly say this is the first year I’ve ever had trouble with my eyelashes trying to freeze together while riding.

Chuck..he can't see shit either

Chuck..he can’t see shit either

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a scarf being frozen to your face. At least that’s what Chuck says. You should come ride with us tonight and see for yourself.

Night time Group rides will be happening every thursday night in the Weldon springs/HWY 94 area. I’ll be posting ride times/locations on the Team Virtus and Cedar Cross Facebook page.

All people of all skill/fitness levels are welcome to join us. Unless you’re a douchebag.

Oh, and don’t forget to register for Cedar Cross.

The Last Survivor

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While it is customary to celebrate the triumphs of those who finish first, it has long been my opinion that the last person to cross the finish line should be celebrated just as heartily, for this person has endured the most suffering. Monster Bicycle company feels the same way, and so Jim created this custom beer mug for the 2013 last place finisher.

Doesn't get much more legit than that!!

Doesn’t get much more legit than that!!

John Regions was the final Cedar Crosser to finish the  grueling 113+ mile course on Saturday evening. We put a beer in his hand, Jim gave him the finishers mug  let him stand next to the fire for a few minutes before we giving him the rest of his award….. the Sherpa Rack donated by Kuat Bike Racks.

A $400+ value, I might add

A $400+ value, I might add

John reacted exactly how we wanted; with extreme excitement and appreciation. I don’t think we could’ve picked someone more deserving and appreciative than John, so we’ll call this year’s “Last Survivor Award” a solid victory.

Looking back at this year’s race, I don’t know how things could’ve gone much better. Granted, I had to cut out the hardest part of singletrack and make the course a bit easier.. but the overall winners donated their $500 to Team Noah, the Sapling route’s winner was a new father, the fastest female was one of my all-time favorite people and our Last Survivor was someone who truly appreciated the award. How could anyone not be happy about that?

I hope everyone had as much fun as I did, and I totally think we should do this again next year. I’ll see you all at Dirty Kanza next month!

 

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