Cedar Cross 2014 is in the Books

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Proof that even the best cyclists pick boogers

Proof that even the best cyclists pick boogers

The 2014 installment of the Cedar Cross has come and gone, my friends. For the ones who were there, no explanation is necessary. For those who weren’t..no explanation is possible. This year’s race saw clear skies, perfect temps and the Cedar Creek trail in the most rideable conditions I’ve ever witnessed. Big names and local heroes were in attendance, and at least two riders flew to the race in privately owned aircraft. And yes, I’m totally serious.

Things got off to a shaky start when we misplaced our National Anthem guitarist. I hated to start the race late, but sometimes shit happens and you’ve gotta roll with it….so we did. We quickly organized a neutral rollout to the pavilion, where Kayne was waiting with guitar in hand. I can’t speak for everyone, but his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner surpassed my loftiest expectations. The freestyle riffs afterward made panties drop like thunder, and I’m pretty sure one woman got pregnant.

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And so cycling history was made when we had not one, but two neutral rollouts lead by my dad’s totally sweet white pickup truck. According to my sexy wife, the race started at 8:36 am. If you recorded a different starting time, shutup.

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Me & Luke being dumbasses while Dave works the camera

The day was long and full of conquest. And while the lead pack was definitely not wasting time, I was happily surprised at the party atmosphere that developed in Boydsville, near the 47 mile mark. Beers were crushed and much wind was broken as people simply enjoyed the day.

 

Speaking of beer, I think it’s important people know Mark Giffin of Team Fohty donated TWO kegs of beer for finishers of this year’s race. If that’s not supporting Missouri gravel, I’ll kiss your ass. So If you see this man, buy HIM a beer!

fohty mark

Team Fohty has been to all 3 Cedar Crosses and they always bring the party. Nobody does it better

One of my favorite Cedar Cross traditions is handing out beers at the Finish line…..after spraying them with beer as they cross the finish line.

We're teammates, so Adam got an extra dose

We’re teammates, so Adam got an extra dose

This year we were lucky enough to have 2 beer sponsors. Team Fohty and Josh’s “Schrock Bikes and Brews.” Schrock Bikes and Brews is a kickass bikeshop/coffebar/cool place to get a beer In Mexico, Missouri. Josh donated a large assortment of delicious bottled beers this year, so if you got a bottle or can of something at the finish line, do me a favor and thank this guy:

Josh is not only an endurance cyclist, he's also an endurance planker

Josh is not only an endurance cyclist, he’s also an endurance planker

That photo was taken at 4am by his wife, after the Schrock Bikes “Gravel, Bikes and Bars” ride. Like his Facebook page so you can  be at the next one. I was there and it was awesome; Jim did a writeup here.

But you’re probably tired of hearing me rattle on about how proud I am of myself, so here are this year’s results. Like I said, we recorded that the race started at 8:36 pm. The listed finish times are the time of day the rider finished…not the elapsed time on course. If you want to know your exact start and finish times and exactly how long you were on the course…you came to the wrong race.

The Don Daly Category

1st. Corey Case –  4:08pm

2nd. Don Daly – 4:48 pm

3rd. Steve Friedman – 6:37 pm

Poor Don…always a bridesmaid, never the bride.

There's always next year, Don!

There’s always next year, Don! And yes, he was the fastest fatbike rider this year.

The finish times listed are exactly as my wife wrote them when riders finished. Try to remember this is a very inexpensive operation we’ve got going here, so names are likely spelled wrong and in some cases all she got was a description of your jersey. I think everyone is getting their money’s worth.

wpid-20140508_090712.jpgIt was great to see such a diverse crowd show up for the short course this year. My buddy Dave and I were near the Sapling route’s 15 mile mark handing out Tulbags and Awesome Straps from Back Country Research, and Taddihogg cycling caps. If you got one and you like it, be sure to send Thad an email saying thanks. The good people of BR can be reached here. And  If you got some swag and didn’t like it, send an email anyway… because only a total asshole would complain about a free handmade cycling cap or Tulbag.

These guys sent me a ton of stuff to give away, so the least we can do is say thanks and maybe buy some of their stuff. These are small, American business that are making some really great gear. Buy some of their stuff; if you dont like it…let me know and I’ll buy it from you and use it myself.

 

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But who took home the Kuat rack, you ask? Funny story: We were waiting for Tony from Springfield to finish, since he was confirmed as the last rider on course…when he called to say he’d had enough and needed a ride to the finish. With that information, it was decided that Chris Pay was our final finisher, and would thus receive the kickass finish line celebration and Kuat rack. The only problem was that he had already finished……so we had no choice but to make cycling history twice in one day… when we made Chris ride to the end of the street, turn around and cross the finish line again. The finish line theatrics were, in my mind, totally amazing. BUT, they were of questionable legality and will therefore not be announced on this website. Let’s just say it was awesome and leave it at that.

Chris Pay...the last Survivor of the 2014 Cedar Cross.

Chris Pay…the last Survivor of the 2014 Cedar Cross.

Also, we raised enough money to have Monster Bicycle Company build a custom titanium seatpost for Ernest. I’d like to thank everyone who put money in the jar, especially the anonymous stranger,(who wasn’t even in the race), who gave my wife a 100 bill and refused to identify herself. There really are a few good people left in the world.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I feel like I should admit that I made a bit of money from the race this year. I’ve always said that any money I made from the race would be re-invested into the race, so the way I see it..I should throw some money toward the folks who have sponsored the race. That’s why I’ll be having my own Titanium Monstercross frame built by Monster Bicycle Company. In a way, I feel kinda dirty by profiting from the race, but at the end of the day I guess I’m just a greedy bastard who wants a new bike. And let me tell you, I’m pretty damn excited about it.

So I guess that’s it for this year. I hope everyone had a kickass race, and I really do look forward to making this happen again next year, provided people still want to do it. There really is no greater feeling than getting a bunch of people together and just having a good time. I guess I’ll see everyone this weekend at the Hairy 100, and then Dirty Kanza and the Pedaler’s Jamboree after that.

Water stops and refueling options

Because we aren’t heartless.

 There are a variety of places to refill water/food along the course.

These distances are approximate.

A water spigot rests in front of a church on Barnes Chapel road near the 27 mile mark. This is right before the first section of singletrack.

Your drop bags, (1-gallon ziplock), will greet you at the end of County road 353, near the 47 mile mark. This will be right before the final section of singletrack.

The Hams Prarie gas station/deli is near the 70 mile mark, and they have the best hard-salami sandwiches in all the land. Not the best gummi bear selection, though.

The final refueling station will likely be the country store in beautiful Mokane, near the 88 mile mark. They’ve got root beer in glass bottles, so be excited.

There are one or two other places you could leave the course and hit a gas station, but I don’t think you’ll need to. As long as you re-enter the course in the same place you left, no big deal. Just don’t cut the course on purpose and call yourself a real finisher. Douchebags do that.

5 Days Til the Horseshit Hits the Fan

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“It’s just chewed up grass”

Well my friends, we’ve come to the final countdown. 5 days separate us from Cedar Cross glory. I can only hope you’re as nervous/excited as I am. Holy shit.

This is traditionally the time when something goes wrong and we are forced to adapt. In 2012, rainfall put parts of the Moon Loop under water and we had to reroute the course. In 2013, high winds knocked down a bunch of trees 2 days before the race. Both of those times, we overcame the bullshit and had an awesome race. 2014 will be no different, as we are having to move the start/finish line to an alternate location.

Now before anyone panics, let me assure you the situation is well in hand. When bullshit strikes, you stand on the pedals and put your middle fingers up

shameless self promotion

shameless self promotion

The Start/finish line is being moved a *short* distance to the North Jefferson City Multipurpose Building, at 810 Sandstone Drive. It’s basically across the street, and it puts the Finish line in a PERFECT spot for what we’ve got planned when the last place rider crosses the line. Somebody’s gonna have a pretty awesome night.

I’ll have signs posted, and if anyone gets lost, you can call me personally at 573-953-8088. I don’t forsee any problems, and I’m told this is a much nicer facility.

Beginning tomorrow night, my people and I will be out marking the course, weedeating and blowing leaves off the trail. Garmin links and cue sheets have been posted. Download that shit to your Garmin or print it out. Updates regarding trail conditions and my mom’s cupcakes will be posted to this website and Facebook, so stay tuned.

If you’re still on the fence about signing up, post your thoughts in the comments section so we can pressure you into being with us on raceday.

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.

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