Dash for Cash

The Dash for Cash is the second leg in the 2015 Bike the Wilds mountain bike race series.

Below are TWO stories of the race from two different "perspectives"...!

Story #1: Kirk Morrison:

I had a tough day but still had fun (...stopped at the mile 15 beer tent to console myself …)!!!

Story #2: HannaH Brewer:

Going into the Dash for Cash, I didn’t know what to expect. I had been on my bike exactly 6 times since February, and my legs just weren’t totally back yet. Would today be the day they “came back?” I could only hope.

Okay, my technical skills weren’t totally back yet either. I crashed super hard 3 days before the race at North Park, and my left shoulder was still sore (but I could move it, so it was totally race-worthy.)

Who crashes at North Park?

And who thought it was a good idea to not ride a bike all winter?!?!

I rode safely and within my comfort zone for the first few miles. The Dash for Cash expert loop is a long, hilly, and technical, course. All I could think about during those first few miles was:

Don’t. Blow. Up.

Ten miles in, I was feeling alright. Ruthie was ahead of me and my skills were meh, but I was racing. It felt good to be racing, and I was okay with racing my way back into shape.

Ruthie and I played cat and mouse for miles. She is strong and smooth in the technical sections, and I had a blast chasing her through the woods! Being the friendly racing buddy that she is, she let me lead into a section of single track with just a few miles to go. To my surprise, instead of blowing up, I found my “Race Face.”

Race Face means defying all logic when riding and putting complete trust in my skills and my fitness. This was something I hadn’t done since the Month of Mud last fall. When “Race Face” comes out, my riding style changes completely, and goes something like this:

That descent looks sketchy-- go faster. You won’t realize how steep it is.

That rock garden looks too hard --you ride Moraine. No rock garden is too hard for you.

I should probably downshift and save some energy on this hill—Spin harder. You’ll get up it faster.

That rock looks wet and slippery—Ride it right and it won’t matter.

That log looks too high for me --- if Rich Allen watched you cyclo-cross that log, he’d make you go back and re-ride it. Just hop it!

After that long winter of running, nothing feels better than bombing through the woods. I knew that whatever place I finished, I had a good race.

No, I had a GREAT race, because at the end of the day, it’s not about winning. It’s about feeling good on your bike, trusting yourself, always racing like you’re still in the game, and loving the thrill of the trail.

In those last few miles, I finally felt one with my bike again and maintained my lead all the way to the finish line.

Training makes you strong, but racing makes you fierce. And I’m back.

RESULTS - Expert Division
          HannaH Brewer
                    17th Place Overall
                      1st Place Woman 

          Bobby Irwin
                    5th Place Overall

RESULTS: Sport Division
          Kirk Morrison
               41st Place Overall


Roaring Run RUMBLE

Ag3r Racers Mike Maher and Bobby Irwin both RIDE & MAINTAIN the trails of Roaring Run Park (Apollo, Pa.) as their own.

So when the Roaring Run Watershed decided to host a Mountain Bike race as a fundraiser, naturally, they called Mike and Bobby....

...who naturally called upon the riders of Ag3r Racing.

Participating in at least one of the THREE Trail Work Days leading into Race Day were:

Bobby Irwin
     Mike Maher
          Nathan Black
               Henry Dimmick
     Ray Sielski
                         Rich Alen
                              Mark Briercheck
                                   Kirk Morrison

On Race Day, the following members served as Race MARSHALS...

Mike Maher
     Henry Dimmick
     Hannah Brewer
               Nathan Black
                    Ray Sielski
                         Rich Alen
                              Mark Briercheck
                                        Kirk Morrison

....all cheering for our token race entry, Bobby Irwin, who arrived to the race venue Out-of-Uniform, mumbling something about having JUST completed a 5K RUNNING RACE!!! 

Kids warm-up differently these days!

Once Mike had all his Race Preparations in place....

...the race STARTED. 

Monster Media Points were gained by Bobby leading up the opening climb...

...before falling back to 8th Place at the river crossing....

...only to claw his way back up to 4th Place for the FINISH of the Men's Expert Race!

Meanwhile, Mike was patrolling the course...

...for any signs of TROUBLE(!)...

....while the rest of the Team managed many of the "turns" of the race.

All in All, a good RACE result for Bobby and Ag3r....

...and EXCELLENT positive Public Relations exposure for Ag3r....

...where the REAL race MVPs were US.....!!!

Three Cheers to the Success of the Roaring Run Rumble :)

...Photos by Various People


Friday Night at the Track

Opening Night at the Bud Harris Track started off the season with HUGE Storm 60 minutes before race time...but somehow, everything dried up and the race went off without a hitch.....more or less.

Wave #2 , in Cue
While pre-registration for the race required riders to select either the 1st Starting Wave (6:30pm) or the 2nd Starting Wave (7:15pm).......the Promoter put everyone into a hat and TOTALLY re-ordered the start list....without telling the riders in advance!!!

So, what did that mean?

It meant that when Nate and Henry, both riders who had signed-up in the 2nd Wave, showed up to the Start Line to sign-in BEFORE starting their warm-up, they were informed that they were ACTUALLY starting 5th and 8th in the FIRST WAVE....only "minutes" from then....so they RACED with ZERO WARM-UP....!!!

Only one Ag3r racer, Ray Sielski, was (re-assigned) into the 2nd Wave...so the rest of us all got to cheer him on!!!

Ray rode TOO FAST to be captured by the lens of a Camera!

No matter...we were ALL just happy to be there :)

Bella Black. Ag3r's New SuperFan!

3rd Place @11.08 => Stephen Marlette (1st 40+)

Marlette's Key to Success(???)

14th Place @12.06 => Nathan Black (5th 40+)

18th Place @12.30 => Henry Dimmick (8th 40+)

20th Place @12.49 => Kirk Morrison (9th 40+)

It was OVER, (before) it even Started!

21st Place @12.51 => Ray Sielski (2nd 60+)

Pre Ray-s

Ray-s Start

Mid Ray-s



Steel City Showdown

Ag3r Riders Mark Briercheck and Nathan Black headed into the city for this high visibility race.

Below are separate stories from BOTH Nate and Mark.

All photos are by the one and only Mike Briggs!

Nate's Story:
Steel City "Throwdown"

The definition of Insanity, according Albert Einstein, is "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". That's the way it feels to race in the Steel City Showdown. Lap after lap, bridge after bridge, mile after mile.... lap after lap, bridge after bridge, mile after mile... lap after lap, bridge after bridge, mile after mile.....You get the idea?

The Steel City Showdown, for the uninitiated, is 3/4 of a mile criterium bike race starting in front of PNC Park on Federal St. next to the statue of Willie Stargell. Turning right onto General Robinson St continuing for a block before banking hard to the right and onto the Andy Warhol Bridge. Up and over the Warhol towards the city of Pittsburgh and it's magnificent skyline the race then turns right again onto Fort Duquesne Blvd before the final right turn onto the Clemente Bridge and back to the start/finish line at PNC Park. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

Right turns, right turns, right turns. So many right turns. Unlike Zoolander and NASCAR, I have a hard time turning right. I don't know why.

I can go left, however like most or maybe all left handed people turning right is an acquired skill that I have not yet mastered. This deficiency and my total lack of experience in a group left me hanging at the backend of the lollipop at the front of the race and unable to hang on to the main pack.

As discouraging as this was, I could still see the main pack ahead of me while riding alone in no-man's land. Its very desolate in no-man's land riding alone with no help and no one to talk to. So I did the only thing that I could do and settled into a rhythm pounding out the laps picking off the stragglers as they fell off the main pack. At this point I believe that I was in the top 15 out of 40 or so riders with 5 laps to go....

....5 laps to go.... I can do this.... I can sustain my current pace for the duration of the race and finish in the top 10 or 12 were the words floating in my head. I have this... I have this.... that is.... that is until.... until the bike that I lovingly call Dolly, the bike that I care for with all my heart and soul decided to throw a spoke and end my race. What a letdown.....

AHHHHHHHHH and a string of g-rated expletives were heard on the Warhol Bridge as Dolly and I came to a sudden stop ending my race and my day.

Thanks to Mike Briggs for the photos seen here and thanks to the Steel City Showdown organisers for putting on a great event.

See you next year....

Mark's Story:
Steel City Showdown - Cat 1/2/3 Criterium

Sometimes I wish there were speed limits....

The 1/2/3 race at the 2015 ABRA Steel City Showdown proved that this race is only growing. From BIGGER sponsors, banners, and crowds to faster and faster lap times.


Neither rain nor wind could slow the field around the bridges of downtown Pittsburgh. With my best pedal foot forward I fought to stay in toward the front of the field but hit my limit before the bell lap.

With 54 starters in the field and less than 25 finishers - the race was not just an hour of power but a war of attrition.

All told it was a ridiculously hard and very fun race.

Since this race was my kickoff race to the 2015 it was a wake up call. But without a doubt this is a race I will do over and over again.

*in Arnold Voice*
"Dear Steel City."
"I'll be baaaaack".

USA Cycling Results:


6 Hours of Brady

Story by Bobby Irwin:

The 6 Hours of Brady's Run mountain bike race was a ton of fun and a good benchmark in my ultra endurance race training.

Dirty Mike and I represented Ag3r in our respective classes: 6 hour solo/male (me), and 3 hour open (DM). 
Photo by Mike Briggs
 The whistle blew at 10 a.m., releasing the demons onto the brutal 1.5 mile service road climb to start the race.
Photo by Mike Briggs
(It is worth mentioning that this race was extremely competitive in terms of skilled and fast riders.) Almost every fast guy from the tri-state area showed up to battle it out.

I held on to Dahn Pahrs wheel as long as I could, but he eventually dropped me once we got into the singletrack climb. I settled in and figured out the pace I needed to hold for the next 6 laps !

Photo by Mike Briggs
The 8 mile loop consisted of long climbs, fun tight singletrack, and a loose, rocky downhill at the end. My first lap I turned a fast 46 min. The next three hovered around 50 min, and the final two were each just over an hour. With temperatures hovering above 90, each mile got harder throughout the day.

At one point, I was cruising down a wide open trail, just freewheeling, and then hit back into a tight, rocky singletrack climb when I heard someone yell from behind me "Leader!!! Leader back!!!"...to which my reaction always was, if you think I am just going to let you around after asking like that, you have another thing coming!!!...it was Jordan Snyder. I laid the hammer down and crushed the climb, as if to think i would actually drop this dude. He made it to the top, and then proceeded to ride away from as if I was standing still. I was crushed.

Luckily the frustration propelled me to finish strong!! 

Photo by Mike Briggs
Kudos to DM for handing me up fresh bottles of electrolyte drink and snacks after he finished his 3 hour race.

Around lap 5, I started to feel like I might cramp up, and I was running out of water. Thank god they had an aid station half way through the lap, where I stopped to pour cold bottles over my head. I also finished the aid station attendant's french fries, and inhaled a package of Shot Bloks faster than you could blink an eye.

After i went out for lap 6, it was getting to the point where my body could not recover if I made a hard effort on a section. I just couldn't cool down properly anymore. I came through the clock at 5:37, so I could've went back out for another lap, but the rules dictated that any lap you are out on after the 6 hour mark must be completed in under 1 hour to count towards you total number of laps. I was not sure that I could do this, so I threw in the towel.

Photo by Mike Briggs
I ended up finishing in 6th Place (of 42) in the Solo male/open (under50) category, and 12th Place in solo overall (not sure how many participants overall, this included SS).

Dirty Mike hammered away 3 fast laps to finish in 6th Place overall in the 3 hour race!!! (with a malfunctioning fork) Great Job!!

Photo by Mike Briggs
The event concluded with pizza, donuts, and a live band!! I stayed for the awards ceremony and then made the trek back to Apollo.

Photo by Mike Briggs
Thanks to Chris Miceli and all volunteers who put this event together, it was fantastic! There was also $2500 raised for the "It's About the Warrior Foundation", through raffle ticket sales. See you next year on the podium Brady's !!!


STAY DIRTY, my Friends!!!

2014 Final Results

HERE are the 2014 Ag3r Appearance & Results Summaries:


Pittsburgh Marathon

Two Ag3r-FoxVelo riders are also RUNNERS.
Yup...they use their FEET to get from the Start to the Finish.
I know it's weird, but as it turns out, they are both quite good at it....!
Runner # 1 (in our hearts!)
Hannah Brewer
1/2 Marathon
a.k.a. - The H'animal ....
a.k.a. - The Great Ginger Smile!

Hannah finished the 1/2 Marathon 1,604th Overall...Men & Women combined.

Out of 8,566 Women in the 1/2, she finished:
79th in Division
525th Female

Runner #2
Roger Lutz
The Full (Monty) Marathon

a.k.a. Speed stiCk

Roger finished the Full Marathon 304th Overall...Men & Women combined.

Out of 2,913 Men in the Full, he finished:
27th in Division
262nd Male



.....or as I call them, "Lack of Thoughts"!!!

All Feet, No Brains! (speaking for myself). I think I spent more time running that day than I had in sleep the night before.

Lessons learned (how to qualify for Boston):

1. Don't UNDERestimate your time and thus be assigned to start in "corral B" (see pic). 4 Miles in traffic. Typical downtown Pittsburgh -- even on a Sunday!

2. Don't ignore that troublesome tightening leg muscle in the last few weeks of training. Stopping to stretch multiple times seemed counterintuitive to speed, but I wasn't going to make it if I didn't. Surely the issue cost me 2 minutes or more...

3. Pick your line well. My Garmin watch, tapped "start" to "finish", indicated 26.4. I'm convinced that was wide turns (a crap line) and weaving for position. For comparison, on the Moraine bike trail, I'm within 5 or 10 feet of the mile markers when it beeps. Accurate all 7 out and 7 back. So genuinely went .2 miles too far. That's a minute and a half right there.

3:25 finish, and 3:15 is Boston qualify.

I'm trying to convince myself NOT to try again, but as time passes, the bad parts fade from memory, and all I can remember is the sunrise at the start line......