Coaltown Cross

Story by Mike Maher:

The Coaltown Cross was a fun grass roots kind of race.

Not only did I race, I wound up "volunteering" to set up most of the course, tear it down and loan out all my tape stakes. Kirk got suckered in as well.

Like last time, they did several "short track" races prior to the main event.

In qualifier heat #1, I took the WIN being VERY lucky to not have the Pfugenator in my group.

They took the top 4-5 places from the heats and we went out again. This time I wound up in 5th Place.

Kirk was smart enough to finish 5th in the qualifier heat, and therefore did not qualify in order to remain fresh for the main event....!

They split the field for the main event into Category 1 and Category 2 racers. I "earned" a Cat 1 classification and Kirk slyly raced in Cat 2.

In the MAIN EVENT, beer handups took a much higher priority than finish place for me. As my back began to twinge again, the beer moved even further up the list. Having stopped several times to partake, I saw Kirk about 20 seconds back. So I had another and waited hoping to finish out the race with Kirk.

Excellent plan till I tore a little hole in my sidewall and DNF'd. RATS!

Kirk however, in true "tortoise" style, picked several off to finish a very impressive 2nd Place in his group! Oh and he looked damn good doing it.

NOTE: We both competed on our SS rigs, competing in geared fields with lots of climbing.

Cincy 3

All Cincinnati, Ohio racing, and Story, by Kirk Morrison!

What a fun weekend...with the chance to race 3 times at 3 different venues in big fields (120 to 150 racers in my starting group for every race) as well as watch the top USA Pro’s race afterwards.

My best performance of the weekend was on Friday which had a very muddy, slick course. This worked to my favor as I was able to work my way up through the struggling field with no crashes or mechanical issues.

Unfortunately the courses dried out on Saturday and Sunday but they were still plenty challenging.

This one random pic I found on FB is attached. This is from the first lap of Sunday’s Devou Park race in a severe off camber section where my entire group was walking/running. I’m in the lower right section of this image (behind Chris Mayhew whose Cat1-4 35+ group was also in my starting wave).

Race Date: 10-31-14
Race Name: Cincy3 – Harbin Park Cx
Race Location: Fairfield, OH
Race Category: Masters 55+, Cat 1-4
Finish Place: 4th Place
Web Address to Results:
Weather: 41F, rain and gusty winds (cold !)

Race Date: 11-1-14
Race Name: Cincy3 – Kings Cx
Race Location: Mason, OH
Race Category: Masters 55+, Cat 1-4
Finish Place: 17th Place
Web Address to Results:
Weather: 45F, partly sunny and 20+ mph winds (chilly).

Race Date: 11-2-14
Race Name: Cincy3 – Devou Park Cx
Race Location: Covington, KY
Race Category: Masters 55+, Cat 1-4
Finish Place: 11th Place
Web Address to Results:
Weather: 50F, sunny

Marshal Mangler....

...is NOT Marshal Mather's evil twin brother!

Marshall Mangler at North Park
Attended and written by SUPER FAN Ray Sielski with inserts by Mike Maher

Bobby Irwin, Mike Maher, and Richie Allen all showed up.

Bobby entered the Single Speed race.....(MM - Bobby had some MAJOR issues as I believe his chain has stretched and jumped of the sprocket numerous times. Throw in an asthma attack and Bobby had a VERY tough day. )

Looked like perfect conditions....perfect for a CROSS race, that is. Rain, Cold, Wind and Mud and some bad music on the too loud P.A. system....LOVE IT :)

According to tradition, there were a few costumes, candy and hecklers throwing Baby Ruth’s (at least I "think" they were Baby Ruth's...!!!).

Mike Maher raced his SS in his Veterans race, and had a spot of difficulty as he threw a belt on his drive system on the last lap.

(MM - Richie rode well and blew past me a mile or two into the race. He gapped me as did most of the field. I struggled. Back still hurt and had a very strong desire to puke for about 3/4 of the race. My back and the urge to purge simultaneously cleared a couple miles from the end. I was able to fight back a couple spots but was unable to reel in Rockin Richie despite all out last mile when I could see that glowing yeller kit in the distance getting closer and closer....
PS: About half way through the race I started having some shifting issues. Figuring I was having some suck issues, I went voluntary SS for the last bit. Upon cleaning my bike I discovered the outer plate on one of my chain links was severed. Not sure how the chain didn't break completely.)

The course was:
Slippy with a fresh coat of rain and welling up mud holes. Grass was slippy, pavement trickier with a 180 degree turnabout and mud trails were tacky. Two sets of barriers, a fence to climb, and of course the monster descent into a run up.

The barriers were easy to get over, however the gravel section made it tough to clip back in. Half cleated in, comes the off camber mud trail to 90 degree into the descent.

All mudded up some racers went over the handle bars. Not a bad tactic as they ended up collected at the bottom. Then the run up with mud stairs where you would get pelted with insults and last night’s leftover candy.

Can’t wait till next week.


Franklin Park Cross

ABRA Franklin Park Cyclocross Report
by Ray Sielski

While the Ag3r (MTB) B-Team was resting, the Ag3r (CX) A-Team were taken it to the hills.

Nathan Black, Mark Briercheck, Steve Marlette and Ray Sielski kept up the team respect with 100% show and go at all the ABRA CX venue races to date.

Nate led the way with the Cat 4/5 race. An early start before the day warmed up. He broke in the sand pit and showed the rest of us the best way to get to the barriers.

Next Up, Mark began his Daily-Double with his Single Speed bike, proving that "he" could get it up those hills without gears.

For Race #2, Mark showed up for the Masters Races along with Steve and Ray.

Team Ag3r in bright YELLOW kits on a cloudless day managed to get ALL Front Row call ups. We cannot be denied...!

Ray’s hole shot got him 4th Place into the hill section and the loose gravel on the climb.

Plenty of climbing on the front half, nice descents on the second half, and sand and barriers to finish each lap. In one place, there was a Steep Descent with a 180 degree at the bottom, into a Run Up on the other side.  No one could carry the speed needed to get up.  The entire field runs up.

Nate Black -
Category 4/5 - 43rd Place
Photo by Mike Briggs

Mark Briercheck - 
Single Speed - 6th Place
Masters 40plus - 10th Place
Photo by Mike Briggs

Steve Marlette -
Masters 50plus - 9th Place
Photo by Mike Briggs

Ray Sielski -
Masters 60plus - 7th Place
Photo by Mike Briggs

TidBits overheard in the Pits
# Dude, I just totally rode up the run up
# Don’t pass the guy behind you
# I was huge throughout the entire race, or, I rode huge.
# The striders are in the sand
# Ray, are you OK, what are you doing down there!!!

Marilla next week.



OhioPyle SUPER-D

HERE is the story of the Month of Mud Series from the perspective of Hannah's #1 Competitor....worth reading for at LEAST the final two races =>

Race #4 North Park and Race #5 Ohiopyle.

Then come "BACK BUTTON" to HERE for "just the facts" from Kirk Morrison!

Race Date: 10-26-14
Attendees: K. Morrison, R. Allen, H. Brewer
Race Name: MoM #5 – Ohiopyle State Park Super D/Enduro
Race Location: Ohiopyle State Park, PA

Web Address to Results: http://monthofmud.com/?page_id=2511

Ohiopyle Super-D Race Results:

Womens Expert – Hannah – 1st place (!)
Masters 45+ - Richy – 6th place
SS – Kirk – 6th place

Following the race, the awards ceremony for the overall Month of Mud Series was held with the following results (http://monthofmud.com/?page_id=2503).

MoM Womens Expert 1st Place QUEEN –>> Hannah.  Congratulations Hannah !

MoM Masters 45plus –>> Richy3rd place.  Nice work Richy !

MoM Single Speed –>> Kirk5th place. Good Job Me :)

Editor's Note:
.....we will all AGREE (right?) that THIS is a MUCH BETTER Result for Hannah than last year's(?)!!!


North Park XC MTB

Story by Hannah Brewer:

After missing the cyclocross race at North Park, and riding a bike only twice in the past two weeks , carrying a large buffalo chicken pizza for half of those miles...

....I returned to the Month of Mud series for the North Park Cross Country MTB race ...BECAUSE.... a dirt race that includes Ag3r riders + Sam + Deidre is BOUND to be a fun day.

It was!

Despite on and off rain the days leading up to the race, the trails were in really good shape.

I finished in 3rd Place of the Expert Women category and had fast ladies pushing me from all around, keeping me in my red zone for the entire race. It was a fun, fast race.

The curse of racing well is that I am now tied with Veda for 1st Place in the MOM Expert Women Series heading in the Ohiopyle SuperD race.

So, it's all DOWNHILL from here...!!!

Sam finished in 4th Place of the Expert Men Category
Deidre finished in 2nd Place of the Expert Women Category
Richie finished in 7th Place of the Masters category
Kirk finished in 12th Place of the Single Speed Category
Briercheck WAS THERE.....and raced until a mechanicalNOT a good year for him :((

Results HERE: http://monthofmud.com/?page_id=2534

Disclaimer: Deidre, Sam, (and Kirk) had THE MOST FUN the night before the race and still showed up bright and early smiling (and riding fast). HAPPY ENGAGEMENT SAM & D!

AND Steve Brewer showed up for the FOOD with the team at OTB afterwards. Surprise. :)



Ag3r RUNNER Roger Lutz took on the Buffalo Creek Half Marathon!

Story by Roger:
It promised to be cold, and threatened to be wet.  Promise fulfilled, and threats abandoned.  I had trained with miles, and was ready to go.  But I was in no way training for speed, or hoping for good times, or "Good Times".
One of the advantages of having raced this event a few times in the past is I was very familiar with the accommodations.  So I was able to pick up my race pack in advance at "Runner's High" (who am I kidding...  Amy did it for me).  Thus obstacle one was avoided,.. the huge lines at Lernerville.  I parked and hopped straight on the bus.  The Township Building was locked at the start so all of the runners were in the parking lot.  The bag system works great at this race, so while some runners froze, I was dressed like an eskimo until moments before the start.  A quick strip, bag and stuff the bag into a car and I was at the line.
I don't mind saying, I ducked the rope and slid toward the front of the masses.  While you're timed at a start pad and a finish pad, it still can be problematic being stuck behind groups of friends all out for a once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list kind of thing.
It was then.. and ONLY then..... I swear to you, no B.S.....  It was just then that I decided I wanted to really REALLY lay it all out there.
The gun, the start.
Some people say you should pace yourself and start slow, but I like the thrill of kicking through the crowd for a bit and the rolling roads to the trail provide for some fast running.  I also find it best to get a decent hole-shot into the trail so you're not held up.  You've got a mile or so in by the time you hit the trail.  Maybe you pass a few more people, maybe you get passed, but sooner or later, you find similar feet.
At first, I found Green Guy.  Green Guy has a beautiful elegant stride.  He looks like a great runner (in stark contrast to mine) and pacing him gave me something consistent to keep me driving.   Black and Orange guy passed me at some point and I decided to try to hold his feet and leave Green Guy.  I did for a very long time but around mile 11, with Black and Orange a few hundred feet ahead, Green Guy slid past.  I held on his heels tight into the Freeport area and as we climbed the hill, I noticed him slowing slightly. 

At the switchback of the climb the grade really kicks up hard.  We cyclists recall this, I'm sure, from the rails to trails rides to the river. I poured on 30 or 40 hard strong pumps and cleared him in the first few, leaving the rest to try to get a gap that I could hold.
Knowing that this year's finish was closer to the bridge than last....once ON the bridge, I dumped the hammer.  I was at 110%. 

A left descent... zipped UP the Jersey ...then a quick right-hand to the line. 

For HD and Jeff Bell, I went WFO!
I never know my time when I finish the race.  I'm pushing too hard to notice the clock.  Later, I received the results:

Personal Record!  
1:33:57.95 net time, with a 7:10 average pace.
58th Place out of 1,250 registered runners...
...with only 1,012 finishing, and
12th Place in my Age Group!
I was really proud to fly the Ag3r colors.  Thanks for the opportunity.  :) 
Editors NOTE: 
Rumor has it that Roger may enter an upcoming CycloCross race....and RUN the whole thing with a "Super-Lightweighted" bike over his shoulder....!!!

Pancake KING? (#life)


Death to Tire

Well....THAT was only a matter of time!
Nate (finally) blew this tire only ~2 miles from home, AFTER getting back on the pavement from some off road activity that was (almost) beyond a CX bike/tire had any business riding.
He was LUCKY to be able to limp it home....!


Month of Mud gets CROSSED up!

The Month of Mud, now in it's 26th year, traditionally a Mtn Bike Series, has in recent years added ONE CycloCross race to it's calendar: the North Park CycloCross Race.

Generally speaking, THIS picture of Nathan Black, in his first time wearing FoxVelo SMURF racing kit, says alot about our day!

Oh well....

Beginners Class
DNF (rolled tire) - Nathan Black

Single Speed
13th Place - Mark Briercheck
17th Place - Kirk Morrison

Sport Class
DNF (hard crash, bent wheel) - Mark Briercheck

Masters 45+
11th Place - Rich Allen
18th Place - Ray Sielski

...and THAT is all we have to say about THAT :))


ABRA-Cadabra #1 & #2

Mark Briercheck makes the Race Flyer......

....while RaySielski submits the following race report ....

....from the Appalacian Bicycle Racing Association's first two CycloCross races of the season:

Kickoff Cross

ABRA series is two weeks in and we have some clear favorites and good results.

Mike Maher and Mark Briercheck doubled up in Kickoff cross with performances in SS and Masters. Steve Marlette turned in good results racing Masters.

An East coast inspired track JR shows us how a national championship course is designed. Hard pack infield with twisty turns including a spiral of death. A heat packed course meant for some fast laps.

New mini loop section with undulating terrain drops you into a sharp run up. Our eyes were seared with a brush with the past as a piece of “2008 Ag3r Christmas Kit” was sighted on the course, fortunately it was well behind the Ag3r WARIO racers, as we left the past behind in the rear view mirrors.

Mike Maher
11th Place Single Speed
17th Place Masters

Mark Briercheck
7th Place Single Speed
7th Place Masters

Steve Marlette
5th Place Masters

Ray Sielski
6th Place Masters

Week #2
Collier Township Park

...spells the end of Military Cross, this new track was fast and smooth. Steve Marlette and Ray Sielski showed up for this inaugural run.

The infield was no cow pasture that JR is used to, professionally graded we cruised over the infield. Big turns meant for fast laps, which meant more laps. Steve puts the hammer down and flies through the paved section leading into the mini double track loop. First out means first into the 90 degree turn into the barriers at the base of the run up. No riding this.

Back section has a gassing up section, why? Because you blew a nut in the 40 yard sand section just before your remount and uphill. Survive this and you get to fly down a serious descending double track into the paved road.

Steve Marlette
5th Place Masters

Ray Sielski
6th Place Masters
Note #1:
All Photos by Fred Jordan.
Note #2:
A future post will give visibility to a collection of photos taken by FoxVelo racer Nathan Black!


Brady's Run MTB

Kirk Morrison, Hannah Brewer and Rich Allen all attended the Month of Mud Race#2 - Brady’s Run XC short track in Beaver, Pa.

Kirk reports:
The weather was cool, breezy and overcast skies with temps around 50F.

The course was fast & tacky from yesterday’s rain. Surprisingly almost no mud. 

The new 4 mile loop started at the top of the climb and was very fun and flowy with plenty of log crossings and banked turns

Womens Expert
Hannah was leading the race but ended up with a loose rear wheel (broken skewer ?) which put her back in 4th place. In spite of have a “loose rear wheel”, Hannah was able to battle back to finish in 2nd place. A great effort for her last race as a “twenty-something” !

Masters 45+
Richy put in a strong effort against a very fast field to finish in 8th place.

Single Speed
Kirk finished in 7th place.

Attached are some photo’s from Mike Briggs that I was able to pull from his FB posts.
Web Address to Results: http://monthofmud.com/?page_id=2488


Seattle Cross Revolution

Kirk Morrison ventured WAY AFAR ...to Everett, Washington, for the Silver Lake CycloCross Race.

The west coast weather was hot and dry with temps in the low 90's (Unusual for this time of year.) Another racer guaranteed cold, wet and mud for the rest of the races in this series. As predicted, the temps dropped and the Seattle rain started on the Tuesday after this race and was still going when I left on Friday .....

The course was a hard and dusty with a nice mix of single track, twisty turns, lots of climbs and 2 long sand sections along the beach (unfortunately, the sand ate my freehub ...). 

It was a FUN vibe, with home brewed RFID timing chips...

... big fields, an entertaining announcer and lots of team tents along the finishing straight.

Next time I'm hoping to schedule a trip in Oct/Nov so that I can catch one of the famed Portland Cross Crusade races.

Cat3, Masters Mens 55+
Finish Place: 11th Place


Also, check out my blog update for more PICTURES...and words!

You know you wanna...you know you should :))

("jump" the link below, or launch from "Rider Blogz"; lower right sidebar)


Brooklyn Cross

Ray Sielski travelled solo to Brooklyn Ohio for a "Buckeye Style" Cyclocross race!

Here is his report:
Sunny morning sky in Pittsburgh turned dark and threatening in Ohio, thank you lake effect.

Drove through two rain showers to be greeted at Brooklyn with clearing skies.

The day progressed well as race time approached the course started to dry up and conditions changed from swampy to just tacky. The sun also warmed up the racers and we were starting at 70 degrees and sunny.

The park is multi-tiered, the upper portion firm and fast with twisty turns, the lower portion was wet punctuated by a creek crossing that was a real ankle twister.

Two run ups that were ride able at the end of the day as they dried out.

The off camber up slope left 180 degree turn was not rideable by me. Anyone that tried to ride this technical turn (and pass me) was successfully thwarted by typical x-ray protocol


A good day on the bike and a great atmosphere as NEOCX does it well.

No photos for proof, just my 5th Place result that has been audited and reposted twice!!!

Men's 50+


Blue Sky or Not CX

Kirk Morrison, Ray Sielski, and Mark Briercheck headed into Ohio for the NEOCX (North East Ohio CycloCross) Series Race #1....... The Blue Sky or Not CX.

Here are exerpts from their day:

Mark Writes:
Yes, Blue Sky was a wacky race.
I burped my rear tubless in the singlespeed race. DNF.

I blew my rear tire in the Mastter's 35+ race....but this time had a pit bike, so I could at least finish the race.

At least we have a picture to capture the moment!

Kirk Wrote:
The race day started with an overcast, "not" Blue Sky and ended with a spectacular Blue Sky with temps around 60F.

In the SS Race: Mark burped a tire on his fancy new Spot SS for an unfortunate DNF

In the Masters 35+ Race: Mark again had the misfortune of rolling a tire and popping the tube outside of wheel on one of the early laps.  Fortunately, after a long run, he was able to hop on his re-inflated Spot SS "pit bike" and recovered to finish in 21st place.

In the Masters 55+ Race: Both Ray and I enjoyed the chance to compete in the "race within the race" as Ray finished in 13th place while I ended up in 4th.

The course was fast, dry but twisty through the park with 2 drops into the woods, 2 sets of barriers and a substantial fallen tree to traverse.  We also had the opportunity to "run the sand" on the Lake Erie beach on every lap. 

This was my first 55+ race and I enjoyed the chance to compete with other "mature" riders.  Midway through the first lap, I was able to catch onto the back of a group of 6 riders.  Throughout the remainder of the race I was able to gradually work my way through this group until I passed the final rider within a few minutes of the finish.  Fast pace and very fun !


Weebles Wobble

...and hopefully don't FALL DOWN (too hard)!!!

That wheel is gonna need some work :)


6 Hours in the Valley

Hannah Brewer, Bobby Irwin, Henry DimmickBen Adduru & Sierra Maher headed into the woods near Kittanning, Pa. for the 6 Hours in the Valley mountain bike race.
This DUO format race pits two person teams against one and other for "6" hours...unless you cross the finish line at 5:59:59, in which case, you earn the right to go out for ANOTHER LAP!!!
Racing Coed-DUO were Hannah & Bobby
Racing Sport-Duo were Henry, and Ben (in his FIRST mountain bike race EVER :)
I am not sure what it is about this race, but you may recall that LAST YEAR, Mark Briercheck showed up on a BRAND NEW (ridden only in his driveway) Mountain Bike, and raced as partner with Henry.  These kids are CRAZY!
 (use the BACK button to get BACK to HERE!!!)
So, BACK to the present!
.....before the race, everybody was FRESH and excited... 

...and still clean enough to HUG :)

...but being "all cleaned up" does not always mean "well dressed"!!!

While we were lucky for a sunny and dry day, it was SO HOT that Henry cut the sleeves off his skinsuit...

...which was FAR LESS a committment than this poor dog(?) made!

Anticipation grew as the START approached...

...but once underway, EVERYONE settled in for a LONG day of racing.

Back and forth each pair of teammates handed off....

...refueling between laps under the dutiful direction of Sierra Maher.

...only to head back out for another lap.
So it went. Back and Forth. Back and Forth. Back and Forth...
I'll tell you, it was enough to make a gown man CRY....

...but NOT enough to make a WOMAN cry :)

Coming out of the woods to finish each lap was a relief...

...happy to survive another close encounter with Mother Earth!

But, as the day wore on, our rest periods became a little bit more, shall we say, "HORIZONTAL"...

...even for our BIKES!

Then, as the FINAL LAPS were completed....

...the SMILES returned to our faces!

After getting cleaned up, we headed over to the Awards Ceremony....

...to watch Hannah snag a BIG PIE...

....as reward for she and Bobby taking 1st Place in the Coed-Duo Division...

...and 2nd Place OVERALL, only ~3 minutes back. 

They did AWESOME!

Ben and Henry also got a pie, for finishing in 10th Place of the Men's Sport-Duo Division, but their pie was quite a bit smaller...

...(so I made the picture quite a bit bigger to compensate!)

Pies now in hand (and tummy), we headed for home....

To a dinner of steamed rice and sugar, courtesy of Sierra & Bobby!

So, NOW that you have seen the STILLS, you should watch the VIDEO :)
Video by Limp Reaper (Brad Dempster & Mary!)
Henry & Bobby @ 0:38
Hannah @ 1:54
Bobby @ 5:08
Henry Crashing! @ 6:38
Hannah @ 7:38
Ben @9:25
Bobby @9:55