A very rare picture indeed with great company that can bear witness to a little November magic.
PA State Championships 2015 with a podium finish 3rd place for yours truly.
Here is a photo of us fellow racers goofing off before our photo op.
At this stage it doesn't matter how the podium comes I will take it. Hard work, perseverance and a little good luck pays off with good times with some good friends.
Today's Politics are contentious at best and certainly not civil, nor polite. However we just may be spoiled as our founding fathers were even more so belligerent in their politics and yet they had the same goals and objectives. Imagine these founders forged a Bill of Right's, Constitution and acts of war.
Yet these brilliant freedom seekers could not deal with slavery, solved disputes with a slap and pistol duels. The Federalist Papers and oft penned publications by Ben Franklin were circulated to subversively deal issues of the day. Does these publications compare with the media outlets we have today leaning in every other direction?
Polite, Civil, Tolerant, Correct; Not then and not now.
Renfrew Hill always provides a challenge, a sharp left into an acute angle with an up hill that is an off camber. This is all designed by some manic engineer/farmer last century to prevent draft teams from a quick ascent back to the barn. For a biker a quick entry into the corner means a brush with the scree in the intersection and possibly leaving some skin as a reminder to slow down.
I first hand witnessed this several times, Sharon was in the Renfrew race two years ago and I found myself picking her up, brushing her off and getting her back on her way up the hill. I watched her check her ego and mount a charge trying to catch on to the leaders that were just a bit more fortunate than herself. Better luck next time around.
For two years I was assigned to race marshal this corner keeping Racers, Harley's and Sunday church goers from abusing each other at this corner. I witnessed many racers attempt the perfect line. Now that I have this knowledge I can put it all together for a best effort. Note that most riders avoid this intersection, whole rides are planned to stay away. The KOM is vaguely marked, two false peaks present themselves. She really awaits at the uppermost top teasing you to let up with the top just around the corner. Don't get cut at the sawmill stay focused and don't cheat the line.
My personal best was posted last year, this is significant as 2014 was a recovery year and I have much to prove. Last year in recovery mode I was able to beat a previous PR. Today marks the end of two years of treatments and I can go get me some. My 2014 PR is ONE second off some of my teammates best effort, I now need to up the stakes. Today was 33 seconds back, so you say what is the big deal?
If Renfrew is a cupcake of a hill, and I hit her at mile 35 into the ride, the Watter Station climb is the frosting. I hit School bus Hill at mile 45 and PR'd that little gem.
When traveling to Colorado skiing the 14'teeners you are bound to need some support. Realizing oneself is not as youthful as you used to be.
Note to self; when choosing your support team make sure they are youthful and good looking. As is this wonderful person pictured below.
2014 was to me a comeback season, after missing 2013 I felt it was important to make some kind of statement as to who I was and what I am capable of. Never to be confused with a good racer with skills and strength; I am just an average guy plugging away trying to be relevant. Metaphor intended, what happens out there can be translated into lessons in life learned. In ways I was stronger, maybe not faster and certainly not winning but I was surviving and each race was closer to my comeback goal.
I can relate to racing Cross, ITT's are to individual, Crit's and Road racing I get blown out leaving me exposed. MTB is the most fun however I feel I should be stopping and reveling in the nature and not busting a lung. Either way I never get to see the finish line from my perspective. Cross allows me to be part of the team, see and play in the action, watch fellow racers while cheering them on, take in the festival atmosphere and I feel I belong. This does take me back to my youth making me feeling younger than I am playing outdoors in the sand and mud while hammering my toys.
Cross this year started early at Ohio's NEOCX series. Getting into form raced at Euclid and Brooklyn with Mark and Kirk basking in the glory of Indian Summer (another reason to love Cross). Next off to Kickoff Cross at Marion Point (JR your drive instructions blow) summer conditions we soaked up the sun with Steve, Mike and Mark while racing in blistering fast conditions. I met three new competitors in my class that would in later weeks become friends. North Park MOM race brought me back together racing with Kirk and Rich, we have been going to Colorado the past few years together and always managed to find a MTB race at Valmont Park. Over the next few weeks I would race with all my teammates in great weather that soon would cascade downward into typical cold and wet conditions.
2014 is going to end up being one of my best years. I have come back from adversity with a smile on my face sticking it into the wind meeting all the challenges one at a time. With the support of Diane and Sarah life is worth fighting for and they showed me the way. Of course Di bought me the new boat so I had to say something nice here. (she doesn't read my blog). Last year Steve picked me up and brought me out to White Park showing me they will keep on racing without me and I better get back in the game soon. Rich never let me forget who I was and pushed me through the pain. Hannah makes me smile, simply put. HD thank you for assembling this cast of misfits, that fit just great.