The stairway to heaven can lead you to many places, it can also stop you from achieving your goals. Fortunately you do get to choose. First make it to the top then decide which way to turn.
CX season just closed for me and now I get to reflect on my performance both on and off the course. Eleven races, one series complete, one podium finish and two podiums if you count on the third place team podium for the ABRA series.
I put out my best effort trying to stay with the best riders in the area. I must measure my success not just how I finished but that I did in fact finish. While I am lucky enough to savor the victories with my teammates and adversaries I am reminded by the gaps in victories themselves. I may not be in the same league with these best riders I did in fact do the following;
Eleven appearances, Creek crossing, Fence leap, Sand pit, Barrier jump, Log hop, Mud bog, Huge run ups, Bathe in a creek in November, Master a beer hand up without loosing a position and not one indecent exposure charge.
My goal was simple, no serious injuries this season. North Park was by far the worst for mud and rain. Monster 1,2 Little Washington and Wendy were the best for fair weather. Mike's Double Cross, hey what can I say was up there with the most fun if not devilish.
I do have a life outside of CX and chose to take two weeks off to go to Alabama and Buffalo.
Sunday October 2nd Month Of Mud CX at North Park Masters Race
Mark Briercheck - 8th sport
Rich Allen - 5th Masters
Kirk Morrison - 6th Masters
Ray Sielski - 9th Masters
Welcome to October, rain for three days cold gray skies and a hundred fools wishing to test their mettle met at North Park.
The first races at 10 and 11 did nothing but encourage the mud up from the ground. Waiting for the Masters and Sport class was ankle deep mud and super saturated grass ready to suck those aero wheels three inches into the turf. The course was twisty with slight uphill sections, under a bridge through a stream (wheel wash) and a horseshoe pit thrown in for "just because".
Runners took over during the uphill and sharp turns. Running proved to be faster through about 25% of the course. The barrier crossings were placed very close together, then wide, then super close throwing off any rhythm in hurdling the section. Blocking out the rain the racers stayed bunched together through the twisty part getting a feel for the mud ride vs. the run through the turns and the mud pits.
Mark Briercheck and Rich Allen stayed in contact and finished on the lead lap, Kirk showed a tough sprint to the line and Ray rounded out the Ag3r field besting a group of mountain bikers in the sport class.
Noted sighting; Army Corps of Engineers meeting at the park dam engaging unsuspecting racers for next years race. CX through drained lake as a cost effective measure to remove and transfer silt from the lake bed to the high ground. Stay tuned.
Time trialing this season had it's up and downs. Nine races entered over three venues.
The season started with rain at the Colavita Ohio race and Washington Blvd track. Mid summer evenings were perfect in Pittsburgh, closing with a 10 of a morning in Presque Isle. I earned a first place finish in the 50 plus group completing a 25 mile tt. I focused on the the second 25 mile attempt to better my time. Never made it as we were wiped out by a flood that took three lives that afternoon. A very tragic day. All riders were safe.
Presque Isle 12.5 mile PR
Washington Blvd 15 mile PR
Washington Blvd 5 mile PR
Washington Blvd 25 mile 1st place 50 plus
Colavita, Deerfield Ohio, 12.5 mile PR
Well if you don't know by now I must tell you I am a two time winner of the Lantern Rouge. Typically reserved for the runner up, the second award must mean I am the runners up runner up. Horse's Ass or something like that.
A well run intra team event in Mercer, PA. 65 miles with 17 stages showcased some very gritty performances for Sprints, KOM's, GC and yes last place. My goal is always to finish strong and turn in my best effort every stage. The Team TT's placed me on a team of winners who worked with me from start to finish. My thanks to them for the instruction and motivation which made the races a privilege to ride with these all stars.
Stay tuned for updates from the Lantern Rouge "Shrine".
Gold Album release party at Sportsman's was attended very well and the compilation of music was extremely well received. Full Sielski contingent was present and showed their support and enthusiasm by putting a big dent in the Labatt's and wing inventories.
Sportsmans was under construction showing some promise for a great music venue.
Good job all.
You can find more photos and get your album at the below links.
You know a good weekend was entered into the log as Tuesday am comes and it is tough to roll out.
Friday at the track posted a PR for the 15 mile tt.
Saturday a spirited ride with the Ag3r Butler contingent, Sunday a 62 mile ride with the North Park crew, boat ride. Monday a bike ride with Diane on the Freeport trail. This turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Very pretty trail, moderate slope, mostly flat. I recommend the trail.
One week in Boulder Colorado with six Ag3r teammates, Sam Morrison and Diedre York representing University of Colorado.
Day 1, up Flagstaff mountain, down and up four mile Canyon. Teammates were happy to wait for me as I DID make it up. Richey coaxed me up the last half of the climb. The descent was a real eye opener of things to come for the week.
Day 2, out rt. 36 to Left Hand Canyon, up to Ward, over Peak to Peak hgwy. to Nederland. Descent back to Boulder. An epic day with that 15 mile climb, 4,000 ft ascent up to Ward. HD escorted me up the way and I only clipped out once to have a discussion with my racing heart. That bugger was going faster than my wheels would take me. The descent was like none other, fast twisting, 50 mph mind blowing.
Day 3, beautiful day starting with rollers out to Superior, a few sprints were taken in, I saved my energy. Some short climbs and a few dirt roads.
Day 4, more climbing up to Jamestown, great ride through the mountains and a false descent (yes false). Ken (SBg'er for short) tracked me the whole way. I know he wasn't drafting me as I was not going fast enough. I think he had the "I have fallen and can't get up" button and was ready to push it on my behalf. We were close to home and the Lee road was closed and the group had to climb out and go back. That was a mental challange. This day we took a dirt road to rt.36 and spun back in. Damn, I almost quit four time that day but my Mother wouldn't answer the phone. She wouldn't have given me permission anyway.
Boulder is a great town, good weather, people and the mountains were a perfect backdrop.
Friday night at the Washington Blvd. track has started with a 5 mile tt. I turned in a 12:32 time which was a PR for the 5 mile race. This was my third tt of the season, the first at Erie I performed in the cold, wind and rain with a sub par time. The second Colavita challenge in Deerfield OH, more rain but still a sub par performance. Now at the start of the Friday night series, I might be back on track, so to speak.
I have been trying a comeback after a neck injury. In the off season took some time off the bike and started Taekwondo. This has helped my conditioning and hopefully can translate to time on the bike. Still trying to hang with the riders out of North Park on the weekends is helping my endurance.
Real test comes in two weeks. Training Camp in Boulder Colorado.
On a cold and snowy evening in Buffalo, NY. We would occasionally pay a visit to the local cemetery.
On top of a hill, behind a majestic Oak tree we had a perfect position to bomb out unsuspecting cars and passersby with snow balls. One of these nights two guys came tearing through the cemetery and flushed us out.
Bobby cleared the fence in one leap, Bill was next to clear the fence in one leap. Ray was next to go over when the guy catches my ankle and pulls me down. Down Ray goes on that Iron Spiked fence, caught up on my groin and the new Xmas Suede coat. Left the coat behind with some flesh and a little pride.
This my friends is the same cemetery in Williamsville that they are Deer proofing the fence.
Now Henry must have done the math and figured 39 yrs later Ray is still 3rd one out.
Mars - Evans road RR crossing is a tough one. I have personally been involved or witnessed biker problems there. The crossing is off angle and bumpy. The road is pot marked and washed out immediately right after, any car has problems staying in line. Saturday, I am alone closing on a lead group when I hear and see two cars coming on fast. One is already across the double yellow line. The cars were accelerating and they bump once, and bump again. They go sideways and cross the lane right at me. Down into the ditch they go, one crashed beyond recovery, the other comes up and at me. I was in full defensive mode and put my self in a position to assist if necessary. Get this, Fred Klehm the lead rider was past the point of incident. He used his riders sixth sense to possible hear some commotion behind. Realizing I was back there (and closing fast) Fred comes about and returns to see if I was engaged in any way. Good going Fred that is leadership. I will ride with you any time.
Nothing beats Spring Break in Colorado. Breck, Copper, Keystone and Glenwood Springs all of our favorite destinations. Fresh snow on Copper for our run on Oh No and Andy's encore. More fresh snow to manage Mozart. We made the North Peak and Outback all before lunch. Breck was crowded with kids so we moved around a bunch. Best lunch was a T Rex Grill, Best Apres Ski was at JJ's for Moe Dixon. We did get to sun bathe at Glenwood springs, yes our first tans.
The body performed well as I tried out a new strategy. Go slow first couple days and save some muscles and joints for the last day. Thanks Diane for this valuable lesson.
MRI shows herniated disc and some other questionable disc issues. Doctor says shut it down. No skiing, swimming or biking, didn't tell him about the Taekwondo. Rehab for now and a steroid shot to reduce swelling at the point of injury. Oh well will have to behave for now and hope to be back at it in the spring. ,
Seriously now, The doctor told me I had a broken neck. Suffice to say I am off the bike and curtailing the ski season for now. At least till I get things sorted out. Thanksgiving I started to have neck, shoulder and arm pains. Two months with limited activity I decided to see a doctor. Past history shows a broken neck at some point and subsequent deterioration. I am seeing rehab with a script from a spine doc and receiving chiro care and hoping to rebound. Swimming and Karate will have to do for now, hopefully ready to go in the spring. MRI at our team sponsoring Butler Health Systems is scheduled and that will confirm what the course of action will be. That's all folks.