2014 Hoppin’ Hodges 5K

It wouldn’t be Easter in these parts without the tradition of running the Hoppin’ Hodges 5K. With Debbie way under the weather and me nursing very sore legs after yesterday’s Traprock 50K, our participation of looking grim. That was until we convinced a representative (in the form of our 7-year old son) to run.

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 6

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 132

 

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 158

The truth is that he didn’t need much convincing. Of course, it didn’t really dawn on him until he finished that he was the only one in the family running. The Silk City Striders were out in force, though we were missing some of our stalwarts who (with this late 2014 Easter) are in Boston for tomorrow’s marathon.

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 118

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 161

Oh, and it doesn’t get much better than running (or walking) on the Rail Trail in Vernon, Connecticut on a Sunday morning.

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 20

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 34

 

2014_Hoppin' Hodges 5K 40

Race Results

2014 Traprock 50K

This year’s Traprock 50K had the inverse result from last year when Debbie finished strong and I was a DNF. Our entire family has suffered with illness during the past two weeks and Debbie was hit with the worst of it. She was hurting at the start of today’s 31 miler, and opted to end her race after only one lap. It was a smart decision with a long season of racing ahead, though it was disappointing for her to not get some “miles in the legs.”

2014_Traprock 50K 83

 

2014_Traprock 50K 25

This morning, when we arrived at Penwood State Park in Bloomfield, I was unsure how I would feel running for five hours, but I decided to just give it a go. I had a tough recovery week after last weekend’s flurry of outdoor activity, so there was no real rest before this one. I’ve also been battling some niggling injuries to my feet and legs. It’s a bummer to be feeling pain so earlier in the season, but that’s how it goes. I haven’t been comfortable in any shoes. I broke out a pair of new sneakers last night, but took the cautious route instead, and donned a well-worn pair.

2014_Traprock 50K 64

My first lap was good, my second lap was worse, and my third lap was the worst, but I finished. The weather was perfect for running. It was still a tad chilly, especially when you were hit with the stiff breeze that blew through the leave-less trees. Still, the sun shone brightly and it was better than the snow we had earlier this week.

2014_Traprock 50K 60

Traprock is one of our favorite races on the calendar. It was the second race in the inaugural Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. We have been at Traprock every year. In addition to this year and last year, we went to watch in 2012, both ran it in 2011, and Debbie ran the first one in 2010. The next series race is the 30th anniversary Soapstone Mountain Trail Race on the 18th of May.

2014_Traprock 50K 73

The mostly dry trails that were clear of snow drew a lot of northern New Englanders to drive south for today’s event. The Welts/Folcik Gang came in from New Hampshire and promptly put their stamp on Traprock with Ryan winning overall (4:28:23) and Kristina crushing the women’s course record (4:51:15) in a fine display of running form. I ran the first lap with her before she dropped the hammer on me during lap two. Ouch. She was gapping me on most of the descents. I would claw my way back on the climbs, but she was just toying with me. When it mattered halfway into the run, she was gone.

2014_Traprock 50K 78

The second man was Adam Wilcox in 4:33:42 and third was Michael Austin in 4:40:49.

Several Vermont friends came south too. Kelly Wilson joined us for a pre-race dinner last night. She was eager to run on something other than mud. Serena Wilcox and several other Burlington area friends also came to run. Even the New York trail community was represented this year by the Traprock perennial, Nikolas Rogers. The Shenipsit Striders are more local and it showed; our club had a strong contingent running with several other members lending support. Sean Greaney led all Striders with an excellent 7th place.

2014_Traprock 50K 68

 

I got a nice custom Traprock logo towel for being the first Master runner across the line.  Sometimes it pays to be 40+! My 5:13:23 was slower than my best on this course, but it was very good given my current condition and how I felt this week. The 6,000+ feet of elevation gain and loss is notable. This is a hard race.

2014_Traprock 50K 27

Race Directors Steve Nelson, Kevin Hutt, and Marty Duchow led a fantastic team of volunteers. There were a record number of helpers today. The aid stations were stocked. I forgot my race fuel at home, so I carried plain water and took Gatorade and food (bananas, Fig Newtons, oranges, watermelon, and pretzels) from the neutral support. Other than my usual painful toes, my only mishap was a near disaster fall on the most rocky section of the trail. Instead, I caught myself, but cut a finger in the process. It was a bloody mess, but thankfully looked much worse than it was. No stitches needed.

2014_Traprock 50K 42

Traprock is one of the more rugged courses around. Even the “road section” is brutal. To call the 40+ year-old asphalt a road is being generous. Years of neglect, frost heaves, potholes, cracks, weeds, and loose rock make it more treacherous than most of the trails. A few of those trails are veritable rock gardens with loose shale in abundance. Sections of this course really are a nightmare and for someone like me, they are best walked.

2014_Traprock 50K 10

I’ll be looking for Debbie to run this one again in the future. I think my Traprock urge has been met. I wanted to finish one after failing in 2013, but I think I’m good for a few years (at least)! For now, I think I’ll use my Traprock pint glass to serve up a beer.

Race Results

2014 Hop Brook Dam MTB Race

I made yesterday’s Hop Brook Dam MTB Race muddier than it should have been. My muddy-faced Facebook photo even drew comments (through my Dad) from my Mom. She thinks I’m nuts. At least she didn’t have to do my post-race laundry like the old days.

2014_Hop Brook Dam MTB Race 25

Hop Brook was the first Root 66 Race Series event of the year. It was a blast, but it was hard. Four laps of the five-mile course was a rude awakening for my legs after a long winter. It was on the fateful second lap that I poorly judged a sharp left hand turn on the upper part of the course, launched over my handlebars, and plowed left arm/head first into the deepest mud puddle on the course. It would have made for an awesome video. Alas, I was the only one who saw it. A few other riders saw me covered head to toe in muck, and a few spectators noticed the aftermath, but the actual fall was witnessed by no one else.

2014_Hop Brook Dam MTB Race 2

2014_Hop Brook Dam MTB Race 29

For the most part, the course was dry. I don’t ride on muddy trails. It just isn’t right. This course had a few wet spots, including the one I mentioned. Hop Brook is rugged and has a fair amount of up and down. I rode my Seven Sola SL singlespeed. The belt drive was perfect for the course and conditions, though on laps three and four, I walked more than I would have liked. Thankfully, my in-law’s (the Schieffer’s) live 10 minutes from the Middlebury course, so I was able to get to a shower and hose shortly after finishing.

2014_Hop Brook Dam MTB Race 28

Chris and Jill Logan do a great job with Root 66 and the series looks bigger and better than ever. I’ll race again in two weeks at Winding Trails, and then maybe once more later in the year. I would do more of these, but with trail running and triathlon to juggle, you can only fit so much in the schedule. I saw a lot of friends yesterday and pretty much everyone  looked to be enjoying themselves. It was a bit chilly in the morning, but by early afternoon, the sun warmed up the air and it turned out to be a beautiful early spring day.

2014_Hop Brook Dam MTB Race 1

My teammate, Arthur Roti, brought his family to the race. The kids did the Easter Egg Hunt and then raced on their own. Art got to test his legs and his Seven, just like me. Hop Brook Lake has become one of my favorite venues. I was last there for the cyclocross race back in November. I’ve been there twice/year for the past few years between CX and MTBing. It was good to string together a few workouts this past weekend. On Saturday, I got to run 1.5 laps of the Traprock 50K course with Debbie and our friend, Cheryl Jackson. We had fun on the trails. Two days in a row was twice as nice.

Race Results

2014 Bimbler’s Bash

Today, we returned to the Bimbler’s Bash for the first time since 2011. We also ran the race in 2009 and Debbie ran it solo in 2010. This year, the 7 +/- mile Bash was the first race in the inaugural Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 33

The course is a rugged loop through Westwoods in Guilford.  All proceeds from the event are donated to the Guilford Land Conservation Trust. Debbie, David Merkt, and I represented the Shenipsit Striders. I know there were other Striders in the crowd. The Bash is one of the largest trail running races around.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 4

We had brilliant sunshine, though it was still cold. The temperature was 39 degrees Fahrenheit when we started. It warmed up a bit more by the finish. With all of the recent snow/rain, the course was quite wet and muddy. That likely slowed the times a bit. There was a lot of ground cover (leaves, twigs, etc.) but no larger branches. This race is known for rocks, which it has plenty of.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 22

Thanks to the son of a friend of a friend, we had on-site childcare. Both Debbie and I got to run. This is our version of a “hot date.” We didn’t get to spend much time on the trail together, but we each got a chance to enjoy the woods. We saw many other running friends today.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 61

The Bimbler’s Sound running club, led by Race Director Jerry Turk, did a fine job with the course. I remembered a lot of volunteers from past years. Neither Debbie or I are up to speed yet, but we both enjoyed the hard effort. I ran in a group of three for much of the race, then it was a group of two. Then, I was dropped and was in a group of one. I was stronger on the ups and weaker on the downs.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 65

David had a strong run for 5th place. He and I were both rewarded with the traditional Bimbler’s chocolate bunnies. I was a candidate for the “Best Blood” competition, but I opted not to enter because it wasn’t “liquid” enough. Jerry prefers real gore and my injury was minor compared to some of the others I saw. I didn’t even fall. I was taking a sharp left and didn’t negotiate the corner in time. There was a sharp stick jutting out and I caught it with my back, which is pretty scraped up. Ouch! Still, it hurt so good.

2014_Bimbler's Bash 87

With 1/2 mile to go, it was great to hear the “piper” again. I love that sound calling you back to the finish line. Debbie and I had a piper at our wedding in 2001. Every wedding and every race should have a piper! Congratulations to race winners, Todd Bennett and Darcy Lucas; plus all of the age group winners. More than 200 people finished the race.

Brunch was once again, at the Shoreline Diner & Vegetarian Enclave. We enjoyed the meal like we always do.

Several of my Team Horst Sports mates were racing elsewhere this weekend. I missed the Tour of the Battenkill again this year. I’m not in that kind of cycling shape. Maybe 2015.

Next up in the Series: Traprock 50K. From talking to Debbie, I know that folks are already registering for the 30th anniversary Soapstone Mountain Trail Race. Hopefully we see a lot of Bash finishers coming north (we came south) to double the distance and run our 24 kilometer classic.

Race Results

Pittsfield, Vermont

Last weekend, Debbie and I had the opportunity to spend some time in the south-central Vermont town of Pittsfield. The kind folks at Perfect Vermont and the Amee Farm Lodge invited Debbie to experience Pittsfield as part of a group. The invitees were fellow yoga instructors and travel industry bloggers.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 73

 

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 15

We already knew Pittsfield from prior Vermont trips, but it was great to revisit the town and get to know it a whole lot better. The small town has seen much investment during the past 10 years. It all started at the Riverside Farm, a sister property to the Amee Farm, that is also owned by Joe and Courtney Desena.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 32

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 10

The Desena’s and their various partners have been a driving force behind the growth of Pittsfield as a destination for outdoor activity. The activity has gone global through other Desena venture, including Peak Races and the Spartan Race, but it all started back in 2007 at the inaugural Pittsfield Peaks Ultra Challenge and Death Race.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 19

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 72

Debbie ran that first Peak ultra. It was 55 miles +/- and rugged. I crewed for her with our nine month old son. It was a grand adventure. The little town of Pittsfield left an impression on us. Debbie returned to run Pittsfield again in 2008, but other than passing through on various Vermont trips, we hadn’t spent any time in town until this past weekend.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 22

Our experience last weekend proves that they have some good stuff happening. In addition to the wedding business and races, they are looking to maximize utilization at the various properties. A tight-knit network of entrepreneurs, spurred by Desena’s own entrepreneurial spirit, have banded together to create something bigger.

2014_iPhone Photos_March 292

Various businesses have cropped up to make Pittsfield a more central destination for outdoor oriented visitors. We toured the various properties, experiencing the wonderful vision that has transformed old farms and barns into interesting venues. The architecture and interior decoration are wonderful. The venues would be excellent for yoga retreats, business meetings, and other events.  The Green Mountains setting makes the location special. There are trails right out the front door of both Riverside and Amee.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 43

On Saturday night, we shared a dinner with the group on the first floor of the Amee Farm Lodge. The fabulous dinner was catered by Vermont Farms Catering, the same team that operates the food services at the Vermonts Original General Store. We were entertained by a guitarist and a trumpeter.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 49

On Sunday morning, Debbie and I ran a 10 mile loop on roads and dirt roads. Most of the uphill came on South Hill Road. Then we returned to the lodge, grabbed our snowshoes, ran back through town. From there, we wandered through the woods and trails behind the Riverside Farm. You could get lost back there (and we did). Our run was in steady cold rain, though once we got above 1,500 feet on the north side of the mountain we were climbing, the rain turned to snow and sleet. The road was icy, but it was beautiful.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 66

In the woods, the snow was still very deep, but it was like mashed potatoes. We had our running snowshoes and they weren’t very good for the conditions. We needed our longer/wider backcountry shoes, but we still scrambled about looking for the famous “Shrek’s Cabin” which we never found. Many of the trails are part of a network known as Green Mountain Trails. It seems like the organizers are taking a page from Kingdom Trails in order to attract mountain bikers, trail runners, hikers and other outdoors people.

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 53

After our run/hike, we got a tour of Sweet Georgia P’s, an organic farm operating out of the Amee Farm. The family operation is across the street from the Amee Farm Lodge. The family running the show moved to Pittsfield in 2013 to take over the operation. They have chickens, goats, and lots of vegetables. We really enjoyed talking to the farmers and sharing their passion for good food and sustainable agriculture. It made us want to be farmers. We weren’t even dissuaded by all of the mud!

2014_Pittsfield, Vermont Trip 2

 

We stopped at the General Store for lunch before leaving town. It took us just under three hours to get home and longer to dry out our gear. We love Vermont and Pittsfield is as nice a community as any. For us, access to trails is the key. It looks like we are going to be back there this summer. Debbie was inspired to alter her pre-Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance 100 game-plan to include the 50+ mile version of the 2014 Peak Ultra.

 

 

2014 Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series

I’ll be writing much more about this during 2014, but the inaugural edition of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series is officially launched. There will also be more marketing, including a dedicated Facebook page.

Debbie, the Shenipsit Striders, the series Race Directors, the CFPA team, and I; have all been involved with the creation of this new series. We view this series as a compliment to the venerable New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series, and three of the races (Soapstone Mountain Trail Race, People’s Forest Trail Race, and NipMuck Trail Marathon) are in both series. NipMuck is the oldest Grand Tree race. 2014 will mark it’s 31st year. Soapstone, another Shenipsit Striders event (Debbie is RD), will be 30 this year!

The series kicks off in two weeks with the Bimbler’s Bash. See you there! Click here for the series page.

While I’m promoting 2014 series, if you are local, be sure to also check out our hometown cross-country series, the Bolton Summer XC Series. It’s run on a rugged and beautiful course that is fun for all ages. There is a 50 yard dash for the toddlers, a 1 mile race for the kids, and the 2.6 mile main event for kids and adults.

2014 Stone Age Rock Gym

This afternoon, we had a short, but fun trip to Stone Age Rock Gym. I was compelled to put together a quick blurb because it was a great experience. We were supposed to go to public skate at Bolton Ice Palace, but they had a group book the entire session.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 40

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 8

The family was bumming, so we rallied and headed to the gym in neighboring Manchester. Debbie and I watched and spotted while the kids scrambled all over the place. Jennifer was on duty and she was fantastic. She outfit both kids with climbing shoes (tiny ones!) and chalk bags. They were outfitted like rockstar climbers.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 55

 

We practically had the place to ourselves. There was one other couple there. It was an old running friend, Steve Henry, and his friend, Jill. They were roped up and enjoying themselves. It was also fun to watch one other “gym rat” attempt some more advanced moves.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 16

Debbie and I aren’t big climbers. She is more advanced, having done an outdoor educator course with NOLS back in 2001. She spent a month in the Arizona wilderness with the trip split between backpacking and rock climbing. I did some in the Boy Scouts and also in R.O.T.C., but haven’t done much since.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 30

The kids didn’t rope up. They just did “bouldering,” which itself was a blast. Stone Age has a strong connection with the Ragged Mountain Foundation. We have been long time Ragged members, mainly in support of their conservation efforts, particularly with Connecticut’s traprock ridges.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 76

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 82

The staff really was great with the kids and we are sure to return, maybe for a birthday party or Cub Scout den meeting. I might even give it a go myself. I know Debbie wants to get back into climbing. Last month, she went with a friend to another local gym and she has been working on her pull-ups. I don’t think she is going to give up running, but if we have another winter like this, then Stone Age seems like the perfect place to pass some time.

2014_March_Stone Age Rock Gym 57


Livingston Photo & Word

Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Categories

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 110 other followers


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers