2016 Hammerfest Triathlon

After years of having the Hammerfest Triathlon on my “to do” list, I finally made it to Branford, Connecticut for the September classic. This was the race’s 20th year. For two decades, it has been an important fundraiser for Brian’s Hope, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation dedicated to stopping the progression of Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). According to the website, “The foundation is named in honor of Brian Kelley, a young man from Branford who was diagnosed with ALD at the age of six. By working to broaden ALD awareness, support medical research, and promote the passage of newborn screening nationwide, we hope to see the day when no young boy will endure the challenges Brian has faced throughout the past twenty years.”

I’ve done Brian’s Beachside Boogie duathlon a few times, last in 2012, which is also a fundraiser for Brian’s Hope. Back then, I had the pleasure to meet Brian and my age group award was painted by him. It is displayed proudly in my room at my parent’s shoreline home in Old Lyme. Like Old Lyme, Branford is a Long Island Sound community with a lot of character. The 1/2 mile swim, 13.5 mile bike, and 3.6 mile run is technical and challenging. The start/finish and transition areas are at the Owenego Beach Club, a beautiful spot on the Sound.

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I got up super early (4:30 A.M.) so that I could get there for 6:00 A.M. I wanted to pre-ride the bike loop, which you do twice during the race. I checked my iPhone early and saw news that motivated me for the day. I’ve been inspired by Karl Meltzer’s attempt to break Scott Jurek’s Appalachian Trail supported speed record, and the news I got when I awoke was good. He reached Springer Mountain, Georgia early this morning in time. That news pumped me up. Jurek just set the record last summer, and helped Meltzer beat his own record by crewing and pacing him. Debbie and I tried to catch the Speedgoat when he was passing through NH, VT, MA, CT, and NY, but missed him on three occasions! We were so close, but had to settle for following his progress online. So, today, I was fueled by Meltzer’s success.

I got to Branford before sunrise and accomplished the task of riding the bike loop. I didn’t preview the run, but that was OK because I had studied a map. The start was at dead low tide, which made for an interesting swim. Thankfully the bottom was sandy and soft because we had to run the first/last 100 yards or so because it was too shallow to swim. Once it was deep enough, you could swim, though it was rough–in two ways. The incoming waves were choppy by Long Island Sound standards, and the congestion in the first wave was rough too, as bodies banged against each other in the current. Once we made the turn at the far buoy and made for the beach again, it smoothed out with a little push from behind.

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From the beach, you climbed a set of steps, and then there was an uphill run, mostly on pavement, to the transition area. I ran gingerly trying to protect my feet, which are sensitive to hard asphalt. My swim was OK, but I had already ceded three and a half minutes to the Nathan Barry, the leader, by the time it was over, which is a ridiculous deficit. I didn’t have to worry about catching him because he put even more time into me on the bike and run. I loved the bike leg. Once I settled in, I started picking off the faster swimmers. The temperature was mild, but it was humid, so it felt warmer. By the end of the first 6.5 mile lap, I moved up to fifth spot and closed in on Jon Arellano in fourth.

Jon is one of my favorite rivals. He and I battled all summer long, at the Winding Trails Summer Tri Series. The two of us are an even match. He always swims faster, as he did today, gaining a minute on me. I’m the stronger biker, and lately, he has been the better runner. So, I wasn’t surprised when I caught him that he wouldn’t let go of me. Between mile seven and mile 11, we must have traded places ten times. Because we were on the road, things played out a little differently. At Winding Trails, the race is off-road and a bit more hilly, so when I go by him, that’s that. He never comes back on me…until the run, when the real battling begins. Today, with the flat roads neutralizing my advantage, he was able to hang on and challenge me. Every time he went by, I dropped back to give him the three or four bike lengths necessary to avoid the draft. When the road pitched up or we came to a challenging corner, I moved in front. He dropped back, and we did the whole “dance” over again.

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We came into lapped traffic, which can be a bit sketchy, so I tried to get away. Every time I though I was clear, he came up on my left shoulder again. It was a bit frustrating because we beat the snot out of each other all summer long and I was hoping that this wasn’t going to come down to a painful sprint finish again. Eventually, we came to a long drag with good pavement, and I put my chain in the 11-cog and just buried myself as I tucked low in my aero bars. After a few minutes, he didn’t appear, so I figured I had opened a gap, but I didn’t look. I never look. I got to T2 and quickly donned my running shoes, grabbed my cap, and was off. I got a split to the guy in front of me and they said it was 35 seconds. I figured there were more guys up the road because I never saw him and would have. I also knew that there was a pace scooter for the leader and it wasn’t in sight.

I focused on my own run with the goal of keeping Jon behind me. Five of the ten summer races came down to all-out sprints between us and they hurt like heck. We finished one/two or two/one eight of the ten times. Like I said, I don’t think I have another rival like Jon. We respect each other immensely. He has a few years on me, but we are both pretty tough for masters athletes with families and day jobs. The run course loops, twists, and turns, with a few spots that have race traffic going both ways. I saw the leader once, but not knowing the course, had no idea how far in front he was. It turned out to be nearly eight minutes by the finish, so I never had a chance. He was motoring.

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There were a few good pitches on the course, which was more hilly than you would think for a shoreline race. At the left hand corner near the end of the long drag coming up Pawson Road where it intersects with Linden Ave., I took a glance back. Like I said, I never look back, but this time I did. I had too. I stole a glance. I needed to see where Jon was because I could feel him closing in on me. I know he has faster 5K speed than me, at least right now, but this was a bit longer, and the race whole race being longer than Winding Trails, which usually takes us 51 minutes, was in my favor. It was just a glance, and he looked to be 10 seconds back, which I judged to be close enough to catch me if I didn’t get my butt moving. I turned left on Linden and enjoyed seeing all the other athletes starting their run loop (there were multiple waves). The view of the rocky beach along the Sound was fantastic.

I figured that if I picked it up a bit on the 1/2 mile stretch before the finish, that I could hold him off. There was a tailwind and I took advantage of it as I ratcheted up the pace. Thankfully, he didn’t close the gap. I actually extended it to 19 seconds at the finish and felt good about being the first Master to get across the line. His run time was two seconds faster, but it wasn’t enough to make up what I gained on the bike. The podium was up the road, so I settled for fourth and first in my 40-44 age group. Jon is in the 45-49 division, so he still got his prize, but on the day, I got the best of him. We are both proud of being fast Masters. The guys in front of us were much younger. It’s fun to type that. We had a good chat at the finish line and compared notes on how the race unfolded. I love the “race within the race.” I’m fortunate to be towards the front of these triathlons, but I encourage anyone to have those inter-race battles regardless of their position.

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Barry smoked the field, winning in 1:00:51. He was followed closely by another stellar Connecticut triathlete, Jon Fecik, in 1:01:28. Third went to David Ellis in 1:06:48 who definitely had more than the reported 35 seconds after T2, because I gained 56 seconds on the run, but never saw him. The first female finisher was Jennifer Massengale in 1:17:07. She was followed by Marie Labriola and Heather Stanish, neither of who were far behind her.

I did another loop of the bike course to cool down, and then I rode on a bit of the run course to cheer the late finishers. I saw some old friends at the awards ceremony. There was a mini-expo with a Brian’s Hope booth and other sponsors showing their wares. Nice words were said about the success of this fundraiser, the history, and the hard work of the race staff. The volunteers were awesome. Even on my cool down, I was getting cheers and shouts from the course marshals. I stopped to check out the M114 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle that was in front of the Battery A Connecticut National Guard facility on the bike course. That was cool.

For breakfast, I went to Claire’s Corner Copia in New Haven, one of my favorite vegan friendly spots, and was home by lunch. Hammerfest was my last triathlon of the year. I cleaned my Seven Kameha SLX and moved it to our exercise room where it is parked in the offseason. It’s back to the dirt next weekend with the Vermont 50 Mile Mountain Bike, and then cyclocross season resumes in earnest with nearly 20 races planned through early January.

Race Results

2016 Silk City Cyclocross

Today we returned to the Silk City Cyclocross, our favorite local cross race. The venue at Manchester Community College is a 10 minute drive from our house, which is fantastic. With UCI level races in Rochester, NY, some of the elite racers headed west for the weekend, but you can’t beat a top quality grassroots event that is this close to home.

Once again, the Expo Wheelmen put on an excellent race. The club came out in force and there were many volunteers. Expo are friendly “rivals” of Team Horst Sports, but that makes it fun. We support them and they support us. Just like the first CCAP Rocky Hill Cyclocross Training Series race of the year this past Wednesday, our team came out in force to support the first race of the 2016 CT Series of CX.

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Unfortunately, true cyclocross weather is nowhere to be found. Summer temperatures were still in full force today as the mercury hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity was high too. Before the start of the Masters races, we had a good rain storm, but it cleared and the strong sun came out. The small amount of rain wasn’t enough to cut down on the extreme dust. This race was even dustier than Blunt Park was two weeks ago. Some sections, the soft dirt was so dry and deep that it was over your ankles. So much for mud. Its going to take a lot more than a passing shower to cure this New England drought. When it does rain for any length of time, I’ll welcome it. Drought isn’t good for Horst Spikes sales. We need some proper mud!

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Cross Spikes still came in handy today, given the fair amount of running on the rugged course. I chose to run on four sections of the course. There were two steep run ups and a few off-camber sections with loose soil that necessitated at least a little running. There was also a set of berries that forced a fifth dismount (for me). I had a front row start position and then botched the start when I couldn’t get my foot in my pedal. I recovered quickly and made up for the bad start in short order. I spent part of the race in fifth place, but the heat got to me and I faded. With three laps to go, Expo rival, Stan Lezon and a Sunapee rider put some distance on me. We had a good battle going, but after more than six miles of hammering, I was toast. I could really have used a sip of water, but in most cyclocross races, there is no feeding, and I wasn’t carrying a bottle. If there ever was a day to carry one, this was it.

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I had to back off and go into maintenance mode for the last three laps. I was never able to make ground on those two guys, but I had a healthy gap back to the guy in ninth. My teammate Mike Wonderly had a fantastic race, making up for his back row start and surging to the front. He wasn’t able to get the win, but settled for second, a fine result. Wade Summers and Art Roti weren’t far behind me. It was also great to see Ted D’Onofrio. We are going to have a great season in these 40+ events.

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Our 50+ teammates did even better. Pat Cunningham kicked off his season with the win and he was followed by Matt Domnarski. Keith Enderle was also in the field. Our newest mate, Tom Ricardi, did very well in the Category 4 race, along with Andris Skulte. Everyone had a good day. Even the kids got in to the action. The Girls and Boys 9-11 year old race featured four Team Horst kids, including our son. Our daughter did the kids race. A couple of our roadie teammates, Arlen Zane Wenzel and Erik Emanuele stopped by on their long ride and joined us for a cool down. Unfortunately, there was nothing cool about the Silk City Cyclocross.

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Thank you to Jon Tarbox, Dave Hildebrand, and their Expo mates for putting on a great race.

Race Results (will be posted when online)

2016 CompEdge Cross @ Blunt Park

The 2016-2017 cyclocross season kicked off today at the CompEdge Cross in Blunt Park. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, this urban park is a fun spot for cross. Like last year, it was seriously hot and very dusty. The course was mostly the same, though there were a few more twists and turns, a longer section of roots, and a mini “flyover.”

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Promoted by the Cycloconauts, this race was the first of many to come between now and the national championships in early January. In recent years, cyclocross has started earlier. When I first started racing cross in the mid-1990’s, the road season continued through September and then cross would start in October. In New England, you can race every weekend between now and October and then every weekend through Christmas. The cyclocross season is longer and stronger than ever.

I’ve got 20 +/- races targeted for this year with a mix of the fun local races and some of the larger regional events like the KMC Cross Fest at its new venue, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The New England Builders’ Ball will be held in conjunction with KMC Cross Fest and is also moving to the new venue at the speedway. Horst Engineering will display our Horst Spikes line of Cross Spikes alongside many of New England’s top bicycle framebuilders.

After a summer filled with racing triathlons, I’m ready for cross season. I was a little rusty today, but so was everyone else. I was joined in the Masters 45+ race by my teammate Matt Domnarksi. Our mate, Keith Enderle, was slated to race the 55+ race. We have another strong masters team and over the next few weeks, I’m sure we will be joined by Pat Cunningham, Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, Mike Wonderly, Dave Geissert, Randall Dutton, Art Roti, and maybe some of the other guys. I do better in the cooler weather events, but I wanted to kick the season off anyway. It takes time to sharpen your technical skills. The Blunt Park course was full of tight turns and there were several dismounts. I didn’t get to the start line in time and ended up at the back. I had a good start, but then was blocked by an early crash that slowed the back half of the field. I worked my way up and had some good battles in a group of four, including Bryan Zieroff and new Cyclonauts riders, but we never broke the top-10.

I’m hungry to race again, and that will probably be in two weeks at the Silk City Cyclocross. Aside from the Hammerfest Triathlon and the Vermont 50, it’s all cross for me until Thanksgiving and the Manchester Road Race. Then, it will be more cross into January. I’ll think about taking a break then!

Race Results (will be posted when available)

2016 Kids Who Tri Succeed Triathlon

Yesterday, we returned to the Kids Who Tri Succeed Triathlon in Mansfield, Connecticut after skipping in 2015. Last year, the kids did do the sister race in Farmington. In 2014, I scored one of my favorite photos of all time. It’s kind of hard to top that moment, which is memorialized with a large canvas print of the image hanging on the wall in our house.

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Our kids are “fit” as they have been doing the Winding Trails Tri Series all summer. Our son did five of the Tiny Tri’s and our daughter did the three kids races. Fitness is just for fun. Kids Who Tri Succeed is a great starter triathlon for someone new to the sport and judging by the size of the fields, it is growing in popularity.

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We saw the usual cast of characters, including our friends, the Ricardi Family, who, like us, have also been going to this race for many years. Our son first did it in 2011 when it was his first triathlon. He has come a long way since then, and this year, graduated to the long course. Horst Engineering has sponsored the race for many years. Our support, the support of other businesses and families; and the volunteers make the race possible.

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The race isn’t without its quirks. It isn’t easy to coordinate four age groups between the ages of four and 14. The timing is often jumbled up, despite the best efforts of the timers. Some kids went off course, some kids did extra laps, and some kids didn’t complete the required number of laps. Despite all of the volunteers, the coordination should be better. It’s hard to be critical because the local race is one of the only ones dedicated to children and there are many challenging variables to deal with. Debbie and I want to see the race improve because that is what will keep the kids coming back.

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Our kids had a good time and they have continued to learn how to race thanks to events like Kids Who Tri Succeed.

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2016 Winding Trails Summer Triathlon Series

The 2016 Winding Trails Summer Tri Series wrapped up last Tuesday with the 10th and final race of the season. Even though WT is a training race, Debbie and I put our heart and soul into the series. She was intent to improve her off-road triathlon skills, particularly her swimming and mountain biking. She also really wanted to improve on her second place finish in 2015. I wanted to retain my overall title from last year and prove that I could do it again.

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We had 10 spectacular evenings at Winding Trails in Farmington, each time, joined by our children. Our son did five of the Tiny Tri’s, a huge step forward for him, and our daughter did all three of the Kid’s Races. The Winding Trails sunsets are spectacular and I always leave the venue with a smile when driving past Lake Dunning. There were no t-storm caused rain outs and the course was always in good shape. We appreciate the hard work that Race Director, Jimena Florit, her staff, and volunteers contribute to making this a success.

After every race, Ken and Aubrey Schulz, and their young son, joined our family for a picnic dinner. Our kids dubbed it “The Grand Feast.” Having some supper at Winding Trails always beat going back into the Rt. 4/Interstate 84 traffic. Four weeks ago, I started to fade as week after week of all out efforts took its toll. I lamented to Ken, who shared my suffering, that I was looking forward to the end of the series despite having fun. I don’t know if we will return for the full series in 2017. The kids love it, but the Tuesday efforts often compromise the weekend race results. I couldn’t show up and not give it my all. I’ve raced there 41 times in recent years and it always hard to get there after work. I’ll have to think about 2017, but there is no rush, the series won’t kickoff again until next June.

Alas, Debbie and I both came up short. 19-year-old Lauren Cenci, who is less than half of Debbie’s age, had her number all season. Debbie was always close, but never close enough, and the overall went to Lauren, who has come on strong. Debbie was first in the 40-44 age group and improved dramatically, which is fantastic. It is really hard to race hard every week for two and a half months, especially when you are still doing other races.

Coming in to the last race, I had a shot to overtake my nemesis, Jon Arellano, who finished behind me in 2015. He and I have battled every week like warriors. The finish was bittersweet because I won the race (the battle), but lost the series (the war). I went down knowing that I had given it my all. I was cross-eyed after our fourth sprint finish of the summer. Four times we finished within two seconds of each other. Neither one of us was willing to give an inch.

In this last race, I pulled back my usual minute plus deficit, after the 1/4 mile swim, on the five-mile bike loop, catching Jon around the four mile mark. He hung tight, but I got a small gap coming in to T2. He rides in his running shoes, so his transitions are always super quick. He always picks up 15-20 seconds on me and this was the case again. I chased him out of T2, but reeled him in quickly and led the first mile of the three-mile run with him right on my shoulder. Joel Emmendorfer was also in the mix, but this week, he faded from the picture. Jon and I exchanged the lead no less than seven more times over the next two miles.

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I attacked him on every climb and he pulled me back on every descent. I tested him several times, thinking that I could break away and overcome my points deficit. The week nine standings showed that my best eight races trailed his best eight races by 0.2 points (679.0 to 678.8), though I can’t really explain the scoring system. It can’t be that complicated, but I’ve never understood it. I’ve got great respect for Jon, but like him, but I’m a serious competitor and wasn’t going to make it easy on him. Of the 10 races, I won four, he won three, and we got beat by Gabriel Jiran, Jason Soukup, and Joel in the other three.

The cat and mouse game continued over the bridge and in to the final stretch as we briefly slowed our pace. With a hard acceleration, he took the lead with 200 meters to go, but I pulled him back and in a furious sprint, passed him on the left as he crashed in to the course tape before the sharp right to the finish. I got him by a couple of seconds and thought I was going to collapse. The racing and the weather were both hot.

I was thrilled to end the series on a high note after a couple below par weeks. My legs were heavy from Wildman and my heart was heavy after the passing of my uncle, Guy Roy. All my career, I’ve raced for my team and myself, but this time, I was propelled by the motivation of racing for my uncle who was a true outdoorsman and an inspiration for how I live.

The 2016 stats are neat to review. Aside from my automated Strava data, I stopped keeping a training log years ago, but I never stopped logging my race results. Over 10 weeks, I raced 84 miles. It took 518 minutes total. My fastest time was 50:49 in week three. My slowest was 52:47 in week two. The average was 51:49. The temperature is usually the biggest factor when comparing week to week times, but rest and competition are also big factors.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 12.32.28 PMWhen the calculations were done, it was announced that Jon took the overall series, and I congratulate him. He really earned it and I’m sure he is proud as heck because I made it super hard on him. Those types of victories are always the sweetest. When you have to really work for it, you appreciate it so much more.

I’ll add a link when the final results are published. Like Debbie in 2015, I couldn’t have been far back. Upon further reflection, the results don’t matter that much because the fierce nature of my 10 Winding Trails efforts lived up to my adventurous lifestyle and symbolize how I fight hard in everything that I do. I’m pumped for cyclocross season and after some “rest,” I’ll be ready to race again.

Race #10 Results

Race Results (will be posted when updated)

Peter Limmer & Sons: Bootmakers

Last weekend, after the Wildman Biathlon, Debbie and I stopped at Peter Limmer & Sons in Intervale, New Hampshire. It had been a few years since I stopped at Limmer, but I wanted to drop off my boots for a simple refinishing.

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I got my custom “Limmer’s” 15 years ago in 2002 after waiting four years. The current backlog is shorter, but at the time, output was lower following an injury that Peter suffered while racing a dragster snowmobile. I remember the wait well because I mailed my $35 deposit (it’s now $50) during one Winter Olympics, and received my boot shipment during another. Peter, Jr. the proprietor, master bookmaker/shoemaker, and 40+ year veteran of the company, was the only one at the shop late on Saturday afternoon.

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I showed him my boots and he commented that they didn’t need refinishing. They were in great shape. In recent years, I have only worn them for trail work and bumming around. They are classic Tyrolean style boots, made with thick leather uppers, a heavy last, and rugged Vibram soles. These aren’t trail running shoes! On one of the boots, a gap had formed between the tread and the sole. He said it wouldn’t take long to repair it and suggested that Debbie and I go into North Conway, walk around a bit, and come back in an hour before he closed up for the day. He said they would be ready.

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We took his suggestion, left the boots, and went in to town. I wrote my Wildman blog post near the bar at Flatbread, and Debbie did some shopping. I returned to Limmer just before five to pickup the boots. Peter and I had a great chat. We talked about boots, family business, Horst Engineering, our mutual love of the White Mountains, aluminum casting, motorcycles, precision machining, succession, custom bicycles, and a whole host of other interesting topics.

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It was a great conversation. I bought a pair of new leather laces for $7.50 before departing with my newly repaired boots, probably good for another 15 years. I have a real appreciation for craftsmen like Peter, and my uncle Steven, and my grandfather, Harry (Horst). Peter’s father, Peter, Sr. started the business in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, before moving to New Hampshire in 1950. Like my grandfather, Peter, Sr.’s father came from Germany. Peter, Jr. learned his trade from his father like my uncle learned his trade from my grandfather. Peter’s grandfather was a master shoemaker in the Bavarian Alps, whereas my grandfather was a mechanical engineer and toolmaker from Bad Liebenstein.

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It’s great to see how stuff is made. Our country has to retain these skills. When you read a story like this, you realize that my boots are far more than walking shoes.

2016 Wildman Biathlon

Today’s Wildman Biathlon was a lot of fun. It was the 28th annual edition of the race, and I’ve been wanting to do it for the past 16 years since first introduced to the race by our longtime trail running friend, Rich Fargo. He loves the event and has done it many times.

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Debbie and I drove up to Shelburne, New Hampshire after work on Friday and camped near the start. Wildman is a classic New England grassroots event. The start and transition #1 are at the Shelburne Town Garage/Fire House.

The old school bike racks signal that this race is low-key and that it has a lot of character. The course is what makes this race. It starts with a 10 kilometer road run that is out and back on the rolling and winding North Road. After the first transition, you ride a seven mile loop of Rt. 2 and North Road before continuing back on Rt. 2 to the Rt. 16 junction in Gorham. From there, you take 16 up to Pinkham Notch and the Wildcat Ski Area. The total distance is 22.3 miles and after the first seven mile loop, it is gradually uphill the rest of the way with the toughest climbing at the end.

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Transition #2 is in the dirt parking lot at Wildcat. The final leg of the race is a three-mile trail run/hike via the Polecat Trail to the 4,000+ foot peak of Wildcat. The finish line is adjacent to the gondola. Marketed as “scenic,” the gondola didn’t offer any views today.

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The weather conditions were grim, or “dismal,” as described by the guy I rode the gondola back to the base lodge with. After no rain, dry, and hot conditions all week, today was a washout. The rain started yesterday late in the afternoon when thunderstorms rolled across Vermont and New Hampshire. It rained all night and most of the morning.

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The roads were wet and slick. The four sets of train tracks that we crossed were treacherous and claimed multiple crash victims. I heard there were some serious injuries. By the time Debbie reached the final set of tracks, the volunteers were making people dismount and walk across them. She may have been the final person to ride them and the volunteer tried to catch her as she went down. The tiny cut on her knee looked a lot worse than it was.

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She had a good race. She hadn’t done a road cycling race in 10 years since competing in the Cape Argus Cycle-Tour in Cape Town, South Africa. She rode the same bike today, though it was recently tuned up by our friends at Benidorm Bikes. It’s a steel Seven Cycles Tsunami cross bike with 28cm tires, so she was at a disadvantage on the bike leg. That didn’t matter. She had a good first run and despite ceding some positions on the bike, pulled a bunch of them back on the final three-mile ascent. She wishes that the trail run was much longer. She finished third woman and was very happy.

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I got to see her cross the line after waiting 30 minutes at the top and freezing my butt off. I finished in 2:34 and was satisfied with my result given how I feel. The 9th of 10 Winding Trails Summer Tri Series off-road races was last Tuesday and since Monday, I haven’t been feeling too hot. The finale is this Tuesday, so I have to recover in an effort to hold on to my 2nd place in the standings. It will take a miracle for me to overcome Jon Arellano, who I bested last year, but who has come back with a vengeance.

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Ten weeks of racing is a lot and it’s worn me down. Today, I was just flat. I was happy with the 10k run and it was a measured effort, but my strength is the bike and I lost ground. After 1.5 miles of climbing the Polecat, I was done. I finished the 10K in third, got passed by one guy on the bike, and got passed by another on the hill climb, so I finished fifth. Uncharacteristically, I kept looking back. I had a gap over sixth, so I sort of walked it in, looking to save a little energy for this coming Tuesday.

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Other than the rain and the traffic on Rt. 2, it was a good course. The markings on the trail run could have been better. I was unsure about my direction several times. I learned afterwards that a whole lot of signs were made, and never put out. We were relying on orange spray paint on the dirt trail, that was washing away in the rain. Oh well. I knew that the summit was up, so that was the direction I kept heading. When I came to a junction that was unmarked, I guessed. It all worked out.

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Despite hearing that North Road was rough, rutted, and potholed, I rode my Seven Kameha SLX triathlon bike, but with my Zipp 404 wheels, rather than my Sub-9 Disc/808 combo. It was a wise choice, given the wind. The cracks in the road weren’t as bad as advertised, and I was glad that I rode my tri bike rather than a road bike. My Seven was built for New England roads and the custom geometry is good for climbing, unlike most dedicated tri-bikes.

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Coming up Rt. 16, a road we have been on many times, I was thinking about so many great adventures that we have had in the White Mountains and many that have crossed that road. It’s been 10 years since I did Sea to Summit, and that was the last time I was in the Wildcat base lodge. Next Saturday is the Mt. Washington Bicycle Hill Climb. I rode by the auto road and recalled last year’s race and the five previous times I did it. I went by the 19-Mile Brook trailhead and it brought back memories from our last Hut Traverse when the weather was kind of like today’s. It wasn’t a good day to be above treeline.

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One of the worst parts of today was the ride back to Shelburne. Debbie ran back to the base lodge and I took the gondola. I don’t do downhills! She waited for me while I rode back to the Garage/Firehouse to get the van and trailer. It took me 48 minutes to ride back. My teeth chattered the entire time. I heard that last year’s race was run in perfect conditions with great views of Mt. Washington from the summit of Wildcat. Oh well. Maybe next time we will have views.

After the awards ceremony (we both earned etched glass mugs), we crossed the street to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Debbie dug out four quarters from her purse for each of us. I had the best three-minute shower ever. It was glorious!

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We went upstairs to the main entrance and bumped in to Jim Campiformio, who stopped to change his socks in the middle of the More and More Difficult 50K trail race. MMD is a legendary underground race in the White Mountains. Jim had eight miles to go and after a wrong turn, was regrouping and readying himself for the final push. He has done many great ultras, including the Hardrock 100. It was nice to see him and chat a bit before we both went separate directions.

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This has been another great day in the White Mountains. Sometimes, I wish we lived closer. The trails are fantastic. You can’t climb hills like this in Connecticut.

Race Results


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Pre-race @vermont50 #vermont50 #vermont #ascutney #teamhorstsports @ascutneytrails My first @vermont50 was in 1999. Fun to be on this list. #vermont50 #vermont #teamhorstsports #mountainbiking #trailrunning @ascutneytrails #SlingshotArt with @thecubscouts Bolton Pack 157 #cubscouts Just a reminder that @buildersball and #horsteng are a week from Friday and @horsteng will have a #horstspikes #CrossSpikes booth at the Ball and the race expo. Everything at the #nebuildersball including the #beer is #bespoke #teamhorstsports will be racing throughout the weekend. Visit with us! #cyclocross #cyclocross skills and drills. Teaching a rookie clipless pedal user how to survive when the trail bottlenecks and the other riders stack it up in front of you, or the barrier comes sooner than expected. #cycling #teamhorstsports #horstspikes #crossspikes #railtrail Another #bicycle ride! This one with Bolton @thecubscouts Pack 157. #cubscouts #cycling Thanks to @pedalpowerct for the meeting spot. #cycling #railtrail #cyclocross is here, but I wanted to do one more #triathlon before parking my @seven_cycles #sevencycles Kameha for the offseason, so I ventured to the 20th #HammerfestTriathlon for the first time. It was a fun ocean swim and scenic coastal ride/run. #teamhorstsports #ctheat #m114 Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle #tank #Repost @horsteng with @repostapp
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First clipless pedals, first #cyclocross shoes, and first #horstspikes for one of #teamhorstsports youngest members. These are size 2 (US)--3 (UK)--33 (EUR) @northwave_official Hammers married to @rideshimano SPD cleats and our Mini Standard stainless steel #CrossSpikes for a 10 year old junior rider. #cycling

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