2018 Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross

Today we made a first time trip to the Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross in Lancaster, Massachusetts, but we are no strangers to the Bolton Fairgrounds. In prior  years, I’ve raced the Midnight Ride of CX on a similar course. Also, last month, we did the Kalon Cross across the street from the fairgrounds.

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The Minuteman Road Club did a fantastic job with MRC CX, as they have done with their other events. They maximized the potential of this course by using every inch of it. It was the most technical course of the year so far with lots of twists and turns. It was generally flat with only a few small rises on the front side of the course.

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The weather was quite un-cross like today. It was muggy and warm. The fairgrounds were soggy after weeks of rain and the mosquitoes were out in force. You could see some color in the trees, but it felt more like August than October.

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The air stayed dry until about 4:00 P.M. As luck would have it, my  race, the Singlespeed Race, started at 3:45 P.M. The additional wetness made the already tricky course even slicker. It was a long day today because the kids raced at 10:30 A.M. The drive was less than 90 minutes and it is a generally pleasant one through Worcester and then northeast.

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My legs were heavy after yesterday’s double-race at Mansfield Hollow. I didn’t mind waiting until the end of the day to race, but hanging around wasn’t optimal. The kids did great in their events. Both finished second in their age group, which was a boost to morale considering they also had to wait all afternoon for my event.

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Shepard and Dahlia were joined in the Cub Juniors race by Boden Chenail and Lars Roti. Both boys also had good rides. The full weekend of racing is just a precursor of the next eight weeks as cyclocross season ramps up.

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After the kids raced, the Masters put on a show. There were 105 riders in the combined 40+ (38 riders) and 50+ (67 riders) field. Art Roti and Brett Chenail were in the race and they both did very well. Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad are starting to fire on all cylinders.

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Debbie was a real sport today. It was a long day for her too. She brought her running kit and got in a short run in the area around the fairgrounds. She and the kids were great cheerleaders during my race. I could hear them from many points on the course.

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I felt strong, but made two technical errors that resulted in hard crashes. On the second lap, I was sitting in 9th place and coming out of the back section of the course on the riding dirt track, I followed another rider on a bad line through some sand. When he swerved to the right, it was clear that we were too close to the course stakes and tape. I hooked my bars on a stake and it snapped, as I crashed through the course tape with the force bringing me down on my right side in a heap. I was up quickly, but at least five riders got by me. I’ll be a little stiff in the shoulder and neck.

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Then, a few laps later, as I was making up ground, I followed Keith Burgoyne into a hard left hand corner. He slid out and I had nowhere to go. I tapped the brakes and slid out hard on my left side, cutting my left leg (what’s new? ) and banging my left shoulder. Again, I was up quickly and thankfully my Seven Cycles Mudhoney SL was in working order. Keith had some mechanical problems, and it cost him. I gave up a few spots, and gave chase, but a gap to the top-10 had opened up and I never closed it.

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I pushed really hard for the remainder of the race and picked up one spot late on the last lap, but could only manage 11th overall. It was my second Zanconato Single Speed Cyclo-Cross Trophy Series race of the weekend. Next weekend is the Gran Prix of Gloucester and I’ll be giving the singlespeed bike rest as I race Masters. The Zank Series picks up again at Belltown CX in two weeks.

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We were famished after gotten through the entire day with one bag of snacks. We stopped at Rein’s Deli on the way home and everyone was happier for it.

Race Results

2018 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

After today, I’ve now raced the Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross a dozen times. The race started in 1983, but I didn’t start racing cross until 1995. It’s always been one of my favorites. It helps that Mansfield Hollow State Park is only 25 minutes from home.

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We had a huge turnout from Team Horst Sports on a mild, but cloudy day in Mansfield, Connecticut. It as a great Saturday of cyclocross. Dahlia and Shepard raced at 8:45 A.M. and 9:15 A.M. respectively. I did the Masters 40+ race at 11:00 A.M. Then, I raced the Singlespeed race at 3:45 P.M. In between I brought Debbie and the kids home.

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I returned on my own for the last race of the day and five more laps of pain. We had a good CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad turnout. Dahlia was joined in the Juniors 9-11 year old race by Owen Lezon, Ethan Lezon, and Adela Chenail. Then, in the Juniors 12-14 year old race, Shepard was joined by Boden Chenail, and Lars Roti. In the Juniors 15-18 race, we were represented by Liam Hangen.

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In the Masters 40+ race, I was joined by Arthur Roti, Rich Frisbie, Brett Chenail, and Andris Skulte. In the Masters 50+ race we were represented by Wade Summers, John Meyerle, and Dave Geissert. Keith Enderle was our lone rider in the Masters 60+ field.

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The kids and the Masters did great. I had a pretty good day. I didn’t feel super in the 40+ race, but had a good battle with Jeremy Brazeal and Christopher White. We traded places a few times. I made a few mistakes and that helped Jeremy get the gap that he used to hold me off. Chris was quicker on the technical parts of the course, but I was stronger on the flats and open field sections.

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It was  long course, which made it hard. When I returned for the Singlespeed race, but legs were sore. I was bummed out when I learned that it was also 45 minutes long and that we were likely to do five laps. I was hoping for one less. In the end, I did 10 laps of the course. Surprisingly, my Singlespeed time was only 28 seconds slower than my time with my geared bike. I didn’t expect to ride nearly as fast with one gear, but I did. My race-long battle with Keith Burgoyne and Eric Wyzga likely contributed to the high pace.

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All three of us pushed each other. Keith had the advantage because it was his only race of the day, and with 1.5 laps to go, he attacked us and got a gap that he held the rest of the  way. Eric pressed me, but I was able to distance him in the last half lap and hold him off. It was fun. I’m glad I went back for the second race and I hope it pays off. I’m trying to do as many of the 12 Zanconato Single Speed Cyclo-Cross Trophy Series races as possible. If I get 8-10 of them, then I would be thrilled.

Much appreciation to Race Director Ron Manizza and all of the volunteers. It’s worth noting that I love my Seven Mudhoney SL singlespeed cross bike. It fits great and it handles amazingly well.

Race Results

2018 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

Any regular reader of this blog would know that the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run plays an important role in our family history. Every year, I share a link that tells the story of how Debbie and I met at the 1999 race.

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This year was the 25th anniversary of the VT50, which was founded in 1993. We missed the first six years, but the annual event has been on our schedule for the last 19 years. We only missed once, in 2015, when Debbie had the opportunity to run ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI.

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We have no regrets about skipping that edition. Her UTMF accomplishment led to her qualification and entry in the 2017 Hardrock Endurance Run, and now we are part of the Hardrock community too. Three years ago, when the UTMF opportunity presented itself, we needed a break from the routine of the VT50. We came back to the race in 2016 loving it more than ever.

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The NipMuck Trail Marathon is another event that we have run or volunteered at more than 15 times. This year, we missed NipMuck because it was also yesterday, a clear conflict with the VT50, which happens every 5-6 years. We were bummed to be away from our Shenipsit Striders friends and that community too, but the VT50 takes precedence for us because it came first.

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We share the same anniversary as Race Director Michael Silverman, who also got his start in 1999. I came into this year’s race without the best preparation. I haven’t done much endurance, but I am still fit. Debbie opted to ride the race for the second year in a row. Her long history with the event is primarily as a runner. Mine is as a rider, though I’ve run it in the past too.

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Our kids joined us and the race has become important for them too. They do the kids mountain biking and trail running races on the Saturday before the big event. Debbie was asked to help coordinate the kids races and she obliged, so after a brief stop at Horst Engineering, we made it to Brownsville a little after noon. Deb’s mom, Barbara, came along to assist, as she has done many times in the past.

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Saturday afternoon had some of the best weather in recent memory. Rainy conditions have persisted for weeks and it was gloomy right through Friday evening. Saturday dawned nice, and the afternoon was spectacular, which was great for everyone. Shepard did the two-mile mountain bike race, which is just a sampler. Then, he did the 5K trail run, which was a bit more substantial given the hilly course. Dahlia skipped the bike race, but did the kids one mile run. She did get lucky in the raffle, and won a 24″ Cannondale Cujo bicycle. We had four bikes between us, but managed to squeeze a fifth one in the van on the drive home.

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After the Saturday afternoon fun, I did a little ride with some friends. It’s tradition that we scope out the first few miles of the course. For the second year, we spent the night with friends at a local rental house. Over the years, our accommodations have varied, but the current situation where we stay close to the mountain, has been working out great.

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The clear and dry weather made for a cool start on Sunday morning. It was only in the high 30’s (Fahrenheit) at 6:00 A.M. when wave-one set off. That was my wave, and it took me a little while to warm up. I was riding my seven-year old Seven Sola SL singlespeed, but with a new set of wheels. I had brand new tires, new rotors, a new rear cog, and a new belt. The work was done by Bicycles East, and they did a fine job.

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Sadly, descending a steep hill at the seven mile mark, I hit a really rough section of rocks and blew out my front tire. I had a headlight, but I never saw what I hit. I just knew it was bad. I know those rocks well and it was right before a right turn onto a dirt road. I got to the road, but had no air left in my tubeless tire by the time I made the corner. The tire was ajar on the rim. I thought about reseating it and attempting to get it to seal with the ample sealant sloshing around in the new tire, but I erred on the side of caution, removed the tire, and installed the single spare inner tube that I had in my pack.

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I wished I brought two, but I only had one. It was a calculated risk on a brand new set of tires with fresh sealant. Alas, I lost about 10 minutes and never got the tire to seat perfectly on the rim. Being a brand new tire, it was tight fit and I only had a small emergency frame pump. I did the best I could in the limited light with cold hands. It was only about 45 minutes into the race and I didn’t have the energy to chase. I had been riding well, in the top five of the singlespeed class, but after a long work week and some questionable motivation, I decided to change my goal.

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I soft pedaled to the first aid station on my wobbly front tire, stopped, and waited for Debbie. I got a little chilled waiting for her, but I stood there patiently until she arrived about 15 minutes later. She was OK with me tagging along, and we spent the next six hours together. I had never seen the course at a slower pace and I had never done it with her, which after all these years was a joy. I had also never stopped to take pictures, but this year I took many. I’m glad that I carried my iPhone 6s in my pack. It gave me something to do other than ride and cheer for Debbie.

She wasn’t on her best day, but she persevered and I was proud of her. I was able to offer up some constructive coaching and riding tips. By the end of the race, she was a better mountain biker than when she started. Her legs were heavy after running the 80 mile Ultra-Trail Harricana only three weeks ago, but she still pushed hard. I could tell that she wasn’t having as much fun as she would have liked, but that’s OK. We had a beautiful day together in the Vermont woods.

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It remained chilly for most of the morning, but the last few hours were more pleasant as the sunlight and humidity increased. I was careful with my front tire and made it to the finish without another puncture. I hope I didn’t do any damage to the wheel. I had sealant leaking out of some spoke nipple holes, so I know there will be a little work to do. I’ll get the bike washed up and likely get the advice of the Bicycles East team.

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Speaking of team…Team Horst Sports had fantastic representation in Vermont. I’ll list the names: Arlen Zane Wenzel, Arthur Roti, Mark Hixson, Brett Chenail, Randall Dutton, John Meyerle, Anthony Eisley, and Joseph Dickerson were all finishers. One shout out goes to Johnny Meyerle (John’s son) who had an amazing ride finishing 20th overall. He has worked hard for that result and deserved it. It’s great to see a CCAP junior just crushing it. Teammate Erik Emanuele was just a spectator, but he was a great help all weekend. We even had several former members who are still part of our “family” do the race, including Ted D’Onofrio and Cheryl Jackson. So many other friends were finishers too. We know so many people, that this race has turned into an annual reunion.

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The course was tougher than ever with a little extra singletrack. The trails weren’t too wet, which was great because we hate to do damage. The only real mud was in the fields. The volunteer corps appeared stronger than ever and I have nothing but good things to say about the aid stations. They were packed with great food and drink options. My only gripe is about the riders/runners and not the race itself. It relates to the amount of trash that was left on the course. At my slower pace, I was able to see more of the race than ever before. I was also behind 500 or so people.

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The litter was horrendous. I would have needed several trash bags to fit it all. How come full/unused energy bars, gels, and food don’t fall out of people’s pockets? Why is it predominantly  “empty” wrappers that end up on the trail? I think it is ridiculous that endurance athletes and outdoors people can’t pack out what they bring with them. I feel bad for the volunteers who have to go back out on the course and pick up all that stuff. I shared my concerns with Michael Silverman and we were both disappointed while discussing it.

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I can’t end this post on a downer. There was a great vibe at Mt. Ascutney. It is awesome to see Ascutney Trails reviving the mountain and bringing new people to the sport of mountain biking. I loved seeing so many kids riding and running on Saturday. It was great that more money was raised for Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport. This was the second time that our family  has been to both the Vermont 100 and the Vermont 50 in the same year.  Both events drive revenue for VASS.

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I don’t know what might cause us to miss the VT50 in the future, but for now, I’m happy that we are continuing our streak again.

Race Results

2018 Newtown Cross

Today, Shepard and I a returned to the Newtown Team 26 Cross. For the second year in a row, the race was held at the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard. This horse farm is a lovely property and a great venue for a cyclocross race. For years, the Newtown race was held across the street at the Fairfield Hills campus, but I prefer the hillier and grassier horse farm course.

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One change was that this usual late season race was moved to September. That boosted the participation and the host CCAP got a great turnout for the first race in the 2018 CT Series of Cross. Our own CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad contributed to the numbers. So did a strong presence by our Team Horst Sports Masters racers.

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The course was slightly changed from last year. It included even more climbing, less pavement, and more turns. I liked it. It was really challenging. The Masters 40+ field was strong. I managed 7th place after an early battle with Patrick Ruane and Joe Kubisek. Matt Kraus bridged up and rode through our group. None of us could hang on. Eventually Patrick left us and moved past Matt to finish 4th. Joe and I continued to swap spots until he jumped me on the 2nd to last lap for 6th. Late in the lap, I slid out on an off-camber and once again smacked my left leg (knee). I got a small cut, but it was minor. Generally, I was happy with my bike handling. I made a few mistakes and chopped the guys in a few corners, but I was pressing hard and that’s how things go. I apologized. My power still isn’t where it needs to be, but I’m getting there.

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After my crash, I bounced up, but the 10 seconds that Joe gained was all he needed to hold me off on the last lap. I did my best to close it down, but I just didn’t have enough oomph. I’m feeling stronger week by week, and I hope to keep progressing. I would have loved to score top five in this strong field, but it was not to be. I actually had to work hard on the last 1/3rd of a lap as Karel Citroen put on a huge surge and nearly caught me. I was happy to hold him off. His surge was all the more impressive because it was his second race of the day. He finished 3rd in the Category 3/4 race, three spots in front of our teammate, Rich Frisbie.

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Art Roti and Brett Chenail did well in the 40+ race. We started a minute in front of the 50+ race, which was won by our friend and former teammate, Mike Wonderly. He held off current teammate Wade Summers, who rode strongly to score second. Dave Geissert and Tom Ricardi both also rode well in the 50+ field. Ted D’Onofrio, another longtime teammate, was also in the 50+ field and it was good to see him out there.

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Our Juniors also had a good day. Owen and Ethan Lezon were joined by Adela Chenail (her first race) in the 9-11 year old category. Shepard was joined by Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, and Lars Roti in the 12-14 year old category. Cole Ricardi was our lone junior in the 15-18 year old race.

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All in all, it was a good day for Team Horst Sports. One negative was that just before we were ready to leave, a rider (Jim) from the TTEndurance squad crashed hard in the corner near where we were parked. His screams were “blood curdling.” I rushed over to help him. He got up, but immediately realized that his right knee was gushing blood. He had cut it by falling squarely on a rock (one of the only ones on the course) and it was deep-right to the bone.

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We got him off to the side of the course and sat him down. Someone immediately grabbed a towel and I applied compression to the wound. Getting medical help took a bit longer than we hoped, so was there nearly 30 minutes holding the towel on the cut, keeping him calm, and chatting. A few other Good Samaritans stayed with us until the EMT’s arrived. With one EMT watching the cut, we did a quick swap where I pulled off the towel, they glanced (Jim looked away) at the cut, and then immediately replaced it with a bandage. It was going to need several stitches, so they loaded him on a stretcher and carted him away. I was happy to stay and help and I feel his pain. It was only nine months ago that I broke my leg in a cyclocross race.

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That’s why its frustrating that I keep falling on my left side. Sigh. Bike racing is too much fun to give up. I won’t slow down, at least not anytime soon. I was happy to hear that Jim was more mad than sad and that he plans to be racing again in a matter of weeks. He was even in good enough spirits to take a selfie with me. I’m rooting for him to make a strong comeback!

Race Results

2018 LEGO Family 5K Road Race & Children’s Fun Run

It had been three years since we last did the LEGO Family 5K Road Race & Children’s Fun Run. This is a popular event and we got shut out at least once when we missed registration.

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The folks at LEGO Systems, Inc. in Enfield put on a good show and raise money for local children’s charities. The entry fee is $45, but you get bang for your buck and get to run with 600+ people in the 5K and hang out with several hundred more kids and family members.

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Yesterday, I ran this fast, flat 5K loop for the first time. I’ve always watched. Debbie and Shepard have done it before, but yesterday, all four of us did it, including Dahlia. I jogged with Dahlia, Shepard ran easy (he had a XC meet on Friday and a CX race today), and Debbie pushed.

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That earned her first place in her 40-49 age group because they don’t double dip and she was the second 40-year-old woman across the line. We got to spend time with the Lezon and Schulz families and saw many other folks that we know from the local running community.

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We got some cool LEGO too!

Race Results

2018 Quad CX

Yesterday, the kids and I went to Quad CX in Maynard, Massachusetts. We had a blast, but it was a long day. The Masters 40+ race was combined with the Masters 50+ and started at 10:30 A.M. It was nearly a full field of 100 (combined).

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I had a decent race, finishing 13th in the 40+ field. I’m gaining strength race by race and hope to be in top form by mid-October. I need a half a dozen more good events to build my speed.

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The kids raced after me and it was so much fun to watch. It was an under 15 race, which meant there were some older kids mixed in with the 9-12 year olds. Dahlia is 8 and Shepard is 12, but their racing ages are 9 and 13 respectively. Cross is weird, in that your racing age is based on your age on 12/31 of the year that the World Championships are held. So, for the 2018-2019 season, World’s will be in February. Even though the we will stop racing (here in New England) in December, your racing age is based on 2019. Whatever.

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So, this was Dahlia’s first official Junior race and she was stoked to finish two laps of the shortened (for the Juniors) course. Shepard continues to improve and notched a top 10 results. They were joined by Team Horst Junior Squad members Boden Chenail and Lars Roti.

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Team Horst Sports had a good Masters turnout too. Joining me in the 40+ race was Arthur Roti and Brett Chenail. Keith Enderle represented in the 60+ race, and Tom Ricardi rode in the Category 4 Masters Race.

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We all enjoyed the course. It was dry and dusty, with some gnarly sections in the woods. I described it as “old school” cross. It was hard to pass, and when you got an opportunity, you had to go full gas to get ahead.

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The kids and I stuck around so that I could also do the Singlespeed race, but it didn’t start until 4:30 P.M. I wanted to do it because it is in the Zanconato SSCX Series and didn’t think that Debbie would be home from Ultra-Trail Harricana until late. Ironically, she beat us home.

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I rode pretty well in the SS race, also finishing 13th. Like I said, I’ve got some ground to make up after my slow start to 2018 and multiple setbacks with my left leg. I’m feeling pretty good and not favoring it at all. Over the last three weeks as cross season has ramped up, I’ve gone all out. I’m going to keep at it. I’m very motivated to reach peak form.

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Race Results

2018 Ultra-Trail Harricana

It’s a little odd to write about a race that I didn’t attend. Since I wasn’t at Ultra-Trail Harricana (UTHC), I don’t have any of my own photos to share. With the exception of one shot, all the photos in this post were taken by Debbie. On Saturday and Sunday, she ran this tough 123 kilometer/75 miles (it turned out to be more like 128 kilometers/80 miles) trail ultra in Quebec. She was happy to talk about it, so I’m happy to write a bit about what she shared.

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Over the last 19 years, she has run many ultras, and this was the first one that I didn’t attend. I’ve run a handful of them with her, but the rest of them I’ve been on her crew or I’ve paced her. At all of her races, I’ve taken photos and then written about the adventures.

Over the last dozen years, I’ve also looked after our kids, who have attended many of these races with us. The Harricana circumstance is an interesting story. She has had a solid year of trail running with her notable races being the MT. TAMMANY 10, Traprock 50K, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler-Massachusetts, the Ragged 50K, and the Vermont 100K.

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None of these races are Western States Endurance Run (WS100) qualifiers. Though the WS100 course doesn’t favor her strengths, it is an iconic race, and one that she would like to compete in. In 2012, she crewed and paced for our friend, Larissa Dannis, but has never run it herself. She came close to qualifying in 2012 at the Pinhoti 100, but she fell short of earning a Golden Ticket by one spot. Alas, her best chance of entry now is through the lottery.

However, to remain in the lottery (held each December), you have to still complete a qualifying race. It’s a complicated system, but each year that you run a qualifying race, but fail to get in through the lottery, you get additional tickets that increase your odds. If you miss a year, you “lose your tickets” and your odds of getting in start over as if you are a first time lottery entrant.

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We recently learned that this rule has been modified and that you now get a once in a lifetime exemption to keep your accrued lottery tickets. However, she wants to save her exemption until she has more tickets. It would be wasteful to burn them in 2018 because she just started over again in 2017 after not doing a qualifier in 2016. Are you confused yet?

Anyway, six months ago, she identified UTHC as the only race east of the Mississippi that 1) fit her schedule and 2) was not a 100 miler (e.g. Grindstone 100 is a qualifier, but conflicts with cyclocross season). It never looked like UTHC would work out because it was scheduled for a very busy time of year. School, work, community involvement, kids activities, and cyclocross all ramp up in September.

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In July, I deleted it from my calendar and told Debbie that there would be no way that I could drive 8-10 hours to Quebec for another ultra in 2018. She agreed, but I think she secretly kept the race on her calendar. Anyway, in August, at the Ragged 50K, she ran with our friend Amy Rusiecki (she is the Vermont 100 Race Director), and the subject of UTHC came up in conversation. She said that her husband, Brian, and she had an opportunity to participate through a connection with the race organizers. I gather that Debbie eventually asked about joining them. She wouldn’t have made a solo trip, especially because of the long drive (I do most of the driving in our family).

To make a long story short, the Rusiecki’s were kind enough to bring her along for the ride this past weekend. She met up with them on Thursday evening, and then they left for Quebec early on Friday morning. This was a whirlwind trip for all three of them. Brian also ran the long course, while Amy ran the shorter 80 kilometer event.

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Debbie was pretty much out of touch from Friday night until early Sunday morning. The long course started at 4:00 A.M. on Saturday. The race took her 21 hours and 38 minutes, which is a long time for a race of this distance. The point to point course reportedly had 13,000 feet of elevation gain, but figuring it was longer, it probably had more climbing too. I was a little nervous following her results on Sportstats. There were long delays in the posting of “real time” results. Results didn’t appear until an hour or two after she reached each aid station. This lag was maddening and I kept refreshing my iPhone Internet browser in an effort to stay up to date on her whereabouts.

I followed through the day and into the night. I got up to use the bathroom around 1:42 A.M. on Sunday and the results still showed she was on course. She had finished by then, but it was a couple more hours before they were updated online. I got up again around 4:00 A.M. and checked my iPad and it showed that she had finally finished, which was a huge relief. I slept better after that.

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She held 5th spot amongst the women, and was the first Masters runner (40+) all race long, but at the last aid station with a timing mat (Split BMR), she had given up a spot to another masters female. However, in the last two hours of the race, she closed a two-minute gap, and then prevailed, ending up back in 5th place with a restored 10 minute gap to the other woman. The only photo of Debbie is from when the course passed through Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie. She was taking a photo of the river, and a tourist offered to taken her picture.

She said the course was grueling, with lots of fresh-cut singletrack. This created  many tripping hazards. She said the temperature was cool, near freezing in the morning, and the sky was overcast with partial sun. She said it only rained lightly on a few of the higher mountains. Other runners reported some light snow on the higher taller summits. She used her UltrAspire lights and packs with success. She had some “issues” as she described them. This wasn’t her smoothest race. She is in good overall shape, but it sounds like her race execution wasn’t superb. I’ll leave the details and that part of the story for her to share as she likes, especially since I wasn’t there to witness it.

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The race is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour. It appears there were only 100 finishers under the 24 hour time cut. Technically, the 100th finisher was in 24 hours and 8 minutes, but she was counted in the results. That’s a high attrition rate given that there were 179 starters, including 24 women. Only nine women finished. Debbie said that the organizers made the race harder than last year, with more difficult trails, and that the cutoff times were tight. Even she was concerned about missing a time cut, but in the end, they weren’t a factor for her. She was definitely on course longer than she planned, but with her experience, it just meant more time in the woods.

Brian had a fine run, finishing 4th overall (and first Master Male) in 15 hours and 4 minutes. That fast time allowed him to get some sleep. So, after Debbie washed up around 2:30 A.M. on Sunday, they hit the road. It sounds like the kind of adventure that I would have loved! I was sad to miss it, but I filled my weekend with a mixture of family time, work, soccer, and cyclocross racing.

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It felt weird to follow Debbie from so far away, but she is super strong, fiercely independent, and built for this ultra lifestyle. She actually beat us home on Sunday. The kids and I were at Quad CX all day and didn’t get home until 7:00 P.M.

On Monday afternoon at work, I got an iMessage from an Ontario, Canada native by the name of Dale Witty. It included a photo of her ROADiD, which she apparently lost during the race. She suspects this may have happened when she removed her jacket. Dale finished about a half an hour in front of Debbie, so they were near each other on course, and obviously, at one point early in the race, he was behind her.

His note to me (my mobile number is on her iD) said, “Hi, my name is Dale Witty. I picked this up during the 125k Harricana UTHC on Saturday. Congrats to Debbie on finishing that tough race. Let me know if I should put this in the mail for you.”

What a fantastic gesture. I’m glad that since I wasn’t there…others were looking out for her!

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Race Results


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Another great @vermont50 in the books. #vermont50 #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders #crossspikes #trailrunning #ultrarunning #mountainbiking
I had an extraordinary and unexpected early morning run. Late last night I drove through heavy t-storms to #Vermont and couldn’t find a vacant motel anywhere near where I planned to stop. I ended up getting the last available room at the Quality Inn in Quechee at midnight. I awoke early, explored #QuecheeGorge at sunrise and then ran into the village. The basement door @simonpearceinc was already open and the hydro powered factory was buzzing with activity. I’ve visited several times, but seeing the operation humming at dawn was a thrill. I could have spent all day watching them make martini 🍸 glasses, but my time was short. #trailrunning #simonpearce
Last night, I got a fabulous tour of the brand new Yale Center for Musculoskeletal Care Surgical Center in #newhaven The technology and cost $$$$ was mind blowing. It wa devise to that there is much profit in Orthopaedic medical devices and procedures. I’m all in on efficiency and improving quality of care, but rising health care expenses remain a huge problem for @horsteng and many small and mid-sized businesses. I don’t want surgery, but after meeting the doctors at this amazing facility, this is the place to get knee, hip, shoulder, and other body work done.
Newtown #Cyclocross was a blast. @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #crossspikes
The @lego 5K Family Road Race is always so much fun. #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #lego #running 🏃🏽‍♂️🏃‍♀️
I made a quick afternoon trip to #centralpark for the @appalachianmountainclub YOP 50th anniversary celebration. We heard several exceptional speakers highlight the importance of getting kids outdoors. AMC will help get 9,000 kids outside in 2018. Despite my car and train adventure, I saw a lot of trees on a lovely day. I wish I could have taken a park lap or two on bike or foot. Sadly, I came straight from work and had no time. 🚙 🚊 🌲 #appalachianmountainclub
Lovely day for the first XC meet of the season. 🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏽‍♂️
Dodge Pond at Camp Kirkham #newhampshire
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