Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

Today was the 10th time I started the Vermont 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race. This race is the most important one on our annual list. It holds particular significance for our family and is a tradition that is bound to continue. It is well known that Debbie and I met at the 1999 Vermont 50 and that we have returned every year since. The 50 mile event doubles as a mountain bike race and an ultra-marathon trail run. This year’s race was blessed with very muddy and wet trails, but the conditions didn’t do anything to dampen the spirits of the riders and runners. 

After three of four September weekends with 31, 26.2, and 38 mile trail runs, Debbie opted to run the “short” 50 kilometer race. What’s another 31 miles? She had a great day and was first woman and fifth overall. Course changes and the muddy conditions prevented her from beating her course record, but she still ran strongly, nearly catching Bob Sharkey at the end. Bob had another fine run and proves that 50-plus year old runners can hammer. Another 50-plus runner who had a fabulous day was Jack Pilla. In the 50 miler, Jack broke seven hours and wasn’t far behind repeat winner Leigh Schmitt. Leigh smoked the course again. 


I got through this year’s race without any serious mechanical complications and only one minor crash. The battle for supremacy within the Horst-Benidorm-PRC Cycling Team was won by A. Zane Wenzel. He made his “winning” move while I was filling my hydration pack at Aid Station #7. I was hurting at that point and told him as we approached the feed that I was going to stop. He asked if I wanted him to wait, but I said it was his call. He waited for a bit, but I lingered and he seized the opportunity to get the gap that he held to the finish. There was little chance I would catch him because I was pretty toasted. I suffered through the final 15 miles and finished in 5:39:26, good for 84th place or so. Teammate Spike McLaughlin had a great second half comeback and caught me in the last mile. He opted for a kamikaze descent to the finish, while I coasted in a few seconds behind him. Matt Domnarski, Ted Donofrio, Art Roti/Mark Hixson (on tandem), and Randall Dutton all followed us. It was a great turnout for the team. 

The Vermont 50 really is a special race. It supports a great cause, Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sport, it has great volunteers (especially RD Mike Silverman pictured below), fabulous trails, generous land owners, good post-race food, awesome aid stations, goodie bags, cool sponsors, and a great vibe.  There is no question that we will be back in 2009…we already booked the Ascutney Mountain condo, complete with finish line view. 

It is fitting that the last image is a muddy one!

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#blackfriday didn’t start so badly! Great day at the #manchesterroadrace @shenipsitstriders #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports #thanksgiving 🏃🏻 If I always had the option to commute by train 🚂, I would take it. #multitasking 1h45m each way if uninterrupted productivity and NO driving. I even squeezed in a lap of #centralpark with Tim. 🏃🏻#manhattan #newyork Fir @john.meyerle because I neglected to post earlier: @supercross_cup This video is the Cat 4/5 Men. Great start for @the_ccap boys Nick and Johnny. #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Another great day at the @supercross_cup The #teamhorstjuniorsquad did great on the tricky and challenging course that was left muddy by overnight rain. The wind was fierce. The Junior 9-14 year olds did battle with the Category 4/5 Women. #teamhorstsports @vittoriaseries #supercrosscx #supercrosscup #horstengineering @horsteng #crossspikes #cyclocross Good morning from the windy @supercross_cup The overnight wind destroyed many a tent. It’s supposed to get windier. The rain has turned the course to muck. It’s going to be off-camber insanity. Myles Mattern is warming up for the Juniors 9-14 year old Race and showing how it’s done. Second video is the Cat 4/5 Men. Great start for @the_ccap boys Nick and Johnny. #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Suffering in Suffern!! @supercross_cup Day 1 #supercrosscup #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #horstengineering @horsteng @vittoriaseries #teamhorstjuniorsquad ☔️🚴🏽 Another great day at the @nohocx Day was marginally warmer, but the racing was even more intense. Even the Cub Juniors were throwing down! #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #horstengineering #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross #nohocx @lutzmuseum Children’s #Poetry Night. Little D wrote and recited. A welcome Friday night arts and culture moment before a (cold) weekend full of intense #cyclocross racing! #lutzmuseum 📚 🚲

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