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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@trailrunningmom received a nice memento in the mail. #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning Awesome Day 2 at the @the_ccap #Cyclocross Camp. #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes #crossspikes #googinscross #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming 🚴🏽 Great ride with Tom. #teamhorstsports #madeinusa 🇺🇸 Day one of the @the_ccap Junior #Cyclocross Camp was awesome. #horstspikes #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming @trailrunningmom led another successful #Yoga at #Sunset for the #boltonlandtrust This year's venue was the #BoltonHeritageFarm It's been a tradition to move to a new spot each time. I got my first #cyclocross ride of the year in too! #yogini #yogi #shavasana Sightseeing on my second favorite road in #Connecticut #grassyhill #cycling #bicycle #sevencycles #horstengineering Camp was swell! @thecubscouts @boyscoutsofamerica #cubscouts #boyscouts #junenorcrosswebster I visited the new HQ of the @appalachianmountainclub that is under construction at 10 City Square in #Charlestown I had to ride by the #BunkerHill Monument at the end of the #FreedomTrail #Boston #sevencycles First time at the People's Forest Trail Race since 2011. This first image is the look of a dejected man who lost 25 minutes with a wrong turn on a big descent. That's costly in an 11 kilometer race. Even worse is that @trailrunningmom is the one who led him (and two other runners) off course! They survived. It was a nice day on the #FarmingtonRiver. #trailrunning #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders 🏃🏻⛰🏆

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