2010 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

This past Sunday was the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run. This is the most special race that we do. For the first and only time since 1999, I was a spectator. Debbie ran the 50 kilometer trail race, placing 2nd to a very strong Amy Lane. She has finished 2nd in the 50 mile numerous times (never winning) but has at least come first in the 50K before. This year, she was a bit off the pace, but smiling and having a great time nonetheless.

It is hard not to smile when you are at the VT50. The combination of the mountain bike race and trail running race is unique. So unique that it allowed Debbie and I to meet for the first time in the parking lot at the Ascutney Mountain Resort. A lot has changed in 11 years. I even saw that the lodge was boarded up and I heard that the resort was in foreclosure. The state of affairs is symbolic of 2009 and a far cry from boom-boom 1999 when we first did this race.

Our family has evolved now too. We are married, have two children, and it isn’t as easy to schlep all the gear to the race. However, we aren’t slowing down. With the Big One less than two weeks away, it was prudent for me to perform Daddy Duty, observe, and take pictures. We didn’t get hitched at the race in 2001, but we did do the race weeks before our actual wedding. However, this year marked a first. A pair of mountain bikers got married on the course. Fabulous. I was happy to hear that the VT50 is special for them too.

Team Horst had an awesome year. Debbie represented us in the run, while Arlen Zane Wenzel, Michael Wonderly, Matt Domnarski, Art Roti,  Mark Hixson, and Randall Dutton rode the 50 miler. Everyone had fine rides. AZW had a PR and broke the top-25. Michael, a fabulous new addition to our squad, was only a few minutes behind him. Matt had  great ride and was high up in his age group. Art and Mark were victorious in the tandem division. They crushed the competition on the super fast course. Randall had his best ride in years.

The unusually dry weather made for a dusty track. I did hear more complaints than usual. The 7:30 start time for the 50K seemed to cause more traffic on the trails. It may simply be that the running race is growing. Both runners and bikers expressed frustration about the trail congestion. This is one of the few races done at the same time on the same course like this, so most are tolerant of the situation. I’ve ridden and run, so I’ve seen it both ways. The MTB field is always sold out, with 700+ bikers. With great weather, everyone showed. The runners fields are growing, so it may be time to revisit the dual nature of this race. Still, I’m a purist. If they weren’t held at the same time, Debbie and I may never have crossed paths. I vote to keep them together!

There were some fast folks on the trails. The overall men’s MTB winner was Jason Sager who came from Ogden, UT. He smoked the course in 4:06:47. Second fastest was Peter Ostroski and third was Andrew Freye. On the women’s side, Bryna Blanchard was first in 4:56:14. Second was Kelly Ault and third was Sinead Fitzbibbon.

In the 50 mile run, first male was Brian Rusiecki in 6:36:08. He has had an awesome year. Second was Glen Redpath, one of those veteran runners who isn’t slowing down. Glen was top-10 at the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run this year. Third was Gabriel Helmlinger. Speaking of senior runners who are getting faster with age, 55-year-old Jack Pilla, was fourth. Aliza Lapierre, coming off a podium finish at the Transrockies Run, was first in 7:22:19. She was followed by Riva Johnson and Serena Wilcox.

In the 50 kilometer run, first was Dane Mitchell in a very quick 3:42:52. He was followed by Scott Sternthal and Joe Carrara. Amy Lane led the women in 4:46:50. She was followed by Debbie Livingston and Laurie Greenberg, who were only 12 seconds apart. Fortunately for Debbie, the race finishes with a very big descent down some ski trails. She was able to hold off Laurie in a mad dash for the finish.

I had a blast hanging out with the kids and seeing the race from a totally different perspective. We spent time at Dugdale’s Aid Station. There was a good crowd of more than 100 people watching and helping. Even Stan Tiska was there. We had a great chat. The volunteers really make this race special.

We also spent time at Johnson’s, the last aid station on the course before the final 2.5+ miles to the finish. The volunteers were super friendly. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are kind to let the race literally go up their drive way and through the back yard of their farmhouse. They are CT transplants (West Hartford) so I felt some kinship. I want a farm in Vermont too! They took the time to show our son a newborn calf, though he stepped in a little cow pie and I spent half of the afternoon trying to scrape it out of his sneakers.

I saw so many friends on the trails and liked being a spectator, but there is no question that I will be back in 2011. I’m thinking about riding it again, maybe on a singlespeed. After years of see-saw battles, I owe it to my friend and teammate, Arlen Zane Wenzel, to show him who is really the top Horst rider at the VT50!

I wasn’t able to shoot everyone, but I got a fair amount of photos, though I missed the 50 mile runners.

Mountain bike photos from Dugdale’s and Johnson’s.

50 kilometer trail run photos from the start, Dugdale’s, Johnson’s, and the finish.

Race Results

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@thecubscouts #pinewoodderby never gets old. Pack 157 Bolton, Connecticut #cubscouts So that little injury caused by my @renocxnats crash on Saturday afternoon wasn’t so little after all. It’s a broken leg (fibula). Prognosis is good, but it hurts like heck. My blog post report with blow by blow details is linked in my profile. #cxnats #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #crossisboss - - -

This #lifedeathcyclocross stuff is true!!!! I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏

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