2017 Winding Trails Summer Tri Series & West Rock Superprestige Short Track Series

In the past two weeks, one excellent series ended and another one began. The West Rock Superprestige Short Track Mountain Bike Series is a real gem. Team Horst Sports was well represented throughout the series. Sean Rourke, one of our star riders from the Horst Junior Squad, won his age group in style. He made all four races. They were every other week on Thursday nights.

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Along with my son, Shepard, I made races #3 and #4. With the Juniors starting at 5:15 P.M. in Hamden, it was a haul from East Hartford, especially because I had to pick up Shep at school in Bolton. Thankfully, the final race was after the school year ended. For the finale, he and I were joined by Debbie and our daughter.

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These short track races were super challenging. The courses were slightly different week to week, but they all featured the rugged trails of West Rock Nature Center. I just got the post series survey, and I had nothing but good things to say. The Juniors did a shortened and less technical course, but the A and B adult races were full-bore.

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I raced singlespeed and had great battles in both races. I was second both weeks and had an absolute blast. If you did this every other week, you wouldn’t need to train! The workout was that intense. Each race was followed by an awesome pizza party and a “bonfire” in the park’s amphitheater. The finale attracted lots of family and friends, included some pot-luck additions, and then ice cream for the kids.

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The crew from D’Aniello’s Amity Bike and the Laurel Bicycle Club, led by Kurt D’Aniello, are the masterminds behind the series. They had great volunteers. CCAP was involved with the series, which made it even better. I’m looking forward to the 2018 series. If we can make it work, we will aim to do the whole series. Hopefully the format doesn’t change.

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Another great series, that just started three weeks ago, is the Winding Trails Summer Tri Series. This 10 week off-road triathlon series is one of my favorite races. I’ve done many over my career. Last year, I did nine out of 10. This year, Debbie, Shepard, and I are aiming to do five. Our son does the Tiny Tri, and we do the full  course, which is a 1/4 miles swim/5 mile mountain bike/3 mile run.

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Last year, Debbie and I both placed second in overall for men and women. Without doing eight races, we will be hard pressed to score that high in 2017, but we do these for fun anyway.  The Winding Trails races are a great beginner triathlon. In addition to the Tiny Tri, three times over the summer, there is a kids race, which our daughter will do. It’s a great introduction to the sport.

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We missed the first race, but made the last two weeks. This week, thunder and lightning forced the cancellation of the swim, so we had a duathlon, which was fine. We avoided rain, as it had stopped before we got to the start line. I’ve already had some good battles in weeks two and three. In week two, I had to hold off Steve Sadler, who did a great job on the mountain bike leg. I was able to outrun him. He was followed by my rival, Jon Arellano, who won the series in 2016. Jon had a second child recently, so his sleep hasn’t been great and his bike training has been lacking. I hate to take advantage of a new Dad, but I had to drop the hammer on him anyway!

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In week three, the duathlon format favored me, so I was able to stay close to the front-runners for the first one mile run, and then quickly get ahead on the bike. I was in no man’s land for the entire bike and the second run. Jon closed fast, but I had enough of a buffer to hold him off. Steve was third.

We were treated with a great sunset. Each week, we follow the racing by holding the “Grand Feast” with the Schulz Family. Aubrey and Ken have two little ones and our kids, who coined the term, have been coming to these races since they were infants, so they love to hang out and play with them. We do dinner in the parking lot and then head for home. It’s a lot to pack into a weeknight after work, but it’s worth it. I’m looking forward to more fun races at Winding Trails in July and August.

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#sunset #md90 🌞✈️ #echoamphitheater #carsonnationalforest #newmexico Stopping to stretch our legs and use the potty was the best $2 I've spent in a while. I even borrowed a nickel from @trailrunningmom and got rid of the 95 cents in my pocket. Amazing #durango #colorado trails. These are the #HorseGulchTrails near @fortlewiscollege which has an amazing #cycling culture. When I raced collegiates @bcclubcycling & @bucycling in the early 90's, it wasn't anything like what's happening with the powerhouse @flccycling team. What an amazing backyard. Imagine rolling out of your dorm and onto this landscape. I would never go to class! Don't tell my kids I said that! #mountainbiking #cyclocross #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstspikes 🚵‍♀️ @trailrunningmom finished in 41 hours and 1 minute. #hr100 #hardrock100 #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #trailrunning #ultrarunning #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom  at the #hr100 #womenofultrarunning @trailrunningmom left the Chapman Aid Station at 2:10 P.M. I paced her from Ouray (56.6 miles) to Chapman (82.2 miles). @ultramarathondan will take her to the finish of the @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 Most importantly, she is in good spirits and despite the altitude, is moving OK on the climbs, albeit slowly. As for the descents, her legs are trashed but she is still bombing them. Finish could be in the 40-42 hour range if all goes well. Who knows? Lots of variables! Fingers crossed. I have tons of photos to go through, so I selected one of our crew with Deb as she headed out for the final 18 miles. #trailrunning #ultrarunning #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports We finally reconnected with @trailrunningmom She arrived at Grouse Gulch, 42.2 miles at 8:33pm and departed at 8:50pm. She was soaked to the bone after climbing her first ever 14,000 foot peak. Handies had lots of hail and rain. She changed every piece of clothing and shoes and felt much better. The drive to/from was white knuckle insanity with our rental. @ultramarathondan is with her now. It will be a long night. I'll see her in Ouray. Our kids  have been awesome. Mom just wants to finish, but a long way to go. @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰ With all this tracking technology, it's nice to see the old school method still in use. This is @hardrock100 #hr100 #hardrock100 HQ in #silverton #colorado #trailrunning #ultrarunning 🏃🏻⛰

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