2018 Gran Prix of Gloucester

Every year, the Gran Prix of Gloucester is the biggest cyclocross race in New England. It is occasionally referred to as the “world championships of New England.” It draws the best competition and with that, comes bragging rights in the region.

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Team Horst Sports and the CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad ventured to Cape Ann on the north shore of Massachusetts for the 20th anniversary of this classic. For me, it was a mixed bag. My form is reaching a peak, and I’m stoked about that, but on Sunday, misfortune hit me again as I flatted with 2.5 laps to go on the gnarly course. I was riding strong, just inside the top 40 overall, in a field of 105 Masters 40+ and Junior 15-18 year old racers. Since when is top 40 “riding strong?”

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When you are Gloucester. The competition was fierce and the racing was flat-out. I was a long way from the pit, and had to run more than half a lap to get to my bike, which is my singlespeed. So, the last two laps were like a parade for me, just trying to finish. With the singlespeed on this course, there was only so fast I could go. I couldn’t make up any ground and truthfully, lost two more spots even after I pitted. In total, I lost nearly 25 spots. Oh well.

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Alas, that was not the highlight of the weekend. Saturday went better for me, despite the extreme conditions. Our 11:30 A.M. race was cold, rainy, and very muddy. It made for some of the toughest cross conditions in memory. I managed 36th in the stacked field of 102 riders. I was the 21st Masters rider. There were 15 Juniors in front of me, and they were very fast. I was satisfied with this result because I often struggle in muddy and slick conditions. I hung in there and was able to beat all but one of the group of six that I was battling with over the last two laps.

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Most of them were juniors, including the one guy who got away from us with 1.5 laps to go. I gave it my all, and led our group for the entire last lap and a half, stringing them out in the process. I nearly caught that lone rider on the line too, and finished only one second behind him. On Saturday, I had good power and that is why Sunday’s result was so frustrating. I felt even better yesterday in the dry and cool conditions, and normally have a strong second day when we have a double race weekend.

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The rest of the team also had a good weekend. Despite Saturday’s rain and cold, we enjoyed the beauty of Stage Fort Park. We did a few rides up the coast and around the point in East Gloucester. The cool down after yesterday’s race was another highlight because three of the Junior Squad members joined us for the coastal ride and we all enjoyed the ocean views.

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On Day 1, some of us hung around all day, and the weather improved. By late afternoon, the skies had cleared and the sun was shining brightly. We watched the Elite Women and then the Elite Men. The guys had a great battle and it was a very entertaining race to watch.

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It was a lot of work to pack up, but the entire team spent time together at a local hotel. We shared a fun meal and recounted the first day. Day 2 was all about the racing, and then we packed up again, with most of us leaving early in the afternoon before the racing was over. Two races 2.5 hours from home on an October weekend is a lot. However, for Gloucester, it was worth the effort.

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Shepard had a fine weekend, finishing 20th on Sunday and 19th on Saturday in a strong Cub Juniors 9-14 field that shared the course as the same time as the Category 4/5 Women. He got to ride in traffic and experienced the excitement of Gloucester for the second year in a row. Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, Lars Roti, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon all had good rides. So did the children of other Team Horst members: Nate Summers, Amanda Meyerle, and Johnny Meyerle (in the combined Masters/Juniors race with me).

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On the Masters side, Art Roti, John Meyerle, Brett Chenail, Wade Summers, Dave Geissert, and Keith Enderle all raced hard. Dave got the “flat bug” like I did. Other than our misfortune, the other guys were strong. Tim Rourke did yeoman’s work as a course marshal, with the awesome finish line location. His volunteer work was a symbol of our experience at Gloucester. It was all good.

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Race Results, Day 1

Race Results, Day 2

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I got to sample the fun activities at Boy Scouts @troop25ct Camp Kirkham. I slept under the amazing stars. We had a full agenda of geocaching, archery, cooking, disc golf, and paddling. I even squeezed in a run to the top of Silver Mountain where I had a 360 degree view. #boyscouts
It was great fun cheering for the Bolton Center School XC Team and their coach @trailrunningmom at The Panther Fest. Go Bulldogs! #crosscountry #trailrunning ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฟ
#carfreecommute #wickhampark
Itโ€™s easy to love the infamous water (muck) crossing at the Trails to a Cure (Cockaponset Trail Race). We felt like sea monsters! I canโ€™t believe how out of breath I was after fetching my camera at the finish and running the 1/4 mile back to catch @trailrunningmom and Shepard make their crossings. Either hey are getting faster or I am getting slower! Maybe more swim-run is in our future. ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #blueblazedtrail #trailrunning
Good fun kicking off the 2019 #cyclocross season at the #QuadCross It was also the launch of the 2019 @zanksscx which is my prime CX objective. #crossisboss @horstcycling #horstcycling #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #sevencycles
Yesterdayโ€™s late afternoon ride was fantastic. The #hoprivertrail to #airlinetrail to #charteroakgreenway is now my favorite loop. The natural beauty that starts right out my front door is proof that #connecticut trails are VERY underrated. I even got to share several miles with @pearljam09 #railtrail @eastcoastgreenway #eastcoastgreenway #bicycle #sevencycles #evergreening
Shepard had an awesome two weeks at @troop25ct Camp Kirkham in #newhampshire Some of the learning included First Aid, Fish & Wildlife, Sports, Photography, and Swimming. It will be great to have him back home. @boyscoutsofamerica
Little D and I passed though our favorite state on the way to NH this morning. #vermont
I dusted off my #triathlon gear for the first time in more than two years. I had to wipe mold off my running shoes, and it felt good to wash my bike. Itโ€™s good to know I can still throw it down at 47 but I will admit that we all got thrashed by a talented 15-year-old Junior. At least I got my photo with him! Iโ€™m waiting for his Dad to message it to me. ๐Ÿ˜€ MY Dad even pulled out a vintage 2002 race shirt to honor the occasion. The weather at the @hmf_events Niantic Bay Triathlon was spectacular. We saw lots of old friends. ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ๐Ÿšด๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿฟ#teamhorstsports @horstcycling #shenipsitstriders @seven_cycles #sevencycles

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