2020 CCAP Newtown Cyclocross & The Blue 2 Blue Challenge

The Newtown CX presented by CCAP has become an annual event for Team HORST Sports. I’ve done it seven of the last eight years. I only missed 2014. Last year, my race ended early with a puncture, but this year, I hung in there despite warm weather and the usual dose of hills at the 2nd Co. Governor’s Horse Guard farm.

The course is known for its undulating terrain and horse flops, which weren’t too bad this year. The Newtown CX has been around a while. For many years, it was held across the street at the Fairfield Hills complex, but in recent years, the horse farm has been the venue.

The race used to come at the end of the season in November or December, but again, in recent years, it has been early in September at the start of the season. During this weird COVID-19 pandemic impacted season, it is the first “official” race of the year. Today was actually supposed to be the Vermont 50, but it was cancelled like so many other events in 2020. The VT50 is very special for our family. This is only the second time since 1999 that we haven’t done the VT50.

CCAP has hosted the popular Rocky Hill Cyclocross Series each of the last three Wednesday nights. The finale is this coming week. CCAP has a good formula and so far, their efforts to promote cyclocross in 2020 have been well received. We are hoping for more races to come. We hear that there may be more in the works. The productions appear to be successful with good protocols in place to keep participants healthy. Of course, no one knows for sure, but being outdoors, wearing masks (when not racing), and maintaining social distance are all good ways to “live with” this virus.

The Team HORST Junior Squad had an excellent turnout. In the Junior 9-12 race, Dahlia Livingston was our sole representative. In the Junior 13-14 race, Boden Chenail, Lars Roti, and Alexandra Miller-Davey were our racers. Alex took the win amongst the girls. In the Junior 15-18 race, Shepard Livingston, Owen Wilson, and Ethan Wilson flew the team colors. Eli Skulte did the kids race on his blinged out bike.

I spotted a Dura Ace rear derailleur on his steed and noted to his engineer father (Andris Skulte), that I didn’t have Dura Ace when I was 4 1/2 years old. Andris’ reply was, “I’ve never had Dura Ace.” We had a good laugh about that one. Andris pulled the rear mech out of a scrap heap (of sorts) to upgrade Eli’s bike. All of the kids did great today and they were smiling behind their masks.

As for our Masters team, I was joined in the Men’s 40+ race by Andris. Racing at the same time in the 50+ race were Wade Summers, John Meyerle, and Paul Nyberg. It was great to see Paul back racing cross again. Brett Chenail was our lone representative in the Category 3/4 race. Wade was our highest finisher with 2nd in his age group.

Despite it being late September, it was warmer than normal for cyclocross, but it has been a hot summer and a hot start to fall. I had a good first four laps of my race, but faded in the final two. I could have used a drink and should have carried a bottle. There was no “feeding” in the race, which means no hand ups. I was mixing it up in the top three for a while, but then fell back to 5th. I had to work hard to hold that spot as Scott Rosenthal (quickly becoming a nemesis!) charged hard on the last lap to come up on my wheel, but I was able to put in another surge and hold him off. We’ve been battling at the Rocky Hill races too.

Shepard and Dahlia were both very happy with their efforts. To celebrate a fun weekend of activity, Debbie and I took them to Foundry Kitchen & Tavern for an awesome brunch. This was our first time at this restaurant. We dined outside and they had fabulous vegan options. There was a fantastic solo singer/guitarist playing tunes on the porch, and the place had a great vibe.

Newtown CX Race Results

It is also worth mentioning that yesterday, Debbie smashed the The Blue 2 Blue Challenge trail race. This was her first official ultra of the year. We have done many FKT’s, but she pinned on a number and pushed hard. The course started at West Rock and went out and back on the Regicides and Quinnipiac Trails. The turnaround was in her original hometown of Prospect. The total distance was 32 miles with nearly 7,000 feet of elevation gain and she finished in a fantastic 6:59:46. The rocky trail is rugged beyond belief, which is just perfect for her. She scored the win and finished 5th overall. I’m pumped for her. She also got to see many friends.

Debbie has been flying. She and I ran the Quinnipiac End-to-End earlier in the year and she is coming off of a win at the Cockaponset Trail Race last week and a bunch of awesome FKT’s including the Mattabesett Trail only two weeks ago.

It’s worth mentioning that Debbie is on a roll and just this week, the Trails Collective posted their interview with her from last month. Another top runner, Ellie Pell, conducted the interview and it is fantastic. It isn’t just about running, but it is about healthy living, nutrition, plant-based diets, teaching kids the value of exercise, yoga, and the mental fortitude that is as important as leg strength. Check it out.

It’s rare that I miss one of Debbie’s races, but I had too much going on and missed Blue 2 Blue. I was juggling the Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Directors Retreat (via Zoom), the HORST Engineering Golf Tournament, and some work.

The Blue 2 Blue Challenge Race Results

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