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Seven Cycles Tour

Today I returned to Seven Cycles for another fun tour of their Watertown, MA factory. This time, I was joined by friends from Team HORST Sports and the CCAP Team HORST Junior Squad, including my son Shepard. Earlier this year, our bicycle shop sponsor (and recently new Seven Cycles dealer) Bicycles East, hosted a fantastic open house with several custom bikes on display.

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I periodically write about Seven Cycles because I’ve had a long affiliation with the custom bicycle frame builder. They are one of my favorite bicycle industry companies. Taking the kids from our mountain biking/cyclocross squad was an awesome idea. They were thrilled. We had mountain bike practice last night at Rye Street Park, and regrouped today to see how custom mountain bikes are made.

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One of the coolest things we saw was Seven’s new Mobius full suspension mountain bike. I ride I rigid singlespeed Seven, and even I though the Seven Suspension Technology was cool.

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I’ll never turn down a shop tour, and even though I’ve been through the Seven plant on multiple occasions, I always learn something new. It was a real treat for Shepard to see where his parents’ bikes were built.

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He and I had a good day trip to the Boston area. I had to swing by my regular hotel in Danvers to pick up an item that I left in my room last week. Then, we visited HORST Sterling Machine, our MA Operations, for more metalworking excitement. It was great to see the crew. Our CT Operations were closed today, and that is what made the Boston area trip possible. We were open in MA because that plant site gets Presidents Day off instead. He and I were back on the road by 3:00 P.M. and he got a taste of what Boston traffic is all about. I frequently talk about the pain and suffering of the Mass Pike. He got to experience it first hand.

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Anyway, it was a fun day. Thanks goes to the folks at Seven Cycles for hosting us. Anytime I see something neat Made in USA, I get pumped and you could tell that the kids felt the same way.

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Bicycles East and Seven Cycles

Last Thursday, Bicycles East hosted an “Evening with Seven Cycles” event at their shop in Glastonbury, CT. Debbie and I were stoked to have six of our bikes on display.

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The event was the “grand opening,” to celebrate Bicycles East becoming an official Seven Cycles dealer. My relationship with Seven goes way back–the go back to before their founding. In 1992, with help from my grandfather, and after working a lot of overtime (in the turning department) at Horst Engineering, I saved up and bought a Spectrum Titanium. I still ride that beautiful bike. Tom Kellogg designed it, but it was fabricated at Merlin Metalworks, the legendary Boston area titanium frame building company.

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Several of Seven’s founders, including principal founder Rob Vandermark, cut their teeth at Merlin. Rob was a welder, and he may have even welded my Spectrum. The bike went back to Tom Kellogg for final finishing. I raced that bike in more than a hundred road races, including all of the Belgian kermesses that I competed in during the summer of 1994. The fact that my grandfather, who learned metalworking at a German bicycle factory in his teens, helped me get that bike makes it one of the most special in my fleet.

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Merlin folded, but the seeds were sown for the founding of Seven more than 23 years ago. I acquired my first Seven about 15 years ago, a Tsunami cyclocross bike that I raced all over New England. I even raced it at the Cape Town Cycle Tour in South Africa. It wasn’t long after acquiring the Tsunami, that I got my first Sola mountain bike.

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I’ve been affiliated with Team Seven Cycles since 2010 when they built me a custom Kameha SLX for the Ironman World Championships. I’ve been fortunate to benefit from the relationship and have been an ambassador for the company ever since. I have several Seven’s now, as does Debbie.

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So, it made sense that Bicycles East, a key Team Horst Sports sponsor and partner, should become a dealer. The team at the shop has been working on my bikes for several years now. I had an opportunity to make a connection between the two companies, and I’m confident this will be a great relationship. Bicycles East has a world-class bike fit studio and they run a very smooth operation. Owners Steve and Deb Dauphinais put a lot of pride into their small business and it shows.

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So, if you are local and want to see a Seven up close, you can check some out at Bicycles East. Of course, you can also always visit my basement.

Seven Cycles

Two weeks ago, when loading my beloved singlespeed Seven Sola 29SL into the trailer prior to the Hop Brook Dam Mountain Bike Race, I noticed that the top tube was cracked. It was a bummer and I missed the race. We still went to Middlebury, CT because our son did the Junior race.

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I hadn’t ridden that bike since the prior Monday at the Dirty Duathlon in Glastonbury, CT. It’s possible that the crack appeared before that ride, but it certainly got worse on the bumpy course at the Longo Preserve.

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I wrote about this bike in 2012, though I’ve been racing it hard since 2011. It is made from Titanium, and the crack went from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. so the top tube was nearly severed. It would have been ugly, if  it came apart while riding. The crack started at the bottom of the weld and worked its way in both directions.

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Titanium failures are rare, but they do occur. Usually, the root cause was a bad weld. One of the benefits of a raw Titanium frame is that it can be repaired. I reached out to the team at Seven Cycles in Watertown, MA. They came up with a game plan and I dropped it off the next day. Fortunately, I had to be at Sterling Machine in Lynn on Tuesday, so the timing was good. We work with Titanium all of the time, but not tubing. Our raw material is solid bar stock and plate. Also, we don’t weld it. Our experience with the strong (but light) metal is exclusively with machining, grinding, and thread rolling.

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One week later, I picked up the repaired bike, and it looked like new. They couldn’t match the decals perfectly, but that is minor considering the extent of the repair. They completely disassembled the bike. They cut off the top tube. They cut the down tube away from the head tube. They replaced the head tube and the top tube. Finally, they re-finished the frame, and rebuilt it with all of the parts.

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They did the best they could to tune the Gates Carbon Belt drivetrain, but it still needs some work. It’s too bad because I had the tension of the belt dialed in perfectly, and it hadn’t slipped in five years. After I picked up the bike, I drove over to the Middlesex Fells to test itout. Unfortunately, the belt is slipping on steep climbs, so we have some tuning to do.

The fact that they repaired the frame is fantastic. I’m glad this frame didn’t end up in the scrap bin. All of my Seven’s are “lifetime” bikes. Kudos to everyone involved with the repair. Despite needing to do more tweaking with the set-up, I’m pleased with the outcome, considering that two weeks ago, this bike was unrideable.

I raced the bike today at the Fat Tire Classic in Farmington, CT.

Team Seven Cycles

For the past three years, I have been affiliated with Team Seven Cycles, which is really cool. The group is made up of some great cycling ambassadors who get support from Seven Cycles, the iconic Watertown, Massachusetts manufacturer of custom bicycles.

It’s great being on the team because it compliments my involvement with Team Horst Sports and the Horst Engineering Cycling Team. Also, Seven Cycles is a well-run organization with wonderful employees and a unique culture. I am fortunate to be the owner of several Seven bikes, including two new ones. During my first year on the team, my focus was on Ironman Brazil and the Ironman World Championships. Seven built me an incredibly versatile Kameha SLX that I have used in 30 diverse triathlons to date, and I’ll be racing it again on Sunday morning. I wanted a bike that would last many years and not just look like the latest fast bike fad.

The bike is super comfortable at any distance and on any type of road. For the past two years, the bike has been featured on Seven’s home page, which is pretty cool. It proves that even the builders, who have seen some nice bikes over the years, consider it a special one. Last year, I didn’t get a bike, but in 2012, I’ve made up for it. Seven expanded the team and I was fortunate to again work with them on a bike project. Dan Vaillancourt managed the project for Seven with support from their engineering team. One bike turned into two!

In 2012, my focus remains on triathlon, but half of those tri’s are off-road and I’m also doing a couple of long distance mountain bike races. I’ve always wanted a single speed mountain bike, and Seven helped make that wish come true. They worked with me to build a Sola SL 29er singlespeed. The complete bike weighs in at a lightweight 18.9 pounds.

The titanium frame is coupled with a Niner RDO carbon fork. Not only is it singlespeed, but it is rigid.  I’ve got a Shimano Deore XT crankset with a Gates Carbon Belt Drive system, which should become a popular trend. The frame was split on the right seat stay so that the belt could be assembled. The frame is held together with a couple of bolts and has rocker style dropouts to adjust belt tension. The front sprocket is a 46 and the rear is a 26, which is a 1.769 gear ratio, equivalent to gearing is equivalent to a 32 x 18 on a chain style single speed. I’m using Shimano SPD pedals.

I’ve got a Chris King headset in the oversized 44mm head tube. It has a Seven titanium handlebar and a Seven aluminum stem. I’m running Shimano Deore XT hydraulic disc brakes mounted on Stan’s ZTR Crest stock wheels. I’m holding my water bottle with a stainless steel King Cage. The seat post is a Thompson aluminum mated to a Fizik Gobi saddle.

Bike parts have come a long way since I was riding my 1987 Specialized Stumpjumper, which had Shimano Deore parts on it. I miss that classic bike.

Seven wrote about the new Sola SL in their blog.

It turns out that the most amount of time that I spend on a bike is commuting to and from work. My commutes are a mix of road and trail. It is the best way for me to build and maintain fitness, and I feel great about the carbon free riding. I dreamt up the perfect bicycle to fit this need and Seven built it. I call it my “super commuter,” but it is much more than that. The bike is suitable for fast road riding, dirt roads, rail trail, randonee, light touring, and brevets. I haven’t raced it yet, but I will. I wanted to make the perfect bike for every day riding in New England whether I’m at home in Connecticut or on the dirt roads of Vermont.

My commute is 13.4 miles to work in East Hartford on the direct, all road route. Horst Engineering  is only 1,000 feet from the Connecticut River, so the ride is downhill to the valley. The ride home is uphill most of the way to my home in Bolton at 590 feet above sea level. The direct route home is slightly longer (avoiding a few intersections) and I often extend the ride to get a little more time in the saddle. The main route is primarily on a major road, Route 44 which goes down Middle Turnpike and then Burnside Avenue, a couple of crazy urban thoroughfares with bad reputations.

I have to deal with lots of rough roads, potholes, railroad tracks, and road debris. I often ride in the dark, so in fall/winter I’ll outfit the bike with lights. When I have the time, I often take the Hop River Linear Trail, which goes right in front of our house. I can take the cinder rail trail for the first (or last) eight miles of the trip when I take the longer 17 mile route. Occasionally, I ride the bike paths along Interstate 84 and at other times, I ride the Hockanum River trails in East Hartford which have a series of wooden bridges, a little bit of singletrack, and some fairly rough sections of trail. I enjoy the various options, and I wanted a bicycle that could handle it all.

So, my new Axiom SL was designed to meet those needs. It is a titanium frame/Seven carbon fork combo with extra clearance to fit 28cm tires and full fenders. I’m running an 11 speed Campagnolo Chorus group set with a 34 x 50 compact crankset and 12 x 25 cassette mounted on custom-built wheels. The wheels are Mavic Open Pro rims mated to Chris King R45 hubs with DT Swiss spokes and alloy nipples. My Horst Engineering colleague and Team Seven Cycles teammate, Arthur Roti, did the wheel build. I have 28cm Panaracer t serv PTtires fit to the wheels, which are fantastic. I’m using Velo Orange Grand Cru brake calipers to reach around the fenders.

The cockpit of the bike has a Chris King headset with the understated Sotto Voce logo, 3T handlebars, and a Seven aluminum stem. The seatpost is a Seven carbon model painted black mated to a San Marco Concor saddle. The frame and fork were custom painted, as were the Velo Orange fenders. The paint scheme includes the same colors that are on my Kameha SLX. I didn’t see Seven’s post-paint blog post and photo until after the bike was built. The stout stainless steel rear rack was designed and built by one of Seven’s welders. I should be able to fit a good-sized trunk bag and load it up with up to 30 pounds worth of gear. I’m using Speedplay Zero pedals.

Last month, I took the two bikes out on separate mornings to visit the Bolton Heritage Farm (Rose Farm). I’ll report back in the coming weeks as I get more time on these incredible bicycles. Thanks to Seven Cycles and Team Seven Cycles for the velo-inspiration! I consider myself quite fortunate to ride bikes like these. Now I have to honor them by going fast.

Seven Cycles Development Squad

Last week, I was thrilled to receive notice that I was chosen for the 2010 Seven Cycles Development Squad. Seven launched this group in 2009, but I didn’t apply until this year. I had forgotten about the February submittal, so it was wonderful to get the good news during a crazy week. With the month end/quarter end and all of the rain on Monday and Tuesday, it didn’t seem like there would be much joy heading into last weekend.

The skies cleared, I got the notification, we met our budgeted goals, and the holiday weekend arrived with much promise. Seven’s grassroots racing team is made up of 20 members from all over the United States. They race in all of the major cycling disciplines, including road cycling, cyclocross, mountain biking, and multisport (triathlon/duathlon). I do all of those sports, so I had some decisions to make about which new bicycle frame to go with as part of the program. My major 2010 events are in the triathlon discipline and it made sense to go with a triathlon/time trial machine.

I built up a Cannondale Slice last year, but it is a stock bike. So, I considered a cyclocross frame, a singlespeed mountain bike, abut ultimately, I chose the Kameha SLX. It is going to take some work to get it made, assembled, and tested prior to the big May race. In anyone can meet the deadline, Seven can. I’m excited to join this group of accomplished riders. True to the grassroots style, this group wasn’t selected only because we were a speedy bunch, but because we have been identified as good ambassador for Seven.

Seven Cycles was founded in 1997. The company is based in Watertown, Massachusetts. I have been a fan since the beginning. I spent five years in Boston in the early 1990’s when the custom bike world grew up. The big Boston names in those days were Merlin Metalworks and Fat Chance. Seven’s founder and president, Rob Vandermark, learned the bike trade at Merlin. The Boston bicycle community is one of the best. I’m not slamming Hartford or Connecticut, but the urban environment and culture of the big city makes a huge difference in the world of bikes.

Seven has been different since their founding. Their about page gives a good overview. From my perspective, they are one of the only bicycle product manufacturing companies that I know that takes their manufacturing processes seriously. I’m sure there are other great companies in the industry, but they do a fantastic job at marketing their approach to lean enterprise. I’ve toured their factory in the past, and it is evident that they approach their trade in a very workmanlike manner with teamwork at the core of what they do. They take great pride in their production system, and their consistently short lead times are a great metric. This approach makes them very successful. The designs of the products are fabulous. They have developed many proprietary methods and show true range in the types of materials that they work with. I have not been to the factory since the launch of their A6 Carbon Technology platform in 2006, so I am looking forward to a return visit, and of course to the Kameha, which uses their carbon technology.

In addition to carbon fiber, the company produces bicycle frames in titanium and steel. They produce accessories (e.g. forks, stems, etc.) from carbon fiber, titanium, steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. Most of the manufacturing is done in-house, which is a real differentiator in this day and age of outsourcing. They take pride in USA and New England built products. I live and breathe manufacturing at Horst Engineering, so it is great to see an accomplished local company in the bicycle products space when so much of that industry has migrated to Taiwan, China, and other parts of Asia.

I wrote a story about Seven and the reemergence of the US bicycle industry, for the November/December 2005 issue of Today’s Machining World magazine. The cover story was about Seven and their best practices. In June of 2008, I wrote a another cover story for TMW, about SRAM, an industry leader in bicycle components (they don’t build frames). SRAM is a contrast from Seven and their USA based manufacturing. SRAM, though based in Chicago, almost exclusively produces their parts offshore.

Seven is obviously committed to reinvesting in their business. The main evidence of this is their consistent research and development efforts. They are excellent at a concept known as customization. They crank out hundreds of unique bicycle frames every year and rely on their dealer network to help provide customers with a proper bike fit, distribute, and retail the product. Sticking with bicycle shops is good for their community involvement and allows them to expand their reach. Selling direct, through catalog, or internet would not permit this.

I will be working with a new Seven dealer, the Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington, Massachusetts.

As said, I’m excited for the new bike and to be part of the Seven Development Squad.

Frame Building Heaven-Meet the Makers at Signature Cycles

Greenwich, Connecticut was the place to be yesterday afternoon. Four representatives from four legendary bicycle frame building companies came together at Signature Cycles for a one of a kind event. Meet the Makers was billed as, “A premier and exclusive meeting of four of the world’s finest Custom Frame Builders in one location to discuss the story of their success building the best bicycles on the planet and what they have planned for the future.”

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Gary Smith, Ben Serotta, Rob Vandermark, and Bob Parlee

Gary Smith, Ben Serotta, Rob Vandermark, and Bob Parlee

When I realized that I wouldn’t have time to get to Indianapolis for the NAHBS, I was disappointed. Then, I stumbled across a press release on-line that mentioned this special event much closer to home. Driving to Greenwich, one of the most affluent communities on Earth, at a time of world economic turmoil, was an experience in itself. I pass through from time to time, but this time, it triggered all kinds of thoughts about success, excess, and greed. They often mix together. Enough about that. Still, you can’t shake the thought from your head when you see bicycles selling for more than $20,000. That’s right…more than a lot of automobiles sell for these days. 

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Paul Levine of Signature Cycles.

The main event was preceded by a morning ride around Southwestern Connecticut. I didn’t make the ride, but several of the builders joined a group of local cyclists to tour the area roads. That must have been fun. 

I made the trip down the Merritt Parkway and I-95, with my long time friend; Craig Damaschi. Back in high school, Craig is the guy (kid at the time) who really got me into cycling. We were both runners on the cross country team, but we both preferred bikes. He had such an intense passion for the sport of cycling and adored its European roots. His Italian heritage gave him a cool flair that was perfect for the sport. He had all the bike magazines and he had the hottest bike (a 50th anniversary Scwhinn Paramount built from Columbus SLX tubing) of anyone I knew. It put my Shogun to shame. I upgraded in due time! Craig even had the coolest Oakley sunglasses. When I learned of the Signature event, I immediately thought of Craig. He has returned to cycling after years of dabbling in cars, motorcycles (don’t let his mother read this), marriage, and fatherhood. Actually, he isn’t dabbling in either marriage or fatherhood. He is neck deep in both, which is how life evolves for many of us. That only means less time for bikes. So a little childcare help from our in-law’s allowed for a Saturday diversion to travel to the fantasy world of Signature Cycles. It was just what the doctor ordered. 

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Craig Damaschi, the new Serotta Meivici AE, and Ben Serotta.

The event featured Bob Parlee of Parlee Cycles, Ben Serotta of Serotta Bicycles, Gary Smith of Independent Fabrication, and Rob Vandermark of Seven Cycles. My expectations for the event were high. Signature Cycles is not your ordinary bike shop. They have showrooms in Connecticut (Greenwich) and New York (Central Valley and Manhattan). Signature focuses on the high end of the bicycle market and specializes in custom fit. They only carry five brands, including the four mentioned, and Guru. Signature is not the place to bring your broken down and rusty Huffy for a spring tune up. To compare Signature with other retailers is difficult. It would be like going to a car dealership that only sells, Ferrari, Porsche, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Aston Martin. How is that for a list of marquis brands? I actually know a dealership like that in Coral Gables, Florida. It is called The Collection. I wonder how they are fairing in this economy? Needless to say, Signature Cycles has quite a “collection” of bicycles. 

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Signature’s Paul Levine (President), Lori Hoefer (Store Manager), and Soren Klingsporn were our hosts for the day. They did a wonderful job at creating a cool atmosphere to hear these influential icons of the industry speak. This is the kind of customer appreciation event that can do wonders for your image, but the 65F degree March weather outside the building threw the Signature team a curve ball. The weather was the likely cause of some empty seats in the room, which seemed to be the only disappointment. This group of speakers deserved to have a full house. The complimentary refreshments were a nice touch, but the main course was the question and answer session with the company leaders of Independent Fabrication, Serotta Bicycles, Seven Cycles, and Parlee Cycles. 

Paul Levine did a nice introduction and as moderator, went through several rounds of questions, including a “speed round.” Paul spoke of his business and said that Signature’s big goal is to be the #1 dealer in the world for each of the five brands that they carry. They have succeeded with Serotta and Seven, and are on their way to reaching that goal with the other brands. Clearly, he has a passion for the business that is on par with each of the speakers. 

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It was interesting to learn of the diverse backgrounds of each industry leader. Gary Smith is a professional business manager. He came from The Timberland Company, a much larger sporting goods manufacturer/retailer to join Independent Fabrication (a co-op) in what he referred to as a “downshift.” Ben Serotta started on his own as a steel racing bicycle frame builder. He has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has worked with many of the world’s elite cyclists. Rob Vandermark has a background in sculpture and joined fledgling Merlin Metalworks in the late 1980’s and spent half his career involved with Merlin’s titanium bicycle manufacturing operation. Then, he founded Seven Cycles with three partners. Bob Parlee had a long career in the outdoor industry with stints in the boat building market and ski industry. His knowledge of composites came from building boats. He is partners with his wife, Isabel, who joined him at the event and was equally as articulate at talking about their small business. 

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Each member of the panel answered questions about their business model, their favorite bike, their most difficult project, how they got their start in the business, who their biggest hero is, and how they balance innovation with running the day to day operations. They each described their favorite movie, the last book they read, the materials their company’s work with, their marketing strategy, their favorite place to ride, and the economy. After Paul Levine’s questions, the audience had its chance to to ask their own. The eclectic nature of the questions revealed more than you would have gotten from a standard interview in one of the industry magazines. I was glad I attended to hear the answers in person.

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The speaking panel was followed by a raffle that had enough schwag for just about every one of the 30 or so people in attendance. Most everyone walked away with a nice gift. When the panel broke up, each builder retreated (with members of their staff) to a corner of the shop. In addition to Signature’s inventory, each builder brought some of their newest bicycles to display. Many of these cutting edge bikes came straight from NAHBS in Indianapolis. These show bikes included: 

  • Independent Fabrication’s prototype carbon fiber road bike. 
  • Independent Fabrication’s high end titanium commuter bike.
  • Serotta’s Meivici AE road bike. 
  • Serotta’s new titanium/carbon cyclo-cross bike with new logos.
  • Parlee’s flagship Z1 road bike. 
  • Parlee’s high end commuter bike. 
  • Seven’s Parcours high end titanium commuter bike (Rob’s favorite).
  • Seven’s Sola 007 tandem titanium mountain bike. 

Zipp Speed Weaponry was also in attendance. The Zipp representative showed off their latest wheel and component creations, which are just phenomenal.

It was so much fun to mingle with the crowd and chat with the builders about their bikes and their businesses. This was truly a unique event. With spring around the corner, it offered some sweet inspiration. I’m ready to get out and ride! 

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Seven and BlackBerry

I’ve heard some good things about BlackBerry’s. However, I’ve got a Treo and don’t plan to switch anytime soon, though I enjoyed this video featuring Seven Cycle’s founder, Rob Vandermark. Seven is a very cool company.

New England Trail Exploration

Yesterday, Debbie and I explored a section of the New England Trail (NET) that we had never been on before. Her idea of a great Mother’s Day Weekend is one in which she spends a lot of time in the woods.

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Her parents were kind enough to take our kids for part of the weekend, so we drove to Massachusetts late in the morning. We headed for Lake Wyola in Shutesbury. This brought up great memories. In the early 2000’s, we ran the Lake Wyola Road Race several times. This event was an annual Shenipsit Striders tradition. This year’s race will be on 9 June and it will be the 39th edition. I recall that the Striders had a big rivalry with the Shutesbury Athletic Club. After arriving, we locked our bicycles to the rack at the state park beach and then stashed some gear bags. From there, we drove southeast to Meads Corner in Belchertown.

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We parked our car at the Scarborough Brook Conservation Area where the NET cuts through. We ran the trail north/northwest from there. We covered about 21 miles in four hours. It was a quiet section of trail. We only saw one person (a backpacker with his dog) all afternoon. The trail parallels various roads, and there are several crossings, but it still felt like we were in the woods.

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The terrain was a mix of single-track, double track, dirt roads, and road. It was a good mix and this section had an elevation gain of about 2,800 feet, so it wasn’t too hilly. We followed the NET white blazes and it was a bit challenging at times. We made three wrong turns, two of which were minor. The third one caused us to miss a short section of the actual trail as we ended up on the wrong dirt road and it cut a corner. We decided not to go back and retrace our steps as we discovered this after a long descent and were very close to the end of our run.

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There were some really pretty spots with bubbling brooks, beaver dams, and moose prints to explore. There were some lovely pine forests and the smells were awesome. Weather wise, this was the best day of the year. We had bright sunshine and the temperature was perfect. Today, we woke up again to the sound of steady rain, so we chose the right day for the adventure.

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After we arrived at Lake Wyola, we fetched our bags, unlocked our bikes, and swapped our shoes. We took a slightly more direct route back to our car. It was mostly road, but there was one section of dirt. This was Debbie’s first real ride on her Seven Cycles Evergreen XX and she loved it. She just got the bike this week. The Evergreen handles so much better than her 15+ year old Seven Cycles Tsunami. The difference in technology is amazing. Her Tsunami is straight gauge steel with a steel Vicious fork. The wheels are heavy aluminum 700C Neuvation clinchers. She runs V-brakes on that bike and the handling, especially while braking on rough roads is a real challenge.

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The Evergreen is a stellar bike. It is double-butted titanium with a carbon fiber Whisky fork. The wheels are lightweight 650B ENVE G27 clinchers. She has fresh Donnelly Strada USH tubeless 42c oversized tires which were so much better to ride on these rough roads.  Her SRAM Force groupset has disc brakes, a huge improvement over the old bike. Needless to say, she was much happier with the new bike and is looking forward to more two-wheeled adventures.

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The ride was a little more than 12 miles and we were back to the car in about an hour. We changed up, loaded up, and headed for Northampton where we dined at Bela Restaurant. We picked up some vegan cookies at Hungry Ghost Bread, and our day was complete.

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2018 Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross

Today we made a first time trip to the Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross in Lancaster, Massachusetts, but we are no strangers to the Bolton Fairgrounds. In prior  years, I’ve raced the Midnight Ride of CX on a similar course. Also, last month, we did the Kalon Cross across the street from the fairgrounds.

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The Minuteman Road Club did a fantastic job with MRC CX, as they have done with their other events. They maximized the potential of this course by using every inch of it. It was the most technical course of the year so far with lots of twists and turns. It was generally flat with only a few small rises on the front side of the course.

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The weather was quite un-cross like today. It was muggy and warm. The fairgrounds were soggy after weeks of rain and the mosquitoes were out in force. You could see some color in the trees, but it felt more like August than October.

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The air stayed dry until about 4:00 P.M. As luck would have it, my  race, the Singlespeed Race, started at 3:45 P.M. The additional wetness made the already tricky course even slicker. It was a long day today because the kids raced at 10:30 A.M. The drive was less than 90 minutes and it is a generally pleasant one through Worcester and then northeast.

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My legs were heavy after yesterday’s double-race at Mansfield Hollow. I didn’t mind waiting until the end of the day to race, but hanging around wasn’t optimal. The kids did great in their events. Both finished second in their age group, which was a boost to morale considering they also had to wait all afternoon for my event.

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Shepard and Dahlia were joined in the Cub Juniors race by Boden Chenail and Lars Roti. Both boys also had good rides. The full weekend of racing is just a precursor of the next eight weeks as cyclocross season ramps up.

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After the kids raced, the Masters put on a show. There were 105 riders in the combined 40+ (38 riders) and 50+ (67 riders) field. Art Roti and Brett Chenail were in the race and they both did very well. Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad are starting to fire on all cylinders.

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Debbie was a real sport today. It was a long day for her too. She brought her running kit and got in a short run in the area around the fairgrounds. She and the kids were great cheerleaders during my race. I could hear them from many points on the course.

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I felt strong, but made two technical errors that resulted in hard crashes. On the second lap, I was sitting in 9th place and coming out of the back section of the course on the riding dirt track, I followed another rider on a bad line through some sand. When he swerved to the right, it was clear that we were too close to the course stakes and tape. I hooked my bars on a stake and it snapped, as I crashed through the course tape with the force bringing me down on my right side in a heap. I was up quickly, but at least five riders got by me. I’ll be a little stiff in the shoulder and neck.

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Then, a few laps later, as I was making up ground, I followed Keith Burgoyne into a hard left hand corner. He slid out and I had nowhere to go. I tapped the brakes and slid out hard on my left side, cutting my left leg (what’s new? ) and banging my left shoulder. Again, I was up quickly and thankfully my Seven Cycles Mudhoney SL was in working order. Keith had some mechanical problems, and it cost him. I gave up a few spots, and gave chase, but a gap to the top-10 had opened up and I never closed it.

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I pushed really hard for the remainder of the race and picked up one spot late on the last lap, but could only manage 11th overall. It was my second Zanconato Single Speed Cyclo-Cross Trophy Series race of the weekend. Next weekend is the Gran Prix of Gloucester and I’ll be giving the singlespeed bike rest as I race Masters. The Zank Series picks up again at Belltown CX in two weeks.

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We were famished after gotten through the entire day with one bag of snacks. We stopped at Rein’s Deli on the way home and everyone was happier for it.

Race Results

2017 Fat Tire Classic

Today I did the Root 66 Race Series Fat Tire Classic for the 10th time. My first Classic at Winding Trails in Farmington CT, was in 2000. It’s a fantastic venue. I’ve raced there 61 times since 1999. The races I’ve done include mountain biking, cyclocross, triathlon, and adventure racing. That’s pretty cool.

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Much appreciation goes out to Chris and Jill Logan, the Root 66 crew, and Jimena Florit and the folks at Winding Trails. The Team Horst Sports Junior Squad had five racers compete and our Masters Cycling Team had five racers compete. Debbie joined me to watch and hang out with the team. Our son finished the two-lap Cat 3 Junior race and he was thrilled. At 10 years-old, he is still learning how to ride, so today was definitely progress. Our daughter, who is seven, did the kids race. Debbie got to run around the nice trails.

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This was my first mountain bike race of the year. I just got my bike back after it was repaired by Seven Cycles. Two weeks ago today, I discovered that the top tube was cracked. I wrote a post all about the crack and the repair.

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My belt drivetrain is still giving me a little grief, but I was able to get through today’s race despite breaking my rear skewer. That happened mere minutes before the start when I was trying to add some tension to the belt. It’s unfortunate, but the team at Seven Cycles had to disassemble and rebuild the bike in order to fix the frame. That’s OK. I was just happy to be riding the bike today. Two weeks ago, the prospect of that looked grim.

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The course was run in reverse from prior years and I liked it. It was dry despite a lot of recent rain. There were only two muddy spots, and it was only enough to get a little spray in the face. I had a decent ride. 10 of us raced Cat 1 singlespeed. I got the hole shot, but dropped back a bit in the first section of technical singletrack. Charlie Beal, Kurt D’Anniello, and I battled for the first two laps, trading places before we settled in.

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Eventually Charlie dropped back a spot. Kurt and I continued to duke it out for the 4th spot in the field. I thought I had him, taking the lead after the start of the 4th and final five-mile lap. I got a small gap through the hilly and technical section, but he reeled me in about half way through the lap. I struggled on a technical uphill where we had to hop a log and my right quad started to cramp. I grunted hard, revealing my suffering.

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We exchanged a few words before he pulled away. I kept the gap manageable and then pulled him back at the base of the long Jeep road climb with about 1.5 miles to go. He hammered up the hill. I followed, standing up out of the saddle and rocking my bike back and forth. After only a few pedal strokes, both legs viciously cramped simultaneously. It was my adductors, which is kind of weird, but it was seriously painful. I sat back down and watched Kurt ride away. It took every ounce of energy I had left to pedal to the top without getting off.

I contained the damage and rode scared, worried that Charlie or someone else would catch me while I struggled to the finish. I made it to the line in 5th, which is fine. I had a blast, and the sunshine was glorious. It was fun to see Kurt after the finish and give him a congratulatory handshake for being a fierce competitor. Both of us will be happy if we can build our fitness to a peak this fall when cyclocross season (the main event!) comes around.

Now I have to focus on recovering. I’ve got a busy work week starting tomorrow and then a little bit of trail running next weekend.

Race Results (should be live soon)

2016 Wildman Biathlon

Today’s Wildman Biathlon was a lot of fun. It was the 28th annual edition of the race, and I’ve been wanting to do it for the past 16 years since first introduced to the race by our longtime trail running friend, Rich Fargo. He loves the event and has done it many times.

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Debbie and I drove up to Shelburne, New Hampshire after work on Friday and camped near the start. Wildman is a classic New England grassroots event. The start and transition #1 are at the Shelburne Town Garage/Fire House.

The old school bike racks signal that this race is low-key and that it has a lot of character. The course is what makes this race. It starts with a 10 kilometer road run that is out and back on the rolling and winding North Road. After the first transition, you ride a seven mile loop of Rt. 2 and North Road before continuing back on Rt. 2 to the Rt. 16 junction in Gorham. From there, you take 16 up to Pinkham Notch and the Wildcat Ski Area. The total distance is 22.3 miles and after the first seven mile loop, it is gradually uphill the rest of the way with the toughest climbing at the end.

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Transition #2 is in the dirt parking lot at Wildcat. The final leg of the race is a three-mile trail run/hike via the Polecat Trail to the 4,000+ foot peak of Wildcat. The finish line is adjacent to the gondola. Marketed as “scenic,” the gondola didn’t offer any views today.

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The weather conditions were grim, or “dismal,” as described by the guy I rode the gondola back to the base lodge with. After no rain, dry, and hot conditions all week, today was a washout. The rain started yesterday late in the afternoon when thunderstorms rolled across Vermont and New Hampshire. It rained all night and most of the morning.

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The roads were wet and slick. The four sets of train tracks that we crossed were treacherous and claimed multiple crash victims. I heard there were some serious injuries. By the time Debbie reached the final set of tracks, the volunteers were making people dismount and walk across them. She may have been the final person to ride them and the volunteer tried to catch her as she went down. The tiny cut on her knee looked a lot worse than it was.

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She had a good race. She hadn’t done a road cycling race in 10 years since competing in the Cape Argus Cycle-Tour in Cape Town, South Africa. She rode the same bike today, though it was recently tuned up by our friends at Benidorm Bikes. It’s a steel Seven Cycles Tsunami cross bike with 28cm tires, so she was at a disadvantage on the bike leg. That didn’t matter. She had a good first run and despite ceding some positions on the bike, pulled a bunch of them back on the final three-mile ascent. She wishes that the trail run was much longer. She finished third woman and was very happy.

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I got to see her cross the line after waiting 30 minutes at the top and freezing my butt off. I finished in 2:34 and was satisfied with my result given how I feel. The 9th of 10 Winding Trails Summer Tri Series off-road races was last Tuesday and since Monday, I haven’t been feeling too hot. The finale is this Tuesday, so I have to recover in an effort to hold on to my 2nd place in the standings. It will take a miracle for me to overcome Jon Arellano, who I bested last year, but who has come back with a vengeance.

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Ten weeks of racing is a lot and it’s worn me down. Today, I was just flat. I was happy with the 10k run and it was a measured effort, but my strength is the bike and I lost ground. After 1.5 miles of climbing the Polecat, I was done. I finished the 10K in third, got passed by one guy on the bike, and got passed by another on the hill climb, so I finished fifth. Uncharacteristically, I kept looking back. I had a gap over sixth, so I sort of walked it in, looking to save a little energy for this coming Tuesday.

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Other than the rain and the traffic on Rt. 2, it was a good course. The markings on the trail run could have been better. I was unsure about my direction several times. I learned afterwards that a whole lot of signs were made, and never put out. We were relying on orange spray paint on the dirt trail, that was washing away in the rain. Oh well. I knew that the summit was up, so that was the direction I kept heading. When I came to a junction that was unmarked, I guessed. It all worked out.

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Despite hearing that North Road was rough, rutted, and potholed, I rode my Seven Kameha SLX triathlon bike, but with my Zipp 404 wheels, rather than my Sub-9 Disc/808 combo. It was a wise choice, given the wind. The cracks in the road weren’t as bad as advertised, and I was glad that I rode my tri bike rather than a road bike. My Seven was built for New England roads and the custom geometry is good for climbing, unlike most dedicated tri-bikes.

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Coming up Rt. 16, a road we have been on many times, I was thinking about so many great adventures that we have had in the White Mountains and many that have crossed that road. It’s been 10 years since I did Sea to Summit, and that was the last time I was in the Wildcat base lodge. Next Saturday is the Mt. Washington Bicycle Hill Climb. I rode by the auto road and recalled last year’s race and the five previous times I did it. I went by the 19-Mile Brook trailhead and it brought back memories from our last Hut Traverse when the weather was kind of like today’s. It wasn’t a good day to be above treeline.

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One of the worst parts of today was the ride back to Shelburne. Debbie ran back to the base lodge and I took the gondola. I don’t do downhills! She waited for me while I rode back to the Garage/Firehouse to get the van and trailer. It took me 48 minutes to ride back. My teeth chattered the entire time. I heard that last year’s race was run in perfect conditions with great views of Mt. Washington from the summit of Wildcat. Oh well. Maybe next time we will have views.

After the awards ceremony (we both earned etched glass mugs), we crossed the street to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. Debbie dug out four quarters from her purse for each of us. I had the best three-minute shower ever. It was glorious!

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We went upstairs to the main entrance and bumped in to Jim Campiformio, who stopped to change his socks in the middle of the More and More Difficult 50K trail race. MMD is a legendary underground race in the White Mountains. Jim had eight miles to go and after a wrong turn, was regrouping and readying himself for the final push. He has done many great ultras, including the Hardrock 100. It was nice to see him and chat a bit before we both went separate directions.

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This has been another great day in the White Mountains. Sometimes, I wish we lived closer. The trails are fantastic. You can’t climb hills like this in Connecticut.

Race Results

2015 March Farm CycloMadness

It had been a few weeks since I raced cyclocross, and I was happy to be back at it at the March Farm CycloMadness in beautiful Bethlehem, Connecticut. I was supposed to race last weekend in RI, but didn’t feel up to it. I had travel earlier this week (Sun-Wed) in Southern California and couldn’t afford to be tired for the trip. Today, this multi-purpose farm (including Christmas Trees), had a holiday vibe in so many ways, but one… it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of our race, which is unseasonably warm for the 12th day of December. It felt more like mid-October, which if it wasn’t such a bad sign that our climate is warming, would be awesome. Well, for a day, it was pretty awesome to race in shorts and hang out after the race in shirtsleeves.

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The Masters Men had their usual CT Series of Cross early morning start. We took the back roads to Litchfield County, and departed Bolton at 6:00 A.M. to make the 8:30 A.M. race. When Shepard and I pre-rode the course, he said, “This is nothing like Fitchburg,” referring to the NECXBAR Finals two weeks ago on a dead flat and fast track. Today’s course was the opposite of that. My Garmin results show how hilly the course is. In 10 miles, we gained 700 feet and descended 700, which is a lot for a cross race, and I loved it. I had a good start and charged up the big climb on the first lap in the big ring, but every lap after that, I used the little ring.

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The climb snaked its way up through the apple orchard. It was wise to stay off of the rotting apples at the end of the worn path. They were like ice. The top of the course had a great view of the valley below. The descent was fast and technical as you went down, leveled out, went down again, and then leveled, and then down to the bottom of the course. Those drops were steep with the last one a treacherous affair with no clean line. Whether you went left, right, or center, you were greeted with a muddy hollow filled with sharp rocks. Half of our field flatted. Some punctured on these rocks in the mud. Others in the corn maze that followed.

 

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The corn stalks were sharp and there were some hidden rocks in this swampy section. I took it in the little ring. There were several hairpin turns in inside the maze that required concentration as you road over the matted down stalks. The fields were slow with the grass high and lush from the warm autumn the two have had. There was one set of barriers on a rare flat stretch. One of the steep uphills required a dismount after hairpin turn. I used my Mini Standard Horst Spikes and they worked great. I absolutely love these rough courses with lots of elevation change. So many of this year’s races have been on super-fast tracks. The good weather has kept the mud to a minimum. Only the SuperCross Cup in New York rivaled today’s course. I’m sure there were a lot of complaints. Not everyone likes the climbing and rough descents coupled with slow fields grass. I had a blast. I also do better when the race is longer. Today’s race was just shy of 51 minutes. By contrast, on a fast course, Fitchburg was 40 minutes and I was hoping for another lap.

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After that good start, I settled in to fourth place. By the end of the first lap, I moved up to third and then on the second lap, got up to second. My teammate Wade Summers was in my group, but he punctured and was a ways from the pit. My other teammate, Pat Cunningham, who normally races 50+, but opted for 40+ and some different competition, moved up to join me. The two of us applied some pressure as we chased the leader, Joe Kubisek. Joe got a gap that we never closed. For six laps, Pat and I worked together. He was gracious and stuck with me. We traded pulls and alternated taking the front. With 1.5 laps to go after we crested the high point on the course, I detected some softness in my front tire. On the big descent as we took a fast right-hand turn, my front wheel started to wash out. I hung on but ended up in the edge of the woods. Pat was trailing me and came by. I told him that I flatted.

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It came in the perfect spot because we were within 100 meters of the pit. I was able to ride the deflating tire all the way. I dropped my Seven Cycles Mudhoney and picked up my Seven Cycles Tsunami. I hated to leave my Mudhoney because it handles much better, has disc brakes, and is one of my favorite bikes, but the Tsunami isn’t a bad pit bike. The gap to Joe was around 20 seconds and I felt we had a chance to close it, but after I lost about 20 seconds with the bike change, the goal was to hold on to second and third. Pat was very gracious. He waited for me to catch up and we continued to work together during the last lap. He got the workout he wanted and he let me have the points for second place. It was the good teamwork that nailed down the two podium spots for Team Horst Sports. Joe rode a strong race to take the win.

It was a bittersweet day. After a tough work week, I rallied to make it to today’s race. With such an early start, I still had a chance to have a full Saturday. I stopped at the shop on the way back to do a few work related tasks. Then, Debbie, the kids and I went to the Connecticut Science Center for Scouts Robotics Day. After that, we even had time to pick out and cut down a Christmas Tree at a local farm in Andover.

It was great to go to the cross race with my son. He had a blast on the playground and tricycle track that surrounds it. The farm store was stocked with apples and pastries, thanks to race sponsor, Ovens of France. The sadness I feel is that cyclocross season is coming to an end. I originally planned to go to the USA National Cyclocross Championships in Asheville, North Carolina next month, but the race schedule, 16 hour drive, and our work volume at Horst Engineering is going to keep me closer to home. I’m fine with it, but I still would love to keep racing cross this season, especially if the weather is going to remain mild. The last race is going to be tomorrow, the CT Series finals at the Elm City Cross in New Haven. I can’t wait.

Race Results

2015 Keene PumpkinCross

Today, I drove to Keene, New Hampshire for the 2nd annual Keene PumpkinCross at Surry Mountain Lake State Park. For many years in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Horst Engineering Cycling Team joined with Team Frank to promote the Frank-N-Horst Cyclocross in Keene. Earlier this week, when registering for the Cyclesmart International, I decided to register for PumpkinCross.

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I traveled solo today. My family had a busy weekend and I couldn’t convince anyone to join me, so I drove solo while listening to the BBC, the Grateful Dead Channel, and mentally planning the work week ahead. My only teammate at the race was Andris Skulte, who happens to also be one of my colleagues at Horst Engineering. Andris’ in-law’s live near the race course, so it was an easy trip for his this morning. It was nice to see Andris and his wife, Kristen. It took me two hours to drive from Bolton, but I didn’t mind. I awoke to the coldest morning since last winter, with a temperature of 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout New England today, we had very changeable weather with bright sun, puffy clouds, and then intermittent heavy snow showers. The air aloft was very cold.

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The course at this Army Corps of Engineers property was really good. The foliage on along the lake was spectacular. The course had a mix of tight turns and straightaways where you could hammer. It was mostly flat, with a few sharp rises, and one stiff run-up on rough ground. There was a dismount over a large fallen tree, and another dismount over a set of barriers. The whole course could be ridden in the big ring, but I chose to ride the second of two deep sand sections in the little ring because you had to hang a left turn in the middle of the sand. The first sand section was a straightaway with a good line that you could hammer. The upper section of the course was more hillyand there was a bit of busted up asphalt and gravel. The grassy sections were slick at the start and there were some ruts in the turns, but overall, the surface was in good shape and you could take the corners fast.

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In the 40+ race, I had a good start, but then I had a few bobbles during the rest of the first lap, including one in the second sand section that required me to clip out, but not dismount. I settled down on lap two, but let a gap go to the front group, that I never closed. That group included Keith Burgoyne, Matt Boobar, Craig Vettori, and Brian Whitcomb. It reshuffled, Keith ended up out front with Craig and Brian chasing.  I’m not really sure how they sorted out their positions. Matt was chasing them with one or two riders, who eventually ended up behind me. I was chasing with Carl Ring (a fellow Team Seven Cycles rider) for a while before he dropped off the pace. With  a lap and a half to go, Steve Arsenault, the winner of the 50+ race (which started right behind us), caught me and then bridged to Matt.  I was just off the back of them on my own when I came through for the bell lap. I had a nice final lap and was able to catch them on the steep descent after the asphalt section at the top of the course.

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I was gassed, but I hung in there on the potholed pavement before they gapped me again going into the grass chicane before the finish. I was proud of myself for not giving up because Steve pulled away, but Matt faded and I pipped him on the line with a big final kick and bike throw. We covered 9.5 miles in just over 42 minutes for a pretty high average speed for a cross race. This was a fun local race without a super strong field, but I was still happy with 4th. I was bummed to not get third, which would have paid some prize money. It would have been nice to cover or at least defray my $31 entry fee (plus http://www.bikereg.com fee). Cross races aren’t $15 like they were in the Frank-N-Horst days…

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It was great to see so many old friends from New Hampshire, including Paul Rhodes, Chris Northcott, Kate Northcott, Chris Logan, and Jill Logan. The Northcott’s and Logan’s were very involved with our race when we hosted it in New Hampshire. I’ll see them all again the first Sunday in November at the West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont, one of my favorite all time races.

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My day took a turn for the worse when I realized that I lost my car keys out on the course. I had them in the back of my jacket. I figured that on my cool down lap, when I was taking pictures of the amazing venue, that they fell out of my pocket. Thankfully, that turned out to be the case. After  bit of frantic searching, I got on the course after the finish of the 3/4 race and retraced my steps. I went to each spot where I stopped to take pictures, and sure enough, at my third stop, I found them. That as a huge sigh of relief, and my day was good again. It was cold, windy, and snowing lightly again, so I was happy to finally change out of my kit.

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The West Point Cycling Team was at the race and I enjoyed chatting with the cadets. I told them that the West Point Criterium was one of my top-5 all-time favorite races. The campus course is spectacular with a steep descent, tight turns, and an uphill finish that even goes under a building. Seeing their trailer and vans brought back memories from my collegiate cycling days between 1991 and 1995. I wish we had collegiate cyclocross races back then; It was was only road and a little mountain.

I stopped for a snack in Brattleboro, before rejoining my family at a birthday party at Storrs Adventure Park, a ropes course not far from our house. It was a good day in New England.

Race Results

2015 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

Today, I returned to race the Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross. This is one of my favorite courses. An 8:30 A.M. start on Saturday morning is kind of rough, but I dealt with it. I don’t mind early starts, but I always struggle with Saturday races after tough work weeks. This week was challenging because after returning from Japan last Saturday, I spent Wednesday in Boston and Thursday in Cincinnati and Chicago, after missing my connecting flight back to Hartford. I didn’t get back until mid-day on Friday and the work week wasn’t over yet with an afternoon full of meetings.

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Anyway, sometimes, the lead in to races isn’t ideal. With so many fun events going on this weekend, including the Hartford Marathon, Grindstone 100, Ironman Louisville, and Ironman World Championships; I wanted to race too. I absolutely love competing at this time year, and October is my favorite month. This is the fifth anniversary of when I raced the Ironman in Hawaii, and Debbie raced Grindstone in 2011, but we were happy to be close to home today This was race number three in the CT Series of Cyclocross and we had a strong turnout from the Horst Engineering Cycling Team. Pat Cunningham continued his stellar 2015 campaign by winning the men’s 50+ race. Paul Nyberg wasn’t far behind him in fourth.

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In the 40+ race, Mike Wonderly was just in front of me in 10th spot. Art Roti wasn’t far behind me. Unfortunately, our teammate, Wade Summers, fell hard after catching his bike on a course stake, and fractured his clavicle. I feel his pain after missing the entire 2014 cyclocross season with a fractured scapula. Wade will be back. I don’t think it is a bad break. He was coming in to good form, and I don’t think his season is over.

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Randall Dutton and Andris Skulte represented us in the 3/4 race. Everyone enjoyed the fantastic fall weather. With the foliage nearing peak, the reservoir views were gorgeous. Ron Manizza and his crew of volunteers lucked out with the fine conditions. I’ve done this race in the snow before! It is one of the longtime New England classics, going back to the mid-1980’s when cross was a much smaller sport.

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Debbie and the kids came up to watch and enjoy the wonderful weather at beautiful Mansfield Hollow State Park. I had a lot of fun. I could race cross every day. Of course, my body couldn’t take that, but my brain wants to do it all of the time, even when I’m tired. I had a nice race long battle with my longtime nemesis (and friend), Ricky Legault. He, Mike, and I swapped spots several times. Ricky is a supreme bike handler. I had more horsepower in the open fields, but he was quicker through the corners, over the telephone pole, and in the sand. I did OK on the barriers today.

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I absolute love riding my Seven Cycles Mudhoney Pro. It’s hard to have a favorite bike because that’s like saying you have a favorite child, but it is one of my favorites. I don’t think I would choose it over my Axiom SL supercomputer, but at least I can say it is my favorite cross bike. It’s nice that proceeds from the race go to the Friends of Mansfield Hollow. It really is a lovely park.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

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2015 CompEdge Cyclocross

Today’s CompEdge Cyclocross was a ton of fun. It was the first time in more than 125 cyclocross races that I’ve ever raced in August. Heck, cross used to be an “offseason” sport. Now, it is the main event. With so little going on in the New England road cycling season, and the triathlon season winding down, I opted to race at Blunt Park in Springfield. It was a dust fest.

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After 17 cross races in 2013, I did zero in 2014 after breaking my shoulder in a hard road crash on Labor Day Weekend last year. I’m 95% recovered from that injury and am ready for a full season of cross culminating with the USA National Cyclocross Championships in Asheville, NC in January 2016. My goal is to do 15 races in the next 14 weeks. I’m feeling good and looking forward to the action.

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10 days ago, Horst Engineering launched our revamped lineup of Horst Spikes, so it’s hard not to be pumped. Today, I used my brand new Sidi mountain shoes with Medium Horst Spikes. The course was a screamer with a ton of turns. My racing age is 44, so that means I’m one of the oldest guys in the Masters 35+ field. I would prefer a 40+ race, but today they only had 45+ and 35+. We started with the Elite/1/2/3 men, so the race was a hammerfest. I covered 9.2 miles in 47:16. There were a lot of turns and it was hard to pass. Blunt is one of those urban parks that isn’t pristine. It’s well used, but it was a nice venue and only 40 minutes from home.

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I’ve got work to do to improve my crossresults.com ranking after not racing in 2014. I’m ready for the fun. Today, I had a good ride and was focused on form and getting back in the groove. I was pleased to finish 4th in my age group (I think 19th including the young guns), which scored me $30. That’s $5 short of the entry fee. If I had pre-registered, I would have made a profit. Of course, no one profits from racing amateur cyclocross. Of course, I can claim that I get “paid to ride.” Just don’t tell the IRS! They collect enough tax from our family business.

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Thank you to the Cyclonauts for putting on the event. Team Horst Sports had a nice day. Matt Domnarski took the win in the 45+ race. Ted D’Onofrio joined him for the event. I was joined in the 35’s by my colleague and friend, Arthur Roti. He and I both also ride for Team Seven Cycles. Our Mudhoney’s are dusty, but they worked great! The fact that cyclocross season is underway made up for my awful attempt to make pancakes for breakfast. Every one I cooked stuck to the pan. It was more like scrambled pancakes. I boiled over the maple syrup when warming it on the burner. It was a disaster. Debbie came to the rescue in time for me to head to the race.

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I’m still searching for one more sprint triathlon to wrap up the season, but the options are few and far between now that my schedule is loaded up with travel and of course, cyclocross.

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Lots of fun on the morning AND afternoon #carfreecommute The driver of this truck should have opted to ride his #bicycle to work today like me! #eastcoastgreenway #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #biketoworkday
I spent the afternoon with @trailrunningmom on a section of the @newenglandtrail 🏃🏽‍♀️that we never saw before. The sunshine ☀️ did us good. We ran from Mead’s Corner to Lake Wyola State Park where we had dropped our @seven_cycles 🚴🏽Then we rode back to our car. Recovery meal was at Bela in NoHo. 🥦 #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders #newenglandtrail #trailrunning
I hosted three sessions and 30 kids at Bolton Center School (middle school) Career Day. Two sessions were on the role of a CEO (entrepreneurial leader) in a mid-sized business. The third session was on advanced manufacturing careers including CNC Machining, Manufacturing/Mechanical Engineering, Quality Assurance, etc. I told them we are hiring! #manufacturing #madeinusa #horstengineering #business #familybusiness #advancedmanufacturing #instamachinist #precisionmachining @horsteng
Swell time at the #FatTireClassic at #windingtrails with #teamhorstsports and the @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad We had cold rain and mud. That’s New England in April! #mountainbiking #horstengineering 🚵‍♂️💦🌧🥶
Hoppin Hodges 5K #trailrunning #railtrail #running #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports 🏃🏿🐇🐣🌧🏃🏽‍♀️#easterrunning
Yesterday, members of the @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad toured @seven_cycles It was a great experience for these young rippers! #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports #mountainbiking #cyclocross #manufacturing #bicycle #titanium #madeinusa 🚲 🇺🇸
Lots of fun and suffering at today’s #traprock50K @trailrunningmom and I spent most of our 6 hours and 35 minutes in the woods together. Even Shepard got into the act...running the one lap 17K race. #shenipsitstriders @shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports @ultraspire #ultraspire #bbtrs19 @blue_blazed_trail_series #trailrunning #ultrarunning
I was on an early morning run 🏃🏿in #blueash Ohio and came upon a town line sign indicating their sister city is #ilmenau 🇩🇪 Germany. My late grandfather, Harry Livingston (aka Horst Liebenstein) founder of @horsteng is an alumnus of @tu.ilmenau and native of #badliebenstein He earned bachelors and masters degrees 🎓in Mechanical Engineering from that school. Several years ago I visited his former home 🏠 but didn’t make it to Ilmenau. At least I’ve been to Blue Ash! #horstengineering
Sunday Livingston Family #quadrathlon #mountainbiking 🚵‍♂️ #trailrunning 🏃🏽‍♀️ #swimming 🏊‍♂️ #rockclimbing 🧗‍♀️ #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders

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