Archive for the 'Biographical' Category

2017 Scrooge Scramble

Merry Christmas!

It wouldn’t be Christmas in the Livingston household if we didn’t run the Scrooge Scramble. This was the 12th time in 13 years that Debbie and I have done this race on Christmas morning. We started doing it as a couple, then we transitioned to pushing the kid (or kids) in the jog stroller (Chariot), and now they run it with us. This was my 50th (and probably last) race of the year.

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Today’s 27th edition was slightly modified due to the snowstorm. The heaviest snow fell overnight and early in the morning, but it was still snowing lightly during the race. Three  or four inches fell in total. Longtime Race Directors, Janit Romayko and Mary Lou White did their best to coordinate today’s race and adjust for the conditions.

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The start was pushed back 30 minutes to 11:00 A.M., to accommodate folks who were delayed by the weather. The numbers were down from the 200+  runners in 2016, but we still had a good turnout, and the donations will still have a positive impact on the The Cornerstone Foundation, which operates the community shelter/soup kitchen that doubles as the start/finish line.

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Another change was that the normal out and back course was modified to be a 1/2 mile loop around Rockville’s Talcott Park. We heard that the neighboring town of Ellington wouldn’t permit us to run the normal route into their town, and back, due to the snow.

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Before the race, I joined Bruce Christensen and a few other runners in a shovel brigade. We cleaned up the snow and ice on the most slippery corners.

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We ran the loop six times to get the 5 kilometers. The race was about 1/10th of a mile long. On the way to Rockville, we dropped Debbie off on the rail trail so that she could do a little workout.

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This is always part of the tradition. The kids and I registered (there is no fee but donations are welcome), and then mingled with many of our friends from the Silk City Striders and Shenipsit Striders.

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This year’s race got some press, thanks to a timely story in the Hartford Courant, written by Lori Riley, and published in Sunday’s sports section. I got a call from Lori on Saturday night, and she quoted me in the article. Just like in prior years, Platt Systems “donated” their timing services. I chased Josh Merlis around for six laps. Each lap, I would close in at the top of the hill when he stopped for 1) a kiss from his fiancée Michelle, and 2) a Munchkin. By the sixth lap, it looked like he was only stopping for a kiss and that after three or four Munchkin’s, he had enough. He held me off for “the win.”

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Shepard had another fine run. It won’t be long before I’m chasing him. Dahlia and Debbie ran together and got a big ovation at the finish. One more snow squall hit as we were leaving Rockville for home, but as we came into Bolton, the sun burst through the clouds, reflecting off the beautiful snow. It has been a great day already.

Merry Christmas!

Race Results

2017 Elm City Cyclocross

This morning, we were back in New Haven’s Edgewood Park for the Elm City Cyclocross. The race was hosted by the gang from Amity Bike and was the finale of the CT Series of Cross. It doubled as the finals of the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP) Cyclocross Series.

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This is the third year that I’ve done Elm City and this course never fails to disappoint. We didn’t have the post-Nor’easter snow and mudfest like 2016, but we had enough snow and ice to make it challenging. Whereas last year’s post snowstorm race was wet and a mild, this year was frigid. We awoke to a morning temperature in the low teens (Fahrenheit) and it rose to the mid-20’s by the late morning. By early afternoon, the temperature had peaked around 30, and then it started to go down again.

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The Junior riders started at 9:30 A.M., and no one could blame them for having cold hands and feet. Unfortunately, not all of the 9-12 year old racers got to do two laps of the course. We are going to sort this out for 2018 because 10-14 minutes isn’t enough for these boys and girls. For all the preparation, travel, and investment, they deserve to do two laps (minimum) at every cross race in New England, and especially in Connecticut, where junior racing is championed.

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Boden, Shepard, and Lars were the Team Horst Junior Squad competitors in the Cub Juniors and then ended the season on a high note. Boden had a great race, finishing 4th, and Shepard cracked the Top 10 with his 9th place finish. In the 13-15 year old race, our riders were Cole and Sean. They both had strong rides on the technically demanding course.

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As usual, the Masters fields were fiercely competitive. The 40+, 50+, and 60+ riders were all on course at the same time. This track is narrower than most, so there were times when lapped traffic made it hard to pass. I heard my fair share of verbal battles, but everyone kept it civil. We all care about one thing, riding strong and being safe, but competitive spirits often result in “banter” especially when it includes the sayings, “rider back,” “on your left,” or “on your right.”

For the third race in a row, my legs were empty. My only explanation is that it is a long season and I need some rest. Training hard at this point of the year isn’t going make a difference, but I have to stay sharp for another month. I thought today would be the day that my legs would come around. I was motivated, but alas, they were weak.

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I had an OK start, but halfway through the first lap, Joe Kubisek and Brian Girard were already 20 seconds up the trail. I can’t match Joe’s power, but at several races this year, I was close to Brian. He does better on the technical tracks, and today’s snow, ice, and mud made for a challenge. I did the best I could. I ended up riding in third spot for most of the six lap race, occasionally trading a spot with another chasing rider, but I didn’t slip past fourth until the last lap.

There was a large group chasing me and on the narrow course, I was able to see them frequently. Despite pushing, I never got a gap, which was frustrating. Brian was way out of sight, but I kept pulling in an effort to stave off the guys that were trailing me. On the second to last time up the climb, Rob Stiles jumped me on the hill and I had no answer. I kept the gap manageable and figured I could close it down by the time we got to the short road section through the start/finish.

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I knew that my own teammates, Arthur Roti, and John Meyerle, were in the chase group because they were getting loud cheers. Both of them have come on strong late in the season and this may have been their best race of the season. As I chased Rob coming into the last lap, we hit some heavy lapped traffic. I got around a few guys, but a few more blocked me as I came on to the road.

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Once I got past them, there were two more to contend with and on an icy left hand turn, one of them laid it out on the ground. I had to stop to avoid ramming into him. I got off, and had to run around him, and in the chaos, one of the chasers jumped past me in pursuit of Rob. I had trouble clipping in after dismounting in the snow.

I was frustrated. In most any other race, I would have had no problem bridging to the guys in third and fourth, but today was different. I had nothing left and had to fight just to keep my own teammates at bay. In the end, that was cool that they were the ones chasing me. I figure that my effort helped drag them along to some of their best results of the year.

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John even made a move past me on the climb, which was really impressive. I got him back on the long stretch that led to the big descent. I held off John and Art in the windy final section and had to sprint giving it every last bit of effort to hold them off. We finished fifth, sixth, and seventh, but I was still disappointed that I squandered an opportunity for the podium.

John,, Art, and I were joined by Wade Summers, Andris Skulte, and Brett Chenail. We had a great showing in the 40’s. We had even better results in the 50’s, where Mike Wonderly took the win. This course is made for Mike and his skills. Tom Ricardi was also in the 50’s.

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After the race, I had two things that made me feel better. The first was lunch at Claire’s Corner Copia in downtown New Haven. Claire even stopped by our table to bus it and clean up. After 42 years in business, it’s great to see the founder out there doing the “dirty work.” I would expect nothing less. She welcomed us to her city and her cafe, and gave us a bunch of tips about the New Haven museums, but today wasn’t a day for museums. We needed to get home, if only to warm up.

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The second thing that made me feel better was a glass of SAP from Tree House Brewing Company. I stopped at Tree House on Friday evening during my nasty five-hour drive home from Sterling Machine. I assure you that the beer was worth the wait.

Thank you to the Elm City CX crew, the CCAP, and congratulations to all of my fellow riders for a fantastic 2017 CT Series of Cross.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

2017 NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross

This weekend’s NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross was another fantastic adventure with family and friends. This was the final two races of the Northeast Cyclocross Series, and signals that the New England season is winding down.

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All that remains are the CT Series of CX finals at Elm City CX on 19 December in New Haven, and a smattering of other local races in Massachusetts over the new few weeks. A lot of riders will hang up their wheels after NBX.

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I didn’t leave anything in the tank after my efforts in the Masters 40+/Juniors 16-18 (combo) races yesterday and today. I was empty yesterday, but somehow rallied to push through another tough race today. I didn’t have good legs either day, but persevered. Today, I was literally cross-eyed as I pushed to limit my losses after a costly series of early race mistakes.

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One of the great challenges of cyclocross is executing a “clean race.” Even if you have the best legs, you can give up a lot of time with a bad start, poor bike handling, and mechanical issues. Fortunately, other than a bent brake lever or two, my mechanicals were minor. The very rooty and unforgiving Goddard Memorial State Park course is very hard on bicycles. There were lots of punctures, broken wheels, and broken bicycle frame. It was carnage for some folks. My legs weren’t good, so that meant that my self-inflicted mistakes had even greater consequences.

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My pain came from not having my A-game bike handling skills on a tough course that had a lot of mountain bike features. There were lots of loose sandy corners, lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, and lots of roots.

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This Warwick, Rhode Island seaside park and race course is one of my favorites, but it doesn’t suit my strengths, but it does have features that make me a better bike racer. This race will always be special since it was one of my first ever cross races back in 1995. I’ve done it many times over the years, but not since 2013. It always falls on the first weekend of December, which coincides with a holiday party that Debbie and I have attended every year since 2003. This year, the party was in Woodstock, Connecticut, so I was able to squeeze that in between Day 1 and Day 2.

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We had a great turnout from Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad. Shepard did the Juniors 9-14 year old races and had a good time with his teammates. We have watched our Junior Squad improve in so many ways since those early season races back in September. Thankfully, the weather was dry. It was cold, but tolerable. In addition to the junior race, we had good representation in the Masters 50+ race, and of course, in the Masters 40+.

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Yesterday turned out to be the better of my two races. I think the long beach run favored me, as did the extra few uphills. Today, there was less running and my legs were just blown, probably from racing yesterday, and dancing last night. There were some dance instructors at the party, and I actually learned both the Salsa and the Merengue, so all is not lost.

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Today, I had a rough start, recovered almost all the places I lost, and then promptly gave them back when I went down on a steep uphill and got my bike hopelessly tangled with another rider’s. We had to calm down and get them unhooked before jumping on and chasing the 15 or so guys that got by us. The trouble with losing time early in a race like this, is you can ride your butt off for the remainder of the race, turning laps even with the same guys that passed you, but still never make up the time. When you are flat-out, going 100%, you just can’t accelerate from there. One bright spot was the last lap of today’s race. I buried myself to make up ground. I caught up to teammate Arthur Roti, and felt bad passing him, but I was just giving it my all. If I rode that pace for the whole race, things would have been better, but I proved to myself that I could suffer.

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In the end, I was very happy with the race weekend. Having such a great team is a fantastic boost. The kids are loving the racing. This race has a great vibe. It’s even worth noting that Goddard Park is beautiful. The park has lovely stonework, including the infamous stone steps that we have to run up.

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I’m going to enjoy the recovery over the next few weeks. I’m going to skip racing next weekend and aim for a good day at Elm City. I’m working plans to be at the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Reno, Nevada next month. Punishing my legs this weekend will pay dividends provided that I get the proper “rest” and stay fit over the next month.

Race Results, Day 1

Race Results, Day 2

2017 March Farms Cyclo Madness

We returned to March Farms Cyclo  Madness for a special Black Friday cyclocross race. Last year’s March Farms event was a complete white out in an epic snowstorm. The organizers moved the date of the race from late December to late November, in hopes that the weather would be better.

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They made a good call. This is the third year that Shepard and I have done this race, and this is the best weather that we have had. It was cold in the morning, but brilliant sunshine made it feel warmer. There was a light breeze, but it was nothing like last year’s blizzard. The course was on the “other side of the street” from the 2015 race, and we finally got to see it properly.

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This is the most hilly race we do. The farm is in a picturesque setting in Bethlehem, Connecticut. This was penultimate race seven in The CT Series of Cross. The finals are at Elm City CX on 17 December. I made up some points on my friendly rival, Stan Lezon, who was holding third spot in the series behind Eneas Freyre, Travis Burleson, and Joe Kubisek. Stan finished two spots behind me today.

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I had a race-long battle with Travis. We were chasing Eneas, an out-of-state rider, and Joe. We shared the workload, alternating pulls for nearly an hour. It was slow going. This is what you call a “heavy course.” The rough grass and serious elevation gain with multiple sharp ups and downs made for a super hard track. There was a little mud, especially in the cornfield. There were no barriers. Some folks had to run numerous climbs, but I was able to ride everything but the long run-up after the stream crossing.

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I spent a lot of time in my little ring. Everyone did. Debbie and Dahlia joined us and after the race, we did some Christmas shopping at the farm store. Team Horst Sports had a strong turnout. Tom Ricardi, Keith Enderle, and Dave Geissert were in the Masters 50+ race. Wade Summers, John Meyerle, Brett Chenail, and Tim Rourke joined me in the Masters 40+ race. Cole Ricardi and Sean Rourke did the Juniors 13-15 year-old race. Shepard was joined by Lars Roti, Boden Chenail, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon in the Juniors 9-12 year-old race. The Juniors races were full fields with 30 kids in each.

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Unfortunately, the 9-12 year olds only did one lap. This also happened at the Cheshire Cross. The organizers of the CT Series and the CCAP need to get together to agree on standard/minimum distances for these kids. For some of them, the race was over in seven minutes. They had already shortened the course to avoid some of the steepest hills, so they should have had them do at least two laps. Our boys were frustrated.

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Thankfully, my legs weren’t sore after yesterday’s Manchester Road Race. I ran with Shepard, so for me, it was like a tempo run. I had good power today, but it was still a hard effort. Our race was one lap too long. I would have gladly given one of our laps to the Juniors. My time was around 55 minutes, and I had to pedal the entire time. There was no coasting on this course.

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I heard a lot of complaints about the climbing, but people were generally smiling. I think most cyclists like to complain about hills. It’s part of the sport. The fact that this race was on Black Friday may have caused registration to be lighter than a weekend event, but I think it was a nice touch. Horst Engineering is closed today, so this was a great way to spend time outside.

Race Results (will be posted when online)

2017 Manchester Road Race

The weather for today’s 81st running of the Manchester Road Race was spectacular. It was cold at the start, but he brilliant sunshine warmed things up just enough to make it a great Thanksgiving Day on the roads of Manchester. This was my 28th MRR and my 23rd in a row.

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A few weeks back, Fox 61 News interviewed me as part of  a series that they did on longtime MRR runners. The premise was to share your favorite part of the course and talk about your MRR experiences. Naturally, the hill, near the top, is my favorite part of the course. It’s closest to my house in Bolton a few miles up the road and a pivotal point in every race.

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I really do love this race. Today, I shadowed my son, Shepard. It was only the third time that I haven’t “raced” Manchester. It was tough to hold back because I entered a new age group (45-49) this year, and my previous times would have had me on the podium (likely 2nd) for that division.

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That’s OK, the race has become a family affair for me. I’ll get a chance to run it again in the future. I’ve been doing a lot of cyclocross, but counting today, I’ve only run six times in the past month for a total of 25 miles. I would have had to race on guts today, which isn’t a problem for me, but it was smarter to keep an eye on Shep and save my legs for tomorrow’s (Black Friday) March Farm Cyclo Madness.

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Shep runs better on his own, so I started with him, but hung five seconds behind him the whole time, monitoring his progress and make sure he didn’t get tripped in the crowd of 12,000+ runners. I didn’t want to influence his race for better or worse. In the past, the presence of Debbie and I has resulted in meltdowns, especially when the effort got hard. Today, he ran a smart race, all on his own, with good pacing, and a strong finish. He had an Under 38 minutes seed card, and his goal was to break 35 minutes. He has improved every year and this year was no exception. He smashed his personal best, running 32:52 (gun time) for 8th in the 13 and under age group. He was very happy. He has two more years in this age group, so there is opportunity for improvement.

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He is into the stats, but I reminded him that the important thing is to continue to love to run. Right now, he is having a blast. I’ve seen a lot of kids burn out, but given our family passion for endurance sports, that is unlikely, especially if we balance the running with cycling, triathlon, hiking, and other fun activities. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t curious how much he and our daughter can improve.

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Debbie and Dahlia ran together and achieved their goal of breaking one hour for the event. They finished in 57:56. Dahlia’s legs hurt. Debbie taught her how to use a mantra, “strong and steady, strong and steady,” to get through the 4.748 mile course. I’ve heard that mantra a lot this year, and especially at the Hardrock 100 Mile Endurance Run and Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run.

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Shep’s legs are going to hurt too, so he has to relax before tomorrow’s cyclocross race. I think mine will be OK. I ran in Central Park in Manhattan on Tuesday, to soften them up a bit before today’s race. Early this morning, I went for a road bike ride and scouted the course in reverse. It was fun to see all the volunteers setting up the course and to see all the police involved with the pre-race security measures.

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We saw lots of friends, which isn’t hard to do in Manchester, and had a blast. Deb’s mother, Barbara Schieffer, is a superfan. She joined us to watch our bags and cheer us on. The Silk City Striders and Shenipsit Striders were out in force. I heard Shepard get some cheers from spectators and that motivated me too. It’s too soon to tell if I’ll run hard in 2018. I have to keep my streak going, and if I’m serious about running fast again, I’ll have to run more and ride less.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Race Results

2017 Supercross Cup

Team Horst Sports had a tremendous time at the Supercross Cup in Rockland County, New York. Both our Masters riders and the Team Horst Junior Squad did great rides on Day 1 (Saturday) and Day 2 (Sunday).

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The team behind Supercross Cup, led by Myles Romanow, deserve a lot of credit for putting on a fine event. My only wish is that more riders will pick this race weekend and put it on their calendar. The course is one of the best, if not the best, that we do in the Northeast.

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The crazy weather conditions (just like 2016) added to the epic nature of the event, but it has also made it hard on the organizers. With last year’s snow and wind, the course took a beating on Day 2. This year, Day 1 ended wet and muddy and it only got crazier from there. Today’s races actually got drier as the day went on, but the wind never let up. It was impossible to keep the course tape, stakes, and fencing from blowing away. Everything was blowing away, including our team tents, which got destroyed overnight when we left them unattended.

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Until today, I had never seen a garbage can blow across a cyclocross course, but there is always a first time for everything. The wind was nuts. It nearly blew some of the Junior riders off of their bikes. Speaking of Juniors, Myles and the team didn’t charge the Juniors a penny. At Supercross Cup, Juniors race free! That is a huge commitment to the future of our sports and that is another reason why we showed up with our squad.

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Sean, Shepard, and Lars raced the Junior 9-14 year old race both days. The girls and boys started a minute behind the Category 4/5 Women. It was great to see so many women on this course. They also had a Masters Women’s field and an Elite Women’s field. I knew it would be hard to draw the Massachusetts (and north) crowd, especially with the Shedd Park race in Lowell today; but I do wish they would travel south for a race at least once in a season! I also figured that the greater New York/New Jersey cross community was larger than it appears to be. With such a huge population center, we need more people to race cyclocross. Yesterday, there were 379 registered racers.

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I expected more for a Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series event (race five and six). Last week’s series race in Northampton drew 620 on Saturday and 572 on Sunday. With an 8:45 A.M. start for the Juniors on Saturday morning, we drove down after work on Friday night. That left me feeling a little tired. I pushed really hard at last weekend’s even in NoHo and was a bit under the weather this week. So, I came into the race with heavy legs and a scratchy throat. Arriving at the hotel 10:00 P.M. on Friday night didn’t do much to help me prepare for the race, but that’s how it goes.

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Saturday morning was freezing cold. Still, the kids did great. They course was mostly dry with a few slick spots. It is one of the hilliest courses in the Northeast, so you have to work for your result. The punchy climbs and steep descents are demanding. Yesterday’s course had beautiful flow, and you could really hammer some of the descents. A new expanded woods section added a nice section to the course.

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Our Masters team was well represented. Keith Enderle and Dave Geissert raced the Men’s 50+ event. Joining me in the Masters 40+, were Wade Summers, Art Roti, and John Meyerle. Tim Rourke raced the Men’s Category 4/5 race.

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I struggled the entire race. I never had any oomph. My legs literally felt like wood and the guys I normally stay with just rode away from me on the climbs. I hung tough, but spent the second half of the race in no man’s land. I was fairly frozen at the finish and just happy to have pushed hard.

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We hung out all afternoon. We had a heater in the tent, which took the edge off of the cold. Our tents were set up at the top of the hill by the only set of barriers on the course. We had a great vantage point and cheered for everyone loudly. By early afternoon, the rain had started to fall, turning the course into slippery muck. It was great to watch the Elite Women and Elite Men. We had many Cross Spikes™ ambassadors at the race. Cassie Maximenko had a great ride in the women’s event, finishing second. Horst Engineering’s toe spikes were all over the podium of the Elite Men’s race. Kerry Werner, Curtis White, and Cooper Wilsey were 1, 2, 3. It was great to see Jeremy Powers racing. He finished sixth. We had some inventory with us and helped out several riders who never used spikes before. They needed them today!

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Tim and Sean camped at the race venue, and they got to experience the wind storm as it rolled in. I awoke this morning to a texted photo of our mangled tents. We weighted them down before leaving the venue, but it wasn’t good enough. We should have known better and will have some work to do to repair them. That was a tough way to start the day, but at least it was warmer. We got back to Rockland Community College by 6:30 A.M. to help clean up the tent mess. The wind continued to roar, so we disassembled the remaining tents and stowed everything.

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It stopped raining by 8:00 A.M. when the first race went off, but the wind picked up. The course, which was being run in reverse, was waterlogged, and was very slippery. The thick mud was caking on gears, brakes, and tires. It was heavy too! The Juniors went at 8:45 A.M. again and they were super-heroes in the tough conditions. There were multiple off-camber sections that required a combination of delicate riding and intense running. It was great to watch them.

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Our same crew raced on Sunday, with one exception. Wade sat this one out. The rest of us were covered in mud, but everyone was smiling. Even Art, who thought about skipping, enjoyed the challenge. I had a better race, and felt that my legs were coming around by the last lap. The wind was fierce. In some spots, it threatened to blow me sideways. Even though I was going better than yesterday, I was still off the pace. I’m planning to rest a bit this week. I’m only going to jog the Manchester Road Race on Thanksgiving, because March Farm CX is on Black Friday.

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Cyclocross remains my favorite family friendly event. It was great to see both the Mattern and Grimm Families, who drove down from Rochester. When our boys weren’t racing, they were playing in the woods, building forts, jumping dirt piles, and playing games. The community college is a great venue. It was too bad that the organizers had to deal with today’s windstorm. The podium signage literally blew away. Everything blew away. If it wasn’t for the muddy track, you wouldn’t have been able to follow the course. The mud was a major factor, so navigation was a non-issue!

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We had a lot of cleanup. We first washed our bikes at the race, but then we really washed them at home. We decided to not stay for the afternoon races. We were home by 3:00 P.M. and it took a few hours to clean all our gear. We need to do laundry too.

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Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

2017 Northampton International Cyclocross

We just wrapped up a hard weekend of racing at the 27th annual Northampton International Cyclocross in Massachusetts. This was the second back to back race weekend in the row. This was the second round of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series. The third round is next weekend, another double race weekend at the Supercross Cup in Rockland County, New York.

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Day 1

We drove up early in the morning to get to the Junior Boys and Girls 9-14 year old race. They were the second race of the day. Originally scheduled for 8:45 A.M., all of the races were pushed back 30  minutes because of the frigid temperatures. That helped us out because we drove from Bolton. It also helped the course soften up, a bit. Even still, the kids were frozen solid after 30 minutes on the Look Park course.

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The Team Horst Junior Squad was well represented. In addition to our son, Shepard, the field included Sean Rourke, Boden, Chenail, and Cole Ricardi. All of the boys had good races on the fast course.

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In the Masters 50+ race later in the morning, Team Horst Sports was represented by Dave Geissert, Keith Enderle, and Tom Ricardi. All three men rode strongly in the field of talented veteran racers.

I did the Masters 40+ race, which was combined with the 15-18 year old Juniors. This made for a very strong field. It was one of the most talented line-ups of the year. I had a good race, though it could have been better. I felt strong for a Saturday race, and after a good start, I pushed really hard. I was so close to breaking the Top 20, but couldn’t close the gap to a group of six riders who took places 15-21. I was pushing so hard on the last lap and felt like I was going to close the gap.

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I had attacked fellow Master Brian Girard and Junior Tommy Servetas and gotten a nice gap. It looked like I had a chance at getting on to the back of the group that was up ahead. I was counting the seconds and the gap to the last rider was between five and eight seconds. However, when I came into the fast twisty ball field section that had some muddy corners, I was definitely at my limit. I was taking a sharp right hand turn in the mud and cut it too close. My right shift/brake lever hooked a course stake and it jerked my handlebars to the right, which swept out my front wheel and sent me sliding in the mud. I had untangle my bike from the course tape, and get going again.

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In the process, Brian and Tommy shot past me. I worked hard for the rest of the lap to catch back up to them. There was no chance that we would catch the group in front of us, so I focused on staying with them. After I reconnected with Brian and Tommy, I went to the front and pulled them along. In the wide open field section that led to the finish, Tommy went past me and I grabbed his wheel to stay out of the wind. He led me into the last corner and then I came around him. It looked like I was going to take the sprint from them, but I didn’t shift up into a hard enough gear and Brian came up on my right and pipped me on the line. It was a photo finish. I was disappointed in my crash and then bummed about getting beat on the line, but 23rd was still a fantastic result.

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I was joined in the 40+ race by teammates Art Roti, Wade Summers, John Meyerle, Andris Skulte, and Brett Chenail. They all had fun on the classic course. We all went for a cool down on the rail trail and exchanged stories about our race. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon watching the rest of the races, including the kids race. Horst Engineering had two tents in the Race Expo and we met a lot of Cross Spikes™ customers.

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There was some great racing in the Elite Women and Elite Men’s races. The Juniors explored every corner of Look Park. Afterwards, several of us went to dinner in Northampton, before retiring for the night. Debbie, the kids, and I stayed at a local motel, which saved us the drive back to Bolton and set us up for a short commute this morning.

Day 2

Sunday was quite a bit warmer than Saturday. It was still a lot colder than it has been this fall, but it was better than yesterday. The race schedule was not altered, so the Cub Juniors went off at the scheduled 8:45 A.M. The course was reversed for Sunday’s races and it had a few more technical features, including a steeper run-up and a very steep (and gnarly) descent.

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Sean, Shepard, and Boden had good races. They were joined in the Junior 9-14 year old race by Team Horst Junior Squad members Lars Roti, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon; who didn’t race on Saturday, but came out to battle on Sunday. The kids did great. It’s so much fun to watch them having fun before, during, and after the races. Look Park is such a great venue.

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Only Dave and Keith raced the 50+ race for us on Sunday. They improved on their Saturday results. Art, Wade, John, Brett, and I returned to do the 40+/15-18 Juniors on Sunday. I had a terrible start. 50 meters after the whistle blew, in an all out sprint, I “blew out” of both pedals. I’m not sure what happened, but I unclipped from both simultaneously, which resulted in my falling to my top tube. I nearly lost control of my bike, and came to a dead stop before getting my feet back on my pedals.

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More than 20 riders got past me, which was a real bummer. I lost more ground throughout the first lap as I pushed to make up ground. My heart rate skyrocketed and I was “all over my bike,” which means that I was not handling it well. Several other times, I was forced to get off my bike and navigate around downed riders. Being at the back of the field is a real disadvantage. I could have quit, and thought about it for a split second, before reminding myself that this is how some races go. I had an opportunity to recover from a bad start and still have a good race.

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Art had a strong start, so I marked him for most of the first lap, as I picked off one rider after another. Eventually, I settled down, got my heart rate under control, and started moving up through the field. Things opened up a bit more for me on lap two and I put on a huge charge, eventually passing another 15 riders between laps two and four. One of those riders was my friend and “nemesis,” Stan Lezon, who I always race hard. I was definitely exhausted from all of the effort, and nearly got into the top 30 with two laps to go, but on the steep technical descent, I took a bad line, grabbed too much brake, and went “cartwheeling” down the hill. I got some applause from spectators and compliments from Sean Goguen and Jaymz Lipinski, the two Junior riders who I was battling with.

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I had just passed Sean and Jaymz and was ready to put on one more charge, but the crash set me back. I had to work hard just to get back to them and I never made it. I stayed in front of the group behind me, but over the last half lap, I spent way too much time in the wind on my own. I didn’t get caught, and ended up 33rd, 10 spots behind yesterday. Tommy and Brian, my two foes from Saturday finished 17th and 25th respectively, so I was disappointed with my result, but still happy that I didn’t quit and made up a lot of ground after my awful start. What could have been!

I’ll get another shot at a clean race next weekend in New York. We hung out for most of the afternoon. It warmed up a bit under a strong (for November) sun. My Dad drove up to say hello, which was pretty cool. We had more Cross Spikes™  customers come by the tent. It took a while to pack everything up, but we were on the road by 3:00 P.M. This race deserves the attention it gets as the longest continuously running event in New England. Adam Myserson, Alec Donahue, J.D. Bilodeau, and all of their volunteers and crew hosted another excellent event.

The muddy course left me with a muddy bike, so when we got home tonight, Shepard and I cleaned our bikes. It’s always nice to go to bed knowing that you have a clean bike.

Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)


Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

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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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