Archive for the 'Biographical' Category

2015 Manchester Road Race

Today was my 26th Manchester Road Race, and it was a wonderful one. I have no favorites, but this year, I took it easy (again) and jogged it with Debbie and our son, Shepard. It wasn’t a jog for him. He had to push, and he ran a fantastic time. This was his third MRR, and I hope he continues the tradition and “streaks” as long as he can.


It was my 21st in a row. We had incredible weather, with our warmer than usual autumn continuing. The sunshine was brilliant and the temperature was way above normal. For us, the MRR isn’t just one event. It is a week of celebrating. Last Saturday, Debbie ran the Know Your Pace Race, with our Silk City Striders friends. That was followed by the Manchester Road Race Expo, and then the Little Manchester Road Race.


Both of our kids participated, with our daughter running the one mile, and our son running the two-mile. More than 800 kids were registered for the four races, which also included a 100 yard dash (for the littlest ones), and a 1/2 mile. Last weekend’s weather was also excellent.


Last night, we went to the annual spaghetti dinner at the Elk’s Lodge. We saw many of our friends there, and again today at the race on Main Street. Given the extraordinary weather conditions, its likely that the race was maxed out at the 15,000 runner limit, and that most of them showed up and did the 4.748 mile race. Next year will be a big one; it will be the 80th anniversary.


At last night’s dinner, we heard Charlie Duggan and Steve Gates speak. Charlie won the 1980 edition of the race, and to this day, Steve’s time in 1980 remains the fastest that a Manchester native has ever run on the course. This year’s winners were Will Geoghegan and Diana Nukuri. She repeated her 2014 victory, and he won for the first time, out kicking local favorite, Donn Cabral, of Glastonbury. We got to see Donn at last night’s dinner, and hope that he wins this one someday. He is close to the top step.


Neither Debbie or I were interested in racing hard. I’m focused on cyclocross and haven’t been running much. I didn’t feel like pushing with some nagging “lower body” (like a hockey player) injuries. Debbie decided to “shut it down” after September’s ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI. It was nice of Debbie’s mom, Barbara, to stay with our daughter at St. James Church near the start/finish line. The support of the Schieffer Family is another Thanksgiving tradition.


Our son had a strong run. Debbie and I are proud of him for being positive and having a great attitude. He ran steady the whole way and his net time was just under 38 minutes, which is wonderful for a little guy. At the four mile mark, he really wanted some water. There are no official water stations, but with 20,000 spectators, someone always has water. Debbie spotted a table on the left side of the road. We were on the right, so I had to backtrack and cross traffic to get the water. To my surprise, they also had beer, so I asked for one of each, and they were so kind to oblige. I caught back up to them with a can of Busch in my left hand, and a cup of water in my right. Both Shep and I were happy!


It was nice to see the Welts family down from New Hampshire! In addition to seeing many of our Silk City Striders friends, we hooked up with our main club, the Shenipsit Striders. This weekend is our annual Shenipsit Trail End-to-End Run on Saturday. If you are interested in running any distance up to about 50 miles, then join the club! This year we are going south to north.


I’m already looking forward to next year’s 80th. Maybe our daughter will join us for her first MRR. Maybe I’ll run hard. We will see…


Hartford Courant Coverage

Race Results

2015 SuperCross Cup

After all of these years, I finally made it to the SuperCross Cup in New York. I’ve always wanted to race this event, but never made it to Long Island, when it was located there, and I missed the first two editions at Harriman State Park. It has been several years since I visited Harriman, and I’ve missed it. Debbie, the kids, and I were there in 2011, the last time she ran the Bear Mountain 50 Miler.  There was an aid station at the Anthony Wayne Recreation Area, right at the start/finish line of today’s course. I hadn’t raced in Harriman since 2009, when I did the HarryMan Triathlon. That was a long time ago. Even farther back, I used to race in Harriman when we did the Bear Mountain Road Race. Before that, we used to race the Harriman circuit as part of the West Point Stage Race. That was back in my days at Boston College and Boston University when I raced collegiate road cycling. I absolutely loved that course.

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Well, I made it back into Harriman today, but for a cyclocross race, and it was a good one. This was the third time the SuperCross Cup was held at Anthony Wayne and the race attracted more than 400 cross racers over the course of two days of racing. We had a busy Saturday, so I didn’t make it until today. My son and I drove down last night and met up with my teammate and Horst Engineering colleague, Arthur Roti, and his son. We stayed about 20 minutes from Harriman, and then drove to the start this morning via the beautiful (but full of potholes) Palisades Parkway.

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The Masters 35+ race was at 10:45 A.M. and we had a competitive field. Art raced yesterday and it was muddy. We had more rain overnight, so the course remained muddy and slick. It was our first real muddy race of the year and I loved it. However, it took me too long to get comfortable with the slipping and sliding. My legs were heavy for the first three laps and I really struggled. On lap three, I was still in contact with a group of five other riders, but I was anaerobic and that led to several bobbles. I lost touch with the group and was stuck in no man’s land for a few laps. A couple of riders caught me from behind, and then I started to figure out the right lines to take through the sloppy corners. By then, it was too late. I made a charge on the last lap, gapped a NYCROSS rider that I was battling with and nearly closed in on another rider, but ran out of asphalt on the finishing stretch.

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I could have easily gone another couple of laps and made up more ground, but the race was over. I was still happy and I had a lot of fun. It was worth the 2.5 hour drive from Bolton to Stony Point. Heck, driving over the Tappan Zee Bridge (twice) and seeing the massive construction project for the new bridge, was worth the drive. There were three run-ups and a set of barriers on this well designed and technical course. The first hill was unrideable and a perfect testing ground for Horst Spikes. Again, I used my Mini Standard’s, but I wish I had installed my Long’s before the start. They would have given me even more grip. The mud was thick!

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The second run-up was a set of concrete steps, so spikes weren’t much help there. Some of the more talented riders were riding up the steps. Not me. The third hill was a slick (especially at the bottom) steep affair that curved to the right. Only a handful of racers were able to ride it. I chose to run, and again, the cross spikes came in handy. The barriers were also in a muddy section of field on the upper part of the course. It was great to have a race with four dismounts and all of that running. It was more like a European cross race than any of the courses we have done lately. There were some tricky spots, so I was happy to stay upright the entire race.

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Arthur had a good race too. Our teammates Wade Summers (who raced the 45+) and Paul Nyberg (who raced the 55+) also had good races. Yesterday, Paul and our other teammate, Pat Cunningham, joined Arthur at day one of the event. Our kids had a blast at the venue, got a little muddy themselves, and did the kids race loop several times. We really wanted to stay and watch the Elite Men and Elite Women, but we had to get going. We went from the far southwest corner of Connecticut all the way to the far northeast corner. My son and I met up with Debbie and our daughter and the rest of Cub Scout Pack 157 Den 5. Debbie organized a nature walk at the Goodwin State Forest Education & Conservation Center. It was fantastic, but it was a long way from Harriman State Park. This was the end of yet another busy autumn weekend.

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I definitely plan to return to the SuperCross Cup on 2016 and I’ll bring more friends from New England with me.

Race Results

2015 Newtown Cross

Today was the Newtown Cross, race number six in the CT Series of Cyclocross. Overnight, the temperature dropped, and it was very cold when we awoke this morning in nearby Prospect.

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Yesterday’s Cheshire Cross was a cool and blustery affair. Today, it was cool, but the wind had died down, and the sunshine was brilliant. The Master Men had a 9:00 A.M. start, which can be a challenge on a Sunday. We work all week!

Nevertheless, the positive side of an early start is an early finish. Debbie, the kids, and I stayed with her parents last night, so the drive was less than 30 minutes to the venue at Fairfield Hills, the site of the former state hospital.

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I hadn’t been there since 2013 when this race debuted…in the snow and I hardly recognized it without the white stuff. The course has changed a bit since then. The event was presented by Team 26 and the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program, which has created a lot of excitement for youth and junior bicycle racing. The junior race, which followed our race, had the largest junior field in New England, and proceeds from the event will benefit CCAP.

The Masters fields were competitive, as usual, though the registration numbers were down a bit from yesterday, and that could be due to competition from races in New York and Massachusetts. Team Horst Sports teammate, Pat Cunningham, continued his winning ways in the 50+ race with a resounding victory. Paul Nyberg wasn’t far behind.

Art Roti and Wade Summers joined me in the 40+ race. Place-wise, I had one of my best results of the year. I had the opportunity to sprint for second place, but ended up fourth after getting out-kicked by Monte Frank and Bryan Atwood, who beat me in the sprint for eighth yesterday. The winner was Matt Krause, who is a very strong Master’s rider.

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I rode a smart race until the final 200 meters when I let Monte and Bryan lead me onto the finishing straight. I never had a chance to come around them and they were too strong in the finale. That’s the third week in a row where I’ve given up valuable places in the last 200 meters of a race. After today’s disappointment, I’ve vowed to race more aggressively on the last lap and to attack. Right now, I have no sprint, so there is no point waiting for a sprint.

The course was fun, with a lot of riding. There were some tight turns, but it was mostly an open race. There was a stiff grass run-up with a little ring climb that followed. I tried to ride the hill in warm-ups, but crashed and slid down the sidehill, so I decided to run it every lap in the race. Riding it would have been no advantage.

There were some challenging roots and rocks in the woods that caused more than one puncture in our field. You had to pick the right line to avoid a pinch flat. There was one set of barriers that forced you to dismount. Other than the hill and barriers, it was all fast riding.

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Monte led from the start, but he punctured on the first lap, and then was having gear problems with his pit bike. That allowed Matt to slip away from us, and we never closed the gap. Monte, Bryan, and I were joined for part of the race by Lawrence Merling. He may have also had a mechanical, but I’m not sure. With two to go, we gapped him and then there was a little cat and mouse between the three of us.

Monte keep the pace high and Bryan pressured him while I hung on. I missed my opportunity to jump around them and the final few turns were around the buildings, which left me no opportunity to pass. I think I was stronger on the hill and long grinding slog in the grass afterwards, but I mistakenly sat on them waiting for an opportunity closer to the finish. Oh well, I was one spot “out of the money” but all proceeds went to CCAP, so it is no loss!

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My legs were a little tired after yesterday’s race, but that is no excuse. It was a fun weekend of cross racing. Next week is Stony Point in New York, but I’ll only race once. I earned the right to drink a Connecticut brewed beer, and I’ll have one tonight!

Race Results

2015 Cheshire Cross

Today, I raced the 10th annual Cheshire Cross in Cheshire, Connecticut. It was race number five in the CT Series of Cyclocross. I’ve done it several times over the years.

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The course is one of my favorites because it is technical and it has a long steep hill. That hill, known as Heckler Hill, has quite the reputation. Most people can ride it, but it isn’t easy. The “Hill People” congregate on it and they are nuts.

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My race was early, 9:00 A.M., but by noon, the hill people were out in force. They were loud and hilarious. Many were dressed in costumes and they were proud of breaking UCI rules. This wasn’t a UCI race. It’s one of the fun local events that make New England cyclocross so interesting.

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I had a decent race, but once again, failed to pick up a spot in the final sprint. I had a last lap battle with Bryan Atwood. I led him until the bottom of the hill, but he muscled his way past me as we crested. I figured I would have a chance to come around him in the soccer fields, but as I made my move to pass him on the finishing stretch, a lapped rider blocked the way and I had to hit the brakes.

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Oh well, I still had a fun day. It was cool and blustery, but the intermittent sunshine was pleasant. Debbie and the kids came to watch and the kids race got good participation. It was a longer loop than usual, which was nice. Next year, our son will be ready to try some junior races.

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The Horst Engineering Cycling Team had some good results. Pat Cunningham won the 50+ race and Paul Nyberg wasn’t far behind him in 4th. I was joined in the 40+ race by Wade Summers, Art Roti, and Mike Wonderly.

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I hung around after my race to watch the Elite Men and Elite Women. The men’s race was won by Matt Timmerman after a tight battle with a young rider. It was fun to watch. The women’s race had a dominating performance by Jena Greaser, who took the win.

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The Connecticut series continues tomorrow at the Newtown Cross. Results

2015 Cycle-Smart Northampton International Cyclocross

We had a fantastic weekend of cyclocross racing in Massachusetts at the 25th annual Cycle-Smart Northampton International (NoHo) has a nice overview of the race and its history from its early days when it was known as the UMASS Cyclocross. Like last weekend’s West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, I’ve done NoHo/UMASS 12 times (years). I’ve actually done more races there because going back many years, it has been a two-race weekend and I’ve done the double at least four times.

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Like Putney, I first raced this event back in 1995 in my first year of cyclocross racing. I raced UMASS five times when the event was held on the Amherst campus and have been back seven times over the years, to race the Cycle-Smart version of the race at Look Park in Northampton. Like Putney, it is one of my favorite events. For me, cyclocross season doesn’t really kick in until November and the first two weekends of this month have always been special because of Putney and NoHo. I missed them both in 2014 because of my broken shoulder, so I was really excited to be back this year.

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Race Director, Adam Myerson, and his colleagues/friends/teammates/volunteers from Cycle-Smart Inc., Northampton Cycling Club, and JAM Fund put on a good show. This is the third largest cross race in New England behind Providence and Gloucester. Look Park is a great venue. It is a very fast course, which favors strong road cyclists who have time trial type power.

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This year was unique for me because Horst Engineering got involved with the race as a sponsor for the very first time. For the past two years, we have supported Adam with our Horst Spikes cross spikes. We got to talking and agreed to sponsor the run-up, which is a rock strewn sandy slope that takes you from the grassy lower section of Look Park to the upper wooded section. Cross spikes are the ideal product sponsor for a course feature like this. We donated Horst Spikes for each category and participated in the Race Expo. It was a lot of fun for Team Horst Sports and we got great support from our team to man our booth and participate in the festivities.

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Pat Cunningham, Matt Domnarski, Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, Arthur Roti, Andris Skulte, and I raced Saturday and Sunday. We were joined on Saturday by Randall Dutton. Our “roadie” mates Erik Emanuele, Max Accaputo, Trent Sullivan, and A. Zane Wenzel helped us with the expo and Horst Spike sales. Arthur and I owe them a big “thank you” for pitching in. We had a blast with the event. In addition to our team, many other riders we support were at the event, including Cassie Maximenko, Ellen Noble, Kate Northcott, and Lizzy Gunsalus. It was great to see them along with so many other friends.

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The weather was excellent both days. Yesterday, it was partly sunny and cool with a stiff breeze. Today, it was also cool, but the sky was blue and the sun was a bit warmer than yesterday. Thankfully, it wasn’t as windy. The conditions were ideal for cyclocross. We had some rain on Friday, so the course was damp yesterday morning, but by this afternoon it was dry and dusty.

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Everyone on the team rode well against some of the best regional competition. I had two good races in the challenging Masters 35+/Juniors 15-18 field. I’m not a big fan of the combined Masters-Juniors races, but it makes for an extraordinarily fast race. Our pace is second only to the Elite Men. The challenge is that the race combines some of the most skilled Masters riders with the inexperienced, and generally poor bike handling, Juniors. The Juniors are like young colts. They are full of raw power and speed, but they lack the finesse required to ride clean lines around the tight turns and they often struggle with the technical features on the course. There is no point being frustrated; you just make the best of it, but I look forward to “aging up” next year when I can race with the Masters 45+/55+ men.

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Both races were wicked hard. I definitely left it all out there and I’m pleased with how my cyclocross form is improving. Both days, I missed the opportunity to pick up several spots in the final 300 meters. Yesterday, we covered five laps, but the course was a bit quicker today and they had us do six. I was in a group of six, but didn’t have the kick at the finish and all five of my competitors beat me to the line. Drafting was critical for the long open stretches of the course. Today my laps were between 8:17 and 8:29 each and I averaged 14.9 miles per hour. Yesterday was only 0.1 mile per hour slower, so pretty much the same speed, which is fast for cyclocross. Today, I was in a group of three with another rider just ahead, but again, didn’t have the necessary kick, my right quad cramped in the final stretch, and I couldn’t improve my placing. Nevertheless, it was so  much fun. The inter-race battles were excellent.

Normally, I would do my race, and then depart, but NoHo is an all day affair…and for two days in a row. We were there from early morning until the Elite Men finished at 4:00 P.M. on both days. There were food trucks, a beer tent, and lots of things to see and do. Look Park is very family friendly. It has multiple playgrounds, a zoo, and lots of places to ride and play. There was a kids race each day and attracted nearly 50 participants under the age of 10. The kids joined me both days and Debbie joined us today. Everyone had a lot of fun. We will all sleep well tonight.

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This coming weekend, the Connecticut Series of CX continues with races five and six in Cheshire and Newtown. After a medium-sized production like NoHo, these little races will be a different experience, but I like them just the same.

Race Results Day 1

Race Results Day 2

2015 West Hill Shop Cyclocross

Today was the 25th annual West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont. I made the journey north with Debbie and the kids. We joined up with several Team Horst Sports mates, including Arthur Roti, Wade Summers, Pat Cunningham, and Matt Domnarski. The “Putney” race is one of my all time favorite events. I absolutely love the course, and I love this time of year. The race is always the first weekend in November. For many years, it was the day after the Frank-N-Horst Cyclocross in Keene. Frank-N-Horst may be gone, but Putney race is still with us.

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This was the 12th time that I’ve done this race, so I’ve done nearly half of them, which is pretty good. I think of the 130 or so career cyclocross races that I’ve done, I’ve raced West Hill more times than any other. It was my fourth ever race, the first one coming 20 years ago in 1995. So, today had some nostalgia to it.

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I was happy to be back in Putney with both teammates and family. It was perfect cross weather today. It took us a while to get out of the driveway. We took our VW Westy and our Gearwagon, but it took a while to gather all the necessary stuff. we had five bicycles between us. I joked that my heart rate was elevated and I was sweating, before ever leaving the driveway. When we left home, it was raining lightly and it was cool.

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When we got to Putney an hour and forty-five minutes later, it was still overcast with light drizzle. The course was damp, but not too muddy. As the day went on and the breeze picked up, it dried out. By the end of my race around 1:30 P.M., the sun was breaking through the clouds. The kids had a little race around 12:35 and all of the Masters 35+, 45+, and 55+ riders started 10 minutes later with each group spaced by 30 seconds. Next year, I’ll be in the 45+ age group, but this year, I’m one of the oldest in the 35+ which is a disadvantage, but I’m not complaining. I’m happy to be racing strong at 43 (racing age 44).

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I had my best start of the season and going into the third lap, the front group of five or six was just ahead of me, but that is when the elastic band snapped. I couldn’t close the 10 second gap and it eventually opened up even more. I was with another rider in between the front group and a  larger chasing group. Things got reshuffled and I stayed ahead of the chasing group. I don’t know where I ended up. I’ll have to wait for the results on Monday. I didn’t even bother to go look. I was happy with my ride. I gave it everything I had.

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One of the famous features of the Putney course is the run-up. It’s one of the hills that has inspired the design of Horst Spikes. Before the start, I changed out my Medium cross spikes, and installed my Long’s. They were great for the loose, but damp sand on the hill. There are two other dismounts on the course, including a set of barriers, and a short muddy run-up with wood stairs.

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We got to do dine at some of our favorite places. For lunch, on the way to the shop, we stopped at the Putney Co-Op, where we are members. Then, on the way home, we stopped in Northampton. First, we got bread and sweets (take out) at Hungry Ghost Bread, and then we had dinner at Paul & Elizabeth’s, our favorite restaurant. We will be back in Northampton next weekend on both Saturday and Sunday for the Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross. Horst Engineering is sponsoring the race, so our team will have a big presence. NoHo is one of the bigger races in New England. It ranks behind only Gloucester and Providence in participation. Look Park is a great venue, so if you are interested in watching a really cool event, come to NoHo and see some of the best cyclocross racing that New England has to offer.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

2015 Wicked Creepy Cross

Today, I went to the 9th annual Wicked Creepy Cross in Bennington, Vermont. It was the fourth of five races in the NYCROSS Series, and I was joined by Arthur Roti, his son, and my son. The boys had an absolute blast. This is the only cyclocross course that I know where the venue also has a BMX track. My Garmin results show the course and the track.

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Willow Park in Bennington was the site of the festivities, and it is a little jewel. The views of the southern Green Mountains and the views during our drive through the Berkshires were fantastic. It was a bit rainy, so the foliage was a little dark, but it was still another great New England autumn day. The BMX track was certainly a hit with the boys. I did see some big smiles on the adults too.

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The cross course was also very good. This was my first time at this race. It was well done and had those little touches that make a good event. The kids race was a short course/one lap affair that was more ceremonial than competitive. There was even a Costume Lap, which was good for a few giggles.

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I got to see Chris and Kate Northcott for the second weekend in a row and Chris was kind enough to keep an eye on our kids while Art and I raced. Last week, I saw the Northcott clan in Keene, New Hampshire at the PumpkinCross. We are going to see a lot of them in the next month with the West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont next weekend, and then the Cycle-Smart International in Northampton, Massachusetts the week after that.

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Art and I were joined by our teammate, Paul Nyberg. All of the Masters riders 35 and up started together, so it was one big group of 35’s, 45’s, and 55’s. Paul scored third in his age group. Art and I had decent rides against our peers. I had a good start, whereas Paul had a big wipeout in the first corner. He recovered, only to fall again during the race, so maybe he could have done better than 3rd without the mishaps. I rode a generally clean race and had some nice inter-race battles. When you aren’t lighting up the front of the race, that is what cross is about. It was muddy in a few spots and slick in others. I was happy with my Seven Mudhoney  Pro; the bike handled well.

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I lost a little ground with a few laps to go, but maintained a steady pace and held off some rivals as the finish neared. The race had a mix of tight turns, sharp sprinting, and medium drags. There was a short run up with wood steps that I had to dismount for. There was also a set of barriers requiring a dismount, and there was a steep loose dirt run-up that sapped the leg strength. I used my Medium Horst Spikes today, though I could have used Long’s. We finally got to use them in some proper wet and muddy conditions. I didn’t have time before the start to swap them out. I’ll definitely have Long’s in my Sidi shoes for Putney next week. That course has one of my favorite run-ups in New England.

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After we packed up, we watched a little of the women’s race. Kate was off the front and doing very well. It was fun to watch. On the drive back to Connecticut, we stopped in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts for a late lunch and to check out the Bridge of Flowers. It was a fun Sunday with the boys.

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Race Results

Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes


Not many images from today's NECXBAR #cyclocross in #fitchburg today. I was happy to race, weather was great, and the most challenging course feature was the sand pit which had its own hairpin. Wade and I had fun racing together. I took a pedal to my right thigh, but I'm ready for the push with three more races in December...and then some rest. #teamhorstsports #horstspikes Mr. Curtiss' classic #shenipsitstriders t-shirt has quite the collection of #manchesterroadrace elite runners. He has been collecting for many years. Here he points out co-course record holder, John Treacy, one of my favorites. He added some new signatures at the pasta dinner last Wednesday. This shirt has some great names including Olympic gold medalists and world champions, all who have run the streets of Manchester. How many legends can you spot? #boltonlandtrust Walk of #Thanksgiving at the Sheridan Homestead. The oldest part of the house dates to 1730 and this barn to 1900. #bolton #connecticut #newengland Little D takes her #dreidel spinning too seriously! #spinagogue #majorleaguedreidel #nogeltnoglory My #goodfriday and #blackfriday tradition of taking a #yoga class taught by  @trailrunningmom I noticed that I was the only "boy" today. I should come more often. She would also like me to join her @kripalucenter for a weekend program. #kripalu My 70 hour old cousin (Little E) even has her own name tag at #thanksgiving dinner! My sister (the hostess) doesn't miss a beat! Eleanora doesn't get her own spot (lowest in seniority has to sit with her Mom), but that is still pretty cool. (Mother) @trailrunningmom and son at the #manchesterroadrace #thanksgiving #running #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports A sea of humanity on #mainstreet in #manchester #connecticut for the #manchesterroadrace #thanksgiving #running #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports #manchesterroadrace Spaghetti Dinner. #running #silkcitystriders #shenipsitstriders #thanksgiving

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