Archive for the 'Business' Category

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)

2017 Wicked Creepy Cross

I love the Wicked Creepy Cross. It’s one of my favorite grassroots races on the New England calendar. Today, we returned with the whole family. It required us to get up at 5:05 A.M. and leave the house at 5:35 A.M., but it was worth it!

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We drove to Bennington, Vermont in a driving rainstorm, but the precipitation lessened (a bit) when we got on the western side of the Green Mountains. It was still a beautiful drive. On the way home, it was all rain.

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This was the first real muddy race of the 2017 cyclocross season. It’s been unseasonably warm and dry. Today, it wasn’t too cold, but the wetness made for a challenging course, with several muddy sections. It wasn’t too cold, and it certainly wasn’t hot. It was sort of “hypothermia weather” if you were standing around.

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The Livingston’s were joined at the race by the Chenail Family and the Roti Family. The Team Horst Junior Squad and Team Horst Sports were well represented. The fields were small, but that’s OK. Everyone’s morale was boosted by the results. Debbie did her first ever cyclocross race. Her goal was to hold off Shepard, who started one minute behind her, in the Cub Juniors 9-12 year old race.

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The Junior Squad had a great day, with a podium sweep. Boden Chenail chased Shepard all race, and pipped him on the line for the win. It was a good lesson for Shepard, who was a bit surprised by Boden’s surge. Still, a great day. Lars Roti wasn’t far behind, and took the third step on the podium. They were all smiles after the race.

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Debbie battled hard to finish 4th in the Women’s Category 4/5 race. It isn’t normal for her to go anaerobic in a 30 minute +/- race, so this was good. She used her Seven Verve mountain bike, which wasn’t ideal, but worked fine. She plans to race again next week at Cheshire Cross. Look out!

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Brett Chenail rode the Men’s Category 4 race, which had one of the largest fields. They softened up the course prior to the Masters races. Art Roti and I represented the team in the 45+ field. We started with the 35+ riders, which for some reason, I didn’t know until after the finish. The 55+ Men started a minute behind us.

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Until the National Championships, this is one of the few races I do with a 45+ field. Normally, I have to race the 40+ category, and sometimes the 35+ category when no 40+ is offered. It was nice to be one of the “younger” guys in my race!

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I had a really good start, and led the first lap. On lap two,  Jürgen Beneke surged past me, which I was expecting when I saw his name on the start list. He has been winning local races all season, and was top 15 at the GP of Gloucester, where I finished in the 30’s. He has real cycling pedigree. He won the 1993 UCI World Cup in downhill mountain biking, and is an X-Games gold medalist in downhill mountain biking. He can handle his bike and it showed on today’s course.

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After he went by, I stayed in front of the other riders for nearly the entire race. I battled with Ryan Conley for five more laps. I led Ryan for almost the entire lap each time. He would pass me on the road section that led up the major climb, but I would re-pass him before or during the technical (and slippery) upper section. I was stronger in all of the technical turns, and had better acceleration out of the corners, but he closed down the gap every time when he had open field or open road.

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It was a little frustrating, so going into he last lap, I was committed to attacking him every chance I got. I didn’t want to risk a sprint because he was stronger in the final 200 meters after the steep and sandy run-up. There were a few other riders chasing, but we had a comfortable gap so we only had to worry about each other. I wanted second spot and gave it my all, but he closed in on me before the final slippery left hand turn on to the road. He jumped past me, but then I was able to rebound and close back in on him before I ran out of road. He nipped me on the line. I wasn’t happy, but I accepted my defeat and thought about Shepard, who experienced the same disappointment after leading the entire race. I told him to stay positive, so I told myself the same thing.

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There was a silver lining because when the results were posted, I still got 2nd in the 45+ race. Ryan was 1st in the 35+ race. I race everyone hard and still wanted to win that sprint, but we sort of both won on this day.  Jürgen was stronger than both of us and was out of site, so our real goal should be to close the gap to him. I’ll be back at it next week at Cheshire Cross.

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Everyone at Horst Engineering was happy to see mud for this weekend’s races. It was muddy in New England today, which meant both Wicked Creepy and also Orchard Cross, were gnarly. It was also muddy in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which hosted the Canadian National Championships. The same storm system also hit Ohio, and the Cincy CX Festival.  We expect Cross Spikes sales to pick up now!

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Kudos go out to the volunteers who hosted Wicked Creepy, and also to the folks at NYCROSS who put together the series. If we lived closer, we might do a few more races in the series. Of course, Connecticut has its own series and we do those races before any others.

Debbie, the kids, and I celebrated at Hearty Eats in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Race Results

2017 The Midnight Ride of Cyclocross

This past Wednesday, I did The Midnight Ride of Cyclocross for the third time. I also rode  it in 2013 and 2016. It’s a fun mid-week race at the Bolton Fairgrounds in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

This year, it was hot and humid, which isn’t my favorite cyclocross weather, but I’m not complaining. I did the Men’s Pro/1/2/3 race at 8:00 P.M. There were some lights, but as is typical, there were some dark and sketchy corners to add to the excitement. I drove up after work and had a little time to warm up in the parking lot. After dark, even with lights on your bike, Rt. 117 isn’t safe to ride on, so I stayed in the lot. That proved to be dangerous too, because there were absolutely no lights in the lot and it was pitch black. Traffic leaving the earlier races made riding a challenge. This was my only issue with the race. Otherwise, I appreciate all the work that goes into producing an event like this. Course set-up isn’t easy, especially on a weeknight.

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My legs were a bit heavy from last weekend’s Vermont 50, but I still had a decent ride. There were a handful of Masters 40+ guys mixed in with the fast young guys, including some professionals, so I wasn’t last. I stayed on the first lap and was only about two and a half minutes behind Todd Bowden and Adam Myerson, the fastest masters racers. The course had a nice mix of long straightaway speed sections, tight turns, a few sets of barriers, and some technical sand. It was dry, but the humidity and dew made for some slick corners. I used my TUFO Flexus Primus SG tires.

The race winner was Garry Millburn of Sydney, Australia. Garry was sporting his Horst Engineering Cross Spikes on the podium. It was great to meet him in person. He is an ambassador for our Australian dealer, Cyclocross Minded Australia. Garry is a past Australian National Cyclocross Champion and is one of their top cross racers. He is spending some time in the USA, racing the top UCI C1 and C2 events in Connecticut and Colorado. Then, he goes to Japan for some more racing, and then heads to Europe for the remainder of the season.

He was accompanied by his spouse, and fellow ambassador, Fiona Caroline Morris. She finished third in the women’s race and was excited to be on the podium too. I was winded after my race and without my iPhone or a camera, so a big thanks goes to Katie from Katie Busick Photography for snapping a picture and posting to Facebook so I could remember the moment. Night racing continues next Wednesday with the Night Weasels Cometh at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. I’m a Night Weasels veteran too, and look forward to this year’s race. This is also a fun one to go and watch, so if you are interested in taking in some cyclocross, check out the Elite Women at 7:30 P.M., and then the Elite Men at 8:30 P.M. I’ll be racing with the big boys again.

 

Race Results

2017 Hartford Riverfront Cyclocross

Yesterday was the Hartford Riverfront Cyclocross, which kicked off the cross season for me and many other members of Team Horst Sports. Some of the guys got started two weeks ago at the CompEdge Cross at Blunt Park, and others started last weekend at the BCA Cyclocross. Yesterday, we seven Juniors racers and nine Masters racers toe the line.

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The last time most of us raced in Hartford’s Riverside Park, was at the 2017 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships back in January. That was an amazing event. Check out my recap. The weather conditions at yesterday’s race were much different. We had a beautiful late summer day that started out cool and then warmed up with bright sunshine and puffy clouds dotting a lovely blue sky.

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The roots of the Riverfront Cross (and Nationals) go back to 2003, when our team hosted the inaugural Connecticut Riverfront Cyclocross. Horst Engineering is on the opposite side of the river from the park, and only a 1/2 mile or so, as the crow flies; so I know this venue well. It was good to shake off the cobwebs since my last cross race, in this park, nine months ago.

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If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. I was late to prep my bikes for the event and was forced to take a pit bike that had road tires on it. My primary bike, a Seven Mudhoney Pro, was in pretty good shape, after a disc brake upgrade (TRP Hy/Rd) at our team shop, Bicycles East, in nearby Glastonbury. It was also Shepard’s first cross race since Nats, and he was pumped to be joining his Team Horst Junior Squad mates in the 9-12 year old Cub Juniors race.

We got to the park with just enough time to pre-ride part of the course, but three minutes into a lap, I heard a loud “CRACK” as I was slowly turning around a hairpin. It appeared that I broke a spoke, but I know that sound, and it was louder than that. I stopped to investigate and saw two spokes dangling, but oddly, they still had their heads. That’s when I realized that my Zipp hub had a catastrophic failure. The hub flange fracture and a chunk of it was missing, which is why two spokes were dangling from the 303 rim.

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Our pre-ride was cut short. Thankfully, my teammates took care of Shepard and got him started while I returned home to fetch a spare wheel that was compatible and had knobby tires mounted on it. I made it back in time to catch the end of the Juniors race, and fortunately, the wheel and its brake rotor, fit my brake calipers OK.

I was a little out of sorts by the time my 40+ race started, but two laps in, I had settled down and was comfortably in the top 10. On the third lap, as I was making my way across the off-camber turn by the gazebo, my rear wheel locked up. This was a result of my rear tubular rolling off the rim and getting jammed between the chain stay and my wheel. Game over…sort of. I was 600 meters or so from the pit, but I shouldered my bike and ran all the way there. Most of the guys in my race passed me while I was running. It was unfortunate, but I grabbed my Seven Tsunami, with the road wheels and tires, and did my best to chase over the next four laps. I actually lost more ground, and was pulled with one lap to go.

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It was a weak start to the season, but hopefully after I get my bikes back in working order, I’ll be able to better my result. I was hoping for a good race, but it wasn’t to be. Shepard had a very good race. So did his Junior Squad teammates. Also, many of the guys on Team Horst Sports had good races, especially Mike Wonderly, who won the 50+ race.

Another reason why I’m pumped for cross season, is the growth of Horst Engineering’s Cross Spikes product line. We have great momentum to build from after Nats was in our backyard. We have several new ambassadors and other projects in the works.

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I dropped my Zipp wheel off at Bicycles East and will figure out what to ride for Wednesday’s CCAP Rocky Hill CX Training Series race. I don’t have a real cross race until a week from Wednesday at the Midnight Ride of CX. I talked about my bad day with Shepard and explained how mechanicals are part of the sport. That’s bike racing!

Race Results

2017 Domnarski Farm Mountain Bike Race

Last weekend, after 10 years, we finally made it to the Domnarksi Farm Mountain Bike race. It seems that Domnarski Farm always clashes with another event on the schedule. For the 10th anniversary, we made it a priority to attend and support our Team Horst Sports mate, Matt Domnarski.

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This race is part of the Root 66 Northeast XC Race Series.  It starts and finishes at the farm. The Cat 1’s and 2’s do a 10 mile loop, while the Cat 3’s and beginners (including the Juniors) do a 3.3 mile loop. I did the Cat 1 singlespeed division and we did two loops for a total of 20 miles.

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The course is super-rocky and there are a lot of roots. There is also a lot of climbing. Everyone refers to this race as “old school” which is great. To me, that means grassroots oriented and a tough course. We had a nice Horst Junior Squad turnout with five kids competing in the Cat 3 race and one in the Kids Race. We had four adults there as well.

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I had a tough day. I struggled in the heat and had to go into “survival mode” on lap two. Domnarski was my fifth race in 10 days and two days later, I was doing the Winding Trails Summer Tri Series, so I didn’t want to go too deep into the red zone. I was happy that I finished, but I was looking grim when I reached the line. With the singlespeed, I did a fair amount of walking.

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The Pro Men put on a show. I wasn’t there to see it, but both Justin Lindine, and Stephen Hyde; broke the course record. Stephen’s first lap was the fastest ever, and Justin’s second lap topped it. They duked it out and Justin came out on top. It’s going to be great to see these two do battle when cyclocross season starts in late-August.

Race Results

2017 Soapstone Mountain Trail Races

The 33rd annual Soapstone Mountain Trail Races are in the books. Once again, the Shenipsit Striders did a fantastic job organizing these classic races. It was Debbie’s 14th year as the Race Director, which is both a great honor and a big responsibility.

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Thankfully, we have the support of a great running club and a cadre of wonderful volunteers. The joyous feeling of pulling into the driveway after another successful Soapstone never gets old. We have lots of cleanup ahead, but even before we got home, the accolades were flowing in via social media and email.

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Safety is always the first priority and aside from a few twisted ankles requiring ice, and a scrape or two, the race was incident free. We only had two DNF’s out of 144 starters in the 22 kilometer long course event, and all 78 runners in the 6 kilometer Sampler finished.

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This was my 14th time running Soapstone since 2001. I’ve done the Sampler five times and have now done the 22K nine times, including today. This wasn’t my fastest, but it wasn’t my slowest either. It was my slowest since 2006. I didn’t have good legs. After the 9  mile mark, I slowed considerably and despite pushing hard, couldn’t keep my pace high.

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It sucks to lose ground like that, but my legs were blown. Still, the weather was awesome for running and I had a great time in the woods. Back at the finish line, it was a festive atmosphere with so many friends to greet and catch up with. It was great to see cyclists teammates and friends, Tom Ricardi, Randall Dutton, Anthony Eisley, and Jonathan Tarbox, out running trails.

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First male was Neil Clauson. He was followed by the amazing master runner, Brett Stoeffler. Third was Andrew Baird. On the women’s side, the victor was Kehr Davis. She was followed by Bonnie Lathrop and Caitlin Cunningham. I see-sawed with Kehr for a while, but around the 10 mile mark, she just took off and I had no response. From there, I got caught by a few other guys and then faded.

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The Sampler was won by Charlie Grillo. He was followed by Luke Stoeffler, and then Bruce Christensen. Melissa Emmerich was the first woman.

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I’ve got my usual nicks and dings, including sore ankles, but you won’t get any complaints from me. Our son did the Sampler and our daughter did the Kids Race. It was fun to see so many other families enjoying the day together.

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Much appreciation to our hosts the Reddington Rock Riding Club. We got great support from Horst Engineering, Tailwind Nutrition, the Northern Connecticut Land Trust, and Nature’s Grocer. It’s also worth noting that Debbie’s Mom, Barbara Schieffer, did another fantastic job in the cook shed. For $25, you get an awesome race with a great meal afterwards.

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Look for other great Shenipsit Striders races that are part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series and the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series.

Race Results


Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes

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Fir @john.meyerle because I neglected to post earlier: @supercross_cup This video is the Cat 4/5 Men. Great start for @the_ccap boys Nick and Johnny. #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Another great day at the @supercross_cup The #teamhorstjuniorsquad did great on the tricky and challenging course that was left muddy by overnight rain. The wind was fierce. The Junior 9-14 year olds did battle with the Category 4/5 Women. #teamhorstsports @vittoriaseries #supercrosscx #supercrosscup #horstengineering @horsteng #crossspikes #cyclocross Good morning from the windy @supercross_cup The overnight wind destroyed many a tent. It’s supposed to get windier. The rain has turned the course to muck. It’s going to be off-camber insanity. Myles Mattern is warming up for the Juniors 9-14 year old Race and showing how it’s done. Second video is the Cat 4/5 Men. Great start for @the_ccap boys Nick and Johnny. #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Suffering in Suffern!! @supercross_cup Day 1 #supercrosscup #supercrosscx #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #horstengineering @horsteng @vittoriaseries #teamhorstjuniorsquad ☔️🚴🏽 Another great day at the @nohocx Day was marginally warmer, but the racing was even more intense. Even the Cub Juniors were throwing down! #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #crossspikes #horstengineering #cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross #nohocx @lutzmuseum Children’s #Poetry Night. Little D wrote and recited. A welcome Friday night arts and culture moment before a (cold) weekend full of intense #cyclocross racing! #lutzmuseum 📚 🚲 So much radness at today’s Newtown #Cyclocross Steady drizzle turned the horse farm into a greasy challenge for everyone. The Cub Junior 9-12 year olds are always a highlight. My first of two big wipeouts left my nose wounded (again). I should start wearing a face mask. My @seven_cycles Mudhoney was a trusty steed! Good work @the_ccap #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #horstengineering #newtowncx #lifedeathcyclocross 🚴🏽 🐎 Nothing like #cheshirecx Yesterday’s Cheshire Cross was a blast. #Cyclocross #hecklehill #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #horstengineering #lifedeathcyclocross 🚴🏽💪🏻🍺 At last night’s @ctforestandparkassociation Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, 45 people were honored for working 100+ hours in the past year. Their cumulative total was more than 9,000 hours. Most are trail maintenance volunteers, but some were education volunteers (i.e. naturalists, trainers). It’s always worth pointing out that CFPA is a nonprofit organization and needs support to exist. The Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails wouldn’t exist without these folks. Thank you! #blueblazedtrail #ctwoodlands #cfpa #trails #trailrunning #hiking

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