Archive for the 'Environment' Category

2019 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

Saturday was an ideal day for cyclocross in Connecticut. The leaves are reaching their peak and it was a beautiful day at Mansfield Hollow State Park. We had a typical fall day with two much to fit in. We started the day watching Eliud Kipchoge’s amazing marathon in Austria (via You Tube).

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Debbie took Shepard to the race in the morning so that he could race with the CCAP Team HORST Junior Squad. I went to see my HORST Engineering colleagues tee off at our annual company golf tournament. I was surprised and pleased to see that Team HORST raised the bar yet again. They designed and manufactured precision golf tees. We first made an earlier version for a Family Day event many years ago. They dusted off the design, made some improvements and cranked out a batch (on a Swiss screw machine) before the tourney. I actually see a market for these, so HORST Tees may be the next Cross Spikes. There are interesting similarities between the designs.

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After that, I went to work, for several hours. I tried to navigate from our Burnham Street plant to our Cedar Street plant, but was thwarted by awful traffic.

I should have known better before making the attempt, but the Hartford Marathon created insurmountable congestion and many streets were closed. I aborted the attempt to swing by the other shop and just headed for Mansfield Hollow  for the Zanconato Singlespeed Cyclocross Series event. I had to stop at home and grab something that I forgot to pack.

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By then, after lunch in Willimantic and a side-trip too the bike/skate park, Debbie had returned home with the kids for a more relaxed afternoon. I had an OK race, but I’m still not on cyclocross form. I’m hoping for things to click in the next few weeks so I can get back up to the speed that I finished last season with.

I had a great start, for the first 150 meters, hitting the off-camber hill in 4th, but by the end of the hill (after a very bad line choice), I was 14th. I was able to move my way back up to 8th, but ended up in no-man’s land for the remainder of the shortish race. I was hoping for the full 40 minutes as I’m just trying to work my way in to shape, but sadly, the race was over in 30 minutes. I can’t blame the officials and volunteers (thank you) for wanting to get home. The Zank SSCX races are always last of the day.

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I didn’t linger long. I cooled down, caught up with a few friends, and then returned to Topstone Golf Course in South Windsor to reconnect with the finishing golfers and participate in the awards ceremony. That was a lot of fun, but it was the end of a long day. Debbie phoned in a Thai food order for Sawadee. I picked it up after the conclusion of the ceremony. We were wrapped up by 8::15 P.M., and watched another inspiring event, the IRONMAN World Championships (via Facebook Live), while we were eating. It’s been nine years since I did that race, and the coverage brought back amazing memories. Then I had to unpack my car and repack the van with my stuff and Shepard’s stuff. We are headed to the Minuteman Road Club Cyclocross in the morning while Debbie and Dahlia are headed to the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race.

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Cyclocross weekends (especially double race weekends) require a lot of logistics. Fortunately, it is dry this weekend. When it is wet and muddy, things can be a real mess and it is even more work. Thankfully, that was not the case, but there is still bike work, laundry, food prep, and a host of other steps required to be ready to race. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t enjoy it.

Race Results

2019 NipMuck Trail Marathon

I hadn’t raced at the NipMuck Trail Marathon since 2011, but today, I joined Debbie to run a relay on the famed course. Before that, I had raced (the full distance) six times dating back to 2004 with one of my best races ever coming at the 2009 event.

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It’s been 10 years since that performance and today’s run on the first leg of the course brought back fond memories of that day when I had a battle with Brett Stoeffler and then Ryan Welts. Brett succumbed to a sprained ankle, but Ryan and I fought to the finish and both got personal bests on the course.

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The course evolves a bit year to year and this year was no different. Debbie has raced NipMuck a few times since 2011 and I’ve been there to watch and volunteer, but this year with the advent of the relay (it started a few years ago), we made the last minute decision to run.

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Since I did The Night Weasels Cometh cyclocross race last night, I opted for the shorter first leg that goes south from Perry Hill Road to the turnaround at Route 44, and then back to the start/finish line. It was about 11.2 miles (measured by my GPS) and took me 1:37:51. I don’t know what that leg took me in 2009, but it was probably slower despite the fact that I wasn’t even halfway.

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I felt pretty good despite last night’s effort and pushed it every chance I got. Given the terrain, I held a strong pace the entire leg (the first three miles were quite fast before I settled in) and was able to keep my heart rate elevated and stable. The trail was in good shape, but just as rocky as ever.

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It is also covered with leaves, which makes it a bit risky for the ankles. Thankfully, I finished unscathed. I tagged in Debbie and she took off on the northern section that goes to Boston Hollow Road before turning back and retracing the route to the finish at Perry Hill Road.

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Shepard was with my in-laws, so Dahlia joined us and assisted at the finish line aid station. She made a lot of PB & J’s and kept the other volunteers and runners smiling with her wit. It was fun to watch her in her element. Debbie “needed” to get in the woods this weekend and doesn’t have any running goals on the calendar yet.

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After last weekend’s Vermont 50 (which she rode), she is itching to set some goals. In the meantime, she just wanted to get into the trees and on the trails.

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We weren’t the fastest relay team, but it looks like we did break the 4-hour barrier, which is pretty cool . There were a few all men’s teams that beat us and at least one mixed gender team beat us too, but it looked like they might have been 20 or so years younger.

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Our days of blazing the NipMuck Trail could be behind us, but we remain inspired by other veteran runners who were out there crushing it today, including NipMuck Dave the legend.

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It was great to see some old friends who were cheering on the runners, including Will Danecki (who had a bridge named in his honor by NipMuck Dave), and Kenny Rogers, who came down from Massachusetts to support the race. Even Sheryl Wheel came over from New York. We last saw her running away from us at the Manitou’s Revenge Ultra, a race she has put her stamp on.

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Race Director David Merkt (NipMuck Dave the Junior) and the great volunteers from our favorite running club, the Shenipsit Striders, did a fantastic job. Once again we got support from the Eastern Connecticut State University Women’s XC Team, from the Willimantic Athletic Club, and from the Connecticut Trail-Mixers.

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I felt like I could have kept going, but I did the wise thing and stopped when I handed the “baton” to Debbie. It was fun to do something together for the second week in a row.

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SmugMug Photo Gallery

Race Results

 

2019 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

We had a spectacular day at the 2019 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run. It’s been 20 years since Debbie and I met at the 1999 version of this awesome event. I’ve now done it 18 times. We have only missed one year, when we were in Japan so Debbie could run the 2015 ULTRA TRAIL Mt. FUJI. I also skipped in 2010 when I did the IRONMAN World Championships, but Debbie raced that year. Debbie has also done the race more than 15 times. Most of those have been on her feet, but the past three years, including this year, she has ridden the mountain bike race.

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This year’s highlight was that our son Shepard rode it for the first time. He had a very good day, finishing in 6 hours and 23 minutes. He was very happy with how he felt. The conditions could not have been better. The trails were dry and in incredibly good shape. The past week has been without much moisture and today’s weather was as good as it gets with the temperature in the mid-60’s Fahreneheit, a clear sky, and brilliant sunshine.

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As usual, I rode my Seven Sola SL singlespeed, but I opted to start 10 minutes after my wave so that I could spend the day with Shep. The good news is that we also got to spend part of the day with Debbie. She started five minutes in front of us, but we caught her after five miles or so.

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We passed her on a steep climb, but she pulled us back a few times in the ensuing miles, including on the way up Garvin Hill at the 17 mile mark. That was the last time we saw her, as we left the aid station a moment before her and Shep pushed the pace on the technical descent.

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I followed him and for the rest of the day, all we got was reports from other riders who caught us that she wasn’t far behind us. Shep had a few bad moments (of suffering), but he remained composed, mentally strong, and focused. Having a few bad moments during more than six hours of riding is totally reasonable.

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We saw a lot of adults having miserable moments too! I was happy to ride with him and I gave him a lot of tips and much encouragement. I could tell that he enjoyed spending time with me too, and there is nothing better than that.

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We also got to spend many miles with a fellow CCAP rider, Finn O’Halloran, and his dad. I think Finn and Shep were too of the youngest people in the race. Debbie and I are proud of Shep’s grit. He set this goal, and achieved it. We got through the race without any mishaps. Our bikes worked great and we didn’t have any falls. We had a good fueling and hydration strategy. We saw a lot off friends and that made it even more fun.

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Team HORST Sports had a nice turnout and some good performances. Art Roti and Mark Hixson finished second  in the tandem division. They had some bad luck with multiple mechanical breakdowns, but persevered. Anthony Eisley returned to top form and was our highest placed finisher. John Meyerle also had a strong race. Matt Domnarksi had a very good ride, and he was followed by Arlen Zane Wenzel. Anthony’s spouse, Carly, finished the 50 kilometer trail running race.

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Once again, we stayed with a group of friends from Connecticut. Tricia Dowcett- Bettencourt finished her first 50 mile trail run, so a big congratulations to her. Her husband Bryan had a strong ride in the mountain bike race. Joshuaine Grant also finished the bike race strongly.

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On Saturday, Debbie coordinated the Kids Races. Our daughter Dahlia participated in the run. Once again there were 1/2 mile, 1 mile, and 5 kilometer distances. There was also a 1 mile and 2 mile mountain bike race. The course is hilly, as you would expect for Mt. Ascutney. The weather on Saturday was also gorgeous, which made the entire VT50 weekend a weather success.

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As usual, Mike Silverman (also his 20th edition) and the staff and volunteers (of Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports) did an amazing job. The aid stations were stocked and all the volunteers and course marshals were fantastic. This event has grown to be quite large, yet it maintains its grassroots charm. The fact that it is run by a nonprofit organization and benefits a great cause is likely the reason why.

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I don’t have too much more to say about the race, at least in this post. It really was a great day.

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Race Results

REI Mothers in the Wild Speaker Series

Debbie participated in the REI Mothers in the Wild Speaker Series at the West Hartford store. It was a tough time slot at 1:00 P.M. on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and she deserved an audience 100 times the size, but there were a handful of folks there and if she made an impression on ONE person then it was worth the effort.

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I couldn’t think of a better mother to talk about the joys of raising children with a love for the environment and outdoor adventure. She as joined by another fantastic adventurer, educator Kae Zaino.

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Here was REI’s description of the event:

Join us with ski instructor and wilderness trip leader Kae C. Zaino and competitive runner Debbie Livingston: inspirational women who use their unique skills and passions to inspire people to bring their whole family on their journeys and to persevere as mothers in the wild. Kae fell in love with camping/hiking on family trips as a child and as fostered her passion to a point where she now inspires individuals through development of her perseverance and cognitive flexibility with the outdoors even with facing the unpredictability of Mother Nature and demands and sacrifices of the human body. Kae has suffered 3 early pregnancy losses, even miscarrying on a 4,000 footer in the Presidential Ranges. Debbie has spent countless hours running through the wilds and competing in ultra-distance races, fostering a dedication and support group from her family while teaching yoga and coaching running to both children and adults. Motherhood became its own force of nature in her life pursuing the outdoors. This event will help provide inspiration and a greater connection to motherhood, family and loss in the great outdoors. Registration is required, all are welcome.

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Of course, I was thrilled to hear Debbie speak, but I was moved by Kae’s talk, which covered her highs and lows. She has quite the inspirational story to share and it is admirable that she spends so much time giving back to children as a teacher, camp counselor, guide, ski instructor, and outdoor educator. She and Debbie have a lot in common.

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Kudos to REI for putting on this series. I enjoyed helping Debbie create a highlight reel of photos to share. I’ve got 150,000 more images, but there is only so much she had time for!

2019 Trails to a Cure (Cockaponset Trail Race)

Today we returned to the Trails to a Cure at Cockaponset State Forest for another crack at this gnarly little race. There aren’t too many races left on the schedule like this one. $10 for the 4-miler and $20 for the 8-miler. It’s almost too cheap. For that money, you got a great course/venue, a t-shirt, handmade wood-fired pizza, and lots of prizes (plants or hand baked breads). On top of that, proceeds went towards curing prostrate cancer.

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This was race number nine or 10 in the 2019 Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. The reason for the uncertainty is that another series race, the Macedonia Trail Race was also today. That was a scheduling error as both races deserve to have their own date. The participation numbers at Trails to a Cure should and could be bigger.

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September is such a prime time for races of so many types. It’s the end of triathlon season. It’s the start of cyclocross season.  Mountain biking is still going on. Trail running, and road running are year round sports. Today was also the Josh Billings Runaground Triathlon. It’s been 10 years since I last did “the Josh” and it would be great to go back.

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If I do return, it means I’ll have gotten my kayak back in the water. Last weekend was the Survival of the Shawangunks Triathlon. I haven’t done that race since 2013, but returning to the Gunks for this classic race is one of my 2020 goals. So, it’s unclear if I’ll do Trails to a Cure next year. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the fact that I did it today.

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This race has been kept alive by the Iselin Family and their devoted volunteers. Cockaponset is a great state park and the course is super-challenging. It may be short, but it is packed with ups and downs and enough rocks and roots for a race four times the distance.

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The lakeside venue is gorgeous and in the last half mile you have the option to take a “shortcut” across the corner of the lake. This isn’t clear and beautiful water, but rather is a mucky and weedy traverse. That makes it even more fun. You choose. If you go around, you will be at least a minute slower. If you take the direct route, you get wet. It’s a blast.

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In the 8-miler, Debbie didn’t have much competition and she got the win. Shepard wasn’t far behind her. Dahlia did the 4-miler with her friend Clara, who spent part of the weekend with us. I went out hard but couldn’t hold the pace and faded after the first four miles. Even still, I was happy to be running hard. My back remains tweaked, but I’m pushing onward in an effort to maintain my fitness as cyclocross season kicks in.

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We saw many good friends from the Shenipsit Striders and other clubs. The sun shone brightly and that made the day even better. Next up in the series is the NipMuck Trail Marathon. I’ve done it many times, but this year, I’m likely just volunteering and cheering on the other runners.

Race Results (will be posted here when online)

The Cape & Martha’s Vineyard

For Labor Day Weekend, we returned to Cape Cod. Shepard and I visited in June 2018 for the Boy Scouts Troop 25 Trip, but we hadn’t been there as a family since the summer of 2017. I’ve been visiting the Cape ever since I was a kid. My Uncle Steven (and Aunt Susan) has been spending time in Falmouth since the mid-1970’s.

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Now they live there most of the time. They are always gracious hosts. On this trip, we also made it to Martha’s Vineyard for the first time in some time. The kids don’t remember the last time we took them to the island because they were so young. Debbie and I have been racing on the Cape and Vineyard for 25 years. I did the Tour of Martha’s Vineyard in 1994. The classic 100 kilometer road cycling race was always held the week after the Killington Stage Race. Sadly, they don’t hold either race anymore, but they were both fun events.

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Debbie and I ran the Martha’s Vineyard Half Marathon in 2003. I don’t think they hold that event anymore either. We ran the frigid Martha’s Vineyard 20-Miler in 2007 and 2010. She ran the Cape Cod Marathon in 2013. I did the Falmouth Triathlon in 2015. Amazingly, we have never done the Falmouth Road Race (running), but it is on our bucket list. I also want to do the Vineyard Triathlon. This year’s race is next weekend. We won’t be going back this year, but it’s on the list.

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Both the Cape and the Vineyard have natural beauty that make them great venues for endurance sports events. Informally summer is coming to a close and we wanted to have one more weekend of adventure. It was only a week ago that we were in the mountains of New Hamphire and Maine.

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I’m still not feeling great after my bike crash (three weeks ago), but have remained active. We figured that a weekend on the Cape, visiting Steven and Susan, would be a fun family adventure and the salt air would do us all some good. After a full work week, we eased into the weekend. We packed the car and trailer on Saturday morning and drove through Providence, Rhode Island, stopping at Plant City.

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This hip vegan food court opened in June and we were happy to finally visit. The food and atmosphere were both excellent. There were so many options that we returned today on the trip home, for a second meal. We were “on Cape” by late Saturday afternoon and while the kids went for a swim, I took a spin down to Woods Hole and back.

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Sunday was our Vineyard day. Debbie and I arose early and did a short run in Falmouth, Then, the four of us took the Island Queen ferry at 9:00 A.M., arriving in Oak Bluffs before 10:00 A.M. We rode towards Edgartown, stopping at State Beach so that the kids could swim. It was a glorious morning and set the tone for a fine weather day. After drying them off, we continued on the bike path to Edgartown where we met up with our friend Joanne Raia (RAWJO) who has spent the summer working on the Vineyard. It was great to see her. She is a fantastic chef and has collaborated with Debbie on several plant-base cooking and catering events, including some at our house.

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We had lunch at a local deli and walked around. Debbie and Dahlia stayed in town while Shepard and I set off on an adventure with the plan of getting more miles on our legs. We ended up getting even more miles than planned. We also planned to find some trails to ride. He had his Islabikes Creig (MTB) and I had my Seven Evergreen XX “do everything” bike. On the way out of town, we stopped at the Edgartown Fire Museum and it was a real treat. There was some cool equipment on display showing off the great history of fire fighting on the island.

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We headed west on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road and then picked up the bike path. There are awesome paths all over the island. We took the path past the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and over towards the airport. Then, we headed due south on the dirt Waldrons Bottom Road. We continued on the even more sandy seasonal Hughes Thumb Road all the way to Long Point Beach. The beach is part of Long Point Wildlife Refuge and one of seven properties that The Trustees of Reservations protects on the island.

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I was hoping to get over to the southwest corner of the island so that I could explore Aquinnah and the Menemsha Pond area, but I was more than happy to explore with Shep. Back in June, I read Wall Street Journal story about Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ compound in Aquinnah. It looked so beautiful. I knew we wouldn’t get close to the private compound, but I wanted to see the area. Christie’s has the listing for Red Gate Farm. It’s worth checking out. If you do click the link, make sure you watch the video–it’s well done. I’ll visit Aquinnah next time.

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I was thrilled to be exploring with Shepard. We left our bikes at The Trustees gate house and walked down to the beach to see the surf. I’ve been on the south shore of the island once before, but it was in the month of January.  He was excited to see the bigger waves. We didn’t have time to test the surf. He said he wanted to come back with a boogie board. We vowed to return.

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The problem is that I didn’t realize I would be returning so quickly! We retraced our route to the main road, but then continued west on the bike path paralleling the southern edge of the airport. We then went off-road again, taking an old jeep road across fields as we headed due north through the State Forest. We connected with another section of freshly paved bike path and headed east. That’s when I had an “uh oh” moment. I stopped my bike and told Shep that I left my messenger bag hanging on the bike rack at the Long Point Beach gate house. I knew something was missing. It was packed with all our stuff, including my wallet. I had my iPhone, so I called Debbie to explain the situation.

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I helped Shep navigate to the bike path that parallels Edgartwown-Vineyard Haven Road. It was  a few more miles north and east. I tore a page with a map from the guide book and sent him in the southeasterly direction back towards Edgartown with the plan to meet his mother and sister. I told Debbie I was returning to the beach to get my bag and then I would meet them at the bridge that connects Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

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I had to haul back to the Trustees property and figured it would take 30 minutes to get there and then another 45 minutes to get back to the bridge where we would meet up. I was bummed that I had to go backwards, but there was nothing I could do. I hammered the whole way there. At one point, I was behind a pickup truck, choking in his dust cloud, but I was going faster, so he let me pass and I just pushed on. When I got there, The Trustees gate keeper was happy to see me. She figured it was my bag and had no way of contacting me. It was untouched, so I just slung it over my shoulder, said goodbye, and headed north again.

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When I got to the bridge, there was a big crowd. Jumping from this bridge is a rite of passage. In the scrum were Debbie, Shep, and Dahlia. Deb and Shep were amongst the jumpers. I soon joined them for a dip in the water beneath the bridge that connects Nantucket Sound with Sengekontacket Pond. The jumping part was fine. It was the balancing on the wet and sandy bridge railing that made me nervous. The good news is that we didn’t get hurt. That bridge is an accident waiting to happen!

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We did one final group jump and then changed back into our riding clothes with the intent of making the 5:15 P.M. ferry from Oak Bluffs back to Falmouth Heights. We got there more than 30 minutes in advance, but the line was long. An Island Queen staffer walked back to our spot in line and said that we “should” make it on the ferry. We were worried, but stayed positive. When the ship arrived and we started to board, it looked promising. Then, with about 10 people in front of us, the “counters” closed off the rope gate. That sucked. The next ferry would be at 6:45 P.M. and they were running late. We had to sit there for 90+ minutes with the sun going down. We had to remain to keep our spot in line.

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That was a long character-building-wait for the kids (and me). I stayed with the kids and our bikes. Debbie walked into town and returned with a bag of Cape Cod potato chips which the four of us promptly devoured. I had gone most of the day without much to eat. Thankfully we had extra layers as we needed them when the temperature dropped. When the Island Queen returned, we were thrilled. The line was long again but this time we were at the front. Just like before, a handful of folks didn’t make it. They had to wait for the final sailing of the day, at 8:00 P.M. There is only “one” Island Queen and she goes back and forth.

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We were back at Steven and Susan’s house just after dark. It’s only a short ride from the ferry. It was a long day and we were all hungry. Steven told me about another island nearby that is uninhabited. It’s not far from the Vineyard, and is called Nomans Land. We looked up a recent story about rabbits being introduced on the island. That was the feel-good-story of the day. Nomans Land sounds like a cool place.

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Everyone slept well last night. This morning, Debbie and I did one more short bike ride to Woods Hole and back and then the four of us joined Steven at the Falmouth Heights beach for a final swim of summer. Tomorrow, it is back to school and work and the busy fall season will arrive later this month. Our mini Cape and Vineyard adventure was the perfect way to end August and welcome September.

Roy Family Wedding Fun, Franconia Notch & the Mahoosuc Range

My last blog post was quite morbid, so this one is much more joyous. This past weekend we were in Maine for a wonderful family wedding. Billy (my first cousin) and Ashley married each other on North Peak at Sunday River in Newry. The bride and groom are dedicated hikers working on their New England 4,000 footers. The entire weekend brought back great memories of the adventures that Debbie and I had before kids, including our own assault of the 4,000 footers. It was an amazing event with a hiking theme that was unique and lovely.

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Debbie, the kids, and I drove up on Friday. We made a mini adventure out of the trip. It was my first time in the White Mountains this year. Debbie has been there four times in the past month. The kids each got to experience the hills of New Hampshire as well. Shepard did AMC Teen Wild Camp in July. He got to rock climb, hike, paddle and have a ton of fun. While he was away, Debbie took Dahlia to Joe Dodge Lodge and Madison Spring Hut.

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They climbed Mt. Madison, a hill the kids were thwarted from summiting on a prior trip. When she picked Shep up from camp, they did a short backpacking trip that included the summits of both Mt. Madison and Mt. Adams. Now, Dahlia is jealous. She has to bag Adams too. Then, the weekend before last, Debbie was at the Highland Center in Crawford Notch leading the AMC Women’s Trail Running & Yoga Retreat. She will reprise this event for the third time in 2020.

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So they had all kinds of White Mountain fun and I missed out. That wasn’t the case during this wedding weekend as all four of us did a short hike on Friday afternoon to the top of Mt. Pemigewasset in Franconia Notch. We had a spectacular view. This split up our drive and avoided the nasty I-95 traffic on the alternative route. We got to Sunday River around 6:30 P.M. in time for a gorgeous sunset.

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On Saturday morning, I got out for a solo bike ride. I explored the Sunday River valley, riding parallel until the road turned to dirt, and then rougher dirt. When the road was about to turn to a trail and head straight into the mountains, I turned around. I saw some cool stuff on this ride including an old covered bridge, gravestones from the early 1800’s, Frenchman’s Hole (a lovely waterfall and pool), and lots of critters. It was nice to ride for two hours and only see five motor vehicles.

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After the ride, we held a mini-Roy Family hike up to Jordan Bowl. We were staying at the Jordan Hotel, so it was only 1.5 miles to the top of the nearest hill. We earned our view of the Mahoosuc Range, and it was spectacular. It brought back memories when Debbie and I did the Grafton Loop Trail (and Old Speck) 11 years ago. All weekend we were fortunate to have such great weather. It was cool and sunny. When there were clouds in the sky, it added texture, contrast, and beauty. Many members of our hiking crew hadn’t been together since our 2017 Mount Katahdin Adventure. That trip was awesome in its own right. We didn’t get to Katahdin on this trip, but the presence of that great mountain was felt.

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I’ve never skied at the Sunday River, but now I want to check it out. It’s a large resort with a lot of terrain. We got to see some of it on this hike. Some of us returned to the hotel to prepare for the wedding while Debbie, Shep, Alex (my nephew) and I made a five-mile loop before returning to the hotel. We had a great time and I think Alex discovered that hiking is for him. He previously hiked Mt. Washington with his Dad, and we told him we would take him on more trips as we go all of the time.

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The wedding was hiking themed, which was very cool. The ceremony was in the late afternoon outside the North Peak Lodge. We had to take the “chondola” to this sub-peak. Debbie and I were dressed up, but still elected to take a chairlift up. I think late at night after the reception, and for obvious reasons, everyone was required to ride inside a gondola on the way down. That’s OK. We had a blast doing both. The ceremony and reception were a blast. It was so good to see all our Roy Family and friends. Billy’s father Phil is my Mom’s younger brother. They are two of seven brothers and sisters that hail from Upper Frenchville in Aroostook County. “The County” was well-represented at this wedding.

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I could go on and on about the wedding. It was such an amazing production. Every little detail had a connection the outdoors. Even the speeches given by the Maid of Honor, the Best Man, and the Groom’s brothers featured nature and adventure. It was my kind of wedding!

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On Sunday morning, I got up really early and drove down the access road into Bethel, and west to Gilead. I parked at the picnic area just east of town and then rode my bike to Rt. 113 which is better known as Evans Notch Road. I took it south as it parallels the state line. I stopped a few times to take photos. The pavement was fresh, like a week old, and the weather was cold, but spectacular.

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It was chilly but refreshing. I didn’t have enough time to do a full Evans Notch Loop, but I’ll have to return. I settled for an out and back. When I got to the point where the road crosses into New Hampshire, I reversed my direction. As I made my way back towards Gilead, I took a detour on a dirt road that headed for a campground deep in White Mountain National Forest. I followed this for 10 minutes and then again turned back. My ride was about 27 miles and like the day before, I could count the number of motor vehicles encountered on one hand.

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I was back at the hotel in time for a late breakfast and to say goodbyes. We packed up and then made our way west across the top of New Hampshire. We took this route to avoid the crazy ME/NH/MA traffic. It was a wise decision. My only regret was that the high peaks looked magnificent and we didn’t have time to stop and hike. It is rare to see Adams, Madison, and Washington without a cloud in the sky. It would have been an awesome day to venture up high. Alas, it was not to be as Monday and work were the priority.

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We made a few stops in Vermont, at a rest area and at the Putney Co-Op. Then, we stopped for an early dinner at Paul & Elizabeth’s in Northampton, MA. Chances are we will be back in Maine at this time next year. The venue hasn’t been chosen yet, but Billy’s brother Danny (Debbie’s “go-to” ultra pacer) is getting married too. That may not be our only Maine wedding as at least one other cousin (Andre) is slated to get hitched in the Pine Tree State. It was great to see so many Roy Family members and we are already plotting our return. Katahdin is calling. Katahdin is always calling.

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Great fun at today’s @minutemanrdclub #Cyclocross in Lancaster, MA. @horstcycling #horstcycling #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad @zanksscx @the_ccap
Great day at the #vermont50 🚵‍♂️🍁
Good morning! 🚴🏽
I got to sample the fun activities at Boy Scouts @troop25ct Camp Kirkham. I slept under the amazing stars. We had a full agenda of geocaching, archery, cooking, disc golf, and paddling. I even squeezed in a run to the top of Silver Mountain where I had a 360 degree view. #boyscouts
It was great fun cheering for the Bolton Center School XC Team and their coach @trailrunningmom at The Panther Fest. Go Bulldogs! #crosscountry #trailrunning 🏃🏽‍♀️ 🏃🏿
#carfreecommute #wickhampark
It’s easy to love the infamous water (muck) crossing at the Trails to a Cure (Cockaponset Trail Race). We felt like sea monsters! I can’t believe how out of breath I was after fetching my camera at the finish and running the 1/4 mile back to catch @trailrunningmom and Shepard make their crossings. Either hey are getting faster or I am getting slower! Maybe more swim-run is in our future. 🏊🏽‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️ #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #blueblazedtrail #trailrunning
Good fun kicking off the 2019 #cyclocross season at the #QuadCross It was also the launch of the 2019 @zanksscx which is my prime CX objective. #crossisboss @horstcycling #horstcycling #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes #sevencycles
Yesterday’s late afternoon ride was fantastic. The #hoprivertrail to #airlinetrail to #charteroakgreenway is now my favorite loop. The natural beauty that starts right out my front door is proof that #connecticut trails are VERY underrated. I even got to share several miles with @pearljam09 #railtrail @eastcoastgreenway #eastcoastgreenway #bicycle #sevencycles #evergreening

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