Archive for the 'Environment' Category

2016 Winding Trails Summer Triathlon Series

The 2016 Winding Trails Summer Tri Series wrapped up last Tuesday with the 10th and final race of the season. Even though WT is a training race, Debbie and I put our heart and soul into the series. She was intent to improve her off-road triathlon skills, particularly her swimming and mountain biking. She also really wanted to improve on her second place finish in 2015. I wanted to retain my overall title from last year and prove that I could do it again.

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We had 10 spectacular evenings at Winding Trails in Farmington, each time, joined by our children. Our son did five of the Tiny Tri’s, a huge step forward for him, and our daughter did all three of the Kid’s Races. The Winding Trails sunsets are spectacular and I always leave the venue with a smile when driving past Lake Dunning. There were no t-storm caused rain outs and the course was always in good shape. We appreciate the hard work that Race Director, Jimena Florit, her staff, and volunteers contribute to making this a success.

After every race, Ken and Aubrey Schulz, and their young son, joined our family for a picnic dinner. Our kids dubbed it “The Grand Feast.” Having some supper at Winding Trails always beat going back into the Rt. 4/Interstate 84 traffic. Four weeks ago, I started to fade as week after week of all out efforts took its toll. I lamented to Ken, who shared my suffering, that I was looking forward to the end of the series despite having fun. I don’t know if we will return for the full series in 2017. The kids love it, but the Tuesday efforts often compromise the weekend race results. I couldn’t show up and not give it my all. I’ve raced there 41 times in recent years and it always hard to get there after work. I’ll have to think about 2017, but there is no rush, the series won’t kickoff again until next June.

Alas, Debbie and I both came up short. 19-year-old Lauren Cenci, who is less than half of Debbie’s age, had her number all season. Debbie was always close, but never close enough, and the overall went to Lauren, who has come on strong. Debbie was first in the 40-44 age group and improved dramatically, which is fantastic. It is really hard to race hard every week for two and a half months, especially when you are still doing other races.

Coming in to the last race, I had a shot to overtake my nemesis, Jon Arellano, who finished behind me in 2015. He and I have battled every week like warriors. The finish was bittersweet because I won the race (the battle), but lost the series (the war). I went down knowing that I had given it my all. I was cross-eyed after our fourth sprint finish of the summer. Four times we finished within two seconds of each other. Neither one of us was willing to give an inch.

In this last race, I pulled back my usual minute plus deficit, after the 1/4 mile swim, on the five-mile bike loop, catching Jon around the four mile mark. He hung tight, but I got a small gap coming in to T2. He rides in his running shoes, so his transitions are always super quick. He always picks up 15-20 seconds on me and this was the case again. I chased him out of T2, but reeled him in quickly and led the first mile of the three-mile run with him right on my shoulder. Joel Emmendorfer was also in the mix, but this week, he faded from the picture. Jon and I exchanged the lead no less than seven more times over the next two miles.

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I attacked him on every climb and he pulled me back on every descent. I tested him several times, thinking that I could break away and overcome my points deficit. The week nine standings showed that my best eight races trailed his best eight races by 0.2 points (679.0 to 678.8), though I can’t really explain the scoring system. It can’t be that complicated, but I’ve never understood it. I’ve got great respect for Jon, but like him, but I’m a serious competitor and wasn’t going to make it easy on him. Of the 10 races, I won four, he won three, and we got beat by Gabriel Jiran, Jason Soukup, and Joel in the other three.

The cat and mouse game continued over the bridge and in to the final stretch as we briefly slowed our pace. With a hard acceleration, he took the lead with 200 meters to go, but I pulled him back and in a furious sprint, passed him on the left as he crashed in to the course tape before the sharp right to the finish. I got him by a couple of seconds and thought I was going to collapse. The racing and the weather were both hot.

I was thrilled to end the series on a high note after a couple below par weeks. My legs were heavy from Wildman and my heart was heavy after the passing of my uncle, Guy Roy. All my career, I’ve raced for my team and myself, but this time, I was propelled by the motivation of racing for my uncle who was a true outdoorsman and an inspiration for how I live.

The 2016 stats are neat to review. Aside from my automated Strava data, I stopped keeping a training log years ago, but I never stopped logging my race results. Over 10 weeks, I raced 84 miles. It took 518 minutes total. My fastest time was 50:49 in week three. My slowest was 52:47 in week two. The average was 51:49. The temperature is usually the biggest factor when comparing week to week times, but rest and competition are also big factors.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 12.32.28 PMWhen the calculations were done, it was announced that Jon took the overall series, and I congratulate him. He really earned it and I’m sure he is proud as heck because I made it super hard on him. Those types of victories are always the sweetest. When you have to really work for it, you appreciate it so much more.

I’ll add a link when the final results are published. Like Debbie in 2015, I couldn’t have been far back. Upon further reflection, the results don’t matter that much because the fierce nature of my 10 Winding Trails efforts lived up to my adventurous lifestyle and symbolize how I fight hard in everything that I do. I’m pumped for cyclocross season and after some “rest,” I’ll be ready to race again.

Race #10 Results

Race Results (will be posted when updated)

2016 Wildman Biathlon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

2016 Soapstone Assault

After a one year layoff to attend the Speedgoat Mountain Races, we returned to one of our “hometown” races, the Soapstone Assault. We have been going to the Assault since 2000, which is a long 16 year span. The race has grown up quite a bit and we had a very strong turnout this year. Of course the race was dominated by Shenipsit Striders, which only made sense because Shenipsit State Forest and Soapstone Mountain is our “home field.”

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The format for the event, six ascents (five descents) of Soapstone Mountain, was originally a New Year’s joke amongst club members. Eventually, the joke developed into a race. The unique nature of the handicap or “Dipsea start” is based on the Dipsea Race in Mill Valley/Stinson Beach, California. The last hill is Killer Hill, which is also part of the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race course.

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Debbie has done this race 15 or so times, but this year, she was joined by our son for his inaugural race. It was great to see so many friends and teammates. Brad Pellissier and a bunch of volunteers coordinated the race. Special thanks to Rod Wilson and Jennifer Clark for the race timing. This isn’t an easy race to score! The markings were our best ever and we had monitors at each key trail junction. In the old days, this race had barely any markings and a lot of people make wrong turns. Richard Busa was famous for running twice the 5.5 mile distance thanks to all of his wrong turns.

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The weather was rainy, but muggy, and warm. The post-race picnic was fantastic. Jaime and Dominic Wilson did a fantastic job setting up the picnic and coordinating all of the pot-luck contributions.

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At $10 for non-members and $5 for members, this race, which is part of the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series, has to be one of the best values in trail running. The next race in the series is People’s Forest on Saturday.

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Race Results

2006 Sea to Summit Triathlon

It’s flashback Monday. 10 years ago this past weekend, I did the Sea to Summit Triathlon. It remains my second toughest one day race in a long endurance sports career. The race predates my blog and social media, so these photos haven’t been widely shared. It was an awesome event. I wrote a little about it in 2009, and again in 2014 when I published my Toughest Ten races of all time.

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Sea to Summit Triathlon, Jackson, New Hampshire, 22 July 2006, 9:29:21, Kayak 12 miles–Bike 90 miles–Road Run 4.3 miles–Trail Run 4.1 miles

It was difficult to rank the Sea to Summit Triathlon third ahead of races four and five because they were all wicked hard. However, given the fitness I had at the time, this one beats out the others. The Sea to Summit Triathlon was an 112 mile jaunt from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Jackson, New Hampshire. The race consisted of a 12 mile kayak up the Piscataquis River to Berwick, Maine. Then, after a transition, you rode 90 miles to Jackson, New Hampshire. From there, you ran four miles uphill on Rt. 16 to Pinkham Notch. Then, you ran/hiked four and a half miles up the Tuckerman Ravine Trail to the summit of Mt. Washington. Only 40 people were allowed into the race. It was a special day, though I suffered dearly. I started the morning at sunrise in the pea soup fog at sea level near the mouth of the river. I finished wearing a skinsuit and a windbreaker on the top of the mountain in gale force winds blowing cold rain and sleet at 6,322 feet, the highest point in New England. If it wasn’t for my awesome crew (Debbie, Art, Mel, and Bill), I might still be out on the course. It was shorter than an Ironman, but the weather conditions, lack of organized support/aid stations, and terrain, made it tougher than any other triathlon. Bad decisions by some of the racers resulted in a challenging day for the race directors and the race hasn’t been held since. Pain Index: 10

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Debbie was eight months pregnant with our son. She and I had driven up to Maine and New Hampshire a few weeks before the race to scout the course and test the kayak. I had an inferior sea kayak in 2005 when I did the three-day Jay Challenge in Vermont, which still tops my list of all time great (and tough) events. After the 2006 edition, Sea to Summit went on a multi-year hiatus and never returned in the original format. The race came back in 2015, but with a 1.5 mile swim leg instead of the 12 mile kayak. I’ll bet the kayak version was harder, since only one of my Ironman’s was tougher, and that’s just because I dug so deep. I wasn’t as fit for S2S as I would have liked, but I gutted it out.

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The 2006 results are still floating around the Internet. Kudos to Erik Grimm, who holds the course record, set a few years before I did the race.

2016 White Mountains Hut to Hut Adventure

For the July 4th weekend, we returned to New Hampshire’s White Mountains for an awesome hut to hut adventure. Once again, Debbie planned a fun trip for the four of us to take. The itinerary had us start in Franconia Notch and finish in Crawford Notch.

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So, with Horst Engineering close from Friday through Monday for the holiday, we had a window of opportunity to head north. Friday morning, we drove to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s (AMC) Highland Center in Crawford Notch. We stashed our bags and one of my bicycles in the lodge’s gear room before changing into our hiking gear and driving to Lafayette Place Campground in Franconia Notch State Park. Regular readers of this blog will know that Debbie and I are very active and enthusiastic AMC members. We have both served on the Board of Advisors for 15 years and I joined the Board of Directors in January. If you haven’t experienced AMC’s high mountain huts, then you are missing out. In addition to the huts, AMC (and others) manage numerous backcountry campsites if you are into camping on your own. The beauty of the huts, especially when hiking these distances with kids, is that you don’t need to carry all of the food, the tent, sleeping pads, or sleeping bags. With a roof over your head, full service breakfast/dinner, and a bunk/blankets, you can carry less and cover more ground.

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Lafayette Place is where we left our car. Once free of the vehicle, we set off on foot destined again, for the Highland Center, but first with stops at three of AMC’s famed high mountain huts: Greenleaf, Galehead, and Zealand Falls. Our family has a love affair with the huts. Many of our best adventures have taken place in the White Mountains. Debbie have been traveling to northern New Hampshire as a couple since we first met in 1999. Our children have joined us on trips north since 2006 when we took our son to Mizpah Spring Hut at nine weeks old. He has since been to the other eight huts.

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This most recent trip completed the set for our daughter, who at six, is three years younger than our son. The hike from Lafayette Place to Greenleaf was a good warm up for the next three days. It was a short 3.0 miles from the parking lot to the front steps of the hut, but it was straight uphill. We were a little late for dinner, which always starts promptly at 6:00 P.M., but we joined the rest of the guests when we arrived. The weather was good, though just as we arrived it started to sprinkle and we heard thunder in the distance. By the end of dinner, a wave of thunderstorms blew in, dumping two inches of rain on the mountain in only a matter of hours. The thunderstorm brought back bad memories from our 2013 one day Hut Traverse, when a t-storm pinned us down on the slopes of Mt. Lafayette.

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Our 2013 traverse was supposed to improve upon the time that it took us to do the same route in 2011. Both of those adventures were painful efforts and until recently, I swore off ever making another attempt. However, hanging out with the Greenleaf Croo and chatting about the traverse has made me think that we might try it again. I so badly want to do it on a perfect weather day when I’m at peak fitness. We had issues both times and Debbie and I know we can cover the distance in less time than it took us in the past.

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The evening at Greenleaf was fantastic. The four of us slept well and we were up early for breakfast. The sunrise was really nice. We departed shortly after breakfast, knowing that we had a long way to go over difficult terrain, if we were going to reach Galehead by dinner. The summit of Lafayette was windy and damp. It was cold and ice formed on our gloves. The kids were super strong as we made our way across the Garfield Ridge, which was wind whipped. Once we got down the backside and got out of the wind, we were able to pick up the pace going down into the col between Mt. Lafayette and Mt. Garfield. We hadn’t seen too many people, but then our friend, Brian Rusiecki, came around the corner. He was running the 36 +/- mile Pemigewasset Loop in the counter-clockwise direction. He was training for Vermont 100 and UTMB later this summer. It was great to see him and chat for a few minutes before he ran off in the direction of Lafayette.

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The climb up Garfield was rough and slow. I remembered this section of the trail going in this direction from the last time we did the Franconia to Crawford hike. That was back in 2009 when our son was just shy of three years old. Debbie, who was six months pregnant, and I alternated carrying him in our Deuter pack. That was hard! This time, the kids went the entire distance on their own feet, even carrying their own packs. The views from the summit of Garfield were spectacular. We lingered a bit before continuing on our way. The hardest part about this section of trail was the descent to Galehead. The trail was still draining from the prior night’s rain storm and that made the rocks slick. We got down it without incident, but the climbing wasn’t over as the last bit to the hut was uphill again. We were all ready to get there after 7.7 miles and nearly 11 hours on our feet.

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We didn’t arrive until 7:00 P.M. at the end of dinner, but the Croo was kind enough to accommodate us. After dinner, my son and I hiked the 0.6 of a mile to the summit of Mt. Galehead. We witnessed a great sunset. Upon our return to the hut, we got to hear a couple of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers talk about their experiences on the trail. We were all ready for bed by 9:00 P.M. and had another good night of rest.

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In the morning, after breakfast, we got another prompt start since we had to go another 7.0 miles to reach Zealand Falls. The Twinway Trail connects the two huts and the route isn’t as difficult as the prior section between Greenleaf and Galehead, but it is still tough. The hardest part of the trail was the first 0.9 to the summit of South Twin. This took some time and gave my son and me the opportunity to make an excursion to North Twin, another one of New Hampshire’s 48 4,000 foot peaks. Debbie and I have hiked all of the 4,000 footers of New England. He and I ditched our packs and made the 2.6 mile round trip in good time. We were able to catch up to Debbie and our daughter soon after our return to the summit of South Twin. The 360 degree view from the summit was fantastic and is likely the best view I’ve seen in the White Mountains.

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We had a great day on the trail. The weather was lovely with bright sunshine. We made the short detour to the summit of Mt. Zealand, which was the last of the New Hampshire 4,000 footers that Debbie and I hiked to complete our list back in 2004. On the way to the hut, we also stopped at Zeacliff, which also had a nice view of the Pemigewasset Wilderness. Without as much elevation change, we finally made it to a hut before dinner. Afterwards, we had time to relax by Zealand Falls. After breakfast on Monday, we took our time to get going. We only had 5.5 miles to cover on our way back to the Highland Center in Crawford Notch. The weather was even better than Sunday.

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Once again, my son and I took a side trip. We went ahead of the girls and climbed Mt. Tom (1.2 miles round trip) and then climbed Mt. Field (1.8 miles round trip) before meeting back up. Those two mountains were the 7th and 8th that our son got on the trip. Our daughter managed four, which is pretty good for her short legs! We were back in the notch by 3:30 P.M., which gave me time to ride my bike the 23 miles back to Franconia Notch to fetch the car and return before dinner. Our friends, the Schomburg’s, met us for dinner and fun on the mountain playscape.

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This was one of our best trips ever. My son and I covered 30 miles over the four days. Debbie and our daughter covered about 24. The children are very proud of their accomplishment, and we are very proud of them. As they get stronger, we are looking forward to many more trail miles with them.

2016 XTERRA French River Triathlon

Debbie and I tried something new today. We did the XTERRA French River Triathlon in Oxford, Massachusetts, and had a blast. Despite being experienced off-road triathletes, we had never done an XTERRA race before.

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We had heard good things about XTERRA races, but never made it to one. The Oxford location is only an hour from our home and those trails have previously hosted regional trail running and mountain biking events.

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We had spectacular June weather with bright sunshine and an 8:00 A.M. start time temperature in the low-70’s Fahrenheit. It heated up pretty good; by the time we finished was in the mid-80’s. The water temperature in Carbuncle Pond was nearly 75 degrees, so very comfortable.

IMG_7974The course was billed as a 1/2  mile swim, 12 mile mountain bike, and a 5.5 mile trail run. My Strava data shows that it was more like 1,100 yards or 5/8ths of a mile swim–11.6 mile mountain bike–4.8 mile run. There were so many twists and turns on the bike course, that who knows what the actual distance was. Same goes for the run, though at the start, they said it would be a bit shorter than advertised. That was a bummer because the longer the bike and run, the better for me.

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The swim start was a time trial start, which was also a first for me. We lined up in pairs and they started us two by two at three-second intervals until everyone was in the water. We did two laps of the triangular course. Carbuncle Pond was a bit mucky, but it was fine.

IMG_7979Last night, we drove up and pre-rode the mountain bike course. All I can say is that it was rugged. It was mostly flat, with a few punchy climbs, but it was very rocky and there were lots of roots. It was also very dusty. The trails get heavy motorbike use and the dirt was pulverized into a fine consistency. I’m glad it was dry. I heard that they had a deluge in 2015 and that it was a mudfest.

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Our pre-ride was eventful because we drove up after work and didn’t get on our bikes until 7:30 P.M. By the time we finished, it was dark and past 9:00 P.M. We had to ride the last three miles on the road after bailing out on the trails, which were impossible to see. Still, seeing most of the course in advance was helpful. I was much happier riding the trails in daylight. I felt OK on the bike. I only ride rigid single speed and my Seven Sola SL was awesome, but a disadvantage on some sections of the course. Being so flat, I was frequently spun out with only one gear. Tomorrow and Monday, I’ll feel the back, neck, and arm pain from all of the pounding. I thought I could ride faster, but didn’t end up catching as many of the fast swimmers as I wanted to.

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We didn’t see any of the run course in advance and it the hilly nature of it caught me by surprise. I was told it was “runnable” which technically, is true, though the hills I was running were slow. The trails were also quite rocky and full of roots. I haven’t been running very well. I got hammered by  my rival, Jon Arellano, at this week’s Winding Trails Summer Tri Series Race #2. I had a big lead on him in week #1 and held him off, but this week, we were together coming out of T2, and he put 90 seconds to me in five kilometers on those fast trails.

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So, today, I was happy that the French River course was hilly and technical because I’m better on the ups. I got caught by one guy on the run and couldn’t hang with him. He was flying. Then, I caught a few guys and a few more guys caught me. I noticed from the leg markings that two of them were in my age group. So, I pushed on the final few hills and got ahead of that small group.

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I finished in 1:54:06, was 11th overall and 2nd in my age group, which is cool. Debbie had a good race too. I got to see her finish 3rd in her age group and 9th out of the women. She gained some valuable experience with the longer open water swim and the tough mountain bike course. We each earned a cookie for our efforts, which is good because we have two kids.

It was nice to see fellow Hartford Extended Area Triathletes teammates Doug Lord and Gabriel Jiran. Gabe got the best of me and took first in our age group. I was thankful that I pushed hard at the end because the third place finisher in our age group was only two seconds behind me. With the time trial swim start, you don’t know exactly where you stand, so you  have to just keep pushing. We also got to spend some time with Barry, Carolyn, and Spencer Ralston. Spencer had a great race, finishing 2nd overall. He was bested by Dominic Gillen, an elite off-road triathlete. Third was Joshua Loren. The first woman was Kelli Montgomery. She was followed by Kathleen Wanat and Stephanie Landry.

MRA Multisport promoted the race and they did a good job. The best thing they had after the finish was watermelon! I ate a ton of it. The volunteers and workers were great. We did the Long Course triathlon, but they offered several variations, including a Short Course triathlon, a duathlon, and a Paddle triathlon.

We just might do this race again in the future. We will also consider additional XTERRA Series races, but as of now, have no plans.

Race Results (Long Course)

Race Results (All Events)

2016 Greylock Trail Races

2016 marked the 18th year that Debbie has run the Mt. Greylock Trail Races in Adams, Massachusetts. Greylock is our Father’s Day tradition. Yesterday, we made the journey to the Berkshires for one of our favorite annual events.

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Debbie ran the 13.5 mile (half marathon) long course and the kids and I did the 5K. Our son shaved more than a minute off of his 2015 time and moved up a couple of spots in the standings, which made him very happy. Our daughter had fun as she skipped (literally) through the 5K. I kept my distance (per her request) behind her and just chaperoned her progress. A few times, I prompted her to take a turn, but she was pretty much on her own.

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-4

We saw many of our long time Western Massachusetts Athletic Club (WMAC) friends and many other friends from the trail running community. It’s sad to not see some of our friends from the past, but running injuries, age, and time take their toll.

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-5

Debbie and I are grateful to return year after year. She has been doing this race every year since she was 24, which proves her longevity in the New England trail running community.

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-6

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-9

Tim Van Orden won the race in 1:43:12. He was followed by Neil Clavson and Mark Rabasco. Margo Smith, a local 15 year old, took the women’s win in 2:11:17, which is pretty good. It’s nice to see younger generations enjoying the trails. She was followed by Alex Jospe and Dianne Davis, who are both double her age!

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-7

Debbie is a veteran runner now, which is almost hard to believe. She was the first 40+ woman and has logged more than 240 miles on those trails. Afterwards, she and the kids hung out in Greylock Glen. They enjoyed the post race food and spent time with many of the longtime volunteers. I changed up and rode my bike to North Adams. I took Notch Road to the summit. In recent years, I’ve been up there many times on my feet, but hadn’t been up there on my bike since September 2001 when I did a race to the top in 48 minutes. Yesterday’s ride took a little under an hour including stops for photos, and to take in the awesome views. We had spectacular weather for the last full day of spring.

2016_Greylock Trail Runs-2

The sunshine was brilliant all day. After riding to the top, where the Veterans War Memorial Tower is being renovated, I descended and then rode back to Adams. From Adams, I took the back roads most of the way to Northampton, but ran out of energy in Williamsburg. I called Debbie to pick me up. She was gracious enough to drive the “sag wagon” back up Rt. 9 where I met her in Florence. From there, we returned to NoHo and enjoyed a wonderful meal at Paul & Elizabeth’s.

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Race Results


Horst Engineering

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I don't remember my childhood birthday parties being like this! @usaninjachallenge_sw @usaninjachallenge #ninjachallenge Who wants to critique the form and technique of "Coach" @stephenhyde @the_ccap #Cyclocross Camp??? Good fun learning new skills with the adults and juniors. #horstspikes #crossspikes @horsteng #crossiscoming Thanks to @superacingurl and @stephenhyde for helping @sgoogins @hunterpronovost @hoyle_dave and Todd B. @the_ccap #Cyclocoss Camp. We all learned some new skills. @horsteng #horstspikes #crossspikes #crossiscoming #threadrolling some 1.250-8 UN-3A by 4.800 long Monel 400 (Nickel Copper Alloy) studs in one shot using nearly all of the available 40 tons of rolling pressure. We cut these threads last time, but this time we invested in the dies. Forming the threads makes them 30% stronger. This is for a naval application. #precisionmachining #machining #instamachinist #manufacturing #cncmachining #cnc #madeinconnecticut #madeinnewengland #madeinusa #horstengineering made these complete. Four times in five states (NH, VT, MA, CT, NY) in eight days, @trailrunningmom & I have tried to catch @meltzerkarl on his #appalachiantrail record attempt. We were within 20 minutes twice & despite crew clues, our good navigation skills & trail knowledge, we couldn't connect. That proves 1) this trail & the mountains of the northeast are a big part of our lives considering that we were able to try during the course of our regular activity 2) that the elusive #speedgoat is fast! For us, someday #hiking the #at end to end is inevitable. Go Karl!!!! #trailrunning #ultrarunning "Tin Soldier" visual inspection on these stainless steel sleeves. They go into a next generation business jet engine. #precisionmachining #machining #instamachinist #cnc #cncmachining #manufacturing #madeinmassachusetts #madeinnewengland #madeinusa #sterlingmachine #horstengineering 10 Tuesday night races in 10 weeks! I was seriously cooked four weeks ago, but somehow pushed through and finished on a high note. #triathlon #swimming #mountainbike #trailrunning sufferfest #teamhorstsports #crossiscoming @trailrunningmom on our Sawyer Pond loop run this morning. #trailrunning #whitemountains #newhampshire My trusty @seven_cycles Kameha SLX before the awful 15 mile ride (cold + wet + wind blown) back to Shelburne to fetch the van after the #WildmanBiathlon Conditions were dismal for the point-to-point 10K road run/22.3 mile road bike/3 mile trail run with rain, wind, fog, and chilly air. Slick roads and four sets of train tracks to cross, wreaked havoc. @trailrunningmom and I got to check this one off of the list after many years trying to fit it in to the schedule. #teamhorstsports #whitemountains #shenipsitstriders #cycling #duathlon #trailrunning #sevencycles

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