Archive for the 'Environment' Category

2015 SuperCross Cup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

2015 Wicked Creepy Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results

2015 Keene PumpkinCross

Today, I drove to Keene, New Hampshire for the 2nd annual Keene PumpkinCross at Surry Mountain Lake State Park. For many years in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, the Horst Engineering Cycling Team joined with Team Frank to promote the Frank-N-Horst Cyclocross in Keene. Earlier this week, when registering for the Cyclesmart International, I decided to register for PumpkinCross.

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I traveled solo today. My family had a busy weekend and I couldn’t convince anyone to join me, so I drove solo while listening to the BBC, the Grateful Dead Channel, and mentally planning the work week ahead. My only teammate at the race was Andris Skulte, who happens to also be one of my colleagues at Horst Engineering. Andris’ in-law’s live near the race course, so it was an easy trip for his this morning. It was nice to see Andris and his wife, Kristen. It took me two hours to drive from Bolton, but I didn’t mind. I awoke to the coldest morning since last winter, with a temperature of 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Throughout New England today, we had very changeable weather with bright sun, puffy clouds, and then intermittent heavy snow showers. The air aloft was very cold.

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The course at this Army Corps of Engineers property was really good. The foliage on along the lake was spectacular. The course had a mix of tight turns and straightaways where you could hammer. It was mostly flat, with a few sharp rises, and one stiff run-up on rough ground. There was a dismount over a large fallen tree, and another dismount over a set of barriers. The whole course could be ridden in the big ring, but I chose to ride the second of two deep sand sections in the little ring because you had to hang a left turn in the middle of the sand. The first sand section was a straightaway with a good line that you could hammer. The upper section of the course was more hillyand there was a bit of busted up asphalt and gravel. The grassy sections were slick at the start and there were some ruts in the turns, but overall, the surface was in good shape and you could take the corners fast.

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In the 40+ race, I had a good start, but then I had a few bobbles during the rest of the first lap, including one in the second sand section that required me to clip out, but not dismount. I settled down on lap two, but let a gap go to the front group, that I never closed. That group included Keith Burgoyne, Matt Boobar, Craig Vettori, and Brian Whitcomb. It reshuffled, Keith ended up out front with Craig and Brian chasing.  I’m not really sure how they sorted out their positions. Matt was chasing them with one or two riders, who eventually ended up behind me. I was chasing with Carl Ring (a fellow Team Seven Cycles rider) for a while before he dropped off the pace. With  a lap and a half to go, Steve Arsenault, the winner of the 50+ race (which started right behind us), caught me and then bridged to Matt.  I was just off the back of them on my own when I came through for the bell lap. I had a nice final lap and was able to catch them on the steep descent after the asphalt section at the top of the course.

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I was gassed, but I hung in there on the potholed pavement before they gapped me again going into the grass chicane before the finish. I was proud of myself for not giving up because Steve pulled away, but Matt faded and I pipped him on the line with a big final kick and bike throw. We covered 9.5 miles in just over 42 minutes for a pretty high average speed for a cross race. This was a fun local race without a super strong field, but I was still happy with 4th. I was bummed to not get third, which would have paid some prize money. It would have been nice to cover or at least defray my $31 entry fee (plus fee). Cross races aren’t $15 like they were in the Frank-N-Horst days…

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It was great to see so many old friends from New Hampshire, including Paul Rhodes, Chris Northcott, Kate Northcott, Chris Logan, and Jill Logan. The Northcott’s and Logan’s were very involved with our race when we hosted it in New Hampshire. I’ll see them all again the first Sunday in November at the West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont, one of my favorite all time races.

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My day took a turn for the worse when I realized that I lost my car keys out on the course. I had them in the back of my jacket. I figured that on my cool down lap, when I was taking pictures of the amazing venue, that they fell out of my pocket. Thankfully, that turned out to be the case. After  bit of frantic searching, I got on the course after the finish of the 3/4 race and retraced my steps. I went to each spot where I stopped to take pictures, and sure enough, at my third stop, I found them. That as a huge sigh of relief, and my day was good again. It was cold, windy, and snowing lightly again, so I was happy to finally change out of my kit.

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The West Point Cycling Team was at the race and I enjoyed chatting with the cadets. I told them that the West Point Criterium was one of my top-5 all-time favorite races. The campus course is spectacular with a steep descent, tight turns, and an uphill finish that even goes under a building. Seeing their trailer and vans brought back memories from my collegiate cycling days between 1991 and 1995. I wish we had collegiate cyclocross races back then; It was was only road and a little mountain.

I stopped for a snack in Brattleboro, before rejoining my family at a birthday party at Storrs Adventure Park, a ropes course not far from our house. It was a good day in New England.

Race Results

2015 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

Today, I returned to race the Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross. This is one of my favorite courses. An 8:30 A.M. start on Saturday morning is kind of rough, but I dealt with it. I don’t mind early starts, but I always struggle with Saturday races after tough work weeks. This week was challenging because after returning from Japan last Saturday, I spent Wednesday in Boston and Thursday in Cincinnati and Chicago, after missing my connecting flight back to Hartford. I didn’t get back until mid-day on Friday and the work week wasn’t over yet with an afternoon full of meetings.

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Anyway, sometimes, the lead in to races isn’t ideal. With so many fun events going on this weekend, including the Hartford Marathon, Grindstone 100, Ironman Louisville, and Ironman World Championships; I wanted to race too. I absolutely love competing at this time year, and October is my favorite month. This is the fifth anniversary of when I raced the Ironman in Hawaii, and Debbie raced Grindstone in 2011, but we were happy to be close to home today This was race number three in the CT Series of Cyclocross and we had a strong turnout from the Horst Engineering Cycling Team. Pat Cunningham continued his stellar 2015 campaign by winning the men’s 50+ race. Paul Nyberg wasn’t far behind him in fourth.

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In the 40+ race, Mike Wonderly was just in front of me in 10th spot. Art Roti wasn’t far behind me. Unfortunately, our teammate, Wade Summers, fell hard after catching his bike on a course stake, and fractured his clavicle. I feel his pain after missing the entire 2014 cyclocross season with a fractured scapula. Wade will be back. I don’t think it is a bad break. He was coming in to good form, and I don’t think his season is over.

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Randall Dutton and Andris Skulte represented us in the 3/4 race. Everyone enjoyed the fantastic fall weather. With the foliage nearing peak, the reservoir views were gorgeous. Ron Manizza and his crew of volunteers lucked out with the fine conditions. I’ve done this race in the snow before! It is one of the longtime New England classics, going back to the mid-1980’s when cross was a much smaller sport.

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Debbie and the kids came up to watch and enjoy the wonderful weather at beautiful Mansfield Hollow State Park. I had a lot of fun. I could race cross every day. Of course, my body couldn’t take that, but my brain wants to do it all of the time, even when I’m tired. I had a nice race long battle with my longtime nemesis (and friend), Ricky Legault. He, Mike, and I swapped spots several times. Ricky is a supreme bike handler. I had more horsepower in the open fields, but he was quicker through the corners, over the telephone pole, and in the sand. I did OK on the barriers today.

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I absolute love riding my Seven Cycles Mudhoney Pro. It’s hard to have a favorite bike because that’s like saying you have a favorite child, but it is one of my favorites. I don’t think I would choose it over my Axiom SL supercomputer, but at least I can say it is my favorite cross bike. It’s nice that proceeds from the race go to the Friends of Mansfield Hollow. It really is a lovely park.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

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2015 KMC Cyclocross Festival

Today was day two of the KMC Cyclocross Festival in Providence, Rhode Island. The event is commonly known as the “Providence Crossfest,” or just “Providence.” The race has become one of the most significant on the national cyclocross calendar, and it is the largest and most successful race in New England.


The Saturday race was a UCI C1 event and is a candidate to become part of the World Cup. The only race in the United States that is part of the World Cup is CrossVegas, and that just happened this year. I’ve done variations of Providence many times in the past. This venue at Roger Williams Park, hosted the national championships several years ago. The Sunday race is C2, but still competitive. Yesterday, I watched the men’s and women’s races live on the Internet. The coverage was good and it was great to see Jeremy Powers, a rider who uses Horst Engineering’s cross spikes, take the victory. He also crushed it last weekend at the GP Gloucester, New England’s other huge race.


I missed last year with my broken shoulder. This year, I was only able to make the Sunday event because we got back late on Friday after two weeks in Japan. After ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI, it was Debbie’s turn to support me, so she and the kids piled into the van with all  of our stuff. We briefly stopped at the NipMuck Trail Marathon. Conveniently, it was on the way. My 12:30 P.M. start was convenient too, but the problems was it felt like 1:30 A.M. Japan time. The jet lag was fierce.


I knew it would be hard to get the legs turning after three weeks off of my bike, but I wanted to do the race because it has the most competitive 35+ field in the region. The local races are fun, but sometimes, it feels good to do a big one. Providence is big, with a full on expo and three days of racing. The unofficial kickoff is the New England Builders’ Ball, which was Friday night. I was really sad to miss it this year after being there in 2014, but my colleague and teammate Arthur Roti, was joined by our teammate, Zane Wenzel to host the Horst Spikes booth.


Horst Engineering had a successful night at the Ball, and the Horst Engineering Cycling Team had a successful weekend racing in Providence. Matt Domnarski, Pat Cunningham, and Paul Nyberg all had solid results in the 50+ race both days. Matt and Pat got top 12 today. Art and Wade Summers raced both days in the 35+ and I joined them today. I wish there was a 40+ race, but it wasn’t to be.


Yesterday, we had a lot of rain, though it dried out by the end of the day. Today, the course was damp, but the mud was tackle or completely dry and rutted in spots. The pace of today’s race was fast. I cramped badly with three to go. My right quad was acting up and I had to back off a bit to get it to calm down. I had no “pop” and struggled a bit on some of the technical sections, but thankfully, I cleared all of the flyovers without walking or crashing. I saw a few wrecks, but stayed on my bike, and feel good about that. I’ll come around. It was good to blast it hard for 49 minutes.


Another reason for enjoying the race today was because we got to see some old friends. I missed Jon Gallagher, but heard his voice from behind a barrier. He was busy in the results trailer. His One2Go timing business is very successful and he does most of the big races around the country. Jon and I raced together more than 20 years ago and spent the summer of 1994 on the kermesse circuit in Belgium. Hopefully I see him at another race this fall, or at least in Asheville, North Carolina for the national championships.

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It was fun to swing by Richard Sachs‘ tent. We go way back with Richard. My first real road bike (after my Shogun 400 and a steel Trek), was my 1989 Richard Sachs. That frameset still hangs in my office at work. I’ve been converting my circa 1997 Richard Sachs cross bike to a single speed and hope to debut it sometime this fall in advance of the national championships in January. Richard has a very successful team and I love his branding with House Industries. Richard no longer lives in Chester (one of my favorite Connecticut towns), but we enjoyed visiting him there particularly on the 4th of July during the years when we were in town for the 4 on the 4th Road Race.


Debbie and I reconnected with longtime friends, Erik and Sue Grimm. Erik is one of my all-time favorite athletes. He has succeeded at everything from triathlon, to adventure racing, skiing, swimming, cycling, to running. Lately, he has been crushing masters fields in cyclocross and he scored third place both yesterday and today. Erik is a fellow member of YPO, so he also has to juggle family, with work, community service, and endurance sports. Erik, Sue, Debbie, and I have had some good times in far-flung places like Sydney, Australia, but we haven’t seen each other in the Northeast for several years. They had kids (triplets) several years ago, so it was great to introduce our kids to their kids. At the park, they got to horse around, climb trees, and ride their bikes. Both of our children did the kids race, and then we packed up and headed home, still jet lagged, but satisfied that our reentry weekend with the LEGO 5K, NipMuck, and Providence, was a success.

After a big cross race, we return to more local grassroots events next weekend when the Connecticut Series of CX continues at Mansfield Hollow.

Race Results

2015 NipMuck Trail Marathon

This year, no one in our immediate family ran the NipMuck Trail Marathon, but many people in our extended family did. So, we hustled to Ashford early this morning for the start of this famed event. We watched the runners head out from Perry Hill Rd., and then we went over to where the Nipmuck Trail crosses Rt. 44 in Mansfield, which is the 6-mile turnaround.



We had fun hanging out with Ken Larson, (Coach) Kathy Manizza, and the Eastern Connecticut State University Women’s Cross Country Team. They were manning the aid station. I love that spot on the course as you run along the river. I got some fun photos of the runners emerging from the woods and then heading back.




I wish we could have spent a little more time helping out our Shenipsit Strider club mates, but alas, we were squeezing a lot into a short weekend. Kehr Davis was leading Sean Greaney at that point in the race. They were chased by one other runner and then there was a large chase pack led by Brett Stoeffler. I’ve battled with Brett in the past, notably in 2011 when he DNF’d after he sprained his ankle with five miles to go. He has some great NipMuck results on his resume, and today, he ran the smart pace that he always runs, caught up to Kehr, and passed her before the finish. It would have been great to see a woman win the overall title, but she had a stellar time and he is a deserving winner.



NipMuck was race number 10 in the 2nd annual Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. Only Bimbler’s Bluff 50K remains. NipMuck was also race number 14 in the New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series. Several races remain. The Monroe Trail Race is next on the list, this coming Sunday.




As always, NipMuck wouldn’t be possible without the great volunteers. Most, but not all are from the Shenipsit Striders. They should all be appreciated. NipMuck is a 32 year tradition.


Race Results

Citizen Machinery Co., Ltd.

Yesterday, Debbie and I had the pleasure to visit Citizen Machinery Co., Ltd. in Karuizawa, Japan. Citizen is the manufacturer of the 18 Cincom CNC Swiss Automatic Lathes (screw machines) that Horst Engineering operates at our South Windsor, Connecticut plant site. Citizen’s partnership with Marubeni is Marubeni Citizen Cincom (MCC) and we are supported by their office in Agawam, Massachusetts.

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Cincom machinery has been an important part of our manufacturing operations since 2003. The 18 Swiss are used to produce hundreds of different products and we recently expanded to our new Burnham Street plant site and moved all of the machines into one building. This will give us much greater efficiency.

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The invitation to visit Citizen was welcomed and the plant tour was fantastic. They build very high-end machines. In addition to the production of Swiss type machines (sliding headstock), they manufacture the Miyano brand (fixed headstock) of lathes and multi-tasking machines. As I learned during my visit to Okuma last week, the ability for a country to have a strong machine tool industry is critical to its economic development and strength because these are the machines needed to build all other machines.

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We got to see how much craftsmanship and skill go in to the hand scraping of the ways and other critical manufacturing processes. Citizen operates multiple plants in Japan, plus they have factories in Thailand and China. The Karuizawa facility is where they develop many of their products.

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We got to tour the Museum of the Automatic Lathe, which chronicles Citizen’s history. The company realized that they couldn’t obtain the necessary equipment to produce their watches to the highest standards, so they built their own, starting in 1936. The equipment line expanded and became a business of its own. Miyano got its start as a file manufacturing company. Both businesses were inspired by machine tool manufacturers in Europe and the USA.

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Cincom and Miyano machines are used to produce amazing products. We use our Cincom machines to make a wide range of aerospace components, including pins, bushings, sleeves, and fasteners. We also use the machines for some medical components, including surgical tools. Recently, we have been producing our Horst Spikes product line with the help of Cincom machines.

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The Karuizawa headquarters is in Nagano prefecture and is in the shadow of Mount Asama, an active volcano. It’s a beautiful part of Japan, but one that is always under the threat of natural disaster. We could see smoke and steam rising from the summit cone of Asama.

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The factory is modern, lean, and very clean. We saw 5S postings and it was obvious that they lived their values.

Our hosts were justifiably proud of the skill levels that their employees have attained. It was clear that they are a company built on their engineering strengths. At Horst Engineering, we have always believed that to build the best products, you have to use the best machines, tools, and gaging while training the best the best employees to develop their skills. Cincom machines are the best you can invest in for Swiss type lathes.

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Again, I wish I had more time to spend at Citizen. I’m very appreciative of MCC for helping arrange the visit. It would have also been nice to see the Kitakami Works factory, so I’ll just have to return in the future. I was excited to see some of the new products they have developed and I even like the new paint scheme for the Cincom line. I’m motivated to work with our team to win some new work that will allow us to grow and possibly invest in some of the newest Citizen technology. The visit may have been short, but I was still able to learn much more about the company and what makes them tick…literally.

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Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes


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

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