Archive for the 'Environment' Category

Lantau Trail Hike–Hong Kong

Our Lantau Trail hike in Hong Kong turned out to be the first big test of my leg. In classic Livingston Family fashion, Debbie and I underestimated the difficulty of this route.

Screen Shot 2018-03-03 at 8.43.03 AM

Our day hike turned into a grand adventure with a fair amount of suffering, just like old times. We eased into our first full day in Hong Kong. Debbie went for a run to The Peak, while I spun on the stationary bike at the hotel gym, and then swam for 30 minutes in the outdoor pool.


We had a late breakfast, and then after reading email and catching up on the news back home, we meandered down to the piers. We took a 12:30 P.M. ferry to Mui Wo on Lantau Island. The intention was to do a three-hour leisurely hike. We knew the terrain was hilly, but we didn’t expect it to be so rough. We arrived in Mui Wo after the 50 minute trip, and then took a taxi to the Nam Shan trailhead. By the time we got moving, it was nearly 2:00 P.M. The sun sets around 6:30 P.M., but we never thought we would be chasing daylight.



I brought a headlamp on this trip, but left it at the hotel room. I’ll save the suspense: we didn’t need it, but it would have been a prudent safety measure to have it, especially since my iPhone battery died. Debbie’s phone was fine, and in a real pinch, we would have used the flashlight feature, but that would have been pushing it.



It was warmer and more humid than expected. We had a few bottles of water, but that proved to be inadequate to fully satiate our thirst. The hike ended up being 8.25 miles, but when you factor walking to the pier and then home from the train station, it ended up being a 12 plus mile day, which was hard on my legs (both of them). It was time for a test on my left one, 10 days after ditching my crutches.



I followed the doctor’s orders and didn’t fall, but I’m sure this is not the kind of walking he had in mind. It wasn’t just the broken fibula that slowed me, but my overall level of fitness. I hadn’t hiked in six months since before cyclocross season started. My legs didn’t fail me, but they came close. Over the course of four hours, the Lantau Trail basically went up, down, up, and down again. On our route, there were two major climbs. The first was up Sunset Peak, and the second was Lantau Peak.


We skirted the true peak of 869 meter (2,851 feet) Sunset and avoided a side trail that would have required us to backtrack, but the Lantau Trail went right over the top of 934 meter (3,064 feet) Lantau, which is pretty impressive considering that we arrived on a ferry!


The fog and smog were intense. Hong Kong Island and Lantau Island are known for their bad air quality. I’ve got nothing to compare this with, but it was pretty bad. This limited the views, which would have been spectacular on a clear day. We still enjoyed the trail. We saw a handful of people, but it was generally pretty quiet, especially high up. We saw some backpackers heading up for overnights, but most people were out for the day.


The TransLantau ultra (25K, 50K, 100K) was on Saturday and the course was already marked on Friday. Sadly, we didn’t hear about this race until it was sold out. Prior to our trip, Debbie inquired about race entry, but the event was full. That’s OK. It would have been fun, especially now after seeing the terrain, but she accepted the circumstances and now we have a reason to come back. She would have been happy to do the 50K. The 100K would probably have been much since she hasn’t done an ultra since Hardrock last July. Plus the race started at 11:30 P.M. on Saturday and wouldn’t have been over before our next flight. She has had a long stretch of “time off,” but is gearing up for Mt. Tammany 40 Miler in March, and Traprock 50K in April. She has other races planned during the summer including the North Face 50 in Massachusetts in June, the Vermont 100K in July, and the Ragged Mountain 50K in August. After that, it’s a bit up in the air, but she plans to ride the Vermont 50 again.


The TransLantau is rugged. We saw the trail up close yesterday. The most impressive feature was the stone steps. There were thousands of them. The rock work/trail maintenance was awesome. The stones were perfectly placed and went up the steep gradients in both directions. Navigating them on reduced power and a damaged leg was incredibly hard.


When we got to the road crossing between the peaks, we tried to take a bus (shortcut) but couldn’t figure it out. The first bus that came was the wrong one, so at my behest, we stubbornly pushed on. On the climb to Lantau Peak, I regretted the decision and mumbled about leaving the headlamp at the hotel. I kept checking my watch as we made painfully slow progress up the steps. Our goal was to reach the Big Buddha at the remote Po Lin Monastery. A friend had described the route and given us some basic info, but his estimated times factored in some running. We were only walking, so it took a lot longer than expected.


The climb up Lantau Peak was brutal, but the descent was even worse. My legs were shaking and I had to stop multiple times. I had to avoid a fall at all cost. The steps and gradient were very similar to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both climbs ended up being about 2,000 feet of climbing for a total of 4,291 feet of elevation gain based on Debbie’s Suunto GPS data. It was the 4,000+ feet of descending that killed me.


Seeing the Tian Tan Buddha at the end of the trail was worth every painful step. It couldn’t have been planned better. We got here just before sunset. Unfortunately, the steps to the Buddha had closed an hour before we arrived at dusk, but he was lit up in all his glory. We heard “buzzing” from a kilometer a way, and it turned out to be two drones, controlled by photographers in the square.


Just past the Buddha was a tourist village, but all of the shops were closed. So too was the funicular that came up the hillside from Tung Chung. One last store was just about to close, but we stopped and bought two bottles of water, grape juice, and coconut milk.


The drone pilots were two of a handful of tourists left visiting the monastery. In addition to the photographers, there were quite a few wild dogs, which didn’t make Debbie happy. At one point, there were three of them surrounding her, and she shooed them away. If the dogs weren’t wild enough, there were half a dozen cows wandering around the square and nosing through the garbage cans. A couple of them just plopped themselves down in the middle of the bus parking lot. Street signs warned of their presence. We wandered around the village looking for transportation information. We eventually found the bus terminal and the attendant said that one more bus was coming at 7:20 P.M.

He pointed us in the right direction and 20 minutes later, we were on our winding way down the mountain to Tung Chung. There, we found the train station and an hour later, we made our way back to Hong Kong Island. The train goes under the water to Kowloon on the mainland, and then under the harbor to Central Station. We walked from the station back to our hotel, washed up, and went straight to bed. It was a long and fun day.

Final Results: 2017 Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series

2017 was another great year for the Connecticut trail running community. For the fourth year in a row, some of our best individual trail running races came together to form the Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. Debbie and I envisioned this years ago, and in 2014, we kicked it off. The New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series will always be the standard-bearer for trail running in New England, and we view the CT series as a compliment. A handful of the races are in both series.

I wrote this paragraph in my 2014 report, and not much has changed. If anything, it’s even more true now:

The Grand Tree was the series to run, long before this current trail running boom cluttered the calendar with other events in the region. The growth of the sport is fantastic, but it has been problematic for many of the long time/old school trail races in New England. The surge in ultrarunning has also left many of the mid-distance races in the dust, as participation levels at some events have dropped dramatically. Overall participation in the Grand Tree Series has risen at the individual level, but the number of people doing multiple races (you need to run six to qualify for the series standings) has dropped. People want to go short or long and not as often in between.


In 2018, the Grand Tree will be returning to its roots with fewer races, a focus on the old school low cost races, and those geared towards beginners. Rob Higley, the longtime WMAC and Grand Tree Series Webmaster shared these thoughts:

I’ve made a couple of changes to the Grand Tree for 2018. The series originated in part to provide beginning trail racers an introduction to races farther from home or of differing distance or character, and by inclusion in the series to help new trail races become established.

To steer the series more towards its earlier character, with a greater proportion of races that are easy to enter in terms of cost or need to register far in advance, 

The second change to the Grand Tree for 2018 is that in the future anyone who runs at least six races of the current season will be invited to join an email list whose members decide the next year’s list of Grand Tree races.

These sound like positive changes to keep up with the shifting dynamics of trail running in the Northeast.

In Connecticut, the Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series has various distances for a wide variety of fitness levels and is very family friendly.

2018 Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series Schedule
Date Race Distance Info
4/14/18 Traprock 50K/17K 
5/20/18 Soapstone Mt. Trail Races 24K/6K
6/3/18 Goodwin Forest 10K/30K
6/10/18 Nipmuck South 22.7K
7/29/18 Soapstone Assault 8.9K
8/4/18 People’s Forest 12.1K
September TBD Run for the Woods 10K/5K
9/16/18 Trails to a Cure/Cockaponsett 12.9K
9/30/18 NipMuck Trail Marathon 42.5K
10/21/18 Bimbler’s Bluff 50K

I ran five of the BBTRS races in 2017. I did the Soapstone Mountain Trail Race, of which Debbie is the Race Director. I did the short course at the Goodwin Forest Trail Runs. I did the Soapstone Assault and the People’s Forest Trail Race. Then, I did the Trails for a Cure/Cockaponsett Trail Race short course with Dahlia.


I did two Grand Tree races outside of Connecticut, the Mt. Greylock Trail Race and the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race (the short course with Dahlia). In the 2000-2010 timeframe Debbie and I often averaged more than a dozen Grand Tree races per year. Now that Shepard and Dahlia are running with us, we have returned to doing more of the short races. I’ve also been riding more and running less.

In the BBTRS, there were 14 events (between the 10 races) in 2017, ranging in distance from 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) to 50 kilometers (31 miles). All of the events added up to 187 miles. 944 unique runners competed in at least one race – 343 Female and 601 Male. The total participants were down a bit from prior years, but the total mileage is still impressive. 18,556 total miles were run – 5,731 miles by women, and 12,825 miles by men.


The overall women’s title went to Colleen Malone-Singer. She finished seven of the races for a total of 98 miles and won her age group at Nipmuck South and Run for the Woods. The men’s title went to Stefan Rodriguez. He finished nine events, had one overall win at the Soapstone Assault, and three age group wins at Traprock 17K, Goodwin Forest 10K, and Run for the Woods 10K. He ran a total of 112 miles in series races.

Congratulations to Colleen and Stefan.

The Shenipsit Striders have been very generous to the Connecticut Forest & Park Association, contributing proceeds from all of our race, including Soapstone and NipMuck. Many people don’t realize that CFPA is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. CFPA is not a state agency. If it wasn’t for CFPA, their volunteers, and donors; more than 825 miles of Blue-Blazed Hiking Trails may not exist. CFPA’s advocacy is legendary and whether you support CFPA or some other local trails .org, you should keep these trail maintainers in your thoughts. Our parks and trails depend on them. Debbie and I are longtime supporters of CFPA, I am on the Board of Directors, and we always felt that a trail series would help raise awareness and funds for our cherished trails.


The Shenipsit Striders philanthropy has inspired others, including the Traprock 50K, to bestow their generosity on CFPA. Thank you to Dominic Wilson who calculated all the scores. He also made the cool awards that were presented to Colleen and Stefan at the Shenipsit Striders year-end party, which we held earlier this month.


Look for both the WMAC and CFPA websites to be updated with full 2018 details soon.

Click here for the 2017 Men’s Results

Click here for the 2017 Women’s Results

2017 Appalachian Mountain Club Photo Contest

The Appalachian Mountain Club recently announced the results of its 23rd Annual Photo Contest. I’ve been an active participant since the mid-2000’s. I started a continuous string of modest success in 2009. Success continued in 2011, 2013, and 2015.

Per the rules, because I was honored in each of those “odd” years; I had to “sit out” the “even” years of 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016. Of course, I still took photos and as luck would have it, some of my best AMC contest qualifying images were shot in those off years, but were never entered in any contest. I’ll have to put a gallery together of the best images that I never submitted, and we will see what folks think.

Regardless, I was back at it in the official 2017 contest and am pleased to say that one of my images was chosen as an Honorable Mention in the People Outdoors category.


The image titled: “Look Out! And Where Does This Trail Go?” was taken on Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine, on 02 July 2017 during our EPIC family hike and adventure. There were so many great images that came from that trip, but I selected what I thought was the best one that fit the contest’s criteria for that category, and I’m glad that the judges agreed.

I have to admit that even though I was carrying, and using my Leica MP Rangefinder throughout that trip, this image was taken with my iPhone 6s. This is proof that sometimes the quality of the image is less about the quality of the camera and more about the composition and capturing the moment. I frequently use my iPhone to take video, but also convenient still images that are easy to upload to social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. I just pressed the “shutter” and the iPhone, which was set on auto, handled the settings.

The metadata captured the data: 11:23:23 A.M., ISO 25, 4.15mm,  f/2.2, 1/1282

I can picture the exact spot on the Cathedral Trail where I was hiking behind Dahlia and Debbie and spotted them ascending as the wind picked up. I took several photos in the series, but this is the one that captured the moment perfectly. The honored image is pictured above, but also included in the fully sequence below. The images were taken over a six minute span as we worked our way up the trail.

Debbie’s UltrAspire hydration hose is obscuring her face, but that’s something I didn’t notice,and since I snapped this action shot in the moment, can’t change. What works in this image is the position of their legs, Debbie’s hand on Dahlia’s shoulder, and Dahlia’s hand on Debbie’s knee. The definition in Debbie’s leg muscles demonstrates the effort of climbing this great mountain. Admittedly, back in 1999 when we met in the Ascutney Mountain parking lot at the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run, her strong calf muscles were one of the first things I noticed about her; and 18 year and many miles later, still make me smile. These were some of the smaller rocks on this trail, and they still dwarf our 8-year-old daughter. The lichen covered granite has great texture, and the presence of a couple of blue blazes on the rocks gives faint indication of the direction of the trail in this boulder field.

The four AMC contest judges are highly respected in the New England photography community, and deserve a shout out for their AMC related work. These descriptions are from the AMC website contest page:

Jerry Monkman is a conservation photographer and filmmaker based in Portsmouth, N.H. He is the author of 10 books, including AMC’s Outdoor Adventures: Acadia National Park, the winner of a 2017 National Outdoor Book Award. He was recently honored with the North American Nature Photography Association’s 2017 Mission Award. You can find his work online at

Allison W. Bell is a designer and photographer in Whately, Mass., specializing in cultural and natural history projects. With Nancy Slack, she is co-author of the award-winning Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits (AMC Books). Her latest book, Glorious Mountain Days, is due out later this year.

Paul Mozell is proud to have served as a judge in the AMC Photo Contest nearly every year since its inception. He is a photographer of landscapes, architecture, and business and family portraits, as well as a photography educator. He has been an AMC member since 1975. See galleries of his work at

Jim Salge is a nature photographer, writer, and educator based in southern New Hampshire. He is a former weather observer at the Mount Washington Observatory, and the White Mountains remain a primary focus of his work. He currently serves as Yankee magazine’s fall foliage forecaster and blogger, and he teaches high school physics in Bedford, N.H. View his online portfolio at

Congratulations to all of the winners in this year’s contest. I don’t have time to submit to all of the different contests out there, but AMC’s will always be my favorite, and you can be sure that I’ll try again in 2019.

2017 Contest Results and Slide Show














2017 NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross

This weekend’s NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross was another fantastic adventure with family and friends. This was the final two races of the Northeast Cyclocross Series, and signals that the New England season is winding down.


All that remains are the CT Series of CX finals at Elm City CX on 19 December in New Haven, and a smattering of other local races in Massachusetts over the new few weeks. A lot of riders will hang up their wheels after NBX.


I didn’t leave anything in the tank after my efforts in the Masters 40+/Juniors 16-18 (combo) races yesterday and today. I was empty yesterday, but somehow rallied to push through another tough race today. I didn’t have good legs either day, but persevered. Today, I was literally cross-eyed as I pushed to limit my losses after a costly series of early race mistakes.


One of the great challenges of cyclocross is executing a “clean race.” Even if you have the best legs, you can give up a lot of time with a bad start, poor bike handling, and mechanical issues. Fortunately, other than a bent brake lever or two, my mechanicals were minor. The very rooty and unforgiving Goddard Memorial State Park course is very hard on bicycles. There were lots of punctures, broken wheels, and broken bicycle frame. It was carnage for some folks. My legs weren’t good, so that meant that my self-inflicted mistakes had even greater consequences.


My pain came from not having my A-game bike handling skills on a tough course that had a lot of mountain bike features. There were lots of loose sandy corners, lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, and lots of roots.


This Warwick, Rhode Island seaside park and race course is one of my favorites, but it doesn’t suit my strengths, but it does have features that make me a better bike racer. This race will always be special since it was one of my first ever cross races back in 1995. I’ve done it many times over the years, but not since 2013. It always falls on the first weekend of December, which coincides with a holiday party that Debbie and I have attended every year since 2003. This year, the party was in Woodstock, Connecticut, so I was able to squeeze that in between Day 1 and Day 2.


We had a great turnout from Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad. Shepard did the Juniors 9-14 year old races and had a good time with his teammates. We have watched our Junior Squad improve in so many ways since those early season races back in September. Thankfully, the weather was dry. It was cold, but tolerable. In addition to the junior race, we had good representation in the Masters 50+ race, and of course, in the Masters 40+.


Yesterday turned out to be the better of my two races. I think the long beach run favored me, as did the extra few uphills. Today, there was less running and my legs were just blown, probably from racing yesterday, and dancing last night. There were some dance instructors at the party, and I actually learned both the Salsa and the Merengue, so all is not lost.


Today, I had a rough start, recovered almost all the places I lost, and then promptly gave them back when I went down on a steep uphill and got my bike hopelessly tangled with another rider’s. We had to calm down and get them unhooked before jumping on and chasing the 15 or so guys that got by us. The trouble with losing time early in a race like this, is you can ride your butt off for the remainder of the race, turning laps even with the same guys that passed you, but still never make up the time. When you are flat-out, going 100%, you just can’t accelerate from there. One bright spot was the last lap of today’s race. I buried myself to make up ground. I caught up to teammate Arthur Roti, and felt bad passing him, but I was just giving it my all. If I rode that pace for the whole race, things would have been better, but I proved to myself that I could suffer.


In the end, I was very happy with the race weekend. Having such a great team is a fantastic boost. The kids are loving the racing. This race has a great vibe. It’s even worth noting that Goddard Park is beautiful. The park has lovely stonework, including the infamous stone steps that we have to run up.


I’m going to enjoy the recovery over the next few weeks. I’m going to skip racing next weekend and aim for a good day at Elm City. I’m working plans to be at the USA Cycling National Cyclocross Championships in Reno, Nevada next month. Punishing my legs this weekend will pay dividends provided that I get the proper “rest” and stay fit over the next month.

Race Results, Day 1

Race Results, Day 2

Appalachian Mountain Club & Crawford Notch

At the end of this week, I made a short trip to Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for an Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Directors meeting. We met at the Highland Center, one of AMC’s wonderful lodges, and a favorite place for our family.



Crawford Notch is amazing at any time of year, but late October has to be one of the best. The foliage was just past peak, but the colors were still lovely. I drove up on Friday morning. I had several business calls to make during the drive and was frustrated by the AT&T service. It has been getting worse, especially for iPhone users. I made my last call just as I arrived at the Highland Center. As soon as I got there, I pulled my bike out of the back of my car, changed in the parking lot, and then rode south on Route 302 through the notch.



I went 10.5 miles to Bartlett, and then turned around. It was all downhill on the way out, and I had a strong tailwind. It was gusting to 25 miles per hour. On the way back, the combination of the climb and the headwind made for an awful ride. However, the views were spectacular and I was just happy to be getting some fresh air after four hours in the car.


I got to the meeting for 12:30 P.M., and we had a great afternoon of discussions. AMC is a wonderful organization with so many interesting facets. We are working on some big projects, including our headquarters move from 5 Joy Street (Boston) to 10 City Square (Charlestown). Last month, Debbie and I were at another AMC meeting at the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center in New York. Back in July, we were at the brand new Medawisla Lodge & Cabins in Maine.



On Saturday morning, I got up early and went for a little trail run/hike. I donned my headlamp and headed up the Crawford Path, starting at 6:00 A.M. I didn’t know how far I would go, but figured I would just test the legs. I didn’t feel strong at all. I actually felt weak. I’ve had a few weeks of intense cyclocross racing. Last weekend’s Gran Prix of Gloucester was hard on the body. I smashed my knee on some rocks and I smacked my face with my own handlebars. I’ve been dinged up a little, so I turned around after 1.5 miles and jogged along Saco Lake before returning to the lodge for breakfast.



The meetings kicked off and went until early afternoon, but then we spilt up in a few hiking groups. I joined a group of seven for the easy hike up Mount Willard. That hill has the best bang for the buck in the White Mountains. What I mean by that is that it has the best steps to view ration of any mountain. The view is spectacular and it’s only a short walk. That’s what I call a good hiking Return on Investment (ROI). The trail was absolutely jammed with people, enjoying the incredible fall weather. It has been unseasonable warm since mid-September. I think this will be the warmest October on record in New England.


We lingered on the summit for a half an hour and the people just kept coming. It was nice to see so many people out, but when it got to the point where we had to raise our voices in order to hear each other, it was time to go. The only other times that I’ve had to raise my voice like that on a summit was to speak with  my climbing partner above the roar of the wind.

We had a leisurely walk back to the lodge. I departed shortly thereafter, and was home by 8:30 P.M. I stopped at the Putney Co-Op, my usual spot, for a quick dinner. My only regret is that Debbie and the kids couldn’t see the lovely leaves of Vermont and New Hampshire.


2017 Gran Prix of Gloucester

We had a spectacular weekend at the 2017 Gran Prix of Gloucester cyclocross race in Massachusetts. “We” is Shepard and me, plus the rest of Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad.



The last time I raced Gloucester was in 2007. Pretty much every year for the last 10 years, this New England classic has conflicted with the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run. With cyclocross schedule changes, the event was moved to mid-October from its historical late-September date. I was happy to return for many reasons.



I love the North Shore and Cape Ann. Sterling Machine is in Lynn, so I’m on the North Shore several times a month. The seaside Stage Fort Park course is picturesque and fantastic. The expo brought out some great sponsors and cycling industry stalwarts. The robust race fields (848 riders competed on Saturday and 787 competed on Sunday) prove this event’s popularity. In addition to the fields being deep, they are incredibly strong with the best showing up to do battle. The Elite Men’s and Women’s races featured some of the strongest riders in Northeast, with a few national pros and Canadians mixed in. Also, there are more spectators than any other cross race in the region. The beer garden was packed. This is what I like to call: The “New England World Championships.” I’m not talking Belgian-sized crowds, but if you ever want to spectate at a “local” cross race, pencil this one into your calendar.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-12

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-11

Our Masters team was well represented with Art Roti, Wade Summers, John Meyerle and me in the joint Masters 40+ Category 1/2/3 & Junior 17-18 year old field. Brett Chenail did the Masters 40+ Category 4/5 races. Dave Geissert and Keith Enderle did the Masters 50+ Category 1/2/3 races. All of us raced both Saturday and Sunday.


The Junior Squad also had a good turnout. Shepard raced in the Juniors 9-14 old category and was joined by Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, Lars Roti, and Nate Summers on Saturday. Those boys plus Ethan Lezon and Owen Lezon raced on Sunday.



Day 1 (Saturday)

Yesterday’s course was a leg burner, with several long and exposed sections. The morning races were rainy and the corners were slick. Shepard and the boys did well. They were all smiles. He was very happy with how his race went. The course remained damp during my race, which started at 11:30 A.M. with light rain falling. My only mishap was on the first lap when running the one rocky run-up, I slipped and planted my left knee and elbow on a sharp stone. The knee took the brunt of the fall and might have earned me “best blood” if they had such a category.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-10

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-9



I started well back in the sixth row (eight riders to a row) on the grid, but moved my way up and finished  39th in a stacked field. The first seven spots were taken by the Junior boys, which is amazing. They are getting faster and faster, and the top 40-49 year old racers didn’t have a chance against them. Matt Timmerman, the national champion in our age group, was the top 40+ year old male, all the way back in 8th spot. I felt good about my race, but was knackered by the finish.



After the race, Art and I did a long cool down, riding northeast, along the coast. We had spectacular views despite a few rain showers. The boys played all over Stage Fort Park and we watched the rest of the afternoon races. The view from atop the large rock, an iconic spot in the park, is awesome. You can see more than half the course from that one spot. The Elite racing was intense and enjoyable.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-6

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-5

Day 2 (Sunday)

We spent the night at one of my usual business oriented hotels on. Route 1 in Danvers, so it was only a 25 minute drive to the venue. The day dawned foggy and damp. The Gloucester weather was changeable, with intermittent sun and clouds and a stiff ocean breeze. It misted a bit in the early morning races, but then the course dried out and it became less humid as the day went on. By the time I raced, the course was bone dry and very dusty. Dust and above average temperatures have been the story of this cyclocross season. I’m waiting for some cold, which is what I prefer. I’m sure its a matter of if, not when.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-7

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-4

The Junior boys raced again at 9:31 A.M. and the Masters 40+ men were at 11:30 A.M. like yesterday. The course was altered slightly with several new sections and several sections removed. The run-up was different, but just as challenging. There were fewer long power sections, and there were several added technical sections. This made for a shorter lap. Some folks termed it “mountain bikey.” I did think that the loose sand and lots of transitions were pretty gnarly. It was a lot of fun, but I guess I preferred yesterday’s course better because it favored me more.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-2

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-8

I gave it my all today. The 17 and 18 year-olds dominated again, but the top masters rider was Alec Donahue, who bested Timmerman. By the third of six laps, I found myself in a group of six riders that included former national champion, Mark McCormack. At times the pace of the group slowed, so I decided to do my part to keep our gap to the group behind us, so I pulled for most of the last two laps. I felt good out front, but despite applying the pressure several times, wasn’t able to get away and create my own gap. Cognizant that I was going to get jumped on the last lap, I eased back into third spot in the final 1/3rd of the last lap.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-1

I was confident that I could beat all of them in a sprint, but I was unsure who was holding back. in the final few corners, I tried to make a move on the right side, but one of the riders pinched me in the final right hand turn before the road and I lost my momentum The first two riders, including McCormack, got a gap that they held to the line. I had to battle with the other four guys and two of them pipped me right before the finish. It was a frustrating way to end the race after I rode so well. I thought I had a chance to improve my position from yesterday’s race, but ended up 42nd.



I’m just happy to be able to do this stuff. My heart rate was above Zone 4 the entire race and averaged 169 beats per minute for the 50 minute effort. I was even more toasted today, and I’ll need a few days to recover from these hard efforts. Chances are it won’t be another 10 years before I compete at Gloucester again.


Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

2017 Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race

Yesterday, the Livingston Family returned to the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race for the first time in since 2014. The four of us did the 2 mile “sampler” version of the race, which is a simple one mile out/one mile back course along Dunbar Brook. It’s a fun little jaunt with lots of undulation, wet roots, and slippery rocks.



I’ve personally run Monroe eight times since 2000, but Debbie has done it more than that. Her first was in 1999, and for a while, she was “streaking,” with more than six in a row. Six of the eight times that I ran it were in the 10.5 mile main event. I last ran the 2 miler, way back in 2000. She and I had been dating for about a year. She must have convinced me to run. I’m sure my legs were trashed! This year was Shepard’s second time doing the short course, and it was our daughter’s first time experiencing the beauty of Monroe.


I know it had been a while since were at Dunbar Brook Picnic Area because all of the pine trees at the start/finish line are gone. I know they were there in 2014 and before that, in 2012. My photos prove it! The picnic area looked different this year with all of the open space. Debbie and I were in this neighborhood in May of 2016, but we passed by without stopping to notice that the trees were gone. We rode River Road from Rt. 2 as part of a mixed asphalt/dirt loop adventure that we did on our gravel bikes.



Yesterday, I rode that road again. I rode from Savoy Mountain State Forest via Rt. 2. It was a fun, but very wet ride. We camped at Savoy on Saturday night after driving over from Berkshire East Mountain Resort. On Saturday afternoon, after the Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross and a soccer game, we drove to Thunder Mountain Bike Park at Berkshire East in Charlemont. We went there for a YPO family event called “Pick Your Own Adventure.” Shepard and I got in a few runs on rental downhill bikes. That was a blast.  We intend to return when we have a full day to explore the trails.


I normally ride a 29 inch wheeled Seven Sola SL rigid singlespeed mountain bike, so the Giant Glory with 203mm of suspension and 27.5 inch plus tires was like riding an air mattress. Our first run was led by Guide Paula Burton, who is a tireless trail advocate and longtime NEMBA volunteer. Paula gave us some great tips for riding berms and technical descents. While Shepard and I rode, Debbie and Dahlia spent time on the Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster.


After dinner, we drove to Savoy, located in the town of Florida, where we spent the night. We’ve been to Savoy many times over the years for trail running and snowshoe races. It was a windy and rainy night, but we slept in the van. Early on Sunday, I rode to the start of Monroe. Debbie and the kids passed me on the way, and then we met back up just before the start.



The WMAC website has a lot of great history about the Monroe Trail Race, and results dating back to 1992. We wanted to get back to Monroe this year because we miss the people. I know that the faces have changed, but there is still a core group of New England trail runners who have been going to these classic races since the beginning. The calendar is full of newer events that conflict, and some interest in the Grand Tree Trail Running Series has waned, but it was THE series to participate in when Debbie and I first got involved. Monroe was part of the WMAC Trilogy, along with the Mount Greylock Trail Race and the Savoy Mountain Trail Race.


I wish I had more time to socialize, but my ride took longer than planned. It poured the whole way, but it was gorgeous. Seemingly, overnight, the leaves changed colors and with mist rising from the valleys, the colors were finally starting to show. I got there about 20 minutes before the 10:00 A.M. start. The short course race went off 10 minutes later. Debbie ran with Dahlia and I chased Shepard. After we finished, we hiked down to the Deerfield River to see the Dragon’s Tooth. The water was flowing fast, but the kayakers had already passed through. We had to consult YouTube for video of people actually navigating the rapids.


We climbed back up to the picnic area, changed up, and waited for the first 10.5 mile runner to arrive. That turned out to be Kelsey Allen, who broke the women’s course record by winning the race overall. That’s fantastic! It was great to see her. We saw two more runners finish, Daniel Grip, and Todd Bennett; before we snuck out of there. We ha to high-tail it back to Connecticut so Dahlia could attend a friend’s birthday party. Life is busy. We did make a quick pit-stop for lunch at Hearty Eats in Shelburne Falls.


WMAC has so many great longtime volunteers. Ellen and Pancho Mach are two that come to mind. Pancho was at his usual spot, the turnaround point of the 2 miler. I swear that he was there 17 years ago when I did this race the first time. Ellen was minding the finish line food tables, just like in years past. The Monroe Trail Race will always been one of our favorites, and it’s even better now as a family affair.

Race Results

Horst Engineering Family of Companies

Cross Spikes™


I never post about food. However, this is the second time this week that I’m posting about food. These #vegan dishes at Empress by @theprivegroup were awesome. #instavegan #singapore Everything worked out fine for @trailrunningmom After a little stress, they had her race packet and bib number at the @metasprintseries venue and she kept it upright on the bike! 🚴🏽 She was very pleased with 2nd place 🏆 in her age group at her first road #Duathlon.🏃🏻There are no mountains ⛰ and there isn’t much singletrack in #singapore but it’s still a great city for endurance sports. It looked like there were more than 1,500 athletes at the 3K/18K/3K race with LOTS of kids too. Great vibe! #triathlonsg #teamhorstsports 🇺🇸 Our kids may recognize this great Shoppes @marinabaysands feature from six years ago. I had forgotten how cool it was. #singapore #marinabaysands First time on a road bike for @trailrunningmom In advance of her first ever road duathlon @metasprintseries I taught her some tips & tricks including the do's/don'ts of shifting strategy, cornering, blocking (not), drafting (not), passing, flying mount/dismount, etc. It was fun! Even though she was on a "rental" too, I couldn't keep up on my "steed." #triathlonsg #singapore #teamhorstsports @thecheryltan #cheryltan #singapore #singapore Name those tunes. 11-year-old Feng E is making a name for himself in Asia and beyond. #guitar #fenge #singapore 🎸 @trailrunningmom led #yoga at #ypoedge #singapore 

@ypoglobal #yogini Tremendous #vegan dinner @metasingapore Without a heads up, Chef Sun and his team whipped up an amazing seven course + three “snacks” meal for @trailrunningmom and me, that was worthy of their @michelinguide star. We sat at the counter and watched every step in the process. Chef said that with advanced notice (of our diet), he “would have done better.” We appreciated his perfectionism, but it was just fine. #metarestaurant #instavegan #michelinguide #singapore

Follow me on Twitter



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 299 other followers