Archive for the 'Environment' Category

2019 NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross, Day 1

I’ve always got mixed feelings when the cyclocross season winds down. On the one hand, I’m so ready to be done. Normally that is because I’m not tired of racing, but because I’m tired of packing for the races, traveling to the races, and cleaning up after the races. I do tire of the crashing, which seems to be common in cyclocross, at least for me. On the other hand, when it is over I will miss the excitement, camaraderie, intensity, and competition. I’ll also miss the New England parks, schools, and other neat places that we visit throughout the fall.

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Yesterday was Day 1 of the NBX Gran Prix of Cyclocross. We aren’t returning for Day 2 like we have in recent years. Shepard and I were able to manage one more race day, but we opted not to do another double/full weekend. He culminated his CX season at NBX whereas I’ll get in one more event at next Saturday’s The Ice Weasel’s Cometh. Some friends will be headed to Tacoma, Washington for the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships, but that’s a long way to go for a cross race. We have done Nats before, but 2019 is a year to skip. Next year, the Nats will be outside of Chicago, so there is the possibility that we will go.

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Shepard went out on a high note with a strong ride in yesterday’s Cub Juniors race on a cold, blustery, and icy day at Goddard Memorial State Park in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. The early season snow made for a challenging track as it didn’t melt in time for the race. Between the icy corners, sand, and leaves, the course was very slippery. I had a couple of hard falls on my pre-ride of the course. That made me cautious and tentative for the actual race. NBX is one of the more technical courses we do.

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It’s always been real trouble for me. I perpetually underperform on this course and haven’t yet figured out if that is a mental issue or if my bike riding skills just don’t match up well with Goddard State Park. I’m not able to get my heart rate up and not able to maintain my speed through the tough technical corners. I also usually have a handful of mistakes (e.g. falls, bobbles, etc.) and yesterday was no exception. I biffed it in the sand on a couple of occasions and that cost me valuable time. Nevertheless, I had a blast.

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Since I raced the Masters 40+ race we didn’t have to spend ALL day at the event. They don’t do a singlespeed race at the series/UCI events. Shepard’s race was at 8:47 A.M. so we were up early and on the road by 6:00 A.M. That is one aspect of cross season that has grown tiresome and I won’t miss it even if I continue too get up early. We have packed our van and trailer late on Friday nights many times this fall, and I’ve had enough of that for now.

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It was great to see Jon Gallagher from ONe2Go Results. Jon is a dear old friend, fellow Boston College alumnus (though he never raced on the BC Cycling Team) and someone I raced with many times in our younger days. He is based in Utah, but spends a lot of time on the road, timing cycling events all over the world. This fall, he has been to New England on a few occasions, but this was my first (and last) chance to catch up with him face to face in 2019. We had a meaningful conversation in the cold finish line trailer, but it was awesome. It’s been 25 years since we spent the summer of 1994 racing our bikes in Belgium.

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A few of our Team HORST Sports and Team HORST Junior Squad teammates will return for Day 2 today and we wish them luck along with all of the other racers whether they are there for a final Nats tune up, or if this is their last race too. The Ice Weasels Cometh will be my Nats and I’m looking forward to it.

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Shepard and I have spent some special time traveling to these races. NBX was my 14th cross race of the season and it was his 13th. On the way home, we passed through Providence and grabbed lunch at Plant City. On Sunday, we will spend some time with Debbie and Dahlia, do a little running, get a Christmas tree, and reminisce about our most recent cyclocross adventure.

Race Results

2019 Northampton International Cyclocross

The Livingston’s had a fantastic weekend in the Massachusetts at the 29th Northampton International Cyclocross. I’ve done 16 of them, including the last five years in a row. The Pioneer Valley has a lot of great culture and Look Park in Florence is a perfect place for a cross race.

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Team HORST Sports and the Team HORST Junior Squad had a strong presence at this weekend’s competition. We had a nice spot on Club Row made it a family affair. From the Masters squad, we had a great team of riders:

  • Dave Geissert
  • Keith Enderle
  • Wade Summers
  • John Meyerle
  • Arthur Roti
  • Andris Skulte
  • Brett Chenail
  • Rich Frisbie
  • And me!

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From the Junior squad, we also had a strong turnout:

  • Alexandra Miller-Davey
  • Sean Rourke
  • Boden Chenail
  • Lars Roti
  • Owen Lezon
  • Ethan Lezon
  • Shepard Livingston

Arlen Zane Wenzel and Erik Emanuele were a bit help on Saturday. They came up on Day 1 to support the team. We also had strong support from the family of our racers. With Club Row, the food trucks, the expo, and a great park–NoHo CX is a spectator friendly event.

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Debbie, the kids, and I stayed over on Saturday night at the Hampton Inn in Hadley. The Miller/Davey Family and Lezon Family joined us for dinner at Paul & Elizabeth’s in downtown Northampton. We enjoyed dessert at Herrell’s where they have some nice vegan ice cream options.

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My Day 1 race was a certified disaster, but I hung in their and finished. I hit the deck no less than three times including one spectacular last lap crash when I hooked my handlebars on a course stake. That sent me to the ground in a heap. I bounced back. I was super-strong, but was all over my bike and made a lot of costly mistakes. I was battling for 13th and ended up 19th off the back of the small group that I was with the entire race. It was frustrating because I squandered an opportunity for a nice top 15 result in a competitive field. The course was greasy and I was just “off.”

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Today was a bit better and the combo Masters 40+/15-16 year-old field felt faster, but I was down in 22nd spot. I had a shot at 19th again, but just didn’t have the legs on the last lap when repeated attacks from my “new” rival Miles Mattern (age 13) finally broke me. He was hopping the barriers and railing every technical turn which forced me to chase him repeatedly. All of those big efforts to close the gaps that he was opening finally did me in. It wasn’t even his first race of the day! He won the Cub Juniors 9-14 year-old race earlier in the day (he won it on Saturday too). Even worse is a few guys snuck in between us in the last 1/4 lap. I could say I was frustrated again, but alas I rode better today and was actually happy with the result. Remember the name “Miles Mattern’ because you will read or hear it again.

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Unlike prior years, the 17-18 year -old boys started two minutes in front of us. The 40’s were combined with the younger juniors (ages 15 and 16), but they are nearly as fast. Frank O’Reilly Jr. won both days and he is only 14 years old. The young kids can really race.

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Speaking of young kids, Shepard did well. He did the shortish (only two laps) 9-14 Cub Juniors races both days and finished 13th on Saturday and 10th today. He was happy with how he raced and had a ton of fun hanging out with his friends at Look Park. It really is a fine venue.

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The Northampton International Cyclocross used to be one of the biggest races in New England, but it has shrunk in size and stature which is sad. With the loss of the Gran Prix of Gloucester from the race calendar, it still is the biggest race in the region (648 racers yesterday and 605 racers today), but is proof that cross participation is down. I did check and the NoHo participation numbers are generally comparable to the last five years, so I should be careful to comment without actually studying the data. The feeling is that there were less people, but I could be wrong. In New England, there used to be several big races per year, but like Gloucester’s loss in 2019, we lost the Providence Cyclocross Festival several years ago, which means that two of the big three events are now defunct.

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I wasn’t sure how I would feel after a double race weekend, but it’s Sunday night and I’m pleased with how things turned out. We had a lot of bicycles to wash, clothes to clean, and gear to unpack, but it was worth it.

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My father Stanley came up to watch this afternoon. He helped us pack all the gear at the park and then joined us for lunch at Pulse Cafe in Hadley, which is an awesome plant-based restaurant and farm store. We had a great brunch and even packed dessert which I’ll use to “refuel” after this weekend’s big effort.

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Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

2019 Connecticut Middle School State XC Championship

Yesterday’s Connecticut Middle School State XC Championship was the culmination of another great season for the Bolton Center School Boy’s and Girl’s XC teams. This was Debbie’s second year as coach. She and her assistant, Donald Rowe, make a great team. They have molded these girls and boys into athletes in every sense of the word.

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Debbie weaves overall health into their training so they don’t just run. This approach includes nutrition, sleep, body work, and mindfulness. She uses many of the same techniques that have allowed her to run strong for more than 20 years.

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On Friday night, for the second year, the Doyle Family hosted a “pasta dinner” which we hope becomes an annual tradition. On Saturday, we spent the day at Wickham Park in Manchester, which is the the best XC running venue…period. I was also at the park on Friday afternoon for the CIAC High School State XC Championship. I brought Shepard and we watched some awesome running.

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After a week of rain, the course was damp, but not too muddy. There were spots where you had to be careful, but it was a faster track than last year. Even still, more than 10 kids lost their shoes (yep) yesterday even after being warned to “tie them tighter.”

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Tiarnan Doyle had a huge improvement over 2018 and he was our standout individual runner finishing 10th overall. He deserve mention for his improvement and his strength. Hopefully he sticks with running and competes in high school next year.

Our teams didn’t have as good overall finishes as last year, but we lost some strong 8th graders to graduation. I see both the boys and girls getting stronger in the coming years, especially as Debbie builds an even better youth running culture in our town.

Race Results

2019 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

2019 NipMuck Trail Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SmugMug Photo Gallery

Race Results

 

2019 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results

REI Mothers in the Wild Speaker Series

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

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

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Here was REI’s description of the event:

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

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

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


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#Cyclocross season is winding down. It’s time...but I will still miss it when it’s over. The race days/weekends spent with the @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad has been awesome. Yesterday’s @nbx_bikes G.P. of CX was another great day. The conditions were fun and challenging and the racing was fierce. @horstcycling #teamhorstsports #crossisboss #nbxgp
#optoutside
Another awesome @manchesterroadrace #manchesterroadrace #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports
I attended the @manchesterroadrace press conference. Less than a week to go. Getting pumped. @horsteng is a Veterans Row sponsor. #manchesterroadrace #teamhorstsports #shenipsitstriders
Great fun @nohocx with the Livingston Family and our #cyclocross family. @horstcycling #teamhorstsports #teamhorstjuniorsquad #crossspikes
Cross country #running is a platform to teach so many great lessons about fitness and life. It was great fun cheering the Bolton Bulldogs at the NEMSAC XC Championships. #trailrunning #crosscountry
Great day with #teamhorstsports at the Belltown Cross even if Wade had to put on his reading glasses to identify his prize! That’s the life of a Masters racer. #crossspikes @horstcycling #horstcycling #cyclocross
Good fun with the #teamhorstjuniorsquad at today’s @stage1cycling Belltown Cross. #crossspikes #horstcycling @horstcycling #cyclocross
Eneas Freyre from @ttendurance was proud of his lap one wreck and wanted the video posted. It helps that he recovered and went on to win the race (Masters 40+ @stage1cycling Belltown Cross). It’s a good lesson to get back up, straighten your bars, and start chasing. #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #cyclocross

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