Archive for the 'Environment' Category

2016 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

The Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross was my sixth race in 12 days. This block of racing started with the Vermont 50, and then continued with The Midnight Ride of Cyclocross, KMC Cross Fest Day #2, KMC Cross Fest Day #3, and The Night Weasels Cometh. A week before the VT50, I did the Hammerfest Triathlon, so it has been an awesome three weeks of competition.


Promoted by the Thread City Cyclers, this race is one of my favorites. The venue, Mansfield Hollow State Park, is beautiful. We were there during this past summer for the Shenipsit Striders Nipmuck South Trail Race. The course design is fantastic. The post race refreshments are awesome. The volunteers do a great job.


I finally had a clean race. My cross results have been a little uneven. I had a hard fall at the VT50 and hadn’t been right since then. Midnight was OK, but I was sloppy. I underperformed at KMC and hit the ground several times, which isn’t surprising given how difficult the conditions were. I just wrote about Weasels, which I had to do on my pit bike.



So, coming into one of my favorite local races, I was ready to ride strong and without an incident. Thankfully, things came together. The weather was perfect. I was able to ride in my short sleeve skin suit and it felt just right. I had a good start, and even moved up a bit on the first lap. I settled in and had a nice race long battle with Expo Wheelmen rider, Jeremy Brazeal. I was able to hold him off for 8th.


After a few weeks of active rest, I’m going to be even stronger. It was a fun day for Team Horst Sports. We had a really strong turnout. We were well represented in the Juniors field. Sean Rourke, Nate Summers, Shepard Livingston, and Lars Roti all had good rides. In the Men’s Cat 4 race, Andris Skulte and Randall Dutton were our racers.


In the 40+ race, I was joined by Wade Summers and Arthur Roti. In the 50+ race, Pat Cunningham took 2nd place. He was followed by Matt Domnarski, Tom Ricardi, and Dave Geissert. The foliage is just starting to get good in Connecticut and the Hollow is a great place to see it.

Race Results


2016 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

After a one year layoff, we returned to the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run for the 17th time. Our first was in 1999, six years after the 24 year old race was founded. Every VT50 has been memorable, but 2016 was special for many reasons. For us, the VT50 is about the community of athletes, volunteers, and spectators that come together to make this such a great event.



From the registration in May to race day on the last Sunday of September, we anticipate this event. We have met so many great friends and enjoy seeing them all. Some of them we only see once a year. Others we see all of the time. Over the course of 17 years, we have seen many mountain bikers and trail runners. This year, there were more than 1,050 finishers in the various categories including:

  • (651) 50 mile mountain bikers
  • (181) 50 mile trail runners
  • (217) 50 kilometer trail runners
  • (28) 50 mile relay teams


The kids mountain bike and trail running fun runs/races were on Saturday and there were LOTS of kids.

One of the highlights of the weekend came when I checked in at registration on Saturday evening. There was a large banner hanging in the tent. It listed 33 names of bikers/runners who have done 15 or more races. One of the names was mine and two others were Team Horst Sports mates, Arlen Zane Wenzel, and Arthur Roti. Seeing the list brought a huge smile to my face. Arlen introduced me to the race in 1999 and Art joined us a year later. Thousands and thousands of unique athletes have done the VT50 over the last 24 years and it is cool to think that only 33 have done 15 or more. That’s special.



In appreciation for our support of the race, which benefits Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, we each received a Farmhouse Pottery handmade mug. This was totally unexpected, but greatly appreciated. Every year, I go to this race to compete and compete hard. My goal is to have a better race than the prior year. I’m still at a level where I can expect to improve on last year’s time/performance, but that won’t always be the case.


Photo Credit: Patricia Dowcett

We attended the race in 2014, but didn’t compete because I had crashed and broke my shoulder a month earlier. Debbie opted not to race, so we drove to various aid stations and cheered on our friends. In 2015, Debbie and I had the opportunity to go to Japan, where she ran the ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI, which was the same weekend. UTMF was a unique opportunity, and after 17 years in a row, we actually welcomed the break from the VT50, though I remember seeing all of my friends’ social media activity, and wishing I was there.



That made it easy to return in 2016, and we were thrilled to be there. We made it a family affair and in addition to our two children, we brought along my mother-in-law, Barbara Schieffer. She loves adventure and we enjoy sharing ours with her. She was a big help, keeping an eye on our children while we were racing. To keep things simple we camped at Ascutney Mountain Resort, practically in site of the start/finish. On Saturday afternoon, we met up with our teammates and friends. For the first time, the organizers held a kids mountain bike race. It was just for fun. There were one mile and two-mile events on the mountain trails. Our kids participated and had fun. The bike race was followed by the kids fun trail runs, which have been held for several years. Once again, there were 5K, one mile, and a 1/2 mile options. Our son did the 5K and our daughter did the one mile.



Autumn arrived last week and the weather changed on Saturday night, with the temperature on Sunday morning only in the mid-30’s Fahrenheit. It was quite cold. The day turned out to be a beautiful one, but it even by the end of my race, shortly after 11:00 A.M., it was still chilly. The sunshine was brilliant, but the air was cold, and a stiff breeze was blowing. The singlespeeders started in Wave 1 at 6:00 A.M. I used a handlebar light for the first hour, which was smart, since I skipped using one in 2013, and struggled a bit in the darkness. Debbie started with the 50 mile runners at 6:30 A.M. The other bike waves were in between.


The VT50 course is always tough, so we were fortunate to have extra dry conditions. There were only a handful of (barely) muddy sections, and there wasn’t any water on the course, which is amazing. There have been years where there wasn’t a dry spot and we were poured on. I remember some of those mudfests. I rode my Seven Sola SL singlespeed with my Niner carbon fork. I rode that bike all summer at the Winding Trails Summer Tri Series, but was a little unprepared for the beating I took with the fully rigid setup. By the 25 mile mark, I was wishing for a front suspension fork. I’ll consider one for next year, but there are no guarantees. I’m a bit stubborn like that. I like the bike the way it is, even though it compromises my ability to have a peak performance.


I checked my race log and came up with some fun statistics: I’ve done the race 15 times. I have ridden it 13 times, run it once, and one time, I rode to the 17 mile mark before breaking my chain (twice) and running the rest of the way to the finish. I’ve accumulated 82 hours of time on the various iterations of the course.


After 15 times,  I’m still seeking that perfect race. I’ve had some stellar results, and can’t count this year as one of them, but it was still a solid ride. I went out strong, but one hour into the race, I had a wicked crash. I came into a sharp right hand turn at the bottom of a fast descent with too much speed. I made the turn, but was out of control and right after the bend, there were deep ruts in the trail. I wiped out hard, falling on a fallen tree that had been moved off trail. I hammered my left arm and hip. For a moment, as I lay in the woods, I thought I broke my arm. There was another rider right behind me. He saw the whole episode. He yelled back to check on me and I indicated that I was OK. I remounted and after a few tentative pedal strokes, I got moving again. Both the hip and arm hurt bad, but after the initial shock, I knew I could get to the finish, barring another hard crash. Of course, at that moment, the thought of  four more hours on the bike kind of bummed me out.


I don’t know what kind of impact the crash had, but by the 15 mile mark, I knew that I was lacking some of my usual zip. I was hurting by 20 and went through a long bad patch that lasted until mile 40. Somewhere in between, I made the decision to stop at an aid station and eat some real food. I had been relying on what I carried, including some gels, some energy drink, and water. Some days, that works for me, but yesterday, it wasn’t enough. When I stopped, I ate some pretzels, bananas, and potatoes, which revived me. Things improved, and by mile 40, I was picking up the pace again. However, it was too late. After my strong start, I had been passed by more than 60 people, which was demoralizing, but understandable. Despite the effort to ride fast, I made sure to soak in some of the incredible views. It was a gorgeous day in Vermont.


I never felt comfortable on my bike, which happens. I accepted my fate for the day and pushed as hard as I could. The last five miles were harsh, with some additional singletrack before the final twisting descent to the line. Three of my teammates had passed me earlier in the race. Led by Anthony Eisley, we had an awesome day. He was followed by Mike Wonderly, and Arlen. Not far behind me was Spike McLaughlin. He was followed by Erik Emanuele. Then, he was followed by Art Roti and Mark Hixson, who smashed their own tandem record in fine fashion. Congratulations to all of the riders and runners. With so many finishers, there are more than a 1,000 stories to be told. There were so many great performances.


Debbie was our lone runner. She put together a good race, her first ultra since Wapack and Back in May. The VT50 has never suited her strengths, but she wanted to give it another shot, and was happy with her result. She prefers rugged and mountainous courses. Vermont has hills, but there are more dirt roads than she likes. She finished in 8 hours and 53 minutes and was third in her age group, which was a morale booster.



In addition to our teammates, we saw so many friends, that it would be difficult to list them. It was great to race with our Coach, Al Lyman. Once again, Race Director Mike Silverman, and his volunteer team, did a fantastic job. Every year, the race develops a bit more, without losing its grassroots vibe. From the live music on both Saturday afternoon and Sunday, to the USA made technical t-shirts, to the farm fresh fruits and vegetables at the finish line, to the maple syrup awards; this race gets the details right.


We had a lot of gear to pack up, but by 5:00 P.M., we were on the road again, and headed south. We made a pit stop in Northampton to visit Paul & Elizabeth’s for dinner. It was a nice way to celebrate another Vermont 50.

Race Results


9/27/16 Update: I neglected to mention that I was happy to see the race organizers make an extra effort with recycling. This makes for a much more sustainable race. There were clearly labeled bins throughout the start/finish area that included single-stream recycling, compost, and trash. I wish I had a photo. This is great. What made me unhappy was how many people disregarded the signs and just threw everything in the trash. I saw volunteers picking recyclable materials out of the trash, which is deplorable. The Vermont 50 community needs to do better. At Horst Engineering, we recently launched a revamped recycling program and battle similar challenges with our employees, but the process is getting better. Of course, it doesn’t improve without letting people know (education) when it isn’t working to expectations. I would expect that the VT50 committee would share this feedback with the competitors. Also, Debbie noticed (its easier to see when you are running) LOTS of trash out on the course, and especially energy food (gels, bars) packets. This is ridiculous. If you aren’t carrying a pack, then you should have pockets. This race should be run with a Leave No Trace philosophy. Most of the trails are on private property and for one day a year, we are given the privilege to ride/run on them. Let’s not blow it.




2016 CompEdge Cross @ Blunt Park

The 2016-2017 cyclocross season kicked off today at the CompEdge Cross in Blunt Park. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, this urban park is a fun spot for cross. Like last year, it was seriously hot and very dusty. The course was mostly the same, though there were a few more twists and turns, a longer section of roots, and a mini “flyover.”


Promoted by the Cycloconauts, this race was the first of many to come between now and the national championships in early January. In recent years, cyclocross has started earlier. When I first started racing cross in the mid-1990’s, the road season continued through September and then cross would start in October. In New England, you can race every weekend between now and October and then every weekend through Christmas. The cyclocross season is longer and stronger than ever.

I’ve got 20 +/- races targeted for this year with a mix of the fun local races and some of the larger regional events like the KMC Cross Fest at its new venue, Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. The New England Builders’ Ball will be held in conjunction with KMC Cross Fest and is also moving to the new venue at the speedway. Horst Engineering will display our Horst Spikes line of Cross Spikes alongside many of New England’s top bicycle framebuilders.

After a summer filled with racing triathlons, I’m ready for cross season. I was a little rusty today, but so was everyone else. I was joined in the Masters 45+ race by my teammate Matt Domnarksi. Our mate, Keith Enderle, was slated to race the 55+ race. We have another strong masters team and over the next few weeks, I’m sure we will be joined by Pat Cunningham, Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, Mike Wonderly, Dave Geissert, Randall Dutton, Art Roti, and maybe some of the other guys. I do better in the cooler weather events, but I wanted to kick the season off anyway. It takes time to sharpen your technical skills. The Blunt Park course was full of tight turns and there were several dismounts. I didn’t get to the start line in time and ended up at the back. I had a good start, but then was blocked by an early crash that slowed the back half of the field. I worked my way up and had some good battles in a group of four, including Bryan Zieroff and new Cyclonauts riders, but we never broke the top-10.

I’m hungry to race again, and that will probably be in two weeks at the Silk City Cyclocross. Aside from the Hammerfest Triathlon and the Vermont 50, it’s all cross for me until Thanksgiving and the Manchester Road Race. Then, it will be more cross into January. I’ll think about taking a break then!

Race Results (will be posted when available)

2016 Kids Who Tri Succeed Triathlon

Yesterday, we returned to the Kids Who Tri Succeed Triathlon in Mansfield, Connecticut after skipping in 2015. Last year, the kids did do the sister race in Farmington. In 2014, I scored one of my favorite photos of all time. It’s kind of hard to top that moment, which is memorialized with a large canvas print of the image hanging on the wall in our house.

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Our kids are “fit” as they have been doing the Winding Trails Tri Series all summer. Our son did five of the Tiny Tri’s and our daughter did the three kids races. Fitness is just for fun. Kids Who Tri Succeed is a great starter triathlon for someone new to the sport and judging by the size of the fields, it is growing in popularity.

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We saw the usual cast of characters, including our friends, the Ricardi Family, who, like us, have also been going to this race for many years. Our son first did it in 2011 when it was his first triathlon. He has come a long way since then, and this year, graduated to the long course. Horst Engineering has sponsored the race for many years. Our support, the support of other businesses and families; and the volunteers make the race possible.

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The race isn’t without its quirks. It isn’t easy to coordinate four age groups between the ages of four and 14. The timing is often jumbled up, despite the best efforts of the timers. Some kids went off course, some kids did extra laps, and some kids didn’t complete the required number of laps. Despite all of the volunteers, the coordination should be better. It’s hard to be critical because the local race is one of the only ones dedicated to children and there are many challenging variables to deal with. Debbie and I want to see the race improve because that is what will keep the kids coming back.

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Our kids had a good time and they have continued to learn how to race thanks to events like Kids Who Tri Succeed.

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2016 Winding Trails Summer Triathlon Series

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Race #10 Results

Race Results (will be posted when updated)

2016 Wildman Biathlon

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


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

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



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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

Race Results

2016 Soapstone Assault

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results

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#oldlyme #connecticut #oldcolonybeach #longislandsound #oldlyme #connecticut #fullmoon #oldcolonybeach #longislandsound #oldlyme #Connecticut #lynnwoods #trailrunning Always been one of my favorite spots. Been visiting this bridge on visits to @horsteng since I was a kid. #easthartford #hartford #connecticutriver #sunset #adventureparkatstorrs #ropescourse #railtrail #sleepinggiant #trailrunning #blueblazedtrail #britoberfest #kegtoss I'm sticking to #cyclocross I got 15' 6" and 25' 1" took the #kegtoss prize at #Britoberfest

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