Archive for the 'Family' Category

2015 Manchester Road Race

Today was my 26th Manchester Road Race, and it was a wonderful one. I have no favorites, but this year, I took it easy (again) and jogged it with Debbie and our son, Shepard. It wasn’t a jog for him. He had to push, and he ran a fantastic time. This was his third MRR, and I hope he continues the tradition and “streaks” as long as he can.


It was my 21st in a row. We had incredible weather, with our warmer than usual autumn continuing. The sunshine was brilliant and the temperature was way above normal. For us, the MRR isn’t just one event. It is a week of celebrating. Last Saturday, Debbie ran the Know Your Pace Race, with our Silk City Striders friends. That was followed by the Manchester Road Race Expo, and then the Little Manchester Road Race.


Both of our kids participated, with our daughter running the one mile, and our son running the two-mile. More than 800 kids were registered for the four races, which also included a 100 yard dash (for the littlest ones), and a 1/2 mile. Last weekend’s weather was also excellent.


Last night, we went to the annual spaghetti dinner at the Elk’s Lodge. We saw many of our friends there, and again today at the race on Main Street. Given the extraordinary weather conditions, its likely that the race was maxed out at the 15,000 runner limit, and that most of them showed up and did the 4.748 mile race. Next year will be a big one; it will be the 80th anniversary.


At last night’s dinner, we heard Charlie Duggan and Steve Gates speak. Charlie won the 1980 edition of the race, and to this day, Steve’s time in 1980 remains the fastest that a Manchester native has ever run on the course. This year’s winners were Will Geoghegan and Diana Nukuri. She repeated her 2014 victory, and he won for the first time, out kicking local favorite, Donn Cabral, of Glastonbury. We got to see Donn at last night’s dinner, and hope that he wins this one someday. He is close to the top step.


Neither Debbie or I were interested in racing hard. I’m focused on cyclocross and haven’t been running much. I didn’t feel like pushing with some nagging “lower body” (like a hockey player) injuries. Debbie decided to “shut it down” after September’s ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI. It was nice of Debbie’s mom, Barbara, to stay with our daughter at St. James Church near the start/finish line. The support of the Schieffer Family is another Thanksgiving tradition.


Our son had a strong run. Debbie and I are proud of him for being positive and having a great attitude. He ran steady the whole way and his net time was just under 38 minutes, which is wonderful for a little guy. At the four mile mark, he really wanted some water. There are no official water stations, but with 20,000 spectators, someone always has water. Debbie spotted a table on the left side of the road. We were on the right, so I had to backtrack and cross traffic to get the water. To my surprise, they also had beer, so I asked for one of each, and they were so kind to oblige. I caught back up to them with a can of Busch in my left hand, and a cup of water in my right. Both Shep and I were happy!


It was nice to see the Welts family down from New Hampshire! In addition to seeing many of our Silk City Striders friends, we hooked up with our main club, the Shenipsit Striders. This weekend is our annual Shenipsit Trail End-to-End Run on Saturday. If you are interested in running any distance up to about 50 miles, then join the club! This year we are going south to north.


I’m already looking forward to next year’s 80th. Maybe our daughter will join us for her first MRR. Maybe I’ll run hard. We will see…


Hartford Courant Coverage

Race Results

2015 Cheshire Cross

Today, I raced the 10th annual Cheshire Cross in Cheshire, Connecticut. It was race number five in the CT Series of Cyclocross. I’ve done it several times over the years.

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The course is one of my favorites because it is technical and it has a long steep hill. That hill, known as Heckler Hill, has quite the reputation. Most people can ride it, but it isn’t easy. The “Hill People” congregate on it and they are nuts.

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My race was early, 9:00 A.M., but by noon, the hill people were out in force. They were loud and hilarious. Many were dressed in costumes and they were proud of breaking UCI rules. This wasn’t a UCI race. It’s one of the fun local events that make New England cyclocross so interesting.

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I had a decent race, but once again, failed to pick up a spot in the final sprint. I had a last lap battle with Bryan Atwood. I led him until the bottom of the hill, but he muscled his way past me as we crested. I figured I would have a chance to come around him in the soccer fields, but as I made my move to pass him on the finishing stretch, a lapped rider blocked the way and I had to hit the brakes.

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Oh well, I still had a fun day. It was cool and blustery, but the intermittent sunshine was pleasant. Debbie and the kids came to watch and the kids race got good participation. It was a longer loop than usual, which was nice. Next year, our son will be ready to try some junior races.

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The Horst Engineering Cycling Team had some good results. Pat Cunningham won the 50+ race and Paul Nyberg wasn’t far behind him in 4th. I was joined in the 40+ race by Wade Summers, Art Roti, and Mike Wonderly.

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I hung around after my race to watch the Elite Men and Elite Women. The men’s race was won by Matt Timmerman after a tight battle with a young rider. It was fun to watch. The women’s race had a dominating performance by Jena Greaser, who took the win.

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The Connecticut series continues tomorrow at the Newtown Cross. Results

2015 Cycle-Smart Northampton International Cyclocross

We had a fantastic weekend of cyclocross racing in Massachusetts at the 25th annual Cycle-Smart Northampton International (NoHo) has a nice overview of the race and its history from its early days when it was known as the UMASS Cyclocross. Like last weekend’s West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, I’ve done NoHo/UMASS 12 times (years). I’ve actually done more races there because going back many years, it has been a two-race weekend and I’ve done the double at least four times.

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Like Putney, I first raced this event back in 1995 in my first year of cyclocross racing. I raced UMASS five times when the event was held on the Amherst campus and have been back seven times over the years, to race the Cycle-Smart version of the race at Look Park in Northampton. Like Putney, it is one of my favorite events. For me, cyclocross season doesn’t really kick in until November and the first two weekends of this month have always been special because of Putney and NoHo. I missed them both in 2014 because of my broken shoulder, so I was really excited to be back this year.

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Race Director, Adam Myerson, and his colleagues/friends/teammates/volunteers from Cycle-Smart Inc., Northampton Cycling Club, and JAM Fund put on a good show. This is the third largest cross race in New England behind Providence and Gloucester. Look Park is a great venue. It is a very fast course, which favors strong road cyclists who have time trial type power.

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This year was unique for me because Horst Engineering got involved with the race as a sponsor for the very first time. For the past two years, we have supported Adam with our Horst Spikes cross spikes. We got to talking and agreed to sponsor the run-up, which is a rock strewn sandy slope that takes you from the grassy lower section of Look Park to the upper wooded section. Cross spikes are the ideal product sponsor for a course feature like this. We donated Horst Spikes for each category and participated in the Race Expo. It was a lot of fun for Team Horst Sports and we got great support from our team to man our booth and participate in the festivities.

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Pat Cunningham, Matt Domnarski, Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, Arthur Roti, Andris Skulte, and I raced Saturday and Sunday. We were joined on Saturday by Randall Dutton. Our “roadie” mates Erik Emanuele, Max Accaputo, Trent Sullivan, and A. Zane Wenzel helped us with the expo and Horst Spike sales. Arthur and I owe them a big “thank you” for pitching in. We had a blast with the event. In addition to our team, many other riders we support were at the event, including Cassie Maximenko, Ellen Noble, Kate Northcott, and Lizzy Gunsalus. It was great to see them along with so many other friends.

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The weather was excellent both days. Yesterday, it was partly sunny and cool with a stiff breeze. Today, it was also cool, but the sky was blue and the sun was a bit warmer than yesterday. Thankfully, it wasn’t as windy. The conditions were ideal for cyclocross. We had some rain on Friday, so the course was damp yesterday morning, but by this afternoon it was dry and dusty.

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Everyone on the team rode well against some of the best regional competition. I had two good races in the challenging Masters 35+/Juniors 15-18 field. I’m not a big fan of the combined Masters-Juniors races, but it makes for an extraordinarily fast race. Our pace is second only to the Elite Men. The challenge is that the race combines some of the most skilled Masters riders with the inexperienced, and generally poor bike handling, Juniors. The Juniors are like young colts. They are full of raw power and speed, but they lack the finesse required to ride clean lines around the tight turns and they often struggle with the technical features on the course. There is no point being frustrated; you just make the best of it, but I look forward to “aging up” next year when I can race with the Masters 45+/55+ men.

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Both races were wicked hard. I definitely left it all out there and I’m pleased with how my cyclocross form is improving. Both days, I missed the opportunity to pick up several spots in the final 300 meters. Yesterday, we covered five laps, but the course was a bit quicker today and they had us do six. I was in a group of six, but didn’t have the kick at the finish and all five of my competitors beat me to the line. Drafting was critical for the long open stretches of the course. Today my laps were between 8:17 and 8:29 each and I averaged 14.9 miles per hour. Yesterday was only 0.1 mile per hour slower, so pretty much the same speed, which is fast for cyclocross. Today, I was in a group of three with another rider just ahead, but again, didn’t have the necessary kick, my right quad cramped in the final stretch, and I couldn’t improve my placing. Nevertheless, it was so  much fun. The inter-race battles were excellent.

Normally, I would do my race, and then depart, but NoHo is an all day affair…and for two days in a row. We were there from early morning until the Elite Men finished at 4:00 P.M. on both days. There were food trucks, a beer tent, and lots of things to see and do. Look Park is very family friendly. It has multiple playgrounds, a zoo, and lots of places to ride and play. There was a kids race each day and attracted nearly 50 participants under the age of 10. The kids joined me both days and Debbie joined us today. Everyone had a lot of fun. We will all sleep well tonight.

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This coming weekend, the Connecticut Series of CX continues with races five and six in Cheshire and Newtown. After a medium-sized production like NoHo, these little races will be a different experience, but I like them just the same.

Race Results Day 1

Race Results Day 2

2015 West Hill Shop Cyclocross

Today was the 25th annual West Hill Shop Cyclocross in Putney, Vermont. I made the journey north with Debbie and the kids. We joined up with several Team Horst Sports mates, including Arthur Roti, Wade Summers, Pat Cunningham, and Matt Domnarski. The “Putney” race is one of my all time favorite events. I absolutely love the course, and I love this time of year. The race is always the first weekend in November. For many years, it was the day after the Frank-N-Horst Cyclocross in Keene. Frank-N-Horst may be gone, but Putney race is still with us.

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This was the 12th time that I’ve done this race, so I’ve done nearly half of them, which is pretty good. I think of the 130 or so career cyclocross races that I’ve done, I’ve raced West Hill more times than any other. It was my fourth ever race, the first one coming 20 years ago in 1995. So, today had some nostalgia to it.

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I was happy to be back in Putney with both teammates and family. It was perfect cross weather today. It took us a while to get out of the driveway. We took our VW Westy and our Gearwagon, but it took a while to gather all the necessary stuff. we had five bicycles between us. I joked that my heart rate was elevated and I was sweating, before ever leaving the driveway. When we left home, it was raining lightly and it was cool.

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When we got to Putney an hour and forty-five minutes later, it was still overcast with light drizzle. The course was damp, but not too muddy. As the day went on and the breeze picked up, it dried out. By the end of my race around 1:30 P.M., the sun was breaking through the clouds. The kids had a little race around 12:35 and all of the Masters 35+, 45+, and 55+ riders started 10 minutes later with each group spaced by 30 seconds. Next year, I’ll be in the 45+ age group, but this year, I’m one of the oldest in the 35+ which is a disadvantage, but I’m not complaining. I’m happy to be racing strong at 43 (racing age 44).

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I had my best start of the season and going into the third lap, the front group of five or six was just ahead of me, but that is when the elastic band snapped. I couldn’t close the 10 second gap and it eventually opened up even more. I was with another rider in between the front group and a  larger chasing group. Things got reshuffled and I stayed ahead of the chasing group. I don’t know where I ended up. I’ll have to wait for the results on Monday. I didn’t even bother to go look. I was happy with my ride. I gave it everything I had.

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One of the famous features of the Putney course is the run-up. It’s one of the hills that has inspired the design of Horst Spikes. Before the start, I changed out my Medium cross spikes, and installed my Long’s. They were great for the loose, but damp sand on the hill. There are two other dismounts on the course, including a set of barriers, and a short muddy run-up with wood stairs.

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We got to do dine at some of our favorite places. For lunch, on the way to the shop, we stopped at the Putney Co-Op, where we are members. Then, on the way home, we stopped in Northampton. First, we got bread and sweets (take out) at Hungry Ghost Bread, and then we had dinner at Paul & Elizabeth’s, our favorite restaurant. We will be back in Northampton next weekend on both Saturday and Sunday for the Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross. Horst Engineering is sponsoring the race, so our team will have a big presence. NoHo is one of the bigger races in New England. It ranks behind only Gloucester and Providence in participation. Look Park is a great venue, so if you are interested in watching a really cool event, come to NoHo and see some of the best cyclocross racing that New England has to offer.

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Race Results (will be posted when available)

2015 Wicked Creepy Cross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results

Takewondo Belt Testing & Black Belt

Today, our son earned his first degree Black Belt at Park’s US Taekwondo. Our daughter earned her High Blue Belt. He has been working towards this goal for 4.5 years, and she is in her second year. Both of them have benefitted tremendously from the program. Our son was a classmate of Master Park’s son at the local Montessori school. They donated a trial membership to the school’s auction fundraiser. We purchased it and it got us started down this Taekwondo road.

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The five aims of Taekwondo are:

  1. Respect
  2. Humility
  3. Perseverance
  4. Self Control
  5. Honesty

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Those are a pretty good set of core values. The curriculum has taught them many other lessons. The focus on form and breaking has been both fun and educational. The physical component of the sport has kept them active two to three days a week. Their speed, agility, flexibility, and strength have improved. Both kids have enjoyed this goal oriented Korean martial art. Master Park and his staff have been fantastic. They challenge the kids to do things that they otherwise might not experience. I love watching all levels at the belt tests. The beginners are thrilled with their accomplishments and the experienced students are highly skilled.

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I love watching the combination of grace and athleticism that the advanced students exhibit. There were a few second and third degree Black Belts at the test. It’s good for both the younger students and the parents to see what the highly skilled students have accomplished. For our son, he had to earn 15 prior belts on this path to Black Belt. For each one, he had a test similar to this. However, over the past year, while he was a Deputy Black Belt, he had to test three times to earn the right to wear a Black Belt for the first time.

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The role that Debbie and I play is no different from with their other interests of soccer, running, cycling, Scouting, and gymnastics. At times, we have had to push gently and we have always offered our support. Our wish is that they both continue with Taekwondo and further their journey. With our son earning his Black Belt, today was a day to celebrate.

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2015 Keene PumpkinCross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes


#boltonlandtrust Walk of #Thanksgiving at the Sheridan Homestead. The oldest part of the house dates to 1730 and this barn to 1900. #bolton #connecticut #newengland Little D takes her #dreidel spinning too seriously! #spinagogue #majorleaguedreidel #nogeltnoglory My #goodfriday and #blackfriday tradition of taking a #yoga class taught by  @trailrunningmom I noticed that I was the only "boy" today. I should come more often. She would also like me to join her @kripalucenter for a weekend program. #kripalu My 70 hour old cousin (Little E) even has her own name tag at #thanksgiving dinner! My sister (the hostess) doesn't miss a beat! Eleanora doesn't get her own spot (lowest in seniority has to sit with her Mom), but that is still pretty cool. (Mother) @trailrunningmom and son at the #manchesterroadrace #thanksgiving #running #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports A sea of humanity on #mainstreet in #manchester #connecticut for the #manchesterroadrace #thanksgiving #running #shenipsitstriders #silkcitystriders #teamhorstsports #manchesterroadrace Spaghetti Dinner. #running #silkcitystriders #shenipsitstriders #thanksgiving #beavermoon #fullmoon #moon #rosefarm #bolton #connecticut Checking the internal threads on these castle nuts after Deburring. These are destined for an aircraft engine. This man is really good with his hands. #craftsman #precisionmachining #machining #instmachinist #cnc #cncmachining #manufacturing @horsteng #sterlingmachine #horstengineering #madeinmassachusetts #madeinnewengland #madeinusa

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