Archive for the 'Family' Category

2018 Newtown Cross

Today, Shepard and I a returned to the Newtown Team 26 Cross. For the second year in a row, the race was held at the First Company Governor’s Foot Guard. This horse farm is a lovely property and a great venue for a cyclocross race. For years, the Newtown race was held across the street at the Fairfield Hills campus, but I prefer the hillier and grassier horse farm course.

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One change was that this usual late season race was moved to September. That boosted the participation and the host CCAP got a great turnout for the first race in the 2018 CT Series of Cross. Our own CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad contributed to the numbers. So did a strong presence by our Team Horst Sports Masters racers.

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The course was slightly changed from last year. It included even more climbing, less pavement, and more turns. I liked it. It was really challenging. The Masters 40+ field was strong. I managed 7th place after an early battle with Patrick Ruane and Joe Kubisek. Matt Kraus bridged up and rode through our group. None of us could hang on. Eventually Patrick left us and moved past Matt to finish 4th. Joe and I continued to swap spots until he jumped me on the 2nd to last lap for 6th. Late in the lap, I slid out on an off-camber and once again smacked my left leg (knee). I got a small cut, but it was minor. Generally, I was happy with my bike handling. I made a few mistakes and chopped the guys in a few corners, but I was pressing hard and that’s how things go. I apologized. My power still isn’t where it needs to be, but I’m getting there.

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After my crash, I bounced up, but the 10 seconds that Joe gained was all he needed to hold me off on the last lap. I did my best to close it down, but I just didn’t have enough oomph. I’m feeling stronger week by week, and I hope to keep progressing. I would have loved to score top five in this strong field, but it was not to be. I actually had to work hard on the last 1/3rd of a lap as Karel Citroen put on a huge surge and nearly caught me. I was happy to hold him off. His surge was all the more impressive because it was his second race of the day. He finished 3rd in the Category 3/4 race, three spots in front of our teammate, Rich Frisbie.

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Art Roti and Brett Chenail did well in the 40+ race. We started a minute in front of the 50+ race, which was won by our friend and former teammate, Mike Wonderly. He held off current teammate Wade Summers, who rode strongly to score second. Dave Geissert and Tom Ricardi both also rode well in the 50+ field. Ted D’Onofrio, another longtime teammate, was also in the 50+ field and it was good to see him out there.

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Our Juniors also had a good day. Owen and Ethan Lezon were joined by Adela Chenail (her first race) in the 9-11 year old category. Shepard was joined by Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, and Lars Roti in the 12-14 year old category. Cole Ricardi was our lone junior in the 15-18 year old race.

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All in all, it was a good day for Team Horst Sports. One negative was that just before we were ready to leave, a rider (Jim) from the TTEndurance squad crashed hard in the corner near where we were parked. His screams were “blood curdling.” I rushed over to help him. He got up, but immediately realized that his right knee was gushing blood. He had cut it by falling squarely on a rock (one of the only ones on the course) and it was deep-right to the bone.

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We got him off to the side of the course and sat him down. Someone immediately grabbed a towel and I applied compression to the wound. Getting medical help took a bit longer than we hoped, so was there nearly 30 minutes holding the towel on the cut, keeping him calm, and chatting. A few other Good Samaritans stayed with us until the EMT’s arrived. With one EMT watching the cut, we did a quick swap where I pulled off the towel, they glanced (Jim looked away) at the cut, and then immediately replaced it with a bandage. It was going to need several stitches, so they loaded him on a stretcher and carted him away. I was happy to stay and help and I feel his pain. It was only nine months ago that I broke my leg in a cyclocross race.

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That’s why its frustrating that I keep falling on my left side. Sigh. Bike racing is too much fun to give up. I won’t slow down, at least not anytime soon. I was happy to hear that Jim was more mad than sad and that he plans to be racing again in a matter of weeks. He was even in good enough spirits to take a selfie with me. I’m rooting for him to make a strong comeback!

Race Results

2018 LEGO Family 5K Road Race & Children’s Fun Run

It had been three years since we last did the LEGO Family 5K Road Race & Children’s Fun Run. This is a popular event and we got shut out at least once when we missed registration.

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The folks at LEGO Systems, Inc. in Enfield put on a good show and raise money for local children’s charities. The entry fee is $45, but you get bang for your buck and get to run with 600+ people in the 5K and hang out with several hundred more kids and family members.

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Yesterday, I ran this fast, flat 5K loop for the first time. I’ve always watched. Debbie and Shepard have done it before, but yesterday, all four of us did it, including Dahlia. I jogged with Dahlia, Shepard ran easy (he had a XC meet on Friday and a CX race today), and Debbie pushed.

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That earned her first place in her 40-49 age group because they don’t double dip and she was the second 40-year-old woman across the line. We got to spend time with the Lezon and Schulz families and saw many other folks that we know from the local running community.

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We got some cool LEGO too!

Race Results

2018 Quad CX

Yesterday, the kids and I went to Quad CX in Maynard, Massachusetts. We had a blast, but it was a long day. The Masters 40+ race was combined with the Masters 50+ and started at 10:30 A.M. It was nearly a full field of 100 (combined).

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I had a decent race, finishing 13th in the 40+ field. I’m gaining strength race by race and hope to be in top form by mid-October. I need a half a dozen more good events to build my speed.

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The kids raced after me and it was so much fun to watch. It was an under 15 race, which meant there were some older kids mixed in with the 9-12 year olds. Dahlia is 8 and Shepard is 12, but their racing ages are 9 and 13 respectively. Cross is weird, in that your racing age is based on your age on 12/31 of the year that the World Championships are held. So, for the 2018-2019 season, World’s will be in February. Even though the we will stop racing (here in New England) in December, your racing age is based on 2019. Whatever.

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So, this was Dahlia’s first official Junior race and she was stoked to finish two laps of the shortened (for the Juniors) course. Shepard continues to improve and notched a top 10 results. They were joined by Team Horst Junior Squad members Boden Chenail and Lars Roti.

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Team Horst Sports had a good Masters turnout too. Joining me in the 40+ race was Arthur Roti and Brett Chenail. Keith Enderle represented in the 60+ race, and Tom Ricardi rode in the Category 4 Masters Race.

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We all enjoyed the course. It was dry and dusty, with some gnarly sections in the woods. I described it as “old school” cross. It was hard to pass, and when you got an opportunity, you had to go full gas to get ahead.

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The kids and I stuck around so that I could also do the Singlespeed race, but it didn’t start until 4:30 P.M. I wanted to do it because it is in the Zanconato SSCX Series and didn’t think that Debbie would be home from Ultra-Trail Harricana until late. Ironically, she beat us home.

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I rode pretty well in the SS race, also finishing 13th. Like I said, I’ve got some ground to make up after my slow start to 2018 and multiple setbacks with my left leg. I’m feeling pretty good and not favoring it at all. Over the last three weeks as cross season has ramped up, I’ve gone all out. I’m going to keep at it. I’m very motivated to reach peak form.

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Race Results

2018 Ultra-Trail Harricana

It’s a little odd to write about a race that I didn’t attend. Since I wasn’t at Ultra-Trail Harricana (UTHC), I don’t have any of my own photos to share. With the exception of one shot, all the photos in this post were taken by Debbie. On Saturday and Sunday, she ran this tough 123 kilometer/75 miles (it turned out to be more like 128 kilometers/80 miles) trail ultra in Quebec. She was happy to talk about it, so I’m happy to write a bit about what she shared.

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Over the last 19 years, she has run many ultras, and this was the first one that I didn’t attend. I’ve run a handful of them with her, but the rest of them I’ve been on her crew or I’ve paced her. At all of her races, I’ve taken photos and then written about the adventures.

Over the last dozen years, I’ve also looked after our kids, who have attended many of these races with us. The Harricana circumstance is an interesting story. She has had a solid year of trail running with her notable races being the MT. TAMMANY 10, Traprock 50K, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler-Massachusetts, the Ragged 50K, and the Vermont 100K.

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None of these races are Western States Endurance Run (WS100) qualifiers. Though the WS100 course doesn’t favor her strengths, it is an iconic race, and one that she would like to compete in. In 2012, she crewed and paced for our friend, Larissa Dannis, but has never run it herself. She came close to qualifying in 2012 at the Pinhoti 100, but she fell short of earning a Golden Ticket by one spot. Alas, her best chance of entry now is through the lottery.

However, to remain in the lottery (held each December), you have to still complete a qualifying race. It’s a complicated system, but each year that you run a qualifying race, but fail to get in through the lottery, you get additional tickets that increase your odds. If you miss a year, you “lose your tickets” and your odds of getting in start over as if you are a first time lottery entrant.

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We recently learned that this rule has been modified and that you now get a once in a lifetime exemption to keep your accrued lottery tickets. However, she wants to save her exemption until she has more tickets. It would be wasteful to burn them in 2018 because she just started over again in 2017 after not doing a qualifier in 2016. Are you confused yet?

Anyway, six months ago, she identified UTHC as the only race east of the Mississippi that 1) fit her schedule and 2) was not a 100 miler (e.g. Grindstone 100 is a qualifier, but conflicts with cyclocross season). It never looked like UTHC would work out because it was scheduled for a very busy time of year. School, work, community involvement, kids activities, and cyclocross all ramp up in September.

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In July, I deleted it from my calendar and told Debbie that there would be no way that I could drive 8-10 hours to Quebec for another ultra in 2018. She agreed, but I think she secretly kept the race on her calendar. Anyway, in August, at the Ragged 50K, she ran with our friend Amy Rusiecki (she is the Vermont 100 Race Director), and the subject of UTHC came up in conversation. She said that her husband, Brian, and she had an opportunity to participate through a connection with the race organizers. I gather that Debbie eventually asked about joining them. She wouldn’t have made a solo trip, especially because of the long drive (I do most of the driving in our family).

To make a long story short, the Rusiecki’s were kind enough to bring her along for the ride this past weekend. She met up with them on Thursday evening, and then they left for Quebec early on Friday morning. This was a whirlwind trip for all three of them. Brian also ran the long course, while Amy ran the shorter 80 kilometer event.

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Debbie was pretty much out of touch from Friday night until early Sunday morning. The long course started at 4:00 A.M. on Saturday. The race took her 21 hours and 38 minutes, which is a long time for a race of this distance. The point to point course reportedly had 13,000 feet of elevation gain, but figuring it was longer, it probably had more climbing too. I was a little nervous following her results on Sportstats. There were long delays in the posting of “real time” results. Results didn’t appear until an hour or two after she reached each aid station. This lag was maddening and I kept refreshing my iPhone Internet browser in an effort to stay up to date on her whereabouts.

I followed through the day and into the night. I got up to use the bathroom around 1:42 A.M. on Sunday and the results still showed she was on course. She had finished by then, but it was a couple more hours before they were updated online. I got up again around 4:00 A.M. and checked my iPad and it showed that she had finally finished, which was a huge relief. I slept better after that.

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She held 5th spot amongst the women, and was the first Masters runner (40+) all race long, but at the last aid station with a timing mat (Split BMR), she had given up a spot to another masters female. However, in the last two hours of the race, she closed a two-minute gap, and then prevailed, ending up back in 5th place with a restored 10 minute gap to the other woman. The only photo of Debbie is from when the course passed through Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie. She was taking a photo of the river, and a tourist offered to taken her picture.

She said the course was grueling, with lots of fresh-cut singletrack. This created  many tripping hazards. She said the temperature was cool, near freezing in the morning, and the sky was overcast with partial sun. She said it only rained lightly on a few of the higher mountains. Other runners reported some light snow on the higher taller summits. She used her UltrAspire lights and packs with success. She had some “issues” as she described them. This wasn’t her smoothest race. She is in good overall shape, but it sounds like her race execution wasn’t superb. I’ll leave the details and that part of the story for her to share as she likes, especially since I wasn’t there to witness it.

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The race is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour. It appears there were only 100 finishers under the 24 hour time cut. Technically, the 100th finisher was in 24 hours and 8 minutes, but she was counted in the results. That’s a high attrition rate given that there were 179 starters, including 24 women. Only nine women finished. Debbie said that the organizers made the race harder than last year, with more difficult trails, and that the cutoff times were tight. Even she was concerned about missing a time cut, but in the end, they weren’t a factor for her. She was definitely on course longer than she planned, but with her experience, it just meant more time in the woods.

Brian had a fine run, finishing 4th overall (and first Master Male) in 15 hours and 4 minutes. That fast time allowed him to get some sleep. So, after Debbie washed up around 2:30 A.M. on Sunday, they hit the road. It sounds like the kind of adventure that I would have loved! I was sad to miss it, but I filled my weekend with a mixture of family time, work, soccer, and cyclocross racing.

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It felt weird to follow Debbie from so far away, but she is super strong, fiercely independent, and built for this ultra lifestyle. She actually beat us home on Sunday. The kids and I were at Quad CX all day and didn’t get home until 7:00 P.M.

On Monday afternoon at work, I got an iMessage from an Ontario, Canada native by the name of Dale Witty. It included a photo of her ROADiD, which she apparently lost during the race. She suspects this may have happened when she removed her jacket. Dale finished about a half an hour in front of Debbie, so they were near each other on course, and obviously, at one point early in the race, he was behind her.

His note to me (my mobile number is on her iD) said, “Hi, my name is Dale Witty. I picked this up during the 125k Harricana UTHC on Saturday. Congrats to Debbie on finishing that tough race. Let me know if I should put this in the mail for you.”

What a fantastic gesture. I’m glad that since I wasn’t there…others were looking out for her!

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Race Results

2018 Kalon Cross

I got my first real taste of New England singlespeed cyclocross at today’s Kalon Cross in Lancaster, Massachusetts. It as also my first SSCX finish after my epic January fail in Reno.

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This was the first of 12 races in the Zanconato Single Speed Cyclo-Cross Trophy Series. My goal is to do nine or 10 of them. The rest of my cross season will be racing in the Masters 40+ and Masters 45+ fields.

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Every two to three years I need something new to keep my interest in endurance sports. I love cyclocross, but racing singlespeed is a tweak to things that should inspire me to train hard and stay fit.

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Today, Shepard and I made the drive north. He had a fine race, finishing 4th in the Junior 9-14 year old race. It wasn’t a large field, and he was in no man’s land for quite some time, but his climbing and descending were strong.

This was a “roadie course,” which was quite different from last week’s CompEdge Cross @  Blunt Park, which was a “mountain biker course.” Last week, i raced my geared Seven Mudhoney Pro. Today, I raced my Seven Mudhoney SL. Both are awesome bikes and tuned for the season.

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Shep was joined by Team Horst Junior Squad members Boden Chenail and Lars Roti. Cole Ricardi raced earlier in the day because oddly, there was no 15-18 year old Junior race. He had to do the Category 5 race. His dad Tom did the Men’s Cat 4 35+. Keith Enderle did the Masters 60+ race. Art Roti, Brett Chenail, and Eric Fleming did the Category 2/3/4 race. It was great to see Eric and his kids. Eric, Art, and I were three of the founding members of Team Horst Sports back in 1997.

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I was solo in the singlespeed race, but not without friends. It was great to see Ricky Legault, who I have been racing with for 26 years. I also enjoyed chatting with Rob Stiles, who I also banged bars earlier this week at the Andover Wednesday Night Fights. We both did the singlespeed mountain bike race.

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Today, it was quite a bit cooler than it was on Wednesday night, but by the afternoon, it had warmed up considerably. The race was at the hilly Kalon Farm. It was a wide open course, with sweeping corners. It was dry and dusty with only a few moist sections of trail. The riding was through fields. There was one stiff run-up. I had to run it, as did the other singlespeeders, but Shep was able to ride it.

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There were no barriers, so if you were strong enough, you could do the whole lap without getting off, which is odd. I think you should be forced off at least twice. The singlespeed race start was interesting. I was hoping to get a good start based on my Cross Results ranking, but the promoter had a different idea.

The co-ed singlespeed riders were told that we would have a Le Mans style start. Team Horst Sports was one of the first promoters to bring Le Mans starts to cyclocross when we hosted the Frank-N-Horst Cyclocross in Keene, New Hampshire from 1998-2003. We always had Le Mans starts where you were required to place your bike near the start line and then run from 50 meters back.

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Today’s race had a twist to the start. We were told to remove one shoe and place them in a cardboard box. Then, the promoter carried them 50 meters away, mixed them, and dumped them. We had to first run to our shoes, find ours, and then run to our bikes. I didn’t execute this very well and ended up in about 20th place by the first turn.

Thankfully, I had time to make up ground on the fast course. I moved up to 8th, but never got farther up in the field. It was a fun event. Cross is just getting rolling. I’m ready for some cooler temperatures and some mud.

Race Results

2018 CompEdge Cross @ Blunt park

The 2018 cyclocross season kicked off today at the CompEdge Cross @ Blunt Park in Springfield, Massachusetts. I hadn’t raced cross since my wreck at the Cyclocross National Championships in Reno, Nevada back in January.

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So, technically, because I raced twice in January, this was not my first cross race of the year, but it was my first cross race of the season. I was happy to be back at it. It’s been a long eight months with more than one setback in my recovery to full strength.

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I’m not at 100% yet, but think I can be by the end of the season in December. One of my goals is to return to the national championships (they are in Louisville, Kentucky) to race both the 45-49 and the singlespeed championship, and finish both events this time.

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Today’s race was a good start. I didn’t feel good, but thankfully, my leg injuries (fibula, ankle, quadricep, knee) didn’t cause any problems and I was able to go hard. It will take some more efforts like this over the next month to build the speed that I need to compete.

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One bright spot today was the presence of the CCAP Team Horst Junior Squad and Team Horst Sports. We were out in force! There were a lot of kids in the Junior race at 1:15 P.M. They raced with the 55+ men and it looks like it worked. It would have been nice if they had separate race, and it would have been nice if the Juniors were divided by age, but the Cyclonauts didn’t charge the Juniors a penny to race. Entry fee was $0 which was a nice gesture. Kudos to them for putting on a fun grassroots event to kick off the season.

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Team Horst Junior Squad athletes Sean, Cole, Shepard, and Lars raced. As for the Masters riders, the star was Tom Ricardi. He took second place in the 55+ race. Along with me in the 45+ race were Art Roti, Wade Summers, and John Meyerle. Art had a fine race, finishing 6th, two spots in front of me. John did three races on the day. He gets the “ironman” award.

Most of the next 16 weeks will be dominated by cyclocross. Let’s go!

Race Results (will be posted when available)

2018 Ragged 50K (USATF National Trail Championship)

This past weekend, we returned to south/central New Hampshire for the Ragged 75 Stage Race and 50K. Debbie only ran the 50K, unlike 2015 when she ran the three-day stage race, which was previously called the Emerald Necklace 3-Day Stage Race.

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About 38 people did the stage race and they deserve extra credit. Over the three days, they completed the 75-mile Sunapee-Ragged-Kearsage-Greenway. Day 1 was about 24 miles. Day 2 was about 26. Day 3, despite being called a 50K, was about 34 miles.

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This year, the 50K doubled as the 2018 USATF 50K National Trail Championship. That’s a nice distinction, but it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

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People really don’t travel for the nationals. A handful of folks who are interested in a neat race, or are interested in qualifying for the mountain running team, come out and run. Years ago, Debbie race the 50K Trail National Championship when it was at the Headlands 50K in Marin.

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Regardless, the USATF kicked in some prize money and medals, and there were some fine performances. Despite the conditions and the rugged course profile, there were some fast times. David Sinclair posted a 4:17:36. He was followed by Simi Hamilton and David Kilgore. On the women’s side, Kasie Enman triumphed in 5:11:23. She was followed by Leah Frost and Elizabeth Ryan.

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Debbie earned one of those medals, for placing third in the women’s 40-44 age group. The race was hosted by SIX03, and they deserve a lot of credit for bringing runners and volunteers to persevere in the rain.

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That rain was an annoyance. I don’t mind a little moisture, but it’s been rainy and stormy all week. The past few days have been the worst. After some Friday heat, it rained all day on Saturday, and again today. We drove up late on Saturday and camped out at the start line. That made for a convenient early morning start, but it rained all night. Today, there were dry spells, but they never lasted more than an hour, and it was very humid. The grey sky made it feel terribly gloomy.

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Shepard is away, so Dahlia was my companion while Debbie was running. We made it to all four aid stations, but we missed Debbie at #2. We saw her at #1, #3, #4, and #5. Then we saw her at the finish. We had fun driving around the Sunapee region.

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I took a bunch of photos while Dahlia made friends at the aid stations. Speaking of friends, it was nice to see a bunch of old ones. Drew Best ran well, and was cheered by his dad, Greg.

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They hail from Connecticut, and I’m a big fan of Connecticut runners. Longtime friends, Amy and Brian Rusiecki did the 3-day race. We just saw them three weeks ago at the Vermont 100, where Brian won the 100K and Amy was Race Director. We also saw a bunch of folks who we first met at this race in 2015.

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Ernie Lawas also did the stage race. He and I have done some epic events over the years, including the 2006 Jay Challenge, which will forever be one of my favorite and hardest adventures.  He was crewed by partner Nancy Simm. He was also cheered by Ben and Kerri Moore. We all go way back to the early 2000’s adventure racing days.

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Debbie had a good day. She finished in 6 hours and 56 minutes. The wet conditions were a challenge for everyone, but she thrives in the foul weather. Her legs weren’t feeling spry, but she still ran well. She said that the course ran long. Her GPS said it was more than 34 miles. She said the last 10 miles were tough. Rather than finishing on the rail trail like she did in 2015, she had to go over Ragged Mountain and then descend to the ski area.

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The first 10 miles had a lot of road and dirt road, but once the runners made their way on to the trail, they had to deal with a lot of wet rocks and roots. It was a good representation of what New England has to offer, so I hope those that visited from out west were pleased. I’m an unabashed “East Coast Running” fan.

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The aid stations were stocked well and had lots of volunteers. Everything was low-key. At the first aid station, which was hosted by UnTapped Maple, Dahlia made friends, and soon took over. I was busy taking photographs, but she learned the nutrition information for the Untapped product line and proceeded to educate every runner that stopped.

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It was a fun 28 hour adventure for us, but all of the driving took its toll. I need a few days off from “trucking.” On the way up north, we stopped in Northampton and dined at Nourish. It was a fine vegan meal. On the drive home today, we made our usual stop at the Putney Co-Op.

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This was the last ultra that Debbie planned for 2018, but that doesn’t mean that she is done. She will be riding the Vermont 50 like last year, but I’m assuming that she will pick another long distance trail race (or two) to run. I just hope she doesn’t ask me to drive.

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Race Results

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Newtown #Cyclocross was a blast. @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports #crossspikes
The @lego 5K Family Road Race is always so much fun. #shenipsitstriders #teamhorstsports #lego #running 🏃🏽‍♂️🏃‍♀️
I made a quick afternoon trip to #centralpark for the @appalachianmountainclub YOP 50th anniversary celebration. We heard several exceptional speakers highlight the importance of getting kids outdoors. AMC will help get 9,000 kids outside in 2018. Despite my car and train adventure, I saw a lot of trees on a lovely day. I wish I could have taken a park lap or two on bike or foot. Sadly, I came straight from work and had no time. 🚙 🚊 🌲 #appalachianmountainclub
Lovely day for the first XC meet of the season. 🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏽‍♂️
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It was an intense two days @imtschicago I gathered enough ideas 💡 to launch projects @horsteng that would take another 72 years to finish! I think we will meet with the folks on #teamhorst and pick a handful to accomplish. I’m always inspired by #manufacturing technology. #imts2018 #chicago #yoda ### #precisionmachining #machining #instamachinist #cncmachining #cnc #aerospace #crossspikes #familybusiness #sterlingmachine #horstengineering #madeinconnecticut #madeinnewengland #madeinusa 🇺🇸
@trailrunningmom is approaching the 100 kilometer mark of @uthc while I’ve been enduring my own struggle. Our kids are opposites (no surprise there) and one of them requires constant nagging if we expect to get anywhere on time, and with the right gear. Guess who? It results in nasty conflict with Dad. I had an idea. What about a checklist and some empowerment? This approach works @horsteng Well, it works at home too! #cyclocross #ultrarunning #trailrunning #uthc #utwt #teamhorstjuniorsquad #teamhorstsports

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