Archive for the 'Family' Category

2015 Fat Tire Classic

I got a great workout at today’s Fat Tire Classic at Winding Trails in Farmington, Connecticut. This is a race I’ve done many times, so it is a great benchmark. It was the second race in this year’s Root 66 Northeast XC Mountain Bike Series. The weather was cooler than normal, but the trails were dry, but still grippy.

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I was happy with my ride. I was able to maintain my pace without slowing too much in the second half of the 20 mile/four lap race. I felt like my last lap was pretty strong. I rode my single speed Seven Sola and cleared a tough hill on the last lap that I had run the previous three. It was a great way to finish strongly.

Despite the lack of any spring warmth, there were a lot of people at today’s race. The fields seemed larger than at Hop Brook two weeks ago. We got to see many friends. Debbie, our kids, and our niece and nephew hung out and played while I rode. We will be back at Winding Trails in June for the Summer Tri Series. Three other Horst Engineering Cycling Team riders tackled today’s race. Mike Wonderly had a strong ride, as did Paul Nyberg, and Art Roti.

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I was worried that my four-minute effort at yesterday’s Fight For Air Climb would tire me out, but alas, I didn’t have much to worry about. I rallied and despite still hacking from the stairwell dust, I got in another good effort as I work my way back to full strength.

Race Results (will be posted when available)

2015 Fight for Air Climb (Hartford)

When I registered for today’s American Lung Association Fight For Air Climb, I had two goals in mind:

1) Support the Horst Engineering Health & Wellness Committee (HAWC) Team.

2) Don’t get hurt.

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I think I succeeded in both. I know that support for the HAWC Team was strong. I got to spend part of the morning with six colleagues from our Connecticut operations and together, we have raised more than $1,300 to date. Thank you to our donors. A lot of the support came from our other Horst Engineering colleagues, vendors, and friends. At our quarterly all-hands meeting earlier this week, we raffled off a bunch of New England Patriots, New York Giants, BostonRed Sox, and New York Yankees regalia with all proceeds going to the cause.

HAWC Team

I didn’t fully appreciate the connection between stair climbing and the Lung Association until I reached the 38th floor of City Place I, Hartford’s tallest building. More than 320 people climbed the last 34 of those floors in the stairwell, and it was brutal. I led off our team and they rest of them followed at 20 second intervals. With chip timing (you wore the chip band on your wrist), they were able to send people off 20 seconds apart, all morning long.

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When I burst on to the 38th floor, I was gasping for air and my heart rate was jacked. I might have gone faster if I could have gotten my heart rate above 182 where it maxed out. I averaged 176, which is pretty good for a four minute burst. Before the race, I was worried about my calves and my pesky plantar fasciitis (left foot), but they seem to be fine and its my lungs that got worked over. I guess that’s the point. Between the nasty warm stairwell air (dust and particulate) and the out of control breathing, I singed my lungs. So, when it comes to taking care of your lungs, I have even more appreciation.

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This was my first ever stair climb. I trained for the event by jogging over to City Place from Horst Engineering’s Cedar Street plant. I ran across the Founder’s Bridge on a cold, but beautiful morning. My cool down took me down Main Street, past the music theatre, into Riverside Park, up on the dike, and across the Connecticut Southern Railroad Train Bridge, which is like 500 feet from Horst. The Connecticut River has flooded a little, but that is normal for spring.

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It is worth noting that their was a normal amount of water flooding Riverside Park for April. The 2017 USA Cyclocross National Championships are scheduled to take place in that park on a course that will have elements taken from the early cyclocross races that Team Horst Sports promoted there in 2002 and 2003. It’s a great venue, and will be even better if there is no flooding in January 2017. We did our races in October and December, and January should be OK, but you never know.

I might give this stair climb thing a go again in the future. I’ve always wanted to do the granddaddy of stair climbs, the Empire State Building Run-Up. It’s on the to-do list now.

Whenever I’m in City Place, I think of 1980’s Hartford when the Russian Lady was going strong (in its first incarnation), the Whalers were still in town, and business was vibrant in the city. The building now has a 30% vacancy rate and last fall, was sold for the second time in three years. Hartford is far from what it used to be and the lack of tenants in this building is just one sign.

Of course, if I worked in that building on a daily basis, I would take the stairs.

Race Results

2015 Boston Marathon

On Monday, the Boston Marathon was run from Hopkinton to Boston for the 119th year. I’ve been a spectator at several “Boston’s,” but never quite as actively as the one I watched this week. I went to college in Boston between 1990 and 1995 and then spent time each spring in the city between 2002 and 2004, but hadn’t been at the race on Marathon Monday for more than 10 years. I’ve never run Boston, thought Debbie ran it in 1998, the year before I met her. I periodically get asked about running it and the simple answer I give is that I’ve never wanted to. I’m not a fan of big crowds and I don’t enjoy running on roads. Boston has both big crowds and lots of road.

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I swore off-road marathons years ago after running the Walt Disney World Marathon and thoroughly disliking the experience. I’ve made four exceptions since then, but only because each of the four Ironman triathlon’s I’ve completed included a 26.2 mile road run. I’ve run several marathon distance and ultra distance races on trails and will do that again, but I still have no desire to run a pure road marathon. I don’t usually make exceptions to my own rules, but after experiencing Boston again, it would likely be the only race for which I would break my rule. Of course, even on a rainy day, there were big unavoidable crowds that I’m not fond of.

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This year, I had a great reason to return and watch. My first cousin, Daniel Roy, qualified for Boston last year by running an excellent time at the San Diego Rock n’Roll Marathon. He hails from Upper Frenchville, Maine, where my mother and her siblings grew up, but now he lives in Los Angeles. He is the youngest grandchild and I am the oldest. The two of us have a bond. Since getting into distance running more than four years ago, he has crewed for Debbie at several ultras including the 2012 Vermont 100 and the 2014 Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance 100. He has been at several other ultras with us, including the Traprock 50K, which was last Saturday. He has run a few ultras on his own, but the road marathon has been his main distance focus in recent years.

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Dan was thrilled to qualify for Boston and as soon as he committed to the race, I told him that I would be there to support him. His ambitious goal was to run 2:45. At 25 years old, he has gotten faster in each of his road marathons. His goal was achievable, though running isn’t his sole focus. He works, travels, and has a busy social life. Yet, from what I’ve observed of his training, when he sets his mind to something, he makes it happen. It’s been great to see him succeed in running like Debbie and I do, while doing something that is healthy and fun. Dan was only one of many (possibly a few hundred) runners that I knew in the more than 30,000 strong field. Boston is huge and I know a lot of runners. They came from all over the world to run. I enjoyed seeing so many posts on my Facebook feed. They were all about the special nature of the Boston Marathon.

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I wasn’t the only spectator who came to Boston to cheer on Dan. His father, Phil Roy, is a great athlete. He was a total stud at every sport he played. When I was a kid, 35 years ago, he was my idol. I loved visiting him in Maine. He made me my first hockey stick from one of his broken sticks. Phil came to Boston to watch Dan, and he was full of pride. My mother, Lynn, and father, Stan, also spent the day in Boston with us; as did my Aunt Terry, Phil’s younger sister. We were hosted by another first cousin, Monique Roy, and her friend Julia. Several other friends rounded out the fan club. Monique and Julia live on Beacon Street a few blocks west of Kenmore Square. Their apartment is about 100 meters west of the 40 kilometer mark on the course. It was a perfect spot to watch from.

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I drove to the Wonderland parking garage in Revere early in the morning, and took the T to State Street. Rather than making an Orange line connection, and then a Green line connection, I walked from State Street Station all the way to Monique’s apartment. I wound my way through Boston Common, through the Public Garden, up Boylston Street, past the finish line, up Commonwealth Avenue, and through Kenmore Square. It was a great way to soak in the sights and sounds of the day. I met up with the rest of our crew just after the start of the race. Dan had ridden a shuttle bus to the start. The elite women runners started at 9:30 A.M., shortly after the wheelchair division start. The elite men and first wave started at 10:00 A.M., and were followed by several other waves of amateur runners.

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We watched the wheelchairs fly by first. That was an amazing sight. The chairs are built with cutting edge materials and technology, much like the bicycles I race. They were followed by the lead women, who were putting on quite a show. With 2 kilometers to go, the top three passed by where I was watching and they were running on each others’ heels. It wasn’t until the final 200 meters that they separated, with the ultimate winner, Caroline Rotich, surging ahead to win by four seconds over Mare Dibiba. Buzunesh Deba was third a further 10 seconds back. It was quite a race. American Desiree Linden ran a strong race to finish fourth.

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About 10 minutes after the women ran by, the elite men came through. Lelisa Desisa took the win for the second time. He also won in 2013, the year of the tragic bombings. This year, his victory was much more joyful. He had a short lead when I saw him at 40 kilometers, which he held to the finish. Second place was Yemane Adhane Tsegay, and third was Wilson Chebet. Two Americans cracked the top 10, including last year’s winner, Meb Keflezighi, and Dathan Ritzenhein. Ritzenhein was one of the race’s animators, which was great to see. I watched many of the elites and then the top amateurs run by, including several people I know. Then, it was Dan’s turn. By the time he reached us, the rain had really picked up in intensity. The wind was blowing and it was raw. It was a tough day to run, but the kind of day I enjoy. I was thrilled to spot Dan and got several decent photos. We had tracked Dan on the Internet and he went out exactly at the pace he needed to in order to reach his goal. He went through the half in 1:20 and faded a bit, but finished in an awesome 2:46:17, which was very close to his target time.

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After he ran by, Phil and I weaved our way down Beacon Street, through several security checkpoints, back through Kenmore Square, and eventually down Boylston Street. The finishing stretch was a madhouse, and not my kind of crowd, but I managed to navigate us through the mass of bodies. We found him in the lobby of the old John Hancock building. He had called us from his phone, which was delivered by a couple of his friends, who also came out to see him run. He was standing over a grate blowing warm air, and was very happy. It was awesome to see him so stoked by his own performance. He fell just shy of his goal, but lowered his personal best by more than nine minutes. That’s super. He is registered for the San Diego marathon again and in less than six weeks, will try to lower his time further. I would love to be 25 again, and have that kind of energy!

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Once he was warmed up, we walked back to the apartment on Beacon Street, winding our way back through the crowds. I saw several friends in the crowd and on the course. It was an amazing day. People were cold, but in good spirits. We regrouped at the apartment and swapped war stories about past races. As the number of runners remaining on the course, thinned, I made my way back to the T and back to Wonderland where I was parked. Sterling Machine is in Lynn, only 10 miles north of Boston, so I camped at my favorite Hampton Inn in Peabody, and went to work at the shop on Tuesday.

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Congratulations to all of the runners. Watching the race brought back good memories of my years living in Boston. I travel through the city at least once a week and love it. I was a bicycle messenger back in 1991 and that is how I got to know my way around the streets. I enjoyed my walk across town, but despite enthusiastically cheering for the runners, I’m in no rush to run. For now, I’m going to leave the longer distances to Debbie. She runs enough for both of us.

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Race Results

2015 Hop Brook Mountain Bike Race & Bimbler’s Bash

Yesterday, the better weather that spring is known for was finally felt throughout southern New England. While winter weather still grips the north country, Connecticut, has seen most of the snow melt in the past two weeks. Two important race series kicked off on Sunday with their first races of the year.

The Livingston’s had to split up in order to take part in the fun. Debbie headed to the Bimbler’s Bash 10Kish Trail Race in Guilford, Connecticut. It was the kickoff race for the 2015 Connecticut Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series. Both of us raced the Bash in 2014, but I’m on the slow road (rather trail) back to fitness, and am avoiding any technical trail running while my left foot slowly heals from the battering it took in early 2014. I’m also easing my way back from the fractured scapula and related injuries that pretty much shut down my 2014 season completely in late-August. Debbie had a fine race, one of her better Bash’s in recent years.

She said the trails were in good shape and that the runners were in good spirits. The bright sunshine and milder temperatures really helped.

Bimbler’s Bash Results

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I went to the Hop Brook Mountain Bike Race for the third time. I love the venue and again, it was the kickoff for the Root 66 Northeast XC Mountain Bike Series. I raced my rigid single-speed Seven Cycles Sola on the undulating course. There were several muddy sections, but largely, the trails were in better shape than I expected. The only difference from 2014 was that they cut our race from four laps (5.2 miles per lap) to three, which was OK with me considering that yesterday was my first mountain bike ride of the year. I just changed the tires on my bike last weekend and hadn’t even ridden it yet. A warmup lap plus three laps and a cool-down was enough for one day.

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Hop Brook Results

Both races have wonderful organizers and volunteers that make them possible. Next up for the Blue-Blazed Trail Running Series is Traprock 50K on Saturday in Bloomfield, Connecticut. Next up for the Root 66 Series is Fat Tire Classic in Farmington, Connecticut on 26 April. Join in the fun!

Mohonk Mountain House

Last weekend, Debbie, the kids, and I visited the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. It is adjacent to the Mohonk Preserve, which I wrote about in 2007. We have visited the Mountain House several times. We were last there for the 2013 Survival of the Shawangunks, which I also did in 2012.2015_Mohonk Mountain House Trip_April3

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Another big event I did in New Paltz was the 2008 American Zofingen Duathlon. That race has an amazing bike course that loops the preserve and the house properties. This past Saturday, I rode two laps of the course (the race has three) and it was a fun reminder of how hard that race was. Each lap has 3,000 feet of elevation gain and the scenery is spectacular.

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Our stay at the resort was fun. Most of the trails were still closed, but we still explored a bit. We toured the Barn Museum, which was awesome. The building is loaded with all kinds of tools, artifacts, and other items from the Mountain House’s 145 year history.

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Operated the entire time by Smiley Brothers Inc., the 5th generation of the family is now working in the business. I love great family business stories and this is one of them. Visiting the Mohonk Mountain House, which is a throwback resort hotel from a bygone era, is a true joy.

Trash Museum

Today, Debbie hosted her Cub Scouts from Den 5 (Bolton Pack 157) at the CRRA Trash Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. She took our children to the museum a few years ago and in her role as Den Mother, thought it would be a good idea to lead a trip with her boys and their families. I joined the kids and parents for what turned out to be a fun-filled education tour. The Reduce/Reuse/Recycle/Recover/Rethink methodology deserves a lot more attention. Our family has always been very good about minimizing our waste and recycling everything possible, but we still learned a lot of new information during today’s visit.

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I’m more motivated than ever to improve our home recycling while also stepping up efforts to get the 140 employees at Horst Engineering and Sterling Machine to care more about their own consumption. Some of the statistics we learned at the museum are shocking. Each Connecticut resident produces an average of 4.4 pounds of trash per day.

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The CRRA plant on Murphy Rd. is a single-stream recycling facility. The 6,500 sq/ft museum is attached to the processing plant. We saw how the delivery trucks bring massive amounts of mixed recyclable items to the site. The workers use various technologies to sort the different items, including corrugated boxes, bottles, cans, jars, and the other items that are handled by the CRRA. Interesting, our hometown of Bolton is not a part of the 40+ town group that is served by the CRRA. Our recycling is managed by a different local organization. It is also odd that some of the recycling rules (e.g. what you can mix together) are different from what we learned today.

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One good example: we were confused about plastic bottle caps. Our docent said that they should be removed and that not all of them are recyclable. She indicated that any time there is a question about an item, it is discarded (e.g. trashed). Her comments led me to believe that the whole system is quite inefficient because there seems to be little education about recycling. The fact that we were touring the museum with the Cub Scouts is great, but we sought out the education. I’m curious how much is taught at our kids’ schools. It’s important that the children learn the rules, but it’s also the adults who need to get more educated.

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The lack of a standard likely contributes to recycling confusion. I know that ignorance is a big factor in the lack of recycling success because I pick plastic bottles and containers out of the trash at our factories all of the time. That is despite having separate containers, signs, and constant reminders. Many folks just don’t care. They don’t care what they consume and they don’t care where it goes when they are done with it.

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Unlike the old days when landfills leached toxic chemicals in to the water supply, improvements have been made to the way we manage trash. Of course, the improvements in the United States don’t mean that other countries operate the same way. A lot of trash is now incinerated and the byproduct of the burning process, including the ash, is buried in special landfills. Garbage technology has come a long way.

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The numerous exhibits explained all different types of trash processing. The kids got to explore the exhibits, many of which were interactive. We watched a video about the various methods used to process the trash. We also got to go to the mezzanine and view the actual plant through large windows. The docent led a craft building exercise where the kids learned how to turn trash in to art. They built little robots with styrofoam, aluminum foil, and other items. I thought I was knowledgeable about waste and its various streams, but I got a good primer this afternoon and I’m interested in learning more. At work, we have always been diligent about recycling the metal scrap that is generated from our precision machining processes, but I’m anxious to improve our handling of the every day trash that we generate.

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I use the eyeball method to determine that we generate a lot less waste that our neighbors. We only have to “put out the trash” one day a month, and that is often only one bag. Our town picks up the trash every week, but we don’t have enough. One big reason is that we don’t put any food in our trash. We are vegan/vegetarian and we generate very little food waste. Anything we don’t eat gets composted in one of two composers, which we maintain year round. We try to avoid packaged products, particularly packaged foods. We still consume some, but at a lower rate than the average household. We also reuse the containers when we can and we recycle everything that is eligible. Seeing the piles of garbage at the CRRA plant was a stark reminder that there is so much waste in the way we live.

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I recommend the tour of Hartford’s Trash Museum. If you can’t come to Connecticut, find a trash museum near where you live. It will change the way you think about trash.

2015 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Trail Race

Today we returned to the TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Trail Race for the first time since 2012 when Debbie ran it in glorious conditions. Today’s conditions were far from glorious and there was no sign of thawing. Now, that wasn’t a surprise. The fierce New England winter is not over yet and spring may officially start next week, but spring weather is likely weeks away. So why were the conditions so rough for this Trail Animals Running Club event?

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The main reason was that the trails were covered in snow…lots of snow. This part of Massachusetts has seen more than 110 inches of snow since November. Sections of the course still had 24 soaking wet, partially compacted, inches remaining. It was ugly. There really aren’t DNF’s in a race based on time, but some of the runners were stopping after one lap, and I don’t blame them. Some took to the roads of Andover, which is ironic because the town is known for its great trails, including the Bay Circuit Trail, which was part of the course.

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Well, those trails are buried right now. The best way to walk or run on this kind of snow is with snowshoes, but from what I heard, USA Track & Field rules didn’t permit the use of snowshoes today. Micro-spikes and similar shoe spikes were a common site. Horst Spikes might have worked! Debbie’s small Kahtoola spikes weren’t small enough and they wouldn’t stay on her feet, so she ditched them after one lap, which was too bad. The first lap was the worst for everyone. Most people ran their second lap faster. After the 100 or so starters compressed the snow a bit, the conditions improve, but only a little.

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I couldn’t get any traction when I was walking on the trails. They were slippery and treacherous. A few spots where there were stream crossings were actually muddy, which made it even worse. Cold and dry snow (if that makes sense) would have been better conditions. We have had some melting in the past week and it was 37 degrees Fahrenheit during the race with constant rain and intermittent downpours. So, the snow was waterlogged and icy. Conditions really couldn’t have been worse.

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Everyone out there, including the volunteers (many from TARC), deserve credit for spending time in the woods on this March day. I brought my bicycle and rode out and back on the roads near the course. It’s worth noting that the roads of New England have been hammered. I’ve ridden in both Connecticut and Massachusetts in the past week and the potholes, cracks, and sand are atrocious. I rode back to see Debbie complete each lap, which was 40-50 minutes for 3.5 miles. The first lap had an extra .5 mile of road added in an attempt to spread out the runners before they entered the single track. Even in dry conditions, other than the first/last 50 meters from the woods to the aid station, this race is all single-track. Today, it was more like half-track. You had to step out of the groove to let another runner pass. After my ride, I did a short road run, and then I went out on the course with my camera to get a closer look at the carnage.

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Race Director Emily Trespas got a lot of help from her TARC mates. Yesterday, she hosted volunteers on the trails for a “stomping party” in an effort to improve the conditions. They really had no impact. Runners were constantly “post-holing” which is no fun. If you got off the compacted snow by even a foot, you risked plunging up to thigh deep.

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Gregory Soutiea completed eight full laps and the official two-mile out and back for a total of 30.5 +/- miles. Amy Rusiecki wasn’t far behind him at the end of her eighth lap, but she didn’t have a whole lot of time left on the clock and stopped at 28.5. Debbie ran much of the race with Sonja Glaser, including all of the final two laps. Their seventh and final lap was their fastest, which proved that you really couldn’t run as fast as you wanted because the conditions were so bad. Kudos to them for getting seven done in 5:56, just under the six-hour cutoff. It would have been a real bummer if they didn’t finish and lost the mileage. That’s the game you play with a timed race. So, they finished with 25 miles. In the perfect 2012 conditions, she did 34.5 miles. What a difference three years and all that snow makes!

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Speaking of thawing, Debbie didn’t thaw out until the end of our two-hour drive home. It is nice that some race proceeds benefit several trail organizations including A.V.I.S., the Andover Trails Committee, and The Bay Circuit Alliance.

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Next year, if conditions are similar, let’s skip this ridiculous race and go to the Caribbean instead!

Race Results


Livingston Photo & Word

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@thecubscouts Bolton Pack 157 #Engineering Day. The Cubs built telegraphs and practiced sending S.O.S. signals. #cubscouts 12-18 year old juniors start the #FatTire Classic at #WindingTrails #mtb #MountainBike #root66 I used to love visiting this old #Hartford National Bank branch when I was a kid. The old vault is one of my favorites. What a great mechanism. The bolts are stout, like the ones made at #horstengineering Thanks to online banking, I hadn't been here in years. @horsteng #horstengineering sent a Combo Pack of #HorstSpikes to @mvatrack for their auction fundraiser last night. #cyclocross + #velodrome = #bicycle fun! #marymoor Cool down run back to @horsteng after climbing the stairs to the top of City Place, the tallest building on the #Hartford skyline for @lungassociation #fightforairclimb fundraiser. I checked out #RiversidePark and the spring flooding. The future @usacycling  #cyclocross National Championships course is under water now so let's hope for a dry January 2017. Nice of the railroad to replace the rickety old wood walkway with a safer metal version. #horstengineering 34 Floors to the top of City Place. Part of @horsteng Health & Wellness Committee (HAWC) Team (7 of us) for @lungassociation #fightforairclimb fundraiser. This photo was BEFORE the lung burn. Ouch! Good teamwork for a good cause. Thank you donors. #Hartford #horstengineering How much do you think they will give me? #pawnshop @seven_cycles #sevencycles #bicycle Our new Green Belt! #taekwondo Hand polishing these #aerospace Guide Pins to an Ra 2 "micro" (surface finish) with a special paper on a #Hardinge Hand Screw Lathe. Not every part can be finished on a #machine #precisionmachining #instamachinist #cncmachining #cnc #manufacturing #madeintheusa #horstengineering @horsteng

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