Archive for the 'Family' Category



2019 Northampton International Cyclocross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

2019 Connecticut Middle School State XC Championship

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

2019 Belltown Cross

We returned to the Belltown Cross today, though it was at a new venue in East Haddam, Connecticut. I thought that the fairgrounds on Quarry Road were much better than the RV park course of the past.

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Team HORST Sports had a huge turnout. We were represented in so many categories:

  • Junior Boys 9-12
  • Junior Girls 13-14
  • Junior Boys 13-14
  • Junior Boys 15-18
  • Masters Men 40+
  • Masters Men 50+
  • Masters Men 60+
  • Category Men 3/4
  • Singlespeed

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I think the Fat Bike race may have been the only one we were missing from! That’s OK because between the crazy (and in costume) Laurel Bicycle Club and hosts Stage 1 Cycling Club, they had it covered.

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We spent the better part of this fall day at the race and it was really nice. Cyclocross is a very family friendly sport and a fairgrounds (even without the fair) is a good venue even for those just spectating. It was cold early in the morning, and then some bright sun warmed things up, but by noon, it had clouded up and cooled off again. Just as we were packing up around 4:30 P.M., it started to rain. Thankfully we got all the racing in before we got wet.

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The Stage 1 Cycling Club/Airline Cycles crew did a fantastic job. They know how to put on a good event. The prizes were excellent, with many coming from donors. The DJ played excellent music. The podium was unique. The race had a fun vibe that people enjoy.

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Plus, the course was well-laid out and challenging. It was mostly flat and fast, but there were some cool turns and a neat section through dirt/sand pit area. There were several fun whoops and then a double run-up/ride-up depending on your power and skill. The race was mostly on grass with the exception of the dirt area and the long tarmac finishing stretch. There was even a “Disco Barn” complete with a disco ball and smoke. You had to ride right through it before taking the 90 degree left on to the finishing straight. The Team HORST Junior Squad had some nice results in the morning events with several top 10 finishes. Then the Masters team members crushed it, grabbing a few podium spots.

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Shepard had to persevere again after a mechanical and bike change for the second week in a row. He had rough start, getting tangled in the course tape in the narrow first turn. then, his chain slipped off the front ring and got jammed between the ring and the chain guard. He ran to the pit an got on his mountain bike. He steadily worked his way back and finished 10th. He was unhappy, but yet pleased with his grit and the lessons learned. We will dial in his bike one of these weeks!

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Dave Geissert was one our Masters stars, winning the 60+ race. Wade Summers cam close in the 50+ race, getting narrowly beat by Steve Sadler from the Stage 1 team. Rich Frisbie just missed the 40+ podium, finishing 4th.

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I did the singlespeed race even though the event was NOT part of the Zank SSCX Series. We started with the Men Cat 1/2/3 race, so it was a bit longer than the recent races. I didn’t mind that, though with their two minute head start, the leader, Greg Gunsalus, caught me halfway through the last lap which meant my race got cut short by one lap. I still got in a good workout. I am taking next weekend off from racing as I have an Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Directors meeting to attend. I’ll be back at it at Cheshire CX, which is in the Zank series.

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With 329 riders, the race was well attended for a grassroots event. My hope is that in 2020 we return to the fairgrounds.

Race Results

2019 Minuteman Cyclocross

Shepard and I returned to the Minuteman Cyclocross for the second year in a row. This Lancaster, Massachusetts event is held at the Bolton Fairgrounds. The Minuteman Road Club does an awesome job with this race and their other races, including the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross, which is also at the fairgrounds.

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Shepard raced the Cub Juniors at 11:15 A.M. and I did the Zanconato Singlespeed Series race at 3:55 P.M., so we pretty much spent all day at the event. We left Bolton (Connecticut) at 8:00 A.M. and didn’t get home until 6:35 P.M. Back to back cross races can be tough. We did the Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross Race yesterday. Again, I noted in yesterday’s post that the weather was fantastic for cross. Thankfully, it was dry, sunny, and warm.

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It was a little too warm today. By early afternoon, we were baking. It was only the 60’s (Farhenheit), but the sun was strong, making it unseasonably warm. New England was ablaze in color today and the traffic was a sign that there were a lot of leaf peepers out and about. Debbie said it was no different in the Berkshires, where she traveled with Dahlia to do the Monroe Dunbar Brook Trail Race.

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Keith Enderle (who rode the 50+ event), Shepard, and I were the only representatives from Team HORST Sports. We flew the Connecticut flag. I did see some good friends, including Sal Ardagna, who I hadn’t seen in ages. It was so nice to catch up with him.

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Shepard had a good race despite a mechanical issue and a crash. He lost 90 second fussing with his derailleur and then made a good decision to pit and change bikes. Despite the delays, he worked his way back through the field, and his consolation was third place. This was a good lesson in perseverance. He was very happy that he remained composed and didn’t quit when his drivetrain was all gummed up.

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He thinks he tangled with another rider in the notorious wood chip section in the gazebo and might have brushed his rear mech against a fence causing it to jam up. Regardless, I give him credit for sticking with it. We discussed this and he was happy with the outcome.

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I had my best cross race of the year, finishing 7th in a competitive field. I was stronger than yesterday, but not as strong as I was at the end of last season. By late afternoon, the course as blazing fast with the lines burned in. We were all limited by our single gear, but we hammered and it was fun. I rode cleanly other than a few scary moments at the telephone barrier when my left foot was late to come out of the pedal on one lap.

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I avoided a crash and was able to recover. I had a few good battles with Eric Wyzga before pulling away. He and Henry Lord were chasing me hard on the last two laps, but I held them off. I wasn’t able to close on Herb Grignon and Niles Gagnon but I could see them just ahead. I would be happy if I felt as strong at every race like I did today.

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Race Results

2019 Mansfield Hollow Cyclocross

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race Results

2019 NipMuck Trail Marathon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SmugMug Photo Gallery

Race Results

 

2019 Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Race Results


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I love watching the kids climb @stoneagerockgym It’s awesome “offseason” training and they get better and stronger at every session. #rockclimbing #teamhorstjuniorsquad 🧗‍♀️
One snowy evening and two events at different bike shops. @pedalpowerct we heard from the wise Mullaly and Gunsalus women as they spoke of inspiring girls to ride and run. Then we celebrated 23 years of #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct
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Another fun The Ice Weasels Cometh to cap the 2019 #cyclocross season. #iceweasels #iceweaselscometh #teamhorstsports #zanksscx #necx @zanksscx #teamhorstjuniorsquad @horstcycling #crossspikes #crossisboss
Moist ride! #teamhorstsports #sevencycles @horstcycling
#Cyclocross season is winding down. It’s time...but I will still miss it when it’s over. The race days/weekends spent with the @the_ccap #teamhorstjuniorsquad has been awesome. Yesterday’s @nbx_bikes G.P. of CX was another great day. The conditions were fun and challenging and the racing was fierce. @horstcycling #teamhorstsports #crossisboss #nbxgp
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