Archive Page 2

2017 Northampton International Cyclocross

We just wrapped up a hard weekend of racing at the 27th annual Northampton International Cyclocross in Massachusetts. This was the second back to back race weekend in the row. This was the second round of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series. The third round is next weekend, another double race weekend at the Supercross Cup in Rockland County, New York.



Day 1

We drove up early in the morning to get to the Junior Boys and Girls 9-14 year old race. They were the second race of the day. Originally scheduled for 8:45 A.M., all of the races were pushed back 30  minutes because of the frigid temperatures. That helped us out because we drove from Bolton. It also helped the course soften up, a bit. Even still, the kids were frozen solid after 30 minutes on the Look Park course.


The Team Horst Junior Squad was well represented. In addition to our son, Shepard, the field included Sean Rourke, Boden, Chenail, and Cole Ricardi. All of the boys had good races on the fast course.



In the Masters 50+ race later in the morning, Team Horst Sports was represented by Dave Geissert, Keith Enderle, and Tom Ricardi. All three men rode strongly in the field of talented veteran racers.

I did the Masters 40+ race, which was combined with the 15-18 year old Juniors. This made for a very strong field. It was one of the most talented line-ups of the year. I had a good race, though it could have been better. I felt strong for a Saturday race, and after a good start, I pushed really hard. I was so close to breaking the Top 20, but couldn’t close the gap to a group of six riders who took places 15-21. I was pushing so hard on the last lap and felt like I was going to close the gap.


I had attacked fellow Master Brian Girard and Junior Tommy Servetas and gotten a nice gap. It looked like I had a chance at getting on to the back of the group that was up ahead. I was counting the seconds and the gap to the last rider was between five and eight seconds. However, when I came into the fast twisty ball field section that had some muddy corners, I was definitely at my limit. I was taking a sharp right hand turn in the mud and cut it too close. My right shift/brake lever hooked a course stake and it jerked my handlebars to the right, which swept out my front wheel and sent me sliding in the mud. I had untangle my bike from the course tape, and get going again.



In the process, Brian and Tommy shot past me. I worked hard for the rest of the lap to catch back up to them. There was no chance that we would catch the group in front of us, so I focused on staying with them. After I reconnected with Brian and Tommy, I went to the front and pulled them along. In the wide open field section that led to the finish, Tommy went past me and I grabbed his wheel to stay out of the wind. He led me into the last corner and then I came around him. It looked like I was going to take the sprint from them, but I didn’t shift up into a hard enough gear and Brian came up on my right and pipped me on the line. It was a photo finish. I was disappointed in my crash and then bummed about getting beat on the line, but 23rd was still a fantastic result.


I was joined in the 40+ race by teammates Art Roti, Wade Summers, John Meyerle, Andris Skulte, and Brett Chenail. They all had fun on the classic course. We all went for a cool down on the rail trail and exchanged stories about our race. Afterwards, we spent the afternoon watching the rest of the races, including the kids race. Horst Engineering had two tents in the Race Expo and we met a lot of Cross Spikes™ customers.



There was some great racing in the Elite Women and Elite Men’s races. The Juniors explored every corner of Look Park. Afterwards, several of us went to dinner in Northampton, before retiring for the night. Debbie, the kids, and I stayed at a local motel, which saved us the drive back to Bolton and set us up for a short commute this morning.

Day 2

Sunday was quite a bit warmer than Saturday. It was still a lot colder than it has been this fall, but it was better than yesterday. The race schedule was not altered, so the Cub Juniors went off at the scheduled 8:45 A.M. The course was reversed for Sunday’s races and it had a few more technical features, including a steeper run-up and a very steep (and gnarly) descent.


Sean, Shepard, and Boden had good races. They were joined in the Junior 9-14 year old race by Team Horst Junior Squad members Lars Roti, Owen Lezon, and Ethan Lezon; who didn’t race on Saturday, but came out to battle on Sunday. The kids did great. It’s so much fun to watch them having fun before, during, and after the races. Look Park is such a great venue.



Only Dave and Keith raced the 50+ race for us on Sunday. They improved on their Saturday results. Art, Wade, John, Brett, and I returned to do the 40+/15-18 Juniors on Sunday. I had a terrible start. 50 meters after the whistle blew, in an all out sprint, I “blew out” of both pedals. I’m not sure what happened, but I unclipped from both simultaneously, which resulted in my falling to my top tube. I nearly lost control of my bike, and came to a dead stop before getting my feet back on my pedals.


More than 20 riders got past me, which was a real bummer. I lost more ground throughout the first lap as I pushed to make up ground. My heart rate skyrocketed and I was “all over my bike,” which means that I was not handling it well. Several other times, I was forced to get off my bike and navigate around downed riders. Being at the back of the field is a real disadvantage. I could have quit, and thought about it for a split second, before reminding myself that this is how some races go. I had an opportunity to recover from a bad start and still have a good race.


Art had a strong start, so I marked him for most of the first lap, as I picked off one rider after another. Eventually, I settled down, got my heart rate under control, and started moving up through the field. Things opened up a bit more for me on lap two and I put on a huge charge, eventually passing another 15 riders between laps two and four. One of those riders was my friend and “nemesis,” Stan Lezon, who I always race hard. I was definitely exhausted from all of the effort, and nearly got into the top 30 with two laps to go, but on the steep technical descent, I took a bad line, grabbed too much brake, and went “cartwheeling” down the hill. I got some applause from spectators and compliments from Sean Goguen and Jaymz Lipinski, the two Junior riders who I was battling with.


I had just passed Sean and Jaymz and was ready to put on one more charge, but the crash set me back. I had to work hard just to get back to them and I never made it. I stayed in front of the group behind me, but over the last half lap, I spent way too much time in the wind on my own. I didn’t get caught, and ended up 33rd, 10 spots behind yesterday. Tommy and Brian, my two foes from Saturday finished 17th and 25th respectively, so I was disappointed with my result, but still happy that I didn’t quit and made up a lot of ground after my awful start. What could have been!

I’ll get another shot at a clean race next weekend in New York. We hung out for most of the afternoon. It warmed up a bit under a strong (for November) sun. My Dad drove up to say hello, which was pretty cool. We had more Cross Spikes™  customers come by the tent. It took a while to pack everything up, but we were on the road by 3:00 P.M. This race deserves the attention it gets as the longest continuously running event in New England. Adam Myserson, Alec Donahue, J.D. Bilodeau, and all of their volunteers and crew hosted another excellent event.

The muddy course left me with a muddy bike, so when we got home tonight, Shepard and I cleaned our bikes. It’s always nice to go to bed knowing that you have a clean bike.

Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

2017 Newtown Cyclocross p/b the CCAP and Team 26

Today’s Newtown Cyclocross p/b the CCAP and Team 26 was total radness. The new course at the Second Company Horse Guard Stables was short, but excellent. If they add a few more turns, this track will be even better. Just watch out for the horse poop!


We had an awesome contingent from Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad. Since the race was co-promoted by The Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program (CCAP), there was a fantastic junior racer turnout. CCAP kids raced “free.” CCAP is an organization whose goal is to improve the lives of Connecticut’s youth and young adults through the sport of cycling. With the help of more experienced riders, the CCAP supports young people in cycling from our state’s high schools all the way to the top of the sport.


Team 26 is another important part of this race. The team is a group of cyclists affected by the tragedy at Sandy Hook School who support common sense gun safety legislation. They inspired the Nation with their courageous ride from the Sandy Hook School to Washington D.C.


In prior years, the race was held across the street at Fairfield Hills, but race promoter Monte Frank told me that the horse farm is the preferred venue for the future. I liked the course. “Undulating” would be a good description. It was also grassy, which in the constant drizzle, became a very challenging surface to navigate. I tasted a bit of that grass in my first head first slide on lap one of the Masters 40+ race.


Once again, I had a super battle with my Bolton neighbor, Stan Lezon. I think he has 8 inches on me (height wise), but we are evenly matched when it comes to cyclocross. Yesterday’s battle at the Cheshire Cross was another classic in our long running series, and I came out on top. Today, he took advantage of my first lap fall, and held the gap to the finish. I nearly closed the gap with three laps to go, getting up to his rear wheel, only to see my chances go away with another fall on a hairpin turn. He pulled away again. I spent the last three laps chasing furiously and was wishing for one more lap because I was gaining on him. The race ended up short at 39 minutes, but after the first of six double race weekends over the next six weeks, I’m not complaining. I have to nurse my nose back to health!


I wasn’t the only one to suffer a mishap. Joe Kubisek, was in the top three when he rolled his rear tire. I actually made a tire mistake today. I warmed up with my TUFO Flexus Cubus tires with are for muddy course. It wasn’t raining and I felt they were slow in the grass, so I switched to my TUFO Flexus Primus tires and I paid a steep price. They are OK in mud, but when the rain intensified, the course became treacherous and I was wishing for more grip. I ran relatively low pressure around 26 psi, but still had trouble. Thankfully, I didn’t have the problems that Joe had. I feel bad for him, but I’ve had my fair share of mechanical trouble this season. Hopefully that is behind me.


Eneas Freyre took the win, just like yesterday. Travis Burleson made amends for yesterday’s crash, and took the second step on the podium in front of Stan. I ended up 4th. My teammates Wade Summers, Art Roti, and John Meyerle all had good races on a course that favored bike handlers. In the Masters 50+ race, Mike Wonderly was 2nd, just like yesterday. He was in the lead when he caught me (they started one minute behind us), but he bobbled and crashed, which allowed another rider to sneak past him. Mike is an amazing bike handler, so this course was made for him. I followed him until he crashed and marveled at his skills. I even noted to Wade as we chased that we needed to follow Mike’s lead. He is so good at turning his bike in slippery corners. Tom Ricardi also raced the 50+ and was strong. Even Tim Rourke got into the fun, racing in the Men’s 4/5 event.


Shepard and the boys on the Team Horst Junior Squad had a blast. He was joined in the 9-12 year old race by Boden, Lars, Owen, and Ethan. In the 13-16 year old race, Cole and Sean represented the team.


The CT Series of Cross pauses until the day after Thanksgiving when we head to March Farms Cyclo Madness in the Litchfield Hills. Next week, is a big New England race, the Verge Northampton International Cyclocross. This is a classic and an A race for me. It is part of the Vittoria Northeast Cyclocross Series

Race Results

2017 Cheshire Cross

Yesterday was the Cheshire Cross, which has become a favorite race. The course is very challenging with a tricky woods section that includes lots of singletrack, sharp rocks, and roots. There is also a sizable hill, called Heckle Hill, which I like.


I had a good race and a fun day with the family, but still left the event frustrated because of how the Junior 9-12 race went. I’ll start with the frustrating part of the day. The Juniors started at 10:00 A.M. and the race was advertised (on BikeReg) as 20 minutes, but there was a note that said, “All riders will finish in 20 minutes or less.” In my mind, that is a contradiction. The way cyclocross should work, is that the lead rider should finish in the targeted time for the field. The riders that follow take longer.

So, it’s typical for a Masters 40+ race to be advertised as 45 minutes. After two full laps, the officials calculate the average lap time and then estimate how many laps there are to go. The next time around, you are given a lap card countdown. Today, I finished in just under 50 minutes, and I was a few minutes behind the winner. We completed seven laps. It’s important to note that the start was about a 1/4 mile behind the finish line, so the first lap was bound to be longer.


Then, prior to the start of the Junior’s race, when the head official was giving instructions, he said that anyone finishing the first lap in more than 10 minutes would be pulled. I gather that he was merely reiterating what the promoter had decided, and what had been posted on the Internet. He added that they would be scored according to their place and that their points would count towards the series. I heard this, but I didn’t think much about it at the time. With all of the noise and chaos of getting our kids ready to go, it never dawned on me that this would affect EVERY one of the riders on the Team Horst Junior Squad. Boden, Shepard, and Lars have all been finishing in the top 15 of CT Series of Cross races, so I just assumed they would make it two laps. Owen and Ethan are the youngest boys on the team, and they have been lapped by older riders on short courses, so I knew that this rule might impact them.

There were more than 35 girls and boys on the start line, which is awesome. The officials didn’t do a good job lining them up and there was a bit of a crush (overlapped wheels), which resulted in a start line crash. Still, most of the riders got off the line cleanly and it was a fast beginning to what turned out to be a short race. We watched the boys on several parts of the course before we rushed to the finish area to cheer them at the start of their second lap. Boden was somewhere around 9th place when he came through and the official told him to stop. He missed the 10 minute cut-off by 20 seconds or so. I wasn’t paying attention to the time, and there was no clock, so this caught me by surprise. After Boden finished and after I realized what was happening, I yelled to Shep to sprint because he was with two other riders, but I didn’t get the word to him in time and their positions didn’t change in the final 50 feet. Shepard was about 15 seconds behind Boden and ended up a few places back. He was also told to stop, which brought a mix of anger and tears, before he calmed down.


All of the boys coming through the finish at around this time were furious. I don’t think they heard the announcement at the start, and even if they did, they didn’t understand. Every other race this season has been two or three laps and 20-30 minutes, which gives them time to ride and improve their cyclocross skills. I shared my frustration with the official, arguing a bit, but eventually I walked away. I didn’t want to be “that parent” yapping at the referee, and like the official said, he was just following the promoter’s instructions. It just made no sense to let eight riders through and then stop 30 other riders after one lap of this course.

10 minutes was an arbitrary number to choose and shouldn’t be considered “half of the race.” The first lap is always longer with the finish line 1/4 mile back, congestion, and the crash. Only 8 riders were allowed to continue for a second lap. That’s a joke, which gave riders in the 9th through 15th spots no chance of making up time on a faster second lap. Some parents drove two hours to the race and they were more mad than I was. These kids are the future of our sport and we need to let them ride more than 10 minutes. Every kid should have gotten to do two laps, regardless of their speed and regardless of what the BikeReg page said. I bet most of those parents didn’t even see the “fine print.”


Despite the announcement at the start, most riders had no idea they would be pulled after one lap. They don’t wear watches or even pay attention to their pace. And if they did, they don’t know how to pace themselves. That’s why they are Cub Juniors! They are LEARNING how to do cyclocross and you can’t learn in 10 minutes. The race organizers, who are good volunteers and deserve support for a grassroots race, had so many other options. The Men’s 4/5 race ran long. The Masters races ran long. Later in the day, there were gaps between the races. It seemed like all the morning events were crammed together so tightly. I just don’t understand their position on this Junior 9-12 field. To be fair, a few other races have advertised one lap races and the parents have successfully petitioned to get at least two laps. Most of them also didn’t have any time to pre-ride the course because the 4/5 race ran so long. That meant that they were seeing the course for the first time on their first and only lap, which is another reason why first laps are often always slower than the remaining laps. One other option that race organizers have is to shorten the lap for the youngest Junior riders. It would have been easy to chop off a section or two of the course without much effort. A shorter lap would have been everyone a chance to at least do it twice. As it turns out, some of the adult riders in later races were riding NO faster than the Juniors who got pulled in the 10-12 minute mark.

I’m sure another important factor for parents is the cost of doing this sport. Between the gear, the travel, and the entry fees, it’s a big investment. One lap races are a very low return on investment. Four Livingston Family members raced today, so we were traveling to Cheshire anyway, but if you drove all that way just for just one race, I totally understand why you felt gypped. I think I said enough about this. It was frustrating for sure, and you can count on me and other parents to make sure that at the start of tomorrow’s Newtown Cyclocross, that we are clear about the rules. Tomorrow, I hope, and expect the kids get to ride at least two laps.


Anyway, the rest of the day went better. My race, the Masters 40+ started a minute in front of the Masters 50+ and a few minutes in front of the Masters 60+. That made for a crowded course, but these are the same guys I race with every weekend, and we know how to ride with each other. The congestion is just part of cyclocross. We were catching some of the 60+ riders on the second lap. Knowing how to pass cleanly is an important skill and all of them were courteous. I did my best to call out what side I was going to pass on.

Within my race, there were some fun battles. It was unfortunate (for him) that the leader, David Hildebrand, punctured a little past the halfway point. That moved me up a spot. Then, Travis Burleson, who was one group in front of me, crashed on a technical descent. I came upon him just after he went down in the woods. He was fussing with his chain, trying to get it back on. I picked up another spot at his expense. That left four guys in front of my group, which included Stan Lezon, Laurence Merling, Joe Rodrigues, and at least one other rider who I didn’t know.


I thought I was the strongest guy in the group, but didn’t want to wait for a sprint, so I didn’t show my cards until two to go. I pushed the pace in the first five laps, but the gap to the group in front of us was too big to get across without being chased by the group I was in. Late in the race, it was best for me to race smartly and at least finish in front of the guys I was with. I moved to the front after the last big descent on the penultimate lap and then attacked right after the barriers as we headed towards the upper field. I hammered through those hairpin turns, extending my gap. I held my gap, which was 5-10 seconds, through the start finish and into the woods. I rode the final climb of Heckle Hill cleanly, and kept my gap all the way to the finish. Each lap was 1.4 miles long.

The last time up Heckle Hill, I was within striking distance of third (Keith Gauvin) and fourth (Joe Kubisek) place. I got close, but not close enough. They held me off and I ended up fifth. The officials had a hard time with the results, which was another frustration. They were counting by hand, and with the mixed fields and all of the lapped riders, it was very difficult. I hate to say it, but for a $35 race, you really need to have some sort of timing and scoring system. A camera system costs money, but is necessary. Even chip timing would have worked today. Using our own GPS’s and Strava would at least capture the correct order and eliminate the risk of counting lapped riders. Every 5K road race with comparable registration fees, has chip timing. The results are usually flawless and they are published immediately. The mess that the officials were dealing with was reminiscent of the road bike races I did back in the early 1990’s where after the finish, there was always a scrum with every rider lobbying for his position. In 2017, every cyclocross race deserves to have good timing and scoring. Technology helps.


Dahlia did the kids race, which was fun to watch. She had a good ride and got to stand on the podium. I’m looking forward to 2019, when she will be ready to compete in Cub Juniors. We got to see our cousin, Lucas Smallidge, race the Men’s 3/4 race. He had a great battle for second place with another rider and unleashed a powerful sprint at the finish to secure second. It was great to see him. He is in his second year at UCONN, so I hope to meet up with him for a ride. Debbie did the Women’s 4/5 race, which started with the Women’s 1/2/3 race. She was the only woman on a mountain bike, but she still had fun. She wasn’t last and learned a bit more about cyclocross. Hopefully she does another race and continues to improve. I bet that in 2018, she gets a cross bike.

I’m still a fan of Cheshire Cross, and thank the volunteers, but I hope that they iron out the issues next time.

Race Results (will be posted when online)

2017 Wicked Creepy Cross

I love the Wicked Creepy Cross. It’s one of my favorite grassroots races on the New England calendar. Today, we returned with the whole family. It required us to get up at 5:05 A.M. and leave the house at 5:35 A.M., but it was worth it!



We drove to Bennington, Vermont in a driving rainstorm, but the precipitation lessened (a bit) when we got on the western side of the Green Mountains. It was still a beautiful drive. On the way home, it was all rain.


This was the first real muddy race of the 2017 cyclocross season. It’s been unseasonably warm and dry. Today, it wasn’t too cold, but the wetness made for a challenging course, with several muddy sections. It wasn’t too cold, and it certainly wasn’t hot. It was sort of “hypothermia weather” if you were standing around.



The Livingston’s were joined at the race by the Chenail Family and the Roti Family. The Team Horst Junior Squad and Team Horst Sports were well represented. The fields were small, but that’s OK. Everyone’s morale was boosted by the results. Debbie did her first ever cyclocross race. Her goal was to hold off Shepard, who started one minute behind her, in the Cub Juniors 9-12 year old race.


The Junior Squad had a great day, with a podium sweep. Boden Chenail chased Shepard all race, and pipped him on the line for the win. It was a good lesson for Shepard, who was a bit surprised by Boden’s surge. Still, a great day. Lars Roti wasn’t far behind, and took the third step on the podium. They were all smiles after the race.


Debbie battled hard to finish 4th in the Women’s Category 4/5 race. It isn’t normal for her to go anaerobic in a 30 minute +/- race, so this was good. She used her Seven Verve mountain bike, which wasn’t ideal, but worked fine. She plans to race again next week at Cheshire Cross. Look out!


Brett Chenail rode the Men’s Category 4 race, which had one of the largest fields. They softened up the course prior to the Masters races. Art Roti and I represented the team in the 45+ field. We started with the 35+ riders, which for some reason, I didn’t know until after the finish. The 55+ Men started a minute behind us.


Until the National Championships, this is one of the few races I do with a 45+ field. Normally, I have to race the 40+ category, and sometimes the 35+ category when no 40+ is offered. It was nice to be one of the “younger” guys in my race!


I had a really good start, and led the first lap. On lap two,  Jürgen Beneke surged past me, which I was expecting when I saw his name on the start list. He has been winning local races all season, and was top 15 at the GP of Gloucester, where I finished in the 30’s. He has real cycling pedigree. He won the 1993 UCI World Cup in downhill mountain biking, and is an X-Games gold medalist in downhill mountain biking. He can handle his bike and it showed on today’s course.


After he went by, I stayed in front of the other riders for nearly the entire race. I battled with Ryan Conley for five more laps. I led Ryan for almost the entire lap each time. He would pass me on the road section that led up the major climb, but I would re-pass him before or during the technical (and slippery) upper section. I was stronger in all of the technical turns, and had better acceleration out of the corners, but he closed down the gap every time when he had open field or open road.


It was a little frustrating, so going into he last lap, I was committed to attacking him every chance I got. I didn’t want to risk a sprint because he was stronger in the final 200 meters after the steep and sandy run-up. There were a few other riders chasing, but we had a comfortable gap so we only had to worry about each other. I wanted second spot and gave it my all, but he closed in on me before the final slippery left hand turn on to the road. He jumped past me, but then I was able to rebound and close back in on him before I ran out of road. He nipped me on the line. I wasn’t happy, but I accepted my defeat and thought about Shepard, who experienced the same disappointment after leading the entire race. I told him to stay positive, so I told myself the same thing.


There was a silver lining because when the results were posted, I still got 2nd in the 45+ race. Ryan was 1st in the 35+ race. I race everyone hard and still wanted to win that sprint, but we sort of both won on this day.  Jürgen was stronger than both of us and was out of site, so our real goal should be to close the gap to him. I’ll be back at it next week at Cheshire Cross.


Everyone at Horst Engineering was happy to see mud for this weekend’s races. It was muddy in New England today, which meant both Wicked Creepy and also Orchard Cross, were gnarly. It was also muddy in Sherbrooke, Quebec, which hosted the Canadian National Championships. The same storm system also hit Ohio, and the Cincy CX Festival.  We expect Cross Spikes sales to pick up now!


Kudos go out to the volunteers who hosted Wicked Creepy, and also to the folks at NYCROSS who put together the series. If we lived closer, we might do a few more races in the series. Of course, Connecticut has its own series and we do those races before any others.

Debbie, the kids, and I celebrated at Hearty Eats in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Race Results

2017 Belltown Cyclocross

Today was the inaugural Belltown CX in East Hampton. It was race number four in the Connecticut Series of Cross. Heading into the race, I wasn’t feeling to hot. I’m a little nicked up after several weeks of heavy racing. Plus, last night, I drove back from Crawford Notch, NH. Four hours in the car contributed to my legs feeling stiff.


Yesterday, Debbie took Shepard to the third race in the series, the Brodie CX in New Hartford. I had to miss the race, which was disappointing, but fine. Last weekend was a double race, so this weekend, I was happy to only do one. We had another day of unseasonably warm weather. The course was dry and the sun was hot.


Belltown turned out OK. My legs were definitely heavy. I’ve got a nagging right quadricep  issue that results in late race cramping. I had to measure my effort to keep the quad from  hurting too much. I ended up in a group with Stan Lezon and Joe Rodrigues. The three of us battle frequently.


My teammate, Wade Summers, was with us for a good part of the race. The first four spots were out of reach, but we fought each other for 5th. Late in the race, Ernie Tautkus squeezed into our group. I don’t know the full story, but it would appear that he missed the start and chased all race, working his way up to our group.


I held off the trio for 5th in the Masters 40+ race. Stan got pipped on the line by Ernie, and Joe and Wade dropped back a bit. It was a fun final last fracas. The course had lots of wide open riding, but many of the corners were on gravel, making it treacherous. There were a lot of crashes and a lot of skinned knees. After smashing my left knee last weekend at the Gran Prix of Gloucester, I was happy to stay on my bike for the entire race today. Unlike last Sunday when I botched the sprint in my little group, today, I executed it well, leading them the whole way.


There was another great turnout for the Junior races. There were 37 boys and girls in the 9-12 year old race. There were another 18 riders in the 13-15 year old age group. They even had a kids race for 8 and under. Dahlia did the modified two lap course and had a blast. She can’t wait to do the real races when she turns 9.


Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad had a great turnout and some good results. Mike Wonderly won the Masters 50+ race for the second day in a row. Dave Geissert had his best cross race ever, finishing second behind Mike after Bob Bisson in a sprint. He was thrilled.


It was another good day of cyclocross racing. The crew from Airline Cycles did a great job with the race. The prizes were fun and cool. Bevin Brothers Bells is in East Hampton and they make the best Made in the USA cowbells. The Connecticut Series of Cross continues in two weeks at the Cheshire CX.

Race Results

Appalachian Mountain Club & Crawford Notch

At the end of this week, I made a short trip to Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire for an Appalachian Mountain Club Board of Directors meeting. We met at the Highland Center, one of AMC’s wonderful lodges, and a favorite place for our family.



Crawford Notch is amazing at any time of year, but late October has to be one of the best. The foliage was just past peak, but the colors were still lovely. I drove up on Friday morning. I had several business calls to make during the drive and was frustrated by the AT&T service. It has been getting worse, especially for iPhone users. I made my last call just as I arrived at the Highland Center. As soon as I got there, I pulled my bike out of the back of my car, changed in the parking lot, and then rode south on Route 302 through the notch.



I went 10.5 miles to Bartlett, and then turned around. It was all downhill on the way out, and I had a strong tailwind. It was gusting to 25 miles per hour. On the way back, the combination of the climb and the headwind made for an awful ride. However, the views were spectacular and I was just happy to be getting some fresh air after four hours in the car.


I got to the meeting for 12:30 P.M., and we had a great afternoon of discussions. AMC is a wonderful organization with so many interesting facets. We are working on some big projects, including our headquarters move from 5 Joy Street (Boston) to 10 City Square (Charlestown). Last month, Debbie and I were at another AMC meeting at the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center in New York. Back in July, we were at the brand new Medawisla Lodge & Cabins in Maine.



On Saturday morning, I got up early and went for a little trail run/hike. I donned my headlamp and headed up the Crawford Path, starting at 6:00 A.M. I didn’t know how far I would go, but figured I would just test the legs. I didn’t feel strong at all. I actually felt weak. I’ve had a few weeks of intense cyclocross racing. Last weekend’s Gran Prix of Gloucester was hard on the body. I smashed my knee on some rocks and I smacked my face with my own handlebars. I’ve been dinged up a little, so I turned around after 1.5 miles and jogged along Saco Lake before returning to the lodge for breakfast.



The meetings kicked off and went until early afternoon, but then we spilt up in a few hiking groups. I joined a group of seven for the easy hike up Mount Willard. That hill has the best bang for the buck in the White Mountains. What I mean by that is that it has the best steps to view ration of any mountain. The view is spectacular and it’s only a short walk. That’s what I call a good hiking Return on Investment (ROI). The trail was absolutely jammed with people, enjoying the incredible fall weather. It has been unseasonable warm since mid-September. I think this will be the warmest October on record in New England.


We lingered on the summit for a half an hour and the people just kept coming. It was nice to see so many people out, but when it got to the point where we had to raise our voices in order to hear each other, it was time to go. The only other times that I’ve had to raise my voice like that on a summit was to speak with  my climbing partner above the roar of the wind.

We had a leisurely walk back to the lodge. I departed shortly thereafter, and was home by 8:30 P.M. I stopped at the Putney Co-Op, my usual spot, for a quick dinner. My only regret is that Debbie and the kids couldn’t see the lovely leaves of Vermont and New Hampshire.


2017 Gran Prix of Gloucester

We had a spectacular weekend at the 2017 Gran Prix of Gloucester cyclocross race in Massachusetts. “We” is Shepard and me, plus the rest of Team Horst Sports and the Team Horst Junior Squad.



The last time I raced Gloucester was in 2007. Pretty much every year for the last 10 years, this New England classic has conflicted with the Vermont 50 Mile Ride & Run. With cyclocross schedule changes, the event was moved to mid-October from its historical late-September date. I was happy to return for many reasons.



I love the North Shore and Cape Ann. Sterling Machine is in Lynn, so I’m on the North Shore several times a month. The seaside Stage Fort Park course is picturesque and fantastic. The expo brought out some great sponsors and cycling industry stalwarts. The robust race fields (848 riders competed on Saturday and 787 competed on Sunday) prove this event’s popularity. In addition to the fields being deep, they are incredibly strong with the best showing up to do battle. The Elite Men’s and Women’s races featured some of the strongest riders in Northeast, with a few national pros and Canadians mixed in. Also, there are more spectators than any other cross race in the region. The beer garden was packed. This is what I like to call: The “New England World Championships.” I’m not talking Belgian-sized crowds, but if you ever want to spectate at a “local” cross race, pencil this one into your calendar.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-12

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-11

Our Masters team was well represented with Art Roti, Wade Summers, John Meyerle and me in the joint Masters 40+ Category 1/2/3 & Junior 17-18 year old field. Brett Chenail did the Masters 40+ Category 4/5 races. Dave Geissert and Keith Enderle did the Masters 50+ Category 1/2/3 races. All of us raced both Saturday and Sunday.


The Junior Squad also had a good turnout. Shepard raced in the Juniors 9-14 old category and was joined by Sean Rourke, Boden Chenail, Lars Roti, and Nate Summers on Saturday. Those boys plus Ethan Lezon and Owen Lezon raced on Sunday.



Day 1 (Saturday)

Yesterday’s course was a leg burner, with several long and exposed sections. The morning races were rainy and the corners were slick. Shepard and the boys did well. They were all smiles. He was very happy with how his race went. The course remained damp during my race, which started at 11:30 A.M. with light rain falling. My only mishap was on the first lap when running the one rocky run-up, I slipped and planted my left knee and elbow on a sharp stone. The knee took the brunt of the fall and might have earned me “best blood” if they had such a category.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-10

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-9



I started well back in the sixth row (eight riders to a row) on the grid, but moved my way up and finished  39th in a stacked field. The first seven spots were taken by the Junior boys, which is amazing. They are getting faster and faster, and the top 40-49 year old racers didn’t have a chance against them. Matt Timmerman, the national champion in our age group, was the top 40+ year old male, all the way back in 8th spot. I felt good about my race, but was knackered by the finish.



After the race, Art and I did a long cool down, riding northeast, along the coast. We had spectacular views despite a few rain showers. The boys played all over Stage Fort Park and we watched the rest of the afternoon races. The view from atop the large rock, an iconic spot in the park, is awesome. You can see more than half the course from that one spot. The Elite racing was intense and enjoyable.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-6

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-5

Day 2 (Sunday)

We spent the night at one of my usual business oriented hotels on. Route 1 in Danvers, so it was only a 25 minute drive to the venue. The day dawned foggy and damp. The Gloucester weather was changeable, with intermittent sun and clouds and a stiff ocean breeze. It misted a bit in the early morning races, but then the course dried out and it became less humid as the day went on. By the time I raced, the course was bone dry and very dusty. Dust and above average temperatures have been the story of this cyclocross season. I’m waiting for some cold, which is what I prefer. I’m sure its a matter of if, not when.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-7

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-4

The Junior boys raced again at 9:31 A.M. and the Masters 40+ men were at 11:30 A.M. like yesterday. The course was altered slightly with several new sections and several sections removed. The run-up was different, but just as challenging. There were fewer long power sections, and there were several added technical sections. This made for a shorter lap. Some folks termed it “mountain bikey.” I did think that the loose sand and lots of transitions were pretty gnarly. It was a lot of fun, but I guess I preferred yesterday’s course better because it favored me more.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-2

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-8

I gave it my all today. The 17 and 18 year-olds dominated again, but the top masters rider was Alec Donahue, who bested Timmerman. By the third of six laps, I found myself in a group of six riders that included former national champion, Mark McCormack. At times the pace of the group slowed, so I decided to do my part to keep our gap to the group behind us, so I pulled for most of the last two laps. I felt good out front, but despite applying the pressure several times, wasn’t able to get away and create my own gap. Cognizant that I was going to get jumped on the last lap, I eased back into third spot in the final 1/3rd of the last lap.

2017_Gran Prix of Gloucester-1

I was confident that I could beat all of them in a sprint, but I was unsure who was holding back. in the final few corners, I tried to make a move on the right side, but one of the riders pinched me in the final right hand turn before the road and I lost my momentum The first two riders, including McCormack, got a gap that they held to the line. I had to battle with the other four guys and two of them pipped me right before the finish. It was a frustrating way to end the race after I rode so well. I thought I had a chance to improve my position from yesterday’s race, but ended up 42nd.



I’m just happy to be able to do this stuff. My heart rate was above Zone 4 the entire race and averaged 169 beats per minute for the 50 minute effort. I was even more toasted today, and I’ll need a few days to recover from these hard efforts. Chances are it won’t be another 10 years before I compete at Gloucester again.


Race Results (Day 1)

Race Results (Day 2)

Horst Engineering

Thread Rolling Inc.

Sterling Machine

Horst Spikes


I crashed out of the Singlespeed Championship @renocxnats (on the dreaded off-camber) but not before having more fun. @artroti43 raced on the frosty course ❄️ at day break. 🚴🏽 We met a lot more @horsteng #crossspikes customers. I hung with little bunny hopper 🐰 Miles, the Junior 11-12 year old Silver Medalist.🥈I cheered for Nic, who represented @the_ccap in the Junior 15-16 age group. @sportstert and Iva came down from Tahoe to cheer LOUDLY for me. 🎺 I got my badly sprained ankle taped and iced. I had a beer. 🍺 I’m even looking forward to my red eye flight home ✈️ . Best of all, I’ll see @trailrunningmom and the kids on Sunday. I can’t explain the sensation, but despite the pain, I’m ready for next #Cyclocross season to begin... after some rest. #teamhorstsports #cxnats #horstengineering @parkavebikeshop #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross #crossiscoming You could say that at least for this week, I’m married to my #bicycle - - -

@renocxnats #cxnats @seven_cycles #sevencycles #teamhorstsports #horstengineering #crossspikes @horsteng #chapelofthebells #Cyclocross #lifedeathcyclocross Good day representing @horsteng at @renocxnats in the 45-49 age group. It’s a great course. The wind was blowing hard, but the sun finally came out. I’m happy with 37th place but should have made a move to get to 29th, which was 30 seconds ahead. That’s a long way when you are going flat out and cramping. 4,500 foot elevation was a factor. I’m disappointed that they cut one lap of my race when I wasn’t close to getting lapped by the leaders. You train this hard and come all this way; and you want to get the most racing for the $ and time invested. They only let 25 riders do the full six laps. The only positive to come out of that was that I watched fellow New Englander @adammyerson execute a perfect final sprint to win the Stars and Stripes again. Teammate @artroti43 had a good ride too. 
@seven_cycles #sevencycles #horstengineering #teamhorstsports @bicycleseastct #crossspikes #cxnats #renocxnats #Cyclocross #crossisboss @therichardsachs didn’t have the race he hoped for but it was still great to see him @renocxnats and “pit” for him. He said he officially started his second off season, but first of 2018. @artroti43 and I played soigneur/mechanic for 90 minutes, but minus the massage! atmo #renocxnats #richardsachs #teamhorstsports @horsteng #crossspikes #hauteframebuilding #Cyclocross #crossisboss #lifedeathcyclocross I previously hadn’t published this image, but it recently received an Honorable Mention in the 2017 @appalachianmountainclub Photo Contest for the People Outdoors category. Check out my blog (link in profile) for the interesting story of his photo (shot with this iPhone 6s), a trip report from this amazing Maine adventure, and past contest history. I love this image of two of my favorite women. I’m barred from submitting images to the 2018 contest, but I’ll be back in 2019. #appalachianmountainclub #baxterstatepark #katahdin Congratulations to Master Park, the Park Family, and the entire team at Park’s U.S. #Taekwondo at the Grand Opening of the new facility in the former VFW building. Our kids love it! So much better than being next door to the pawn shop and liquor store.😊#tkd 🇺🇸🇰🇷 This morning, the @trinitycollege Main Quad was bathed in beautiful sunshine ☀️but it was frigid and the wind was blowing! ❄️ The chapel was packed with an overflow crowd to celebrate the (shortened) life of a lovely friend. She will be missed. #circleoflife 🌏 #Repost @horsteng
We just launched the #cxnats edition of #crossspikes News and it is chock full of great information. Click our profile for a link to the newsletter and info regarding @renocxnats pre-orders and on-site sales. See you at the Race Expo! #crossisboss 🚴🏽🏆 Brilliant sunshine☀️ at the @shenipsitstriders #newyearsday run. #shenipsitstriders #boltonnotch #hopriverstateparktrail #teamhorstsports #trailrunning ❄️🌲⛄️🏃🏻

Follow me on Twitter



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 294 other followers