Posts Tagged 'New England'

2014 New England Builder’s Ball & Horst Spikes

Last night was the New England Builder’s Ball at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The event was a celebration of bicycle framebuilders and an exhibition of their work.  It was in partnership with this weekend’s KMC Cyclocross Festival and benefited the East Coast Greenway Alliance.

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Horst Engineering and Team Horst Sports were thrilled to have a booth to display and share our Horst Spikes product line. Special thanks to Arthur Roti, Max Accaputo, and Trent Sullivan who manned the booth with me for the four-hour event. The botanical center was a really cool venue that was made all the better by the amazing collection of bespoke bicycle builders.

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We were in the company of some talented craftsman. The good news is that we may not make bicycles, but our Horst Spikes AND our precision machined aerospace components are every bit as cool as what we saw at the show. Of course, I’m biased, but coming off of Family Day 2014 last weekend, and MFGDAY (yesterday), I’m pretty high on our manufacturing capabilities.

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Horst Spikes is an idea that we hatched in 2007. We recognized that the commercially available cyclocross shoe toe spikes were inferior to what we could produce. Since our roots are in bicycles, we designed a fresh take on the product, which developed into our large spikes. For several years, we only sold them to teammates, friends, and family. Then, we started selling a handful through select distributors, including

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For the past few years, we talked about a direct marketing campaign to raise awareness of the product. This year, we finally took up that challenge and also set up a website to sell online. The direct to consumer marketing has been a lot of fun. We have learned a lot with this project and are excited about the prospects of doing more work in the bicycle industry.

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Like I said, Horst Engineering has a long history of supplying the bicycle products industry. Company founder, Harry Livingston (born Horst Rolf Liebenstein), apprenticed as a bicycle maker in Germany in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He learned many of his skills working in the bicycle trade. He brought those skills to the USA, when he immigrated in 1938, and subsequently when he founded our family business in 1946.

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Horst Spikes is proud to support an incredible line up of elite cyclocross racers. We had a chance to connect with several of them last night at the Ball. These riders are testing the spikes in all conditions and providing valuable feedback on the product design. Spikes may not be as complex as our aerospace components, but they they have that cool factor.

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Our lineup of sponsored riders includes: Jeremy Powers, Mo Bruno-Roy, Justin Lindine, Cassie Maximenko, Adam Myerson, and the Cannondale p/b Team. We will announce more sponsored riders throughout the season.

At the ball, we had a chance to see Jeremy and Cassie. Both are fantastic riders. Jeremy is the reigning U.S. Cyclocross Champion, and hails from Niantic, Connecticut; so he is one of us. We are excited to get his feedback on the toe spikes. It was nice of he and his spouse, Emily, to visit with us, and we look forward to getting them to visit Horst Engineering for a plant tour and group ride. Cassie is one of the fastest improving elite woman riders in the country. She is also a Connecticut native and along with her spouse, Michael, has made her mark on the cycling and triathlon race scene here in New England.

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We saw a lot of friends from the cycling community. My longtime friend, Jon Gallagher, stopped by to visit with us. Jon and I spent the summer of 1994 racing the kermesse circuit in Belgium, both attended Boston College, and have raced all over the northeast together. Jon lives in Utah, but got back east because he is the official timer of the KMC Cyclocross Festival. Jon is the propietor of Sports Base Events and One 2 Go Event Services. He travels the world doing the timing at many top cycling events. Ted King also paid a visit to our booth. We saw Ted at last week’s Vermont 50, and is another one of New England’s top riders. His focus is on the road, though he gets on the mountain bike from time to time, like he did the last week. Ted is a true ambassador for New England cycling and spends most of the year racing on the European road circuit.

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It was also nice to catch up with Richard Sachs and his spouse, Deb. Debbie and I used to visit with Richie and Deb at their home/shop in Chester, Connecticut when they lived nearby, but we haven’t seen them as much since they relocated to Massachusetts. We occasionally see them at the cross races and it was nice that the Sachs and Horst booths were near each other last night. I’m proud to have my original 1989 Richard Sachs frameset hanging in my office.

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Seeing all the amazing bicycles and accessories in Providence last night was an awesome reminder that New England is home to many amazing craftsmen and crafts-women. We are happy to be part of the bunch.

2014 7 Sisters Trail Race

The 7 Sisters Trail Race is a rite of spring for our family. Today, Debbie ran it for the 15th time, a remarkable achievement. We think those finishes are all in a row, though it is possible that there was one miss somewhere in the middle of that streak. Regardless, she gets a whole lot of credit for devoting herself to one of the iconic trail races in New England. Next year, I’m sure she will be back for her first Grand Tree race as a 40+ runner. Until then, there is no rushing Father Time.

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I was also registered to run today, and had my heart set on a beautiful day tramping across the rocky and rugged 12 mile (6 out/6 back) section of the New England Scenic Trail (Metacomet-Monadnock Trail). Alas, I’ve been under the weather, I’m dinged up, and it didn’t make sense to risk further injury or illness, as a result of running a race that has destroyed me so many times in the past. Plus, I had the opportunity to spend time on the trail with my kids, which is far more important than notching another New England Grand Tree Trail Running Series finish. I’ve got loads of races ahead of me, including next weekend, so a little rest will help. 

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Last year, I wrote that we saw a lot of new faces on the trail. Again, there were more than 500 finishers, which is truly remarkable. Sisters gets so many more runners than the other Grand Tree races. I hope we get some of these newbies to join us in two weeks at the 30th anniversary Soapstone Mountain Trail Race. Debbie is the Race Director and our club mates from the Shenipsit Striders are gunning for a great day. If today’s runners liked the climb up Bare Mountain, they’ll also enjoy Killer Hill.

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Racing today for the Striders along with Debbie were Tony Bonanno, Chris Kelly, and Gary Hebert. I also saw my Team Horst Sports teammate, Andris Skulte, on the trail, though he was nursing a twisted ankle after the finish. It was his rookie experience on the New England Trail.

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Now that 7 Sisters has gone national with its inclusion in the 2014 La Sportiva Mountain Cup, it’s got even more publicity. Race Director, Fred Pilon, and his volunteers (many from the Sugarloaf Mountain Running Club) did a good job organizing the crowds. There were substantial changes from past years. The start/finish was moved to Military Road, which runs perpendicular to the main road where we normally start. This is a safer spot and poses less congestion for the busy route.

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The race used chip timing for the first time, and there were five wave starts with about 100 runners per wave. The wave starts were used to ease congestion on the narrow, steep, and rocky initial climb up Bare Mountain. The race always bottlenecks at the start. This year, it was improved, but in the end, it probably doesn’t matter. It’s a trail race and most folks were out there to have fun.

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Even still, there were some fast runners, including a Colorado contingent that put its stamp on the event. I’ll add the results link and commentary when I see them posted online. Like last year, the parking, registration, and post-race refreshments were at the  “The Bunker” located on Amherst College property up Military Road adjacent to the Bare Mountain. Last year, I made the mistake of leaving my car on the inside of the gate. I went for a bike ride, only to return to my car locked inside the complex. I resolved the matter with a call to the Amherst College Police. There was no issues this year. 

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After the race, we had a late lunch at our favorite restaurant, Paul & Elizabeth’s, in Northampton. The kids and I chose to stay close to the start/finish rather than going to the turnaround or access road on Mount Holyoke. Instead, we hiked to the summit of Bare Mountain to enjoy the view. Then we camped out at the nastiest section of trail to watch the runners come through on their way to the finish. The trail was mostly dry. The temperature was warmer early in the morning with bright sun, but by mid-race, it was cloudy, cool, and there were intermittent showers. Spring still hasn’t sprung, but that’s OK, the 7 Sisters vibe warmed us up, even if only for a few hours.

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Race Results


Printroom Photos (images from the start and then at the 11.75 mile mark (rocks) for runners in the 1:54 to 2:50 finish time range)

The race results are up. It was interesting to see that the top two men were from North Carolina. They should know east coast trails well, but 7 Sisters is still a different kind of beast. It would have been awesome to see some of the top local Sisters men from past years (i.e. Nephew, Schmitt, Low, Ferenc, Hammett, Rusiecki, Krause, et al) take on these guys.

Ryan Woods was first in 1:54:03. He was followed by Jason Bryant and Matthew Zanchi. The first woman, Megan Kimmel, was 5th overall in a fine 2:05:40. She was well ahead of Kelsey Allen and Kehr Davis. 433 runners finished the race. I saw a few injuries, but nothing major, or at least nothing that you wouldn’t expect on the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail.

It was certainly a good day in the woods. We will see if the 2014 changes made a difference and if they stick for 2015. The trail was dry, so that is a good think when that many people are out running at once. I’m sure the Friends of Mt. Holyoke Range will benefit again from the generosity of the race organizers. Giving back to the trails is one of the great benefits of these local races.

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2013 Cycle-Smart International Cyclocross

The Verge New England Cyclocross Series rolled into Northampton, Massachusetts for the 23rd Cycle-Smart International, the first big event of November. I did both Day 1 and Day 2 this weekend at Look Park. I did race director, Adam Myerson’s, Cycle-Smart predecessor race at the University of Massachusetts, many times back in the day.

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I love the Look Park venue. It’s a great layout and is perfect for a family trip. I flew solo yesterday, but today, Debbie and the kids joined me with bikes and gear in tow. Debbie got to ride on the Norwottuck Rail Trail.

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As usual, this event was well attended and well-organized. As far as cross goes in New England, the Verge races are the more highly produced events. Heck, not too many cross races have both a kids race complete with barriers, AND a “bounce house.” Oh, and Look Park has several playgrounds and a zoo. It’s a great park.

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Saturday races are always tough for me after a long work week. My legs were stiff on Saturday despite the unseasonably warm temperatures. It was an amazing fall day here in southern New England. Wearing a short-sleeve skinsuit the first weekend in November was a treat.

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Today was a different story as the temperature plummeted overnight. The sun did pop out for the elite races during the afternoon, but for our 11:30 A.M. Master 35+/Juniors 17-18 (they combine our fields) start, I was wearing arm warmers and embrocation on the legs. It was chilly.

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The two courses were very similar, but Day 1 had  two tough run-ups and a challenging technical section in the woods. Day 2 had no run-up and it was a much faster race with more wide open riding. I do better on the faster courses and it showed. I moved up 14 spots in a slightly smaller field today, but the important thing is I felt a whole lot better doing it.

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I’ve been having fun with the stats at In cross, the “race within the race” is as important as being up front. Not everyone can battle for the win, but you end up racing the same guys (and gals) over the course of a season and some good battles are fought.

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I’ve been battling all season with my teammate, Horst Engineering colleague, and friend, Arthur Roti. We are evenly matched. He is better at the technical courses and I am better on the more wide open courses. Art had beaten me handily in every race this year, but this weekend, I bested him by a few spots each day. Art and I have both been battling with Keith Burgoyne from Bikereg.Com/Laughing Dog Bicycles. Yesterday, Keith outsprinted me after I tried to jump him in the last few corners. I couldn’t shake him, led out the sprint, and he came by me on the road finish like a freight train.

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Today, I was able to pull away from him with the help of a speedy junior, who outsprinted me (see the pattern here?) on the road finish. I felt much better today and will take that as a sign that my legs are coming around. I’m registered for a bunch more races in the next five weeks, so this is going to be fun.

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My new Seven Cycles Mudhoney Pro has been the dream cross bike I envisioned when we designed it. It handles like an amazing cross machine. I love it. My Mudhoney has carbon tubes bonded to titanium lugs whereas Art’s new Mudhoney SL is all titanium. These are great bikes.

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Everyone had fun today. In addition to Art and me, our team was represented by Paul Nyberg, Wade Summers, and Matt Domnarksi, all in the 45+ race. Those guys all rode strongly. The kids got loads of fresh air, did their own race, and bounced to their heart’s delight.

Race Results

Day 1
Day 2

2013 Providence Cyclocross Festival

This weekend’s Providence Cyclocross Festival highlighted how big cross has become. New England has always been a hotspot for this segment of cyclesport, but the festival drew riders, industry insiders and fans from all over the country. An event of this scale is typical for national championships, but the cross season is really only a month old and we are just hitting the big events. It was the third (of six) Verge New England Cyclocross Series races, and anchor of the “Holy Week” of cyclocross.

My first cross race was way back in 1995 and the sport has really grown. Now it is far more popular than road racing, which continues to diminish in popularity. I don’t keep track of the national series, but this race weekend was even big for the pros and elites who travel around the country. The “holy week” kicked off a 10 days ago at the Midnight Ride of Cyclocross. I was at Midnight and had a good race. The course was dry and technical. I did the 3/4 race and watched a bit of the women’s race before heading back to Boston.

Holy Week continued with the Grand Prix of Gloucester, which I’ve done before, but skipped this year in favor of the Vermont 50. Then I raced the ultimate Wednesday night cross, The Night Weasels Cometh. I raced with the big boys at the 8:30 P.M. start under the lights and had a blast. The week culminated with three days of racing in Providence. I only had time to go yesterday. I raced the 35+ 1/2/3 race with 100 of my closest cross racing friends. The festival was huge with an expo, food vendors, kids rides, a beer garden, and of course…loads of racing.

It was a hectic week, but I still made it after doing soccer with the family early in the morning. I drove over to Roger Williams Park on my own and met up with teammate Arthur Roti. We had an OK race, though both of us are waiting for the leaves to fall and the weather to get cooler. This race was more like a criterium and was loaded with “big hitters,” as Art calls the fast riders. It was fitting that he and I had our own battle while riding our Seven’s. We had a good race within the race and he ended up outsprinting me at the finish. I wasn’t able to make the Sunday race because of our NipMuck Trail Marathon commitment. That’s OK, I needed a breather after five races in 10 days. Mansfield Hollow is up next!

Race Results


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