Since I would ride the Natchaug gravel ride the upcoming Sunday, I wanted to get a feel of my fitness. And since Monday was lovely, Dusty and I went for a 55-mile ride through the valley. We first rode to Leeds, where we entered the bike path.

Dusty crossing the Connecticut river

We followed it across the Connecticut river, and soon after, we headed south through the fields and found a little dirt path on a dike that went along the river for a while. We rode across the flank of Warner mountain, which was a first for me, and then continued to Sunderland. Here we crossed the river again and followed it until Greenfield. We then took Upper rd to Deerfield and rode Mathews and Graves back to Conway. My neck and shoulders were aching, but fitness-wise, I was fine.

Dirt trail along the Connecticut river

I went for an exercise stress test at Bay State Medical Center on Tuesday. The test can determine how the heart functions under stress. They made me run on a treadmill first at a leisurely pace and a flat incline. Soon, they ramped up the speed and incline. In the meantime, the EKG tracked my heart rhythm and, occasionally, blood pressure. Before I started walking, the technician had already noticed some occasional premature heartbeats, aka skipped heartbeats. There were some more irregularities during the tests, and after 25 minutes, I had to wave the white flag. The staff gave me a gold star for my effort; they had not seen someone last that long for a while. I ended up with my heart rate in the 170s. Later, the report sent to my PCP mentioned: SVT(Supraventricular tachycardia), PAC(premature atrial contractions), Tachycardia-bradycardia, and sinus node dysfunction. Sounded pretty scary. My PCP recommended seeing a cardiologist, who I will see by the end of April.

Excercise stress test

Later that day, I played Pickleball in the gym above the Conway Town office. There were some outstanding players, and it made for fun and challenging matches.

Guess the road is closed

Wednesday, later in the afternoon went for a ride to Ashfield. Unfortunately, I hit a snag on Baptist corner rd. It was closed due to construction. Usually, I can bypass the roadblocks, but it was a huge deep hole in this case, and I decided to backtrack. I ended the ride with 20 miles and even got some gravel in.

The reason for the road closure

Thursday did a walk through town, followed by a spin on the bike and a short row on the indoor rowing machine. I had found a trick to use the rowing machine power output to drive the cyclist in Zwift, hence did a quick row.

Friday, another quick walk, and Saturday, Paula and I played Pickleball for 2 hours in the morning with Mary, Jack, and Camille.

FIrst muddy sector on the Natchaug ride

Sunday morning, I drove to the Natchaug gravel event in Thompson, Connecticut. Mike and I met up to do the 65-mile Explorer route. I arrived 15 mins before the start. Quickly got the bike out of the car and then could not find my Wahoo bike computer turned out I had left it at home. That was a first. I then rushed to registration. Fortunately, it was not busy. I picked up my start number, attached it to my bike, and went to the start. Saw Mike with 1 minute to spare before the start. At the start, I gave Richard a quick handshake before we rode off. Mike had a Garmin with the route, so we were all set. There were 4 timed sections on our route, and I had no intention of racing them. The first one was within the first few miles, which was challenging for some folks. It did not help that it was crowded and not easy to pick your line. I could keep riding except when my bike pump dropped and got launched by my bike wheel. I had to leave it behind as it was damaged and kept falling from its location under the top tube.

Mike and others 

The roads were quiet and beautiful. We also rode on an (unpaved) bike trail called Air Line State Park Trail. The halfway rest stop had grilled cheese sandwiches and coffee. Only sometimes, you find a coffee at a cycling event rest stop. The grilled cheese is not a typical rest-stop snack and tasted delicious. When we continued our journey and entered the "quiet hell", as the signs warned us. Fortunately, hell was not too bad, and I could ride the whole thing despite some mud and gnar.

David coming out of the Quiet Hell

The last rest stop was in Woodstock, where they served coffee and donuts. After some socializing, we continued with the last leg and finished our 66-mile ride in 5.5 hours of moving time.
Back at the start, we met up with Sandra, who attended the Express version. With the nice weather sat outside and consumed the food and beer ticket. Then headed back home. A good day.

This week on Veloviewer.

Rides in Conway and in Connecticut