After the energy sapping Northern Reaches ride of last Sunday, I started this week pretty tired.

On Tuesday was the 6 mile NCC Hill climb from Williamsburg to Chesterfield. This was a mass start. I had created a route to ride there via Nash hill rd. When I arrived at the start location, a number of riders were already gathering. After David, the coordinator, had some initial announcements we went off. Two riders went ahead quickly. The rest stayed together for the first half mile. Melissa did an initial pull and I sat on her wheel. My legs were already saying no, so when a number of riders  jumped I was definitely not able to follow and was soon riding by myself. I kept riding by myself until the finish. I overtook one rider half way. I finished in 25min and was surprisingly more than 1 minute faster than earlier in the year.

Compare current effort (black) vs earlier effort in May (purple)

On Wednesday was the first NCC Cyclocross practice session. David is also leading that. The practice course is on the grounds of UMass. David had layed out a great almost 3 mile long course on grass, gravel, asphalt and single track with lots of corners. We had a group of 7 riders: David, Gus, Charlotte, Dustin and 2 more riders who's names I don't remember.

NCC Cyclocross practice

David shows us the course twice, unfortunately he tore of his derailleur hanger in the single track section and had to bail. We then did a hot lap which was super hard especially one specific grass section that finished up hill was energy sapping. At some point I popped (heart rate went too high) and had to take it easy for bit.

After the hot lap we did 4 start sprints. The first 2 were not really good, as I could not clip in my right pedal quick enough. The 3rd and 4th sprints were better. at some point hit more than 1000 watts during the sprint. With the last sprint we continued into another hot lap which I took as a cool down. After that lap I went home while they did a cool down lap. The field had a great view of the western hill.

On Thursday we went back to Arlington to celebrate Paula's birthday On Friday I had an Oracle team lunch on the Lexington Battle Green. I also made an appointmented with Alext to pick my new Pedal Power Training team kit for Friday. While setting up the kit pickup appointment on the team slack channel, I saw that the team ride was moved from Thursday to Friday morning.

Pedal Power Training ride

On Friday morning just before 6 arrived at the gathering spot in front of Great Harvard bread in Lexington. Pretty soon other riders started to show up: Arun, Josh, Caitlin, Shane, Jenny and a few more riders. The route was a 26 mile rt thru Lexington and Bedford. The pace was pretty high I averaged 19 mph (incl to and from the ride). The nice thing was that the team regrouped after every climb / hard section. Relatively early in the ride was Page Hill and I deliberately took it easy with my still tired legs. Other fun sections were the Hartwell ave and 2A in Lexington. After the ride Arun treated us on coffee at Cafe Nero in Arlington.

Paula and I drove back Friday to Conway as on Saterday we started our camping trip in Vermont. The first stop was in Stowe Vermont. About 2 hours after our arrival at the campsite and we had set everything up the thunderstorms came out in full force. Therefor no riding on Saturday.

On Sunday I had 2 routes planned in the morning a short 7 mile loop to Stowe to get some coffee and a 2nd longer 20 mile ride which included some brewery visits. In the end we combined the 2 in one ride. First we rode to Morrisville on paved roads with beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains. While riding to Morrisville noticed that the road we were supposed return on was closed for bridge repairs. Since the repairs were only a half a mile up the road decided to check whether it was passable for cyclists. It turned out there was a little footbridge which would let us cross on our return leg.

Covered bridge on our way to Stow

In Morrisville we had coffee at Black Cap cafe and while we were sipping our coffee, Paula noticed a sign to the Lamoille Valley rail trail. This rail trail when finished will run 92 miles from St Johnsbury to Swanton thru the Green Mountains. We decided to check it out and rode for about 3 miles before looping back to our route.

The detour had as a bonus a great view of the Cadys falls.

Cadys falls

Just after the falls we headed towards Morristown where we continued on our original route over the closed Stagecoach road. It had 2 short but steep climbs, where we stopped a few times to cool off a little and drink some water. On the last descend an insect stung me on my belly and had to do an emergency stop to have a look at the damage. Turned out to be just a small sting.

Just after that descend was the bridge that was being repaired. We both dismounted and walked down the bank to the improvised foot bridge which was a little tricky with the bike in hand. But we both made it without getting wet.

Crossing using foot bridge

After the bridge we soon were on the VT 100 towards Stowe. In the center of Stow we decided instead of going to the campsite immediately go to the breweries. We wanted to see the Von Trapp beer hall and the Alchemist brewery. Paula found that there was a long bike trail  that almost completely brought us to the Von Trapp beer hall. We "only" had to do a 1.5 mile climb, which turned out to be hot and steep.

Zomerbier at the Alchemist brewery

We picked out a spot in the Biergarten and we ordered some pretzels. Paula had a Kolsch and I had a Dunkel beer. After enjoining our beers we rode back and visited the Alchemist brewery. I had expected it to be busy, it turned out that was not the case. We ordered a Zomerbier and a Pilsner and sat down in the beer garten. And when we left bought a 4 pack of Heady Topper and put it in Paula's handle bar bag. It was fortunately a mostly downhill ride to the campsite.

Veloviewer overview, three distinct ride locations.