This was the week of D2R2, but there was more...
On Tuesday was the NCC Hill Climb series. We raced up Pelham rd towards Shutesbury, a 5.3 mile section. I had parked my car at Cushman's in North Amherst and rode to the start. When I arrived a number of folks including organizer David were already there. The hill climbs are now mass starts and just after 6pm we left. I took one of the last wheels as did not want to make the mistake to blow up again. Very soon I was riding with David, there was a group of about 5 ahead of us and a number of riders behind us.
I had to work pretty hard to stay on David's wheel, but did allow me to stay out of the wind a little. I did try to do a few pulls, but they never lasted long. After about 3 miles we caught up with Jonathan and we had 3 person paceline. With about 1 mile to go I did a pull which was a little too long and when I pulled off, Jonathan and David accelerated and I could not get in their wheel and dropped back. At some point it looked I got closer but then they wound up for the sprint and I finished about 14 secs behind them in 22min and 46secs and broke my pr by 1min and 21 secs.
On Wednesday morning went for my regular 5k run. Legs felt kinda sluggish and therefor kept a relatively ez tempo. Along the way I saw a mother deer and fawn, who without fear, were looking at me, taking a photo of them.
Wednesday evening was the NCC cross practice. The night before I had my new Schwalbe X-One allroad cyclo cross tires installed tubelessly. It was the easiest tubeless setup I had done so far. I had also brought stakes to setup a little peanut shaped training course for cornering practice. Once I arrived I set up the course and we incorporated it into the 3 mile cyclocross loop.
Besides David there were Melissa, Joe, Chris and 1 other rider. We rode the 3 mile course 5 times. Three times at ez speed and 2 times at moderate to fast speed. In the speedy lap I hit a rock and slid out, fortunately I was able to stay on my feet and did not crash. We also did 3 sprint starts, I was pretty happy with the starts, the initial jump and the clipping in went well. The only thing to practice more is to shift up when spinning out, in the 2nd phase of the start.
I then took Thursday and Friday off to recover for D2R2. John and I did a quick spin on Friday afternoon to checkout the bike setup and get some fresh air. I had a battery and a GoPro camera installed.
I had signed up for the 160k which started at 7am. So John and I left around 6:40am in the rain. And while riding down Hoosiac we saw the 180k riders coming in the opposite direction.
At the start we saw a number of folks from the Boston and Pioneer Valley area. We were waiting for Jason. At 7:30 we left and Jason had made an alternative route. I decided to stay with the original route and about 12 miles in ran into Dan from Williamsburg. We had met at the Massochistah ride earlier the year and rode the rest of the ride together.
The first waterstop was at mile 20 at the Mohawk trail regional school. I topped off my water bottle, picked up a banana and ate a mini snickers. I then chatted with Yvette, turned out she grew up in Utrecht, Holland and lived in the States for a while.
After the stop Dan and I continued and had a good pace, as we were passing a number of folks. We encountered a number of interesting sections such as the Archembo rd which was very steep, soon followed by Stetson brothers road which was a long climb which turned into a river bed and required some hike-a-bike.
We then hit the 32 mile waterstop, we stopped quickly and again topped off our water bottles and continued and soon entered Vermont, here were some beautiful gravel roads. At this point I hit my regular 45 mile energy dip and on top of that my lower back started hurting. So I promised myself 2 ibuprofen at the lunch stop in Charlemont. Before that we rode on beautiful roads in Rowe mainly down hill. Definitely have to go back there some time.
Once we descended down in Charlemont we had our lunch stop in a beautiful location along the river. Here I saw Pamela, but also my randonneur friends Bill from New York and Gavin from Pennsylvania. For lunch I picked up a tuna sandwich, chips and a cola. We sat along the Deerfield river with other riders that were taking a lunch break. Here we ran into Matt and Alex who were doing a their own D2R2 version.
After lunch Dan and I were on our way to the largest climb of the afternoon: Middle road. It was not easy with our stiff lunch legs but we made it up it. When we turned to the left for the last steep mile up Hunt road I got of the bike and scooped some water from the stream over my head to cool off. On Hunt road we saw a number of folks walking due to its steep grade. Even saw someone fall of his bike when he thought I could start riding again. People were definitely getting tired.
After Hunt we rode past Sidehill farm and then descended Labelle for what I thought a long descend towards Smith road, well that turned out not to be the case. We had to do 3 attemps to find the correct route, first we incorrectly went right on Clesson rd, then took a jeep track which ended in someone's vegetable garden. The owner did not like us being on his private land, but then we found the correct jeep track Cemetery rd. This was initially ridable but then had some slippery rocks and my slick tires slipped over it, I had to hike 2 sections. Here Matt passed us and excelled in riding the whole road.
Then we descended into Smith rd, that climb is never easy, and the 2nd part, which is on the asphalt, is pretty hard without shade and the sun beating down on us. I knew we had a water stop soon, and dumped my water bottle over my head.
At the last water stop I had a few sips of pickle juice, filled up my waterbottle. Then we ran into Aimee with his pickup trunk, He lives around the corner from the stop.
And so began our last segment to the finish, still another 20+ miles to go but since I knew all the roads did not feel hard. So we climbed West rd and then Main Poland, and the dreaded Fields Hill rd, which was steep but not too long. The descend on the washed out part of Fields hill rd was tricky and Dan was showing his mountain bike skills.
When we rode along Roaring brook felt we were almost there. After a pretty fast gravel descend, Dan, who was right behind me, whistled, I thought I had taken a wrong turn, but no, it turned out he had hit a rock and double flatted his tubeless tires. With his spare tube and a tube of mine installed, we were soon under way for the last section thru the corn fields to the finish. We finished the 105 mile with almost 12k feet of climbing in 9 hours.
At the finish there was food and beer. Also Dan gave me a Tree house King Julius beer for helping out with his flats. It turned into one big reunion of riders. I also had a quick chat with Jeremy Powers the cyclocross legend and we talked about the route, the dutch language and cyclocross.
All and all a very good day, now time for a recovery week.
Here the week on veloviewer