Still in Holland, the last day of riding brought me back to Bussum. This ride that started at my sister's in Hattemerbroek brought me along Veluwe meer towards Harderwijk.

Veluwe meer

This first section was pretty open and with a headwind and rain made for a wet start. After passing though the cute town Elburg ended up in Harderwijk. Here I had a stop at a famous fish restaurant / museum "Dries van den Berg". I ordered 5 raw herrings and a "lekkerbekje", which is a fried fish, my favorites.

Raw herrings and lekkerbekje

After the stop I rode towards Garderen, here I would meet my cousin Wim. He joined me for the last part of the ride. We met at IJstijd (an icecream shop). With  all the fish, was craving something sweet and ordered apple pie with icecream and a cappucino.

Forest path near Gaveren

Since I was a bit early had already finished my apple pie by the time Wim arrived. After another cappucino we left the shop and hit some of the nice dirt and gravel roads Wim had selected. The verb for riding on dirt and gravel roads in Dutch is "gravelen".

"Gravelen" with cousin Wim

After a bunch of scenic towns we arrived at Amersfoort where Wim lives. We stopped for tea and soup at his house and then he accompanied me for the last leg to Bussum. We first rode along the river the Eem. Soon after we passed Palace Soestdijk, which used to be the home of the current king's grandmother Juliana.

Palace Soestdijk

The last section we rode again on the gravel roads through the Heather fields of Bussum and just before dark we arrived at Annique's  (my sister-in-law) house. Despite hosing the EverOrange off at Wim's house, the last section made it pretty dirty again. With a bucket and brush cleaned up the EverOrange so I could pack it up later that evening for the flight back.

View from Palace Soestdijk to the obelisk

The next day Tuesday, Annique dropped me of at the trainstation and I took the train to the airport. Unfortunately KLM was not fooled by the Orucase airport ninja, asked if there was a bike in the case and charged me 125 Euros for it, ouch....

Airport Schiphol

On Wednesday back in Conway, after work, did a quick spin on the trainer to loosen up the legs.

Thursday morning ran my regular 3 miles route through Conway at an ez pace and after work rode with John up 116 and back thru Murray and then Pine hill rd.

John on Beldingsville road

On Friday did my regular openers loop along Roaring brook road to get ready for the races in the weekend.

New England had a terrible North Easter with lots of rain and the races in Fruitland Saturday and Orchard cross on Sunday were going to be muddy.

The next day drove out early to Harvard for the Fruitlands race to have a few inspection laps. It was raining when I arrived and the course was wet and muddy. I prerode the course on my Honey but could not get grip, I decided to use the Seven as it has disk brakes and more aggressive mud tires.

Up the first of many muddy bumps just after the 50+ start

I started in the 50+ race and rode well. Despite the muddy conditions was able to stay on the bike except for the stairs runup. I had set my tire pressure super low on my tubeless setup 20psi upfront and 22 in the back that probably gave me the ability to ride the steep muddy bumps.

Staying ahead of the 60+ leader 

In the end I finished 13th, which was were I was predicted to finish according to crossresults. I was pretty happy to keep the 60+ winner behind me, the 60+ race started 30 to 60s after us.

Smiling at the finish

From Harvard Paula and I drove to Hampton Beach where we had rented an Airbnb. We stayed there for 2 nights. It was only a 10 minute drive to Orchard cross the next day. Again it had rained hard overnight before the race and parts of the course had big mud puddles.

Hampton beach

I was able to get one inspection lap in on the Honey and again decided to use the EverOrange. Same low tire pressure as the day before.

The start was a little sketchy with a quick right turn through a big puddle. My start was really good, top 10 at least, but then within a few corners trouble started, my chain got stuck between the small and big chainring. After wiggling around a bit it started going again. Then a few turns later it happened again. In the meantime most of the field passed me.

Fighting the mud with Pedal Power teammate Mike

I saw Paula on the course and told her that I wanted switch to the Honey. So with a quarter of lap already rolled into the pit. Paula held the Honey professionally ready for me and we did a quick bike exchange.

As soon as I jumped on the Honey I knew I had another problem. The rear tire was almost flat, it had burped in the preride and I forgot the add air before bringing it to the pit.

In the pit adding air in the burped tire.

So I had to take the turns easy to not burp it even more. I then went back into pit and called for a tire pump, fortunately there was one. And after a few seonds I was on my way again.

Back on the Honey bike

The Honey rode great and I felt strong, overtook a lot of riders and in the last lap even overtook the riders I wanted to beat.

Battling postions with Lewis

Then with 3/4 quarter of the race to go, the chain of my one-by kept dropping of my chainring because of the peanut butter mud. After multiple attempts and a bunch of riders passing me I had to run a half a lap to the pit again. Paula saw it and called out if I wanted the Seven... So we did another pro bike exchange.

Running part of the last lap with the chain dropping on the Honey

I finished the race on the EverOrange without any problems. I did not even get lapped. The result was disappointing but given the circumstances could have been worse. Again finished where Crossresults predicted me at position 19.

Coming out of the orchard

Overall a hard weekend of racing in the mud, but the legs were great, promising...

Here the week on Veloviewer.

Rides in Holland, Conway, races in Harvard and Hampton Falls