The week started traveling back from Fayetteville on Monday, I stayed overnight in Arlington and drove back Tuesday morning.

Later that day participated in the NCC Zwift hill climb race. This time we raced up the Volcano KOM. A 2.3 mi climb in the Watopia Zwift world. Was not sure how the travel would affect my legs, but felt pretty good after a warmup. Unfortunately was not paying attention to where the start of the ride was. Once I saw the Volcano KOM leaderslist show up, thought I had passed the start without seeing it. Turns out I jumped the gun and burned a 1 min 320 watts match before the real start. In the end finished in 8:12 with an average of 309 watts, which is what I had targetted but could have been better if I hadn't burned that match.

TT starting at arrow with green block, to early start burned match at first arrow

Wednesday morning went for Fat bike ride with John and Jay in the Conway hills. It was just below freezing but the conditions were pretty tough, last weekend's 2 inch of snow made the single track trail hard to ride. The trail was also very unforgiving for any mistakes, as soon as you were off the 3 tire-wide trail you dropped into the soft snow. It was as riding a  balancing beam. Made some fallen snow angels along the way.  In the end we were able to complete our regular 8 mile. But I had to walk quite a few of the steep climbs, either by losing grip or ending up in the "gutter". But overall a great start of the day.

Riding the blance beam. Photo Jay.

The next day I participated in the NCC Zwift race. This time the NCC crew all joined category A stage 7 of the Tour de Zwift appropriately called the Escalator. It was a loop that touches all the roads in the Yorkshire world in both directions. The Yorkshire course is a rolling course, alway up or down. I got dropped on the first longish climb out of the village with some of the other NCC riders Tim and Melissa and we stayed together in the chasing group for most of the course. Jonathan and other Henry were able to stay with the lead group until the very last super steep climb. I was lucky to get 2 feather power ups and used the last one on that very last steep climb and was able to stay with the chasing group. On the last descent recovered and just before the finish got myself sprinting pretty good, was 2nd  in the chasing group and 18th overall. Third of the NCC riders. Felt pretty good about that result.

Escalator Zwift race including warmup and cooldown. Not a lot of recovery.

Friday it had rained all day, which turned into sleet at the end of the day. This made for a beautiful crystal forest when we went fat biking the next day. The trails were now way more forgiving and much easier to ride. Some low hanging ice covered branches would make for an interesting sometimes  This time I could stay closer to John and Jay. I was able to ride every climb that I was not able ride before, as the styrofoam snow had super grip.

Jay and John in the ice covered Conway forest

We added a little bonus loop towards the CSA to see if we could find Paula who was planning to cross country ski. As it was too icy she ended hiking on her yaktrax. We found her at the hill near the river. We then biked on a steep hill behind our house to top it off.

After watching the Krawaten cyclocross race Sunday morning, John texted me if I wanted to join him, Sean and Jason for a Fat bike ride in Hawley at the Kenneth Dubuque Memorial State Forest. The riding was amazing, we rode single track and snowsled trails. After riding just over 2 hours, 16 miles and more than 2000 ft of climbing I was pretty beat. I had a TSS of 154, my hardest ride of the year so far. What was a little unfortunate that I thought to have recorded some awesome video clips of the beautiful ice covered forest.... Turned out I had forgotten to put an SD card in camera.... doh!

Jason, John and Sean at Dubuque state forest