After we arrived back home from our trip to Holland on Sunday, we decided to go for a bike ride on Monday. We took a loop through West Whately, followed by a shortcut to Whately as it was getting dark early. Just before we got home, there were some flurries. Later in the evening, we played a session of pickleball.

Pioneer Valley overlook from Whately

Tuesday's event was the NCC Zwift Time Trial and Hill Climb series. This week, it featured a hill climb up Leith Hill. It's a relatively short climb where I averaged 288 watts and finished in 7:18, compared to 6:12 a year ago. Another sign that I was in much better shape last year.

Leith Hill segment

The next morning, we went for a walk through downtown Conway. The weather was pleasant, allowing me to mow the entire field in front of the house. I only mow it once a year and takes about 7.5 hours, which I spread over 1.5-hour sessions a day. Later in the afternoon, I went for a 30-minute spin on Zwift, followed by another pickleball session. We are now playing in the gym on the top floor of the town hall, where we have a permanent pickleball field.

In preparation for my next cyclocross race at Shed Park in Lowell, I decided to do cross training across various fields in the town. It was perfect: grass fields, climbs, bridges to run, sand, playground mulch, and of course, mud. I managed to complete two 20-minute laps, and it was worth it.

One of the Conway climbs I incorporated in my workout

Friday night, we played another pickleball session, and afterwards, we went to the Conway Inn for a beer.

The Conway Inn aka the Pickle all lounge

On Saturday, I drove to Lexington to meet up with Mike and Sandra and stayed at their place. In the afternoon, Mike and I did a quick opener loop on the Minute Men Park and Reformatory Trail. While Mike and Sandra went to a concert, Paula and I went to a party in the evening, where I enjoyed the company and beers - not the best preparation for the race the next day. You could call them 'closers' instead of 'openers.' But the Stephan's home-brewed beers were worth it.

Sayig hello to Ollie

Fortunately, our race started on Sunday at noon. I managed to get in one pre-ride. The course was very similar to last year's, including the log behind the rock obstacle. This time, I rode it every time except during the second-to-last lap, where I mistakenly unclipped and had to get off the bike. The riders behind me were not pleased with my unexpected dismount and made their feelings known loudly and clearly. Although I enjoyed racing the technically challenging course, I lacked the power and stamina to be competitive, which was expected. But it was great to be back on the race course again and meet up with all my racing buddies.

Photo Jeff Dieffenbach

This week on Veloviewer

Rides in Conway, Lexington and CX race in Lowell