By Michael Bello
Published 01/01/2022; Updated 01/01/2022

As is the longstanding NCC tradition, we gathered at noon for a New Year’s Day ride. The length of our moderately paced ride was determined by the temperature in downtown Northampton.

Originally, we planned to gather at Pulaski Park for an outdoor ride. Yesterday, we decided to switch to an indoor ride due to the predicted rain, not to mention heavy fog, and rising COVID concerns.

Twelve of us (Andy, Charlie, Chris, David, Dick, Dusty, Henry, Jonathan, Melissa, Tim, Zinj, and me) met on Zwift. With the outdoor temperature being 45 degrees, we rode three laps of the R.G.V. route in France. R.G.V stands for route grand vitesse, which in English means “high speed road.” Given our speed today, this is an apt description.

As is tradition, David was our New Year’s Day ride leader. After the first hour, we had covered 22 miles and were midway through the second lap. Henry decided to call it a day. The rest of us decided to break for five minutes for a cafe stop. When we resumed, our fast pace continued. Charlie suggested we ease up a bit as we completed the second lap and then the third lap would be at everyone’s own pace. For some reason, we all agreed this was a good plan.

Around the 90 minute mark, Chris,  Dick, and Tim departed. The rest of us started a fast third lap. Dusty surged ahead to the finish with Zinj, Jonathan, and Melissa close behind. Andy finished a minute back. Charlie, David, and I rode together. I thought I could get to the line first, but of course they pulled ahead of me as we went through the finish.

Our Discord conversation was entertaining as always. Zinj shared that his first NCC group ride was six years ago on the New Year’s Day ride. This pre-dated Zinj’s expansive bike knowledge and obsession with having the lightest bike possible.

Somehow, Jonathan and Tim were able to ride with us today. They both completed the Festive 500 (500 kilometers between December 24th and December 31st). They each had approximately 350 miles in their legs thanks to the Festive 500.

David filled us in on cyclocross nationals. He earned 5th place in his age group, which earns him a front row start again next year. The location of next year’s event hasn’t been finalized, but he believe it will be somewhere in the Midwest. Charlie picked David’s brain on cyclocross course features. Charlie’s new house may soon have an official cyclocross course in the backyard.

After Wednesday’s Four Horsemen Badge Hunt, Melissa, Tim, Zinj, and I were happy that today’s route was very flat. Iggy decided to ride outside today, but still stopped by the Discord conversation to wish us all a Happy New Year.

Dick earned the R.G.V route achievement, which doubled his XP points for the first lap. Andy completed the Tour of California challenge and earned the S-Works Tarmac bike. Henry finished level 28 and his avatar can now wear the S-Works helmet. David completed level 19 and now has the Level 20 kit.

In total, we rode 45.3 miles with 1,312 feet of climbing. Dusty completed the ride in 2:06:40, while I was the last to cross the finish at 2:09:05.

The NCC’s Winter Zwift schedule resumes this week:

  • Tuesday 6:00 PM – Time Trial / Hill Climb (invite required)
  • Wednesday 8:00 PM – Social Ride (invite required)
  • Thursday Evenings – Road Race (times will vary between 5 PM and 7 PM EST)
  • Sat 9:00 AM – Social Ride (invite required)

Join the NCC Club on Zwift or select the link in the discussion board/calendar for invite-only rides.

Check the NCC calendar for full details on all events. To learn more about the NCC and Zwift rides, please visit our Zwift page.