This weekend was a weekend well spent behind bars.
Saturday I did a ride that I have heard about for years. This is a ride that most people in New York City will be familiar with. It is from Manhattan to Nyack, NY. The ride starts, as expected, in Manhattan and rather busy. We didn’t have to fight traffic because there is a kick-butt bike path down the West Side Highway that goes along, a huge portion of Manhattan. I have ridden this many times before and it is great to see it so well utilized. There are riders of every variety and I get to see a good cross-section of the bicycles that people are riding.
After going through Manhattan we went across the George Washington Bridge. It freaked some people out but I dug it; very cool to get that vantage point of the city.
Just on the other side of the bridge we gathered at Strictly Bicycles. I have heard many things about this shop before and they lived up to the hype and then some. This shop has done a really good job of being a cycling hub. They have an outdoor seating area, and when you go inside it is a nice welcoming environment. There are cold drinks a small coffee shop (Caffeine GOOD)plus all the necessities for cycling are there and well displayed. They have some bikes downstairs for Eye-Candy and to get you excited, but the bulk of the bicycles are upstairs. Having been in many bicycle shops, I was quite impressed. Great Job Strictly Bicycles!
From Strictly in Fort Lee, NJ. we rode up through Northern New Jersey and back into New York state, and into Nyack. If you only see New York from T.V. or from Manhattan you would never know that it is so easy to get out of the chaos of the island. Within a short time you can easily be in some really nice suburban settings with great shoulders and bike lanes.
The caveat is that while riding on these bucolic roads,you must RIDE SINGLE FILE! There are so many people that ride here, the towns have gotten a little frustrated with people taking up the entire road. The tickets for not riding single file are $250. They are not shy about handing these tickets out either.
We rode back on 9W. This was a really nice road. Unbelievable that it was next to one of the main thoroughfares into the city.
The only tough part of the ride was the heat. We were out for WAY longer than expected. What was supposed to be a 40 mile ride turned into a 65 mile ride. With all of the stops we were in the heat and sun for 6 1/2 hours. Not too rough on the legs but the heat was crazy.
Add to this the fact that everything I have learned about nutrition and hydration I have completely thrown out the window; I ate one full meal and didn’t drink nearly enough water. This was the perfect setup for Sunday. Not!
Sunday I woke up and made a game day call as to whether or not I would go race. I know that I said on Friday that I was going to race but after my dehydration session on Saturday–I wasn’t too sure. I decided to race, and paid for it.
While getting ready for the race it was only 76 degrees, but it was 10,000% humidity(Totally true). I was changing into my kit and the sweat was literally pouring off of my nose. I should have known at this point that I would have been better going to the “Free Beer” tent.
For some reason, I still raced. Now to preload my excuses… I was dehydrated, overheated, haven’t raced a cross country in over 5 years, hadn’t started drinking yet, and I’m old. Just to name a few.
Needless to say with that disclaimer that I got a proper butt whooping. As of today the results aren’t up but I don’t need the results to know that I was not at the front of the pack. The pros warming up and passing me on the last lap, combined with me having to stop on lap 2 TWICE convinced me I was whooped up on.
The funny thing about it all was that I had a good time. It was good to be back in the swing of things. That is the reason to suffer so hard, because in some masochistic way it’s rewarding. I may actually train a little bit if I want to race cross this year. Oh SNAP–I just put that in print.