Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adventures in Biking

This past Saturday I decided to take a trip out of the city. I decided to leave the car at home and bike to a small town in Rockland County about 22 miles outside of Manhattan.

My friend planned out the route and starting at 9:30 am on Saturday we were off on a biking adventure. The weather was perfect as we conquered the streets of Manhattan all the way up to the George Washington Bridge. The bridge was gleaming in the sun under the clear blue sky. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day. As we pedaled across the bridge, I thought about how lucky I was to be able to use the power of my body to propel myself on my little red bike. Here is the view from the bike lane on the GW bridge.

We got to New Jersey and biked past my office building then down a crazy hill! I was flying so fast at almost 25 miles an hour, smiling while the wind hit against my cheeks. I wish I could bike downhill forever. It feels so freeing.

After riding a few more miles, the landscape changed and there were farms and a horse backing riding school with horses right by the side of the road. What a huge change from the bustling city. I wanted to stop at a farm stand but didn’t have any place to put the goodies.

We arrived at in Piermont and immediately saw why cyclists chose to ride to this town. There are bike racks outside each store and no one locks them up! I’m such a jaded New Yorker and was nervous to leave my bike even though it was next to bikes worth thousands!

After a quick lunch and bathroom break at a store Lance Armstrong ate at, we went back to cycling. Everything was going great until I got a leg cramp, in both legs. I popped some Advil and begrudgingly got back on the bike.

Remember that beautiful downhill I spoke of so lovingly earlier? Well what goes down...must come back up. This monster of a hill was stuck in my mind and I started to worry. What would happen if I could not make it up? This was not a bike tour with support just a phone call away.

My buddy thought he found a route that would be less of a hill for us to climb. But he was very very wrong. I had to put my bike in the complete lowest gear and push so hard on the pedals for fear that I would roll back down the incline. It really tired me out but I finally got to the top. Of the first hill. There was another one hiding behind a tiny little downhill. Damn! At this point I had run out of water and Gatorade and was near tears. I had no choice but to get to the top and I did it but not without cursing out every sliver of asphalt under my tires.

Once back on flat road I was incredibly tired but still had over 10 miles until I would arrive back at home where a hot shower was waiting. I sucked up the exhaustion and pain and pedaled back over the bridge and through Manhattan stopping once at an ice cream truck to get some water.

This ride was an exciting adventure and great training for the NYC Century, which I will be riding in only a few weeks.

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