Monday, August 6, 2007

Your Mileage May Vary....

I'm saying it out loud.
I am going to try to ride the NYC Century this fall.
I've never ridden a century - I've only ridden over 50 miles in a day once, and that was during this years 5 Boro bike tour, which as many of you may know is more an exercise in patience than it is exercise.
I've been trying to train for longer distances, but it's been challenging to find the time every day to get out and ride.
I understand that the willingness to train is what separates those that do from those that don't, but it's still tough when you are looking for blocks of time sometime before or after working at a job with very unpredictable hours.
I don't know about you, but I've got things to do. I've got a dog that needs walking and a house that needs cleaning and friends that need beer drunk with them ('need' may not be the correct term in the context of beer drinking).
Saturday is bike riding prime-time.
This week was complicated. I had a thing on Tuesday night, another thing on Wednesday night, a birthday party on Thursday night, The Police concert at MSG on Friday night, and then my company picnic in Dix Hills, Long Island on Saturday. (I know, the world's smallest violin is playing for me.)
I was going to miss my long ride of the week, and for those of us with minimal motivational skills, that could be disastrous. So Saturday it was.
I broke out my NYC bike map, bought a Nassau and a Suffolk county street map, and decided to go for it. At 40 miles, it's not much longer than my regular 'long' ride up to Inwood and back along the West Side Highway bike path.
It would be an adventure.
Saturday morning came too early thanks to after concert drinks with my friend Jenny, and the weather was promising to be hot. I needed to hit an ATM. I needed air in my tires. I needed to leave.
After much dithering, I finally managed to get on the road pointed in somewhat the right direction.
Now, I've got no idea how to get where I'm going other than the driving directions that everyone was given, but I figured how hard could it be? I know next to nothing about Long Island, but exit 51 off the Long Island Expressway should be easy to find. Right?
Turns out, this is actually correct. The Long Island Expressway access road is very easy to ride. It's not particularly scenic, and the cars are shooting past at about 70 mph in many sections of it, but for the most part, it cuts across the island in an easy to follow straight line. Except when it doesn't.
The hardest part of the ride was figuring out how to get out of NYC and how to find the access road again whenever the highways intersected. I ended up on a couple of 'death roads' that are marked as bike paths on the NYC bike map, but that's par for the course. I'm convinced that there's a saboteur who wants to kill all bicyclists working for the department that makes that map.
At the end of the day, I arrived 2 hours late and jumped in the pool fully dressed. Water has never felt so good.
Now, if someone could just find me a better way from Brooklyn out to Long Island, I'd be really grateful.
To see the route that I took - click the map below to go to

Go To Bikely

1 comment:

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