June 1, 2008
When I woke up this morning, I had a choice to make - join my group training ride at 8:00 and be prepared that it may be all I had the energy for, or skip it and do a longer ride on my own a bit later. As much as I hated to skip the training ride, I chose the second option. I felt tremendously better, but didn't think I had the strength to do the group ride plus my own ride after. I'm happy with the choice I made. I was able to get an extra hour of sleep, which my body desperately needed, and today was a picture perfect day for riding.
I did another variation on the ride to Nyack I've written about before, only I took the train to the George Washington Bridge this time and rode over. The bridge was filled with bikers, some already on their way back and others, like me, who decided to sleep a little later and were just getting going. I made the trip to Nyack through New Jersey like last time, only this time going directly from the Bridge. It was 25 miles to my favorite re-fueling stop, the Runcible Spoon. I felt great for most of the ride up. I was keeping a good, consistent pace and remembering to shift early and often, as urged by our coaches in the last training ride. I only started to feel fatigued about four miles from Nyack. I ate a tiny breakfast and it was finally catching up to me.
After a sandwich, a smoothie and a little rest, I was back on the road home, only this time I tackled the hills of 9W. I realized I haven't been on 9W since last year and while this ride gets boring toward the end of the season, I missed it. Immediately upon leaving Piermont, there is a very steep, difficult hill that really sets the stage for what's to come on the 18-mile ride back to the bridge. Next comes the worst of all the hills, what I fondly call "Humiliation Hill" since I'm generally pedaling my fastest - in the granny gear - when I'm passed by some guy with huge legs going well over two times faster. This hill is brutal. It's .65 miles and very steep, but what's worse is that it starts on a long curve so you think the top might be around that curve. But then you round the curve and there is a long straightaway that feels as though it goes on forever. And to top it off, there really isn't a downhill after, so it takes awhile to catch your breath. There are two or three more challenging hills on this route, which is why it's such a great place to train. The ride back was great overall and very fast.
My cold is still hanging on, but I'm glad it relented enough to allow me to get out and ride today. It was by far my best ride so far, even with the ever-present cough and sniffle. I plan to see how I feel tomorrow before deciding what's next. Hopefully, regardless of what I choose, I'll be doing it cold-free.
Sport - Biking
Distance - 48 miles (43 from the bridge and back; additional city/bridge miles)
Time - 3:20:00