April 25, 2009

Full Circle

Eight months after my bike crash I finally got a chance to get back on the route to Nyack, near where it happened. I was supposed to ride 45 miles, but just to getting to the George Washington Bridge is around 14 miles so my total ride would end up being more than 65. Given the to and from was slower city riding, my coach said it was fine and I thought it would be fine too. We planned to start at 8:30, which means we started at 9:15 (hey, I'm still a girl after all). The weather was picture perfect and the traffic in Brooklyn not so bad. That changed when we got to Manhattan. We fought our way across downtown and then all the way up the Hudson River path. I had considered taking the train up to the bridge and next time am certain I will. It's too much stop and go, too much reaction and avoiding people who shouldn't be on bikes, too many cars and car doors to contend with. It took over an hour to get up there so the real riding could begin.

I wanted to capture the good things and not so good things about this ride. Overall it was really great. I felt it was a big step for me in a positive direction and the sheer pleasure of being out on a nice day on a bike can't be beat.

The Good:
  • I handled my bike incredibly well in crowds and NYC traffic on the way to the bridge. I'm barely nervous riding on the streets anymore.
  • Once over the bridge I rode stronger than I ever have on this route. My speed was consistently between 18-23mph except on some hills.
  • I reached a maximum speed of 36mph on a long downhill and did the entire thing in aero without keeping a hand free for the break. I actually enjoyed it and wasn't freaking out for once.
  • I had to swerve and brake to avoid a massive pothole and ended up in a decent sideways skid that could have easily taken me down but I was able to control it, and in aero no less. Even just a month ago I would have wiped out for sure.
  • I rode "humiliation hill" for the first time on my Cervelo and felt it was actually easier than on the road bike. I had to put it in the small chain ring, but I didn't feel like I was going to die like I have in the past.
  • I rode in aero about 98% of the 36-mile out and back from the bridge.
The Not-So-Good:
  • My temper and attitude while riding through NYC and crowds is atrocious. I have very little tolerance for people who put others in danger, whether it be pedestrians, other cyclists or cars. I'm disgusted by how the bike lanes are disregarded and by how people behave in the crowded parks. I will have to start riding super early to avoid this. Or take an anger management course.
  • I struggled with nutrition largely because it was nearly impossible to drink anything in the first 14-mile city stretch. I was never in aero and was in heavy traffic so reaching for my other bottle was difficult. I made up for it later, but have to find a balance.
  • A crazy headwind started just in time for the harder hills. I'm not sure what I hate more, wind or hills. It's a toss up.
  • I had to spend 28 miles out of aero which led to some serious discomfort. I lost the feeling in my right palm and pinkie for the rest of the day, my back and shoulder were hurting and words can't begin to describe the literal pain in the ass this was as well.
  • Speaking of pain in the ass, I'm not sure this bike saddle is going to make the Ironman journey with me. It's great for shorter rides and mostly fine when in aero, but it's excruciating when the conditions aren't right. By mile 40 I was wishing I could ride standing up. I need to find one that works better for me and have a feeling it will be an expensive trial and error mission.
  • The entire ride home was beyond frustrating and annoying. Some idiot on the park path rode right in front of me, causing me to slam on the brakes and attempt to clip out to avoid a crash. I got one foot out and the other just in time, but my left pedal ended up embedding in my calf, leaving a huge red mark and immediately swelling. I have a lot of running ahead this weekend so I was not happy.
I finally made it home and had to head out for my 5-mile run. I really just wanted to eat and take a nap so I made the transition as fast as possible to keep from backing out. The run was uneventful. My legs felt good for the first 2 miles, not so good for the next 2 miles and great for the last mile.

I finished just in time to make it to a friend's place for dinner before we all headed to another friend's place for a party. I may have spent all day training, but I saved enough energy to enjoy the evening with friends.

Distance - 67.64 miles
Time - 4:39:36

Distance - 5.11 miles
Time - 45:46


  1. Holy Crap! What a first ride. I don't think I could deal with the city stuff like you had to. The first ride after a crash is always a bit nervous making, but it sounds like you handled it like a champ!

  2. Now thats a brick - great workout!

  3. The lakefront path in Chicago can be the same way - loaded with idiots who aren't paying attention, taking up both lanes, walking dogs (or kids, or both) without a leash...it's maddening. Good on you for getting in a quality ride, though, and taking another step toward putting the crash behind you.



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