Tuesday, May 08, 2007

30th New York Bike Tour - May 6th, 2007

Hello All,

First off, thanks for all the responses and support after my last post. I think I am stressing out over nothing, but I just need to focus where I am at in my life right now, and adjust accordingly.

I hope that everyone got a great start to their week. I just got in late tonight from my trip back from NY/NJ where I completed a bike tour with Jackie and her Uncle Les. Here is the story...


Left for NY at 5:00am - Nice ride until we got to VA. It takes forever to get through VA. We stopped there for lunch in Petersburg at around 1:30p. Just being off the freeway for that short period of time scared me. No one in VA knows how to drive (at least off of the freeway)!!! It was plainly crazy. Not knowing how to yield at a 4 way stop, not knowing how to properly merge, etc...

Hit rush hour in both DC and Baltimore. We got in to Red Bank about 9:30 to meet up with a fraternity brother for dinner and coffee. We would have went out for drinks if we would have had more time, but it was late and we only got 3 hours of sleep the night before.


Visited both sides of Jackie's family with her uncle, and then picked up some bike gear which Uncle Les was nice enough to get on his dime (I appreciated it very much if you read about race day). That evening before bed we set up all our gear, portioned out our nutrition and bottles, and then went to bed around 10:30-11:00p.

Sunday - Tour Day!!!

Did I tell you that this was the NY Bike Tour, or the NY Bike/Walk/Stand Tour? Well it was more of the latter. We parked at South Beach on Staten Island at around 6:00am and I had a banana (for those of you who know the NY area) and then biked five miles to the ferry. Oh and that light windbreaker that I got the day before ... I wore that on top of a long sleeve tee and a bike shirt, regular bike shorts, summer gloves, and the wind chill was 33 degrees. How about them apples? The ride to the ferry was a warmup, but then we waited about 20-30 minutes to get on the ferry since there was a crowd of cyclists that filled the car ramp. After we got on the ferry I used the facilites, took some pictures and then we arrived in lower Manhattan. Got off and went about 2 blocks north before we stopped dead with all the rest of the people waiting to start... We would walk and then stop, repeated the process until around 9:00 where we were up to the world trade center area, and then we were able to get on our bikes and slowly ride to the start line. We passed the official start at around 9:20am. Felt numb at that point but excited abou the ride.

Somewhere between miles 2-3...

We stopped!!! What, stop you ask? How could you possibly stop during a bike tour. Well here is your answer. Have one in the Greater New York City area. For some reason (later to find out there was one street where the police and race marshalls had to let traffic and pedestrians bleed through a particularly heavily traveled street (somewhere between 51st and 55th Street on 6th Ave). It took us almost an hour to complete a 5K. We then again got on our bikes and traveled north to Central Park only to be stopped again dead in our tracks. This time the bottleneck was due to the fact of 1)pedestrians trying to get to and from Central Park and 2) they were splitting the riders into two different parts of central park (later to be merged again), which caused us to have to stop again.

Central Park ...

We rode through a quater of a mile of Central park and then again had to dismount and walk another half mile or so before we could start biking again. We got through Central Park and it was almost 12:00p. At this point it began to thin out.

Bridges, Bridges, and Freeways Oh my!

I think the best part about the ride other than the sightseeing portion, was the ability to go on roads, bridges, and freeways that on the other 364 days of the year, are for the most part a no-no for riders.

We had multiple stops for me (it seems that if I get too much potassium in my diet in the morning with a combo of hydration, I need to make frequent stops), and witnessed some really bad accidents, which in some places were kinda crazy since it was uphill or somewhere where riders were going really slowly.


This also brings about the point of the casual rider. Those of us who have decided to take the next step and make riding more serious in our lives (at whatever level, cycling, triathlons, etc) have taken the time to figure out riding etiquette, tips and tricks of cycling, etc. Those of whom are of the more casual rider alone on their street, or some large park, do not know what in the heck they are doing when they get on a tour or race.

1) I saw more weaving by sober cyclists than drunk drivers leaving a Falcons Football game. How hard is it to ride straight when you are able?

2) Certain bikes should not be allowed on tours/races. These include tandem bikes, the kid add on bike to the back of yours, tandem with the kid add on the back, and seated two wheel bikes. Oh wait and those kid carrier 3 wheel ones you hook to the back of your bike. I personally witnessed these devices wreaking havoc on other cyclists!

3) Do not bring kids younger than a certain age to ride, or kids that have not learned how to ride in large groups. I saw one kid get plowed because he wanted to take a break and just stopped right in front of this guy that was 6'2" and riding about 15mph. Was not pretty.

4) DO NOT STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD FOR ANY REASON OTHER THAN EMEREGENCY!!! If you were riding where I was on the tour, and you decided that you needed to stop for some reason, did it not enter your head that there might be about, oh a combined 15-20,000 more riders coming up behind you collectively? There was an asain guy who wanted to stop for some reason, and literally stopped fast (in the middle of the street) and a 15 year old girl slammed right into him, almost endoed over her handlebars.

Other than all the previous stuff written, both good and bad, I had a wonderful time!

The whole entire ride (standing and walking) took just under 5 hours. I have not looked to see any stats, just due to the fact that this was not really a race in nature, so what is the point in analyzing the data when there is really nothing to analyze. I know that I did not push that hard due to the pace we were going, and I am fine with that.


Then there was the 5 mile ride back from the Staten Island Park (not too far away from the Varazano Bridge (?), which was the home stretch of the ride) to South beach where the truck was to take us home. I am glad that we did not park in Manhattan, since there was a 45 min wait to get on the ferry to get back to Manhattan.

However, I did sleep for almost 12 hours Sunday night!!! I was just plain worn out! Which is really funny considering that I felt I did not do much of anything. Post race pizza and beer was great (compliments of Jackie's uncle). I think I had 8 slices of pizza. Still did not feel full when I was done with those, but I knew better than to continue. That was to make up for all the actual food that I did not eat during the race.

That is all for now. Someone has the camera hostage right now, which has prevented me from posting any pictures from either event. I will remedy that as soon as possible. Bye for now...



Wes said...

That sounds like a lot of fun, except of the walking part :-) My little sis is trying to get me to come out to California to do a 2 day century. I wish! LOL. Sounds like you had a rewarding trip, and that's what it is all about!!

Shelley said...

Wow..you were so lucky to visit NY, the best trip I ever had was in NY...hope you had fun anyways!!

Mallie said...

Sounds to me like all the waiting and dealing with crazies was what really exhausted you. Glad you had a good time. All the stopping would have made me so angry I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it!

Allez said...

The most stressful part of bike rallies are the "casual" riders that swerve, slam brakes and cut you off! But they're still always alot of fun :-)