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20th NYC Century Bike Tour – Smashing Personal Records in the Big Apple

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Last Sunday I signed up for my very first century ride. Previous single-day mileage record: 55 miles. I was nervous since I was sort of throwing myself into the fire, but luckily Accelerade has caffeine! Also, a little music to help get the blood flowing:




0550: Century begins (look Ma, new shirt! Thanks, krp!)

We were about two minutes back from the head of the pack, and since the NYC Century Tour doesn't close off city streets (the whole point is to bring awareness of transportation alternatives and cyclists' rights), we started out on 110th street packed in rather tight. Once we hit Riverside and West End Avenue, however, things cleared up and the riders spread out.

Down in the meatpacking district a cabbie yelled at our pack:


 (I wish!)

Apparently he was angry because some riders ahead of us had sped through a red light. We were stopped at our red light politely allowing him to go through as he pleased, but apparently yelling at one group of bikers gets the message across to *all* of them. Our helmets do come equipped with bicyclESP (tm), after all! We gave him a nice New York, "HEY! We're bikin' heah!" and continued on our way.


A beautiful ride up the Brooklyn Bridge was next, though I much prefer the Manhattan for everyday use. At 7am, though, you only get a smattering of tourists who don't know better than to stay out of the bike lane when walking and gawking and pointing out their favorite Sex in the City scene.


0700: brooklyn bridge


The beach at this time of morning was beautiful!


0945 rockaways
   
No time to stop for a famous Nathan's hot dog, unfortunately, and we whizzed by Coney Island too quickly to get our own picture, so I snagged one from Flickr:




We were making pretty good time, despite a popped spoke on my friend's rear wheel that necessitated a LBS stop back in Brooklyn, and made it to the site of the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair to take a loop around the Unisphere, whose fountains, for once, were actually turned on! Not for the Century Tour's sake, though, they were no doubt turned on for the US Open.


1115: Flushing Meadow (images cropped to protect the innocent)

A few miles out of Flushing was the all-important pilgrimage to the Kissena Velodrome.


Get ready to stomp! (Velodrome pics again, courtesy of Flickr users)

On the first turn my derailleur was acting cranky, so I didn't get enough speed, but on the second turn I finally was going fast enough to actually use the embankments. Those things are deceptively high!

A lap around the Velodrome

Shortly after the Velodrome I started my delirious portion of the ride. Miles 70-85 were just full of pain and lactic acid, and we lost much of our average mph here in the boring part of East and North Queens. But once I had fueled up and rested a bit in Astoria, we crossed the Triborough–'scuse me–the RFK Bridge into the Bronx and back to my neighborhood in Northern Manhattan, and picked up speed throughout the last 15 miles.


1630 finish at Harlem Meer

7 hours of in-saddle time, 10.5 hours total time, including repairs (and to be fair there were traffic jams on the bridges totaling about an hour or so). Not bad for my first century! Add 15 miles for the round-trip from my apartment to the start, and I was pretty close to a double metric century.


victory! and pain...
 
I definitely have a LOT to work on before my next century ride from NYC to Philadelphia. My big toes are still a little bit numb a day and a half later, and the heels of my hands are a bit tingly, too. My legs were jelly by the end of the race and I was sure I would have trouble walking up stairs the next day, but to my surprise I must have cooled-down enough to get most of the lactic acid out; besides the hand and foot discomfort, not much else has been bothering me.

So Philadelphia is next on the plate, and we're hoping to get a much better total time, as well as slightly increase our in-saddle average speed from ~14mph to 15 or 16mph. Here's hoping there will be more good weather in the weeks ahead to make this a possibility!


Edited by reducedfatoreo - 7/22/14 at 11:14pm
post #2 of 14
Congrats!  The second one is easier than the first -- you've got more of an idea what's going to happen.

Let us know how Philly goes.

Mike
post #3 of 14
Way to go rfo!  Nice report too.
post #4 of 14


A century in NYC is hardcore, great job.

Michael
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! 

A coworker of mine suggested that my numb big toes and heels of my hands might be because my seat is too far forward or the nose is leaning down too much, resulting in too much weight being pushed to the fore. I should probably go to an LBS to get a quick fitting done before the Philly century, but I was just curious if anyone else ever experienced this as well. The seat is mounted pretty far forward, so I have lots of room to move it back, and it's at an angle pretty parallel to the top tube, maybe a couple degrees sloping down. 

Anyone know of a site that gives basic details on how to fit yourself to a bike? I can make a plumb myself and I've got a trainer, so as long as I know the basic angles necessary I could make the basic adjustments myself and then when I save up I'll go to my LBS and get a more detailed fit.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post
Anyone know of a site that gives basic details on how to fit yourself to a bike? I can make a plumb myself and I've got a trainer, so as long as I know the basic angles necessary I could make the basic adjustments myself and then when I save up I'll go to my LBS and get a more detailed fit.
 

www.Coloradocyclist.com/bikefit
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post




www.Coloradocyclist.com/bikefit

Awesome, gonna give this a shot next week. Thanks!
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post

Thanks guys! 

A coworker of mine suggested that my numb big toes and heels of my hands might be because my seat is too far forward or the nose is leaning down too much, resulting in too much weight being pushed to the fore. I should probably go to an LBS to get a quick fitting done before the Philly century, but I was just curious if anyone else ever experienced this as well. The seat is mounted pretty far forward, so I have lots of room to move it back, and it's at an angle pretty parallel to the top tube, maybe a couple degrees sloping down. 

Anyone know of a site that gives basic details on how to fit yourself to a bike? I can make a plumb myself and I've got a trainer, so as long as I know the basic angles necessary I could make the basic adjustments myself and then when I save up I'll go to my LBS and get a more detailed fit.
http://guysbicycles.com/page.cfm?pageid=54

The above link is my LBS just outside of Philly and shows a basic fitting. Have a friend with you when you do it. In step 2 seat height, they did an adjustment so that the bend in my knees was 30 degrees and that worked well. One thought for your feet is that your pedal stroke has too much pressure on the downstroke. Hands? Where you place them and how the geometry of your bike places weight on the hands are variables. I added a aero-bar just for longer rides to provide an additional riding position that takes weight off of the hands.

. Is there a link for this ride? I'm looking for a century and live in Philly area.

I'd like to give the NYC ride a shot next year. Great job.
post #9 of 14
The New York City Century was last Sunday. It happens only once a year. So you'll have to wait till next September. ;-)

But there're two other century in NYC that you can do:

http://nycc.org/eny/ (9/26) though the ride actually goes over to New Jersey instead of around the city.

http://bikenyn.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=11030&pg=entry (10/4) This ride is IN Manhattan for the first 30 miles, TRAFFIC FREE! You also get to go through the Lincohn Tunnel ON BIKE!!! :) The rest of the routes are at the Jersey side of the Hudson, very beautiful route.  
 

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

The New York City Century was last Sunday. It happens only once a year. So you'll have to wait till next September. ;-)

But there're two other century in NYC that you can do:

http://nycc.org/eny/ (9/26) though the ride actually goes over to New Jersey instead of around the city.

http://bikenyn.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?fr_id=11030&pg=entry (10/4) This ride is IN Manhattan for the first 30 miles, TRAFFIC FREE! You also get to go through the Lincohn Tunnel ON BIKE!!! :) The rest of the routes are at the Jersey side of the Hudson, very beautiful route.  
 


REDUCEDFATORIO hints his next century is a ride from NYC to Phila. and I'm thinking it's this year. I could take train to NYC and do a ride home. I also found a local century next weekend in Cape May Co. NJ which is a possibility.

Thanks for the links. Both rides look good, but, the big NYC ride needs to be added to my bucket.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post




REDUCEDFATORIO hints his next century is a ride from NYC to Phila. and I'm thinking it's this year. I could take train to NYC and do a ride home. I also found a local century next weekend in Cape May Co. NJ which is a possibility.

Thanks for the links. Both rides look good, but, the big NYC ride needs to be added to my bucket.
 

LP, The NYC to Philly one will be an unorganized event, just me and my friends riding to my parents' house (and my childhood home) in Philly. It's certainly a good idea to take the train up here and ride back...SEPTA and NJT both allow bikes on their trains! Let me know if you're planning on doing that sometime soon, we could try and schedule a time to do it together. 

As far as I know, there's no organized Philly-NYC century, though there certainly should be! Maybe we should start a petition for one?

There is, however, a century ride from Philly to Cape May...I don't know who organizes that or if it's still around. There's also the Livestrong Century Challenge in Blue Bell. Try sending an email to someone at BCP (you just missed the Schuykill Century, too, sorry!) http://phillybikeclub.org/newbcp/
They'll have more info on the centuries in Philly.

I'll definitely be trying to hit up the NYCC and the MS organized century rides that at_nyc posted above...I kinda drooled at the idea of riding through the Lincoln Tunnel.  Does that mean there's something wrong with me?
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Living Proof View Post



http://guysbicycles.com/page.cfm?pageid=54

The above link is my LBS just outside of Philly and shows a basic fitting. Have a friend with you when you do it. In step 2 seat height, they did an adjustment so that the bend in my knees was 30 degrees and that worked well. One thought for your feet is that your pedal stroke has too much pressure on the downstroke. Hands? Where you place them and how the geometry of your bike places weight on the hands are variables. I added a aero-bar just for longer rides to provide an additional riding position that takes weight off of the hands.

. Is there a link for this ride? I'm looking for a century and live in Philly area.

I'd like to give the NYC ride a shot next year. Great job.

 

Thanks LP, I've been reading up a lot on hand position, and in addition to making sure my bike is a good fit (thanks for the link!) I definitely have some more technique to work on.

While I'm not at a perfect place with my stroke, (I still put more pressure on the downstroke rather than keeping it an even circle of up and down in a consistent manner) I don't think the numb toes stem solely from that. But any incentive to keep my mind focused on having a smooth stroke around the whole crank is a good one, so I'll be keeping an eye on that!
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by reducedfatoreo View Post
I kinda drooled at the idea of riding through the Lincoln Tunnel.  Does that mean there's something wrong with me?
 

If there's anything "wrong" with YOU, you'll have the company of about 5000 others who're equally "wrong" as you! Worse, many of us had done that same ride for more than 10 years. 
 
(the Oct 4 MS ride is a fund raiser ride. So be prepared to shell out a bit extra for "shooting through the tunnel"! I have a discount code to reduce it by $10. PM me if you're sure you'll be doing the ride)


Edited by at_nyc - 9/17/09 at 8:26pm
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Your discount would bring it to a $40 individual registration + $100 minimum fundraising commitment, which I'm sure I can guilt my friends and family into meeting. And $40 is less than the Century Tour was! 

I'll try and set everything up and make sure I can raise a good amount and do the ride on that date, and then I'll send you a PM. Thanks!
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