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:
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!
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