* photo courtesy of RoBoNC on igougo.com
Okay - things I learned today:
1. When they say the bike workout is an hour and a half, they are LYING. The "workout" may be 1.5 hours, but by the time you add in travel time it's more like 4HOURS!!!
2. There are literally hundreds of bikers out training on a day like today.
3. Our coaches are magicians of some sort. They are able to re-appear at any point even if you never see them pass you.
3. Seeing roadkill is inevitable.
4. Your cell phone can freeze.
I left my house at 6:55 am and headed up to Riverside Park at 72nd street. There were 2 options for GTS today - a beginner workout in Central Park or an intermediate workout across the GWB into NJ. I wasn't sure which one I was going to do - I felt better than the beginner description but a little unsure of the GWB option. I checked with coach Jay and coach Mike and they pretty much said "go for it." So I did. I met up with the intermediate group at Riverside Drive and 72nd and by 7:30 we were off. (total non-biking/wait time: 10 min)
By 8:05 or so we were at the entrance to the GWB. A quick 2 min. instruction stop and we were off. I had run the bridge to NJ last year and the bike was definitely easier. Except for the hairpin turns when you pray that no one is heading at you from the other direction.
Another 2 minute instruction break and we headed onto Route 9W. We were heading for the New Jersey/New York state line. Hmm....that sounds far. It was.
I managed to stay apace with a few fellow teammates. At one point a coach road up alongside me from behind to check in. He then sprinted on ahead to the next group. I swear twenty minutes late he came up from behind AGAIN to let me know we were almost there. I never saw him head back the other way after the first pass!
Now, even though I had told the gig am working on that I wasn't available until 12 today when they hired me (so I wouldn't miss this session), I had planned on getting back to midtown by 11am. As I came upon the state line around 9:15am I thought perhaps I should turn around and head back. But as I slowed near the coaches, who were magically waiting at the state line, they yelled out "Easy ride down the hill and stay on the saddle back up." I felt guilty and just kept going. Down the hill. The very long hill. Too late to change my mind now!
So a short water stop at the bottom of the hill and it was time to climb back up. I swear I could have run up the hill faster. It was endless. Another 5 minute re-group at the state line and it was time to head home. All the way home...
As long as it seemed to take to get from the bridge to the state line, it seemed ten times longer heading back to the bridge. Road kill seen along the way? A poor deer and a sad looking raccoon. And one of the coaches magically appeared at the turn off before the bridge. Never saw her pass. How do they do that? I had a brief stop to pick up the water bottle I dropped while trying to drink and ride and didn't bother to stop again before heading back over the bridge.
The scariest part was the ramp back down to the Manhattan side. It is very narrow and there were large groups of bikers heading west as I was heading east. I swear at one point I was holding on to the bridge railing for dear life while trying not to crash into oncoming bikers or fall over onto the ground completely. Yikes!
At this point I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make my 11am arrival time at rehearsal but am too cold to stop and pull out my phone. I've felt it buzz a few times but it's not worth the time waste at this point to pull it out. I make my way over to the Hudson River path and start the fairly flat journey back downtown.
I realize it is actually 11am when I hit the short but steep hill that leads up into the esplanade at Riverside park. I figure now is as good a time as any to try to send word that I'm not dead, just slow. I pull out my Blackberry to see at least one message from rehearsal. Funny, I can't seem to open it. Okay, I'll call instead of text. Funny, it won't let me into the address book. Funny, it won't let me do anything! Screw it...just get back on the bike and keep moving towards midtown. (Later at rehearsal it will require 4 battery removals/re-starts to get my phone functioning again. I'm pretty sure it literally froze.)
I get held up for a brief moment by all the cars heading to drop people off for their cruise ships at the piers in the 50's but by 11:30 I'm finally at my final destination - 45th and 6th. 11:30. Hmmm. 6:55. Yowza! That's more than 4 and a half hours! And I figure non-saddle time was about 20-25 minutes. Okay, I'm pretty sure I can handle the ride portion of the triathlon. I'm going to go MapMyRide right now, but I'm quite certain that was more than 40k! Yay me!
And oh, yeah.....ouch.