Sunday, May 24, 2009

A New Bike Route

This morning I woke up and could feel the full effects of the class with Billy yesterday. My calves especially were tired. I guess that's a good thing in the long run. Today I decided that instead of trying to brave the park and all of the people that I knew would be there, I would try out the bike route along the Hudson and up Riverside Drive.

I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea if it would be packed with people or if it would be pretty empty. I also had no idea if it was a one-way path or two-way. So, I had a lot to learn. Turns out that it's busy for about the first 40 blocks and it's a two-way path. I entered the path at 52nd Street. From there it's a two-way path along the river. At about 75th Street, the path goes up into Riverside Park. That part is really beautiful. I forgot how nice that park is. From there, you exit the Park at 95th Street and from there, the rest of the way is on city streets, which really wasn't at all what I was expecting.

The city streets are a bit stop and go because of the lights and I was a little unsure if I could just go through the red lights (plus, I saw a few police cars that made me feel like I should wait for the lights to turn green). I also managed to get something into my eye, so that was a stop for a few minutes while I tried to get whatever speck of dirt out. The route is also really windy, I'm sure because it's so close to the water. There are these two bridges (more like raised roadways) that you cross over and those are extremely windy.

I went up to 165th Street, which is where the road splits and you can head to the George Washington Bridge to Jersey. I decided that was a good way to see what the route would be like for when I'm a better rider and can go on the long rides in Jersey. At least now I'll know how to get there!

I turned around then and headed back home. The ride home was a lot faster than the ride there. Mostly because I knew more of what to expect on the way home. I also got up to my fastest speed ever: 23.4 MPH! I was going just as fast as the Porsche that was driving next to me. That was a nice feeling. It's also a lot easier to go through the red lights on the way home (going south) since there isn't any cross traffic that way. I also lucked out and when I entered Riverside Park, I just happened to meet up with two people who were quickly biking through so I decided to just hang out behind them and draft a little bit. It was actually really nice and it made me go much faster (about 14.5 MPH average) than I would have gone by myself.

In total today, I rode for 1 hour 7 minutes and went 13.4 miles. That's an average of 12 MPH. Not my finest ride, but now that I know the route I'm confident that I can be faster next time. I also noticed that there is very minimal traffic on Riverside Drive, so I think that this could be a really good route alternative to the park. The park will still be nice because there aren't the same hills on this new route as in the park and I'll definitely need hill practice for my race. But hopefully this new flatter route will help me get my speed up.

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