Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bike ride of mentally epic but physically diminutive proportions

UGH!

On the bright side, the actual real bike ride part of the ride was TRULY LOVELY. I am growing accustomed to the bucolic precipice - it is nothing compared to the bridge kind. But it was even worse than I expected getting there...

(What I am calling the real ride was the 15-mile out-and-back in the Palisades Park from Edgewater to Alpine - this page has a good description. It was genuinely enjoyable, and though the next project will be to figure out how to have a longer ride along 9W to Nyack, I am also certain that this loop itself would be - if I did not mind the repetition - sufficient as a training piece - i.e. doing multiples of 15, i.e. x5=75 plus another 10 or so required to get there and back - honestly, if I am doing Ironman training I do not need a regular ride longer than that, other than making sure I get in a couple 100+ ones, and the hills would be very beneficial.)*

And the ride back over the George Washington Bridge was unpleasant but tolerable, so I trust that in time and with sufficient repetitions I will be able to do it without having a nervous breakdown. It took FOREVER to get back home after that, I was riding on a mix of streets and sidewalks and couldn't figure out how to get back down to the Hudson path without back-tracking - but it was non-traumatic, just slow, and I will gradually accustom myself to riding in the street up there where there is not a lot of traffic.

But getting over the bridge the first time was pretty much the worst thing I have had to do, EVER, in my ENTIRE LIFE! I walked my bike over, I was too scared to ride (it turned out to be a long and complicated bike-walking endeavor already to get from the greenway path up to the ramp onto the pedestrian-bike path, and it is always when I have been OFF the bike that I get really nervous about getting back onto it - on the NJ side, one really can ride more directly from sidewalk onto bridge path, so it is considerably less of a problem). UGH! I was whimpering in terror - clearly I must ride, it would be over a lot more quickly - it is c. 1500 meters, ALL TOO LONG A WALK!

At several points I nearly burst into tears, but I managed to restrain myself, and then afterwards it was all fine - I had a false turn into a different park entrance, but got good instructions how to find the south end of the road I wanted, and then I had a real treat - about a mile in to the "real" ride, I crossed paths with Triathlete L., who was on her way back from a 56-mile ride. It was delightful - she is a very good cycling mentor, she assured me that the GW Bridge is genuinely scary (low guardrail, ugh!) and that it was very good that I had actually made it out there! A good reward for EPIC MENTAL STRUGGLE....

*Fifteen miles total for the loop, not fifteen miles each way...

5 comments:

Wendy said...

That the bike ride part was TRULY LOVELY is wonderful!

And that you rode back over the bridge is a great achievement! I have faith it will get better and better with time and repetition.

Leah said...

Very impressive that you did not just turn around and go back home! I have never crossed the GW Bridge in anything but a car. I can't even imagine what it must feel like to be so close the the guard rail.

Brent Buckner said...

Hey, you got it done!

Also, trend looks helpful:
NYC cycling up, injuries down

ShirleyPerly said...

I don't think I've ever ridden across a big bridge before, let alone one with low guard rails. Good for you braving it alone. Glad the real bike ride part went well!

lauren said...

I will also note on your behalf that you rode the previously scary hill sans probleme. Hurray!