I had a great ride this afternoon with Lauren. She had to pick up her bikes (road and mountain) from her friends' bike store in New Jersey, the Bicycle Workshop (that is a lovely little store!), so she picked me up and we drove over there first (relevant because I was spared the distressing stimulus of the George Washington Bridge) and then set out in what had become a balmy sunny late morning in the high 40s. (It was 55F by the time we finished - really actually warm!)
I am going to keep a record of bicycle-related panic, as I had a very good session yesterday with the cognitive-behavioral therapist - we have done as much work as seems feasible on the sleep/insomnia business, and are now going to attend to the ridiculous but ever-present bicycle phobia (or perhaps it is more accurately described as a traffic phobia exacerbated by fear of heights and bridges).
My task for the week is to do (every day or as close to that as possible) a ride that seems truly manageable - I said that I would ride down to Chelsea Piers or just along the west side bike path, weather permitting - keeping track of panic-inducing situations and beginning to desensitize to anxiety with hope of being able to - well, not FEARLESSLY - but safely and sensibly ride the NYC streets and across the awful bridge bike path so that I can really do the training I need. I am still sort of too scared to ride to Central Park through streets, that is the thing I need to get over!
So it is fortuitous that the weather is getting warmer and the time for riding has come. The ride this afternoon really was great - was quite anxious at a few early intersections, and definitely had some medium-intense anxiety riding up a very steep hill on the other side of Nyack (it was next to a precipice, and also my pre-ride asthma inhaler puffs had worn off - I took a few more puffs when we next stopped, and realized on subsequent hills that there is a significant difference between raspy asthmatic gasping and regular hard-work hill-riding heavy breathing, and that the former is of course much more likely to cause panic to escalate, especially with a steep drop-off on the same side of the road). Mild anxiety on some windy little downhills near the end of the ride, but really the whole thing was fine - thanks to Lauren for supervising!
We rode from Tenafly up through Piedmont and Nyack to Rockland State Park, did a few loops on the road up there to beef up the distance and then headed back through Nyack and onto 9W. I now feel like a real cyclist - that was a bona-fide training ride! It is a pretty hilly ride - I was mentally fatigued on hills in the last hour or so, though taking them quite slowly, but otherwise felt I could have ridden longer without a problem. Much room for improvement on cycling fitness - spinning is not the same as riding real hills!
3:15, 45 miles