Felt like I had a private cycling lesson yesterday. The Crankees scheduled a training ride on our familiar trip beginning on the New Jersey waterside Henry Hudson Road about half a mile down from the GW up to the Palisades Interstate Park at Alpine and then getting on 9w to Piermont NY and back via 9w into Fort Lee. I say private lesson as the turnout was me and JDRF coaches Cary and Jeff, both of who offered me much input and encouragement during the ride on my journey to be a ‘cyclist’.
I had the option of meeting up with Cary in Brooklyn adding about 15 miles each way to the ride which I decided to do to get in my longest ride mileage wise since I began training in early May with the group. Cary is a fast well experienced rider and I anticipated either falling behind or shooting my energy on the early beginnings but I’ve been doing a lot of daily rides and building so felt it was worth the gamble.
I’ve had a few folks of late tell me my tire pressure even though it’s ‘felt’ right, was low. And as noted in a previous post a bit of new instruction on my own valve faux pax as well as getting a long overdue floor pump so Friday evening I aired him up to the manufacture recommended 90psi. I admit what felt right to me previously was misinformed. The gain here that amazed me was how it affected my pace on Saturday at least on the run from Brooklyn to the GW.
We left Brooklyn a little before 7am and thanks to a minimally occupied Brooklyn Bridge were on the Henry Hudson Bike/Runner/Walker path in no time. At that point Cary said get close to his bike wheel to ride the wind stream. I was not able to confidently do this technique consistently but I was able to keep steady speed of @18mph with him for several miles nearly up to the 79th street Boat Basin. This really surprised me, I’ve been steadily doing daily rides each morning in the park between long rides so some of the consistency was that but in the end I think it was the tires, go figure :)
So we cycled through the Boat Basin and turned off the path at 125th and up to the regular meeting place to pick up any other Crankees coming from other points, at the Riverside Church at 122nd street. From there it was on up Riverside Drive, over a couple of traffic bridges, through Columbia Presbyterian Medial at 168th to Fort Washington to 177th, then right on Cabrini and left on to the bike ramp to the GW.
Other side of the GW we headed down to the access road to the entrance to the waterside Henry Hudson Drive which I’ve grown rather fond of in this trek. It’s rolling minimal car road that plays between sun and shade winding along the edge of the Hudson. There are two hill climbs on it one that’s not so difficult but the final is a killer for me. It’s not so steep but it seems to go on and on though probably more in the mind. I’ve been up it three times now first time I made it, last time I stopped for a bit then finished the climb. This trip I was determined to get up it so the coaches were kind in humoring me and we hung out a bit talking about bikes of course :). Then it was time to climb and so we did and you know the outcome.
At the hilltop we left the park and got on to 9w at Alpine with about 10 miles to go the waterfall and canal like pass through of Piermont, NY. The road to the town features three descents that are great glides but what goes down must come up so on the return it presents climb-time but with all these climbs as any cyclist will say, is a great feeling of reaching the top and yes it’s a feeling of conquer.
The cruise in to Piermont is always fun. You turn off of 9w in to the edge of Tallman Mountain State Park which the town borders between that and the Hudson. The turn takes you down a sleepy road, a turn and a quick down hill leading you in to a curve and coming to a stop at Ferdon Avenue. Ferdon turns in to Piermont Ave as you cross what I believe is the stream which flows through town Sparkill Creek which flows in to the Hudson.
We hung out for a bit at the traditional resting/coffee shop/bakery of Bunberry Coffee Shop where the Cinnamon Chip muffin has become a personal favorite.
We were soon back on the Piermont Avenue heading out-of-town and on to 9w towards Fort Lee. As mentioned the return has three climbs getting back up to Alpine and arriving to that point is a good feeling of accomplishment. We shared the road back with several groups of cyclists of which 9w is understandably popular. I will say in anticipation of this trip I was feeling slightly bored like okay I know what to expect, not so much been there done it but I think on the surface I was missing a bit of the point. That being it remains a good workout road as it offers good descents, good climbs, some traffic as you get close to the Fort Lee and when combined with the Henry Hudson Drive all grooms particularly if you’re coming from new to road cycling as I.
At about 12pm we turned off of 9w on to East Palisades Avenue and then on to Hudson Terrace which leads to the GW bridge entrance. We have a traditional final rest/goodbye spot at Strictly Bicycles for those not going over to Manhattan which Jeff was not and Cary had started ahead of us so the journey turned solo.
I crossed over the amazing span of the GW, down the narrow bike entrance ramp and on to Cabrini. I rode down Haven Avenue to Fort Washington and through Columbia Presbyterian, right on 168th and left on to Riverside Drive, all becoming second nature on a level. I took Riverside down to 79th entered Hudson River Park and followed the walkway down through the underpass and right to a small descent path down to the bike/runner/walker path welcoming you to the Boat Basin.
The rest of the trip home to Brooklyn went well, some skirting of a busier attendance on the Hudson pathway but up in the day to be expected on a gorgeous summer day as this was.
I turned off the path on to Warren Street, over to Broadway, cheated a sidewalk jaunt up to Chambers, right on it and then on to the path entrance on the Brooklyn Bridge which was as the bike path now occupied. Such a difference from 7am that morning, the town was awake leading me to joyfully holler as I rode across, ‘BIKER… BIKE… BIKE.. BIKER’. But that’s the joy of the moment and welcome cry to all the tourists :)
Came down the path off the bridge leading to Boerum Place, crossed over Atlantic Avenue and left on Dean. Then few blocks on right on to 3rd Avenue and to break up the slight uphill in to Park Slope zigzagged let on Union, then on to 5th Avenue for a bit then up to 6th and 7th and finally left up to home. A great day, thanks to coaches Cary and Jeff and yes the air in my tires helped!
A reminder one of the purposes of my blog is to get the word out that you can support me raising money for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International) through the ride event I’m training to cycle in on November 22nd, the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes, one of seven national rides held between late July and end of November to raise money and awareness for the advancement of research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes of which many strides are being made. I have raised $3,360 so far and am nearing my goal of $5,000. You can greatly help by donating at the 2014 JDRF Tucson Ride to Cure Diabetes. Thank you!