Monday, September 23, 2013

Birthday Weekend - Part 1 (Century Ride)

This weekend was my birthday weekend and now I am older. On paper, anyway. In reality everything is much the same. But the birthday festivities were great! It all started on Friday afternoon, when I went to birthday lunch with Amortya and ate way too much Indian food. Totally worth it. I'll go ahead and say it was intentional. Good fuel for my bike ride and all. Yes...that's what it was.
We also went for a run after work to NYRR so I could pick up bibs and shirts for myself and my friend Michelle, who was running her first 5th Avenue Mile (my fifth!). I would like to note that Amortya is now impossibly fast. More on that later.
Saturday morning, I woke up early in order to get to the Escape from New York ride hosted by the New York Cycling Club. Check in was supposed to be around 7am for century riders. Unsurprisingly, I got off to a slightly late start but managed to be up in Spanish Harlem around 7:20am. I thought it would be a simple task to head west and arrive in Sakura Park for the start. I was wrong. But at least I met someone with whom to share the saga. It was a guy named Armin (99% sure that's not how you spell it) and we rode and talked and got lost on our way to the start of the ride, which was not right on the water, but slightly east of Riverside Park. Live and learn.

We finally arrived and I got my cue sheet for the century. After I had coffee and a mini scone, I got my bike from "bike parking" and headed out. 

I can proudly say that after crossing the George Washington Bridge 5 or 6 times, I think I'm finally ready to go it alone and do my long rides on that side of the river. Good damn thing, because 15 laps of Central Park is a real bore. Anyway, I crossed the bridge with no problems and found a pack that I was able to stay with. The only problem was that they were doing the metric century (100k, 65 miles) and I intended to do the full century. This would not have been a problem if I was better able to follow directions, but alas. 

Each path was marked with colored arrows that were stuck to the asphalt in the street, so that riders would know where to turn. Unfortunately, I missed the very first turn off for the full century. Once I came to this realization, I had a decision to make: either turn around and try to navigate my way back to the century turn, or keep going with the pack I'd already settled into. 

I opted for the latter, figuring I could always swing into Central Park after the ride and finish up if I needed more mileage. Plus, by the time we got to the first rest stop I realized I'd only missed out on about 5 miles of the century. I therefore decided to begin following the century cues at that point.

The only problem was that I took them... in the wrong direction. Yes, I took them almost aaaalll the way back to the George Washington Bridge. Because I'm smart like that. Once I came to that realization, I turned around and sped back to the rest stop, figuring my best option at that point was to stick with the metric century riders for good. 

So, I did. The rest of the ride was very pretty and scenic. Plus, with the extra distance I'd accidentally done I finished up with about 80 miles instead of 65. That was nice, because I didn't have to make up for it with an insane number of laps around the park. 

Unfortunately, it took FOREVER and I didn't make it home until about 4:30. So...yeah. Next weekend I'm hoping to do a more continuous century (no rest stops, no finish celebration). I don't expect it to be very fast, but definitely faster than 8.5 hours. 

After the ride, I met up with friends for dinner in Tompkins Square Park. I got some birthday beer and may have been a little overzealous about it, since we only managed to finish three of the ones I brought between the seven of us. After dinner, we did karaoke because karaoke is one of my favorite things to do, ever. Also, my friend Jeremy got me cronuts! This involves waiting in line for many hours, so he's basically the world's best guy. And btw, they live up to the hype. It was everything I dreamed of, and more. 

5th Avenue Mile summary and more coming tomorrow!
This actually did happen

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