Donate Here: Wheels of Love
When the body needs rest, the body should get it.. The most basic wisdom of effective training is that rest is and integral part of it. Too simple a concept for yours truly who decided to take a hard “Burn” class at the Gym last Wednesday, my rest day, and paid for it with aches and soreness in muscles I had forgotten existed. By Thursday. I was so charley horse I had hard time climbing the staircase at home.. The short easy bike ride i did with Jeff that day. deluded me into keeping to my plans for the Friday, long awaited, 98 miles hilly ride to Bear Mountain. Escorted by my fellows Team Goyim Member and the enthusiastic Ilana, we headed out from our usual spot at the Hudson river Boat Basin in Englewood Cliffs. Although the body was aching, the legs at least seemed fine. For the first 20 miles out, I climbed well. Unfortunately, a sudden unwanted pressure in my stomach alerted me to a nasty debilitating bout of diarrhea and precipitated an emergency stop at the nearest welcoming local deli. Although that pit stop provided relief it put a term on both my desire and my capacity to complete the ride. Jeff and Jimmy escorted me back to base, crestfallen and feeling dizzy and weak. Our trip reduced to a mere 51 miles . Ilana, courageously kept going till she conquered Bear Mountain top alone.
Perhaps it was befitting that I was atoning for my excess on the day we planned to remember Michele’s passing on Yom Kippur. Today our little family and some friends joined our sorrowed hearts and marched to Jamaica Bay Wildlife Preserve: A place of natural beauty that has survived the wrath of Hurricane Sandy and still stand as a peaceful shelter for the birds and the people who visit as Michele did so often during her life. In the striking light of a mixed windy day, with the sun piercing through the majestic clouds formation and with birds flying all around. we each dispersed through the air. a little handful of her ashes. She is now part of the soil and the landscape she so loved, cradled by the birdsongs she knew so well to recognize
Now I actually can feel the benefit of the spring hard work: The gradual increase in distance, the comfort when riding at high speed with the group and of course the ease of my climbing now that my weight is where it should be and I have the power to tackle any sort of incline. For the pleasure of riding I headed to Target Rock for what might have come to be a 70 miles rides. I dragged Irish John with me, hoping to inspire him to enjoy some new routes. Enjoy he did. At his own pace, of course. But with the generous help of Mexican Jose and of Chase, our new Korean younger ride, we managed to drag John up and down some North Shore roads and almost all the way to Target Rock Park our initial destination. When I ride, the effort and rhythm of pedaling often brings melodies to mind and sad sensation of the huge loss I am trying to cope with. Having people around to challenge me help, but having people to “help” sustain a pace has its own soothing benefit. I feel some elation and for a moment forget how much I miss Michele
Finally I can honestly say I am starting to feel at ease riding hard in all terrain. l may still feel my training needs a few last touches: Length of climbs and staying of the saddle for over 4 hours several days in a row. But I can see I am really near the peak I sought out when i began the preparation and this blog. The fundraising too has proceeded successfully. I am getting pretty close to the 10000 mark that is the goal set for me.. I am grateful to all who have given and once again reach out to others well wishers out there who will want to join the effort as we near October and the depart for Israel.
This was the big 100 miles challenge. A well organized, multi-level ride called Escape NY on Saturday September 16 starting in Manhattan to Harriman’s Park and back through the back roads of Rockland and Bergen counties in New York and New Jersey. This was a long dreamed about challenge that was going to test Jim and I readiness for the Wheels of Love ride. Well, the dream almost turned into a nightmare when disasters and misgivings seemed happen and prevent us from riding. Up early, I was delayed at home by my dog acting out and requiring fast intervention. Yeah, no further comments on that. Then, even though it was just 6 am on a Saturday, the grand central was bumper to bumper due to some pretty horrific accident near Laguardia Airport. Finally able to move on that is when I realized I that in my haste to leave on time, I forgot my sport bag with all the necessary cycling elements: bike shoes, gloves, and helmet. Needless to say we hightailed back to my house and now scrambled to find an alternate route to the ride start on the upper west side. Well various attempts failed to yield a good way and we arrived too late to join the group doing the 100 miles route. Still hopeful we might be able to complete it, on our own, in time before they close the route, we set out to get our registration bands. We did what we could to at least make the start of the 65 miles route. Unfortunately, due to some complications we missed that start time too. Don’t ask.
I must admit that all of us at one point or another thought of calling it a day and go home, but verbally we encouraged each other and it was the undeterred enthusiasm of Boris who believe we could catch up to the group that lead us to finally get ready to take the road. Our troubles were not yet completely over as we made a few untimely wrong turns. Shortly after crossing the GWB to New Jersey, we lost Jeff at some intersection. As it turned out, he followed a group of cyclists, not part of our ride. We ended up separated in spite of frantic efforts on the phone to guide him to where we could reconnect down the road. Finally, after the first rest stop at the 25 miles marker, we backtracked and found him 5 miles down the road. Together again the 4 of us, we put our best foot forward, determined to not let anything prevent us from having a good time and enjoying what was really a very well designed and extremely pleasant ride, graced by great weather and really dynamic organization. Our troubles and misgiving finally behind us, we completed 75 of the 100 miles route, returning in time to enjoy the food and the welcome party. Smiles on faces and proud we had truly Escaped and conquered all adversities thrown our way. Tired for sure but satisfied with the overall performance in what finally turned out to be our longest training ride so far
Finally I did it… well, I did it with the MCC Wednesday gang: A “Recovery Ride” 63 miles long that was just at the ride speed and the right mix of short hills and flats. I do feel my program is on pace and little by little I am adding miles to my outings. It feels good to be able to bike inside the group and to do it comfortably in any terrain. Granted, for them it is the recovery ride and not the full gas version. I will save that challenge for later in September after I do a little more speed training. Riding with the MCC group has some added benefit: There is always somebody who takes pictures or video of the group while we amble along or at the water stop..
It is evident to all , even the least observant rider, that while I can keep up with the speed and sustain the length of the ride, somebody is going to have to teach me to smile and ride at the same time… I know. I know.. That could be more difficult than getting me to pedal with style. But there is hope…. at least for the smiles
Sometimes as we ride along beautiful natural scenery, I get overwhelmed by the majesty of our surroundings. Yesterday’s troll up and down Harriman’s Park was our legs homage to the magnificence of this New York State wonder. What a thrill. Even the hardships of the tough climbs could not deter from the pleasure off the visual. Too bad the newly erected stop sign preventing passage toward Perking Drive and the crown jewel climb to Bear Mountain top, forced us to turn around and limit our ride. In the end there was plenty to see and plenty to practice climbing
With Fall around the corner, rain drenching the training roads more often, and schools reopened bringing more frequent babysitting duties, I found it hard to at time to get enough opportunities to ride long rides. With about 51 days to go till we head for Israel for WOL, I am getting eager to use any spare time I can get.
That is why I ended up yesterday afternoon ready to join the Triangle Cyclists on their 6 PM ride. Since I was busy all day with my grand son, I took the road a little past 4 PM and warmed up alone up and down Douglaston hills. By the time I joined the gang I was aware the rush hour traffic was heavy and intimidating but not discouraging to the point of forcing me back home.
Riding with the young group through the cars reminded me of old times when I used to do the evening ride regularily. I think I have not done this ride since I retired from work in 2007. (my goodness, how time flies: it has been 10 years already.) To my surprise, I managed to keep up with the speed and the strong accelerations of the group all the way to the “Wall” However, not well equipped for night riding, I was well aware dusk was approaching fast. Finally, I decided to cut the ride short hoping to stay ahead of the group rather than be dropped later when night fall would make riding alone dangerous. The plan worked to a point. Somewhere in the shady section of Brookville I was left riding in total darkness. Luckily, as my speed slowed, I was scooped back on the LIE service road by a small group of survivors who were heading west toward NYC. All the riders well equipped with strong lights. The scary moment of pedaling in the dark was finally over and the only thing to remember was the 61 miles I manage to steal on a day I was too busy to ride earlier.