Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Good Ride

One of the concerns we had before moving to New York was whether or not we'd be able to continue one of our great loves - long distance bike riding. As some of you know, Daryl has a multi-year experience participating in the MS 150 Ride between Houston and Austin, and we've committed to a week long cycling vacation in Provence in September. So it was very important that we find a place to continue our training.

Now odds are, we could easily have picked up a few spin classes here and there and been just fine for the trip. The daily mileages are pretty doable, and there is a sag wagon that follows you every mile. So if you'd rather take in the country side with someone else doing the driving, it's certainly an option.

But there's a catch. The Boy has a nemesis. Cycling Dude.

Cycling Dude was originally a running friend of mine. Then, when we all started cycling, including The Boy. That's when The Boy's good-natured competition with Cycling Dude started.

Together, they are easily the fastest riders in our group. I mean, Cycling Dude didn't even let non-hodkins lymphoma take him down. And The Boy never gave him a pass, even when he was taking chemo.

Now that Cycling Dude has beaten the Big C, our group decided to celebrate in a big way by planning the trip to Provence.

So that brings me back to our training concern in New York.

Would we find a place to train that would enable The Boy to stand up against Cycling Dude in the Fall?

Happily, we did. Just about a 30 minute drive from our place in Jersey City is the Palisade State Park - 10 miles of the most lovely scenery bordered on one side by the Palisade cliffs and on the other by the Hudson River. Beyond the river, the City rises up in majestic opulance. The beautiful native fauna frames the whole scene, rising out of the stony cliffs and casting a lustrious shadow over the path.

We start just south of the George Washington Bridge. Then we ride all the way through the park, and out to Hwy 9. There is a large shoulder and manageable traffic. So far we've gone as far as Piermont, NY, about a 35 mile round trip.

Now, you might be saying that 35 miles isn't very far for a guy used to doing 50+. But there's a catch with this training ride. There is one mile-long climb up a very steep hill. And another less steep mile-long climb out on the highway. The route is punctuated by several shorter climbs, with just a couple miles of straightaway.

Altogether, it's a beautiful and challenging route. One that The Boy hopes will leave him fully prepared to engage his nemesis in the fall.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no drafting up Mt Ventoux!

let the trash talking begin!