NYC 200–it was epic.

This ride always intimidates me.  I’m not good at parking in or around Manhattan, and this ride starts from the Manhattan side of the George Washington Bridge.  So I get myself all worked up about finding the road alongside the river on the Jersey side–what if I miss the exit and have to stay on the bridge and then end up in Connecticut before I can turn around?  Irrational, I know.  But so it goes.  And the ride itself is not a cake walk.  Perkins Drive, Harriman State Park, not to mention the heat of August.  On the morning of the ride, I woke up at 1am and could not get back to sleep.  Saturday Night Live, Poker After Dark, Jay Leno, and still no sleep.  I ate something and had coffee at 3 and was out of the house by 4am.  Midway through Jersey I really started to get sleepy.  Great.  Why couldn’t I have felt that way a few hours earlier.  Then I got almost all the way there and took a wrong exit.  Crap!   I had no idea where I was, and the only way I could figure out to get out of there was to get back on the turnpike going south.  It was miles before I could get off, turn around and head back in the right direction.  So I arrived at the train station from which the ride started at 4 minutes before 7.  Time to spare!

The ride itself was as I expected, beautiful, difficult, and occasionally even fun.  Katie, Laurent, and I more or less stayed  together for the day although both of them have done so much more riding than I this year that they are much stronger.  It was fun to watch them fly up the hills.  And even if I wasn’t riding as fast,  I made it up virtually every hill, except for a couple where Katie and I agreed to walk to lower our body temperatures a bit.  The heat was as much of a challenge as the hills for this ride.  Katie and I sucked down cokes at a couple of controles to settle our stomachs and get some sugar and caffeine into our systems.

It was a relief to finally get through Harriman and even though there were a few more lumps to get over, I knew that the most strenuous work was done.  And the heat started to subside as well.  Even though I don’t like to count the ride as done until I pull to a stop at the last controle, I started  to relax and try to enjoy the last miles.

Jonathan changed the last controle from the train station to a park that is located a few blocks up the street.  I wasn’t happy to be riding the extra distance but as we were walking through the park, I had to admit that it was a great setting, with nice views and lots of people just hanging out and relaxing.  Yeah, it is a great place to end this challenging ride.  And yes, I’ll do it again, probably, as long as we schedule it for some time other than August.

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