This was a tremendous ride.  It was great to have someone to ride with through the whole thing.  I really felt joyous on this century, I had such a good time! Yay!

4:45am
We woke up very early, especially considering what time we got to bed (or couch, for me).  We were suited up and out the door before the sun came up, with helmets and gloves and waterbottles full of energy drink and water.

To warm up, we rode a few blocks then jumped on the subway.  Our destination was Central Park, but train was late.  Eventually we made it to central park and started riding to the event.  It was dark, but the path was well lit.  Soon we started seeing other riders as we made our way to the event.

A Very Early Late Start
At 6:30am volunteers shouted for the last group of century riders to form at the start line, and we made our way forward.  It was early, I hadn’t eaten, I’d barely had anything to drink and clearly hadn’t had enough sleep, but when I clipped in and got rolling… I was ready.

Times Square is Just the Beginning
Right off the start, the police where everywhere.  As we left the park there were police holding traffic.  At all the (early) next busy corners, there were police holding traffic.  This continued sparsely through the first 15 miles.  Very busy intersections had staff and police.  It was comforting, especially in light of recent events.  This is not always the case.  I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the officers who were out there protecting us on Sunday.  Thank you.

Early in the ride, while the sky was still mostly dark, we rode through Times Square.  All the lights were bright and beautiful–what a display!  We continued in a giant pack, as a steady stream of cyclists riding through the city.  I crossed the Brooklyn bridge and lost Dana.  I rode over the bridge again, and back, unable to find my friend.  This wouldn’t be such a big deal if I wasn’t 300 miles from home!

To say that I was unprepared for this kind of thing would not be a gross understatement.  I did have a phone.  It would seem I even had Dana’s phone number.  After some frantic calling and message leaving, I decided to ask for help.  One of the volunteers let me know that there was a rendevous point up ahead.  Perfect!  I made some small talk with other riders, commented on fixies, and pushed forth to the 15mile point.  As I rode up Dana called me, we met up, and all was well.

Refreshments and Volunteers
It occured to me that I hadn’t had anything to eat yet, and that a Peanut Butter Jelly Bagel might be just the ticket, along with orange slices, a banana, prune, apple, and some of my sports drink®.

At this point I must comment on the incredible niceness of the volunteer staff helping at each stop, and along the way.  Some of these wonderful people got up before 1am to be out there, helping us.  There were fresh oranges sliced at every stop, along with fruit, water, sports drinks already mixed, maps, and nice people everywhere!  Thank you so much!

Since there was no sports drink mixed at the first stop, Prospect Park, we decided to pack up and fly, hoping the next stop, Canarsie Pier, still had some left.

NYC Century Map

NYC Century Map

The Nasty Juice was Chock Full of Awesome
Canarsie Pier did have the special sports drink mix, and let me tell you, it was wretched.  It tasted like normal sports drinks, but then had a bitter aftertaste.  Immediately after drinking this stuff, however, your legs would suddenly bulge with incredible power, and you would shoot off leaving a trail of flames under your tires.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but it felt just like this.  Unfortunately, I strategically finished my bottle before the next stop, so I could refill… and they didn’t have any.  It wasn’t until mile 85, the last stop, the “As ready as I’m ever going to get” stop, before we had any more.

The pier was amazing.  It was miles long and beautiful; the sun was high and illuminating the giant bridge (which we would all cross single file, stairs and all).  This was my burn phase of the ride.  I was high on endorphins, I was feeding off of the energy of hundreds of other riders, but my legs were starting to feel it, my feet were starting to hurt.

Green Fields
The 70 mile stop was the most welcomed break in the ride.  I greatly appreciated the water, the food, and taking my shoes off.  There was a great big field in the sun, and people were sunbathing, talking, everywhere.  The bathroom was a mess, to a degree that I do not even wish to discuss, but we found another and made our way across the Giant Bridge.

The Bronx
After the bridge, we continued along the walk way until we hit the last turnoff.  There was a woman standing there shouting and pointing “Hundred that way! Seventyfive this way!” This was very exciting for me.  We took the long way.  We’re tough!  We’re hardcore!  One Hundred Miles!

Terrain
I’ve been dying to talk about this since I crossed the finish line.  We rode on everything.  From smooth blacktop to bumpy.  From large blacktop ruts to simple road cracks.  There were monster gaping potholes capable of consuming whole people.  There was dirt, grass, sand patches, debris, cobblestones, gravel, broken glass, and hard concrete.  Nothing was worse, however, than the 2 city blocks worth of the most ragged surface ever.  We were in the Bronx.  The top layer of road had been shorn off leaving the most uneven, painful to ride on, broken road ever.  It was like my bicycle was attached to a random orbit sander, or a reciprocating saw.  It was a jarring experience.

The End: “As ready as I’m gonna get”
Our last rest stop was different than the rest.  It was by far the least populated, and everyone at it was very tired.  On all the previous stops there were upbeat people everywhere: excited people, happly shouting, taking pictures, etc.  Here, at mile 85, there was no such foolishness.  The sportsdrink was being spooned out as powder.  Just add water and mix yourself.  I got two scoops for Dana, because her water bottle was bigger and we were at the most difficult point in the ride.  The Bronx was the hilliest part of the ride.  The saved the hills for the end.  Our fixie friends were not enjoying them either.  At the stop, another couple of riders behind me said “Are you read?” and “As ready as I’m gonna get.”  It was the perfect description of this stop.

After the stop, we rode the last 15 miles in relative silence.  To be honest, the end came before I expected it to.  I was not exhausted yet.  Then I got off my bike, and the exhaustion hit.  My feet were done.  It was easier to keep riding, but we couldn’t.  The subway was packed, we had to stand with our bikes.  My feet hurt for an hour subway ride on the A train.  Since there was a problem with one of the other trains, ours became the A train, and the conductor nearly gave himself a stroke screaming “This is the A train!” over and over, at each stop.

Home
Finally we were home.  It was over, and I could take off those shoes!  Dana passed out instantly.  I went out to eat at Moto, again.  The pudding was divine, again.  I was waiting for the train, standing over the restaurant, listening to the live music waft up into the subway station, trying to hold onto that simpler, computer free, 30’s style atmosphere.  I walked home quietly with those old tunes in my head.  It was a wonderful day.