I made a reference to this during my June weight loss update, but the Saturday after the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge, I decide to do something I thought would be “fun”. Maggie was going out of town for our High School reunion, and I was going to be home alone left to my own devices. I had been wanting to take my bike over to Manhattan and ride on the path that follows the West Side Highway and continues on to almost the northern tip of the island.
So I get up Saturday morning and by the time I’m ready and get my bike out, it’s like 10:30 AM. I ride my bike to the PATH station and drag it down to the train. I get over the the World Trade Center station and then start the process of dragging it out of there. Finally, after carrying my bike up a couple of flights of stairs and back down another, I’m on the other side of the street and ready to ride.
The path provided along the highway is actually quite nice. There are lanes in both directions and lights at intersections specifically for the path. While this follows the West Side Highway, it also means the bike path follows the Hudson River. It was nice to watch the boat go along and to pass by the very large Cruise Ship dock at 42nd St.
Now, I was really pushing it on my bike at about 14-15 MPH and I was feeling really good. My goal was to reach at least the George Washington Bridge and possibly a little fruther. That would take me almost the entire distance of the island.
In my mind for some reason I think about going Uptown (or North for those of you not familiar with Manhattan) as going Uphill and going Downtown as being downhill. Well, I was kinda right, although most of the route was very flat. Towards the bridge though, some of the terrain started going uphill, which by that time meant some pain for my legs. But in the back of my mind I was thinking about how nice it will be when I come back the other way since it will be downhill.
So I finally get to a good turn around spot at around 12 miles (which is just past the bridge) and I start to come back. The downhill portion at the beginning of this part is certainly nice. But once I reached the flat part again, I realized I was going to have a tough time going back ( and for certain that going downtown is not actually going downhill ). The minute I hit the flat I was immediately slowed by a nice head wind. Nothing strong mind you, but just enough to really slow you down and put some pressure on pedaling.
The only thing that kept me going coming back were little milestones, like “If I can just reach 42nd St, I’ll be fine”. Once past there, it was “If I can just make it to 14th St” and so on till I got back down into the named streets of downtown.
Finally I made it and then realized that I was going to have to carry my bike back over the road to the PATH station. I dragged the bike up the stairs and back down, then rejoiced in using the elevators at the PATH station.
Once I got back to the Jersey side of the Hudson, I got back on my bike for the final ride to our apartment. Once I got inside, I went straight for water (I’d finished the 2 bottles on my bike). I also weighed myself and found that the bike ride had taken 7 pounds of fluid off. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to get it back.
All in all, it was a great ride and I look forward to doing it again. Maggie and I have been doing an 8 mile ride to Liberty State Park and back, and I want her to at least try the West Side Highway ride to at least 42nd St. I’ll post here if we get to do that.