I get an email from L noting better weather on the horizon, suggesting we make a trip to Nyack on the weekend. Sure, I say. But inside I am quaking. This is a 62 mile round trip; I’ve never done anything like it. The last time I did 50 miles in Annandale, I was pedaling on fumes for the last 10 miles. What if I can’t do this? What if my exhaustion and incompetence strands us both in the middle of nowhere?
Subconsciously I try to make friends with my fear, which comes up in the middle of movies (the scary parts), and haunts me at 4am, zinging me awake. Normally, I’d do a dry run on my own ahead of time to soothe my fears. But the weather is too cold. And anyway I don’t want to make a trip like this alone.
Hoping to boost my stamina in preparation, I take a ride to the GWB in the freezing cold, and am mortified when I find I can’t make it up that last hill at the end of the Greenway.
I figure she will probably want to take Route 9W up, which I’ve been told is a “straight shot” to Nyack - but that doesn’t make me feel any better. I have a friend who had a bad experience on the narrow shoulder of this road, returned from Nyack, sold her bike and never rode again. I google the route and look at the shoulder. It’s not comforting.
The "Morning Of," we meet on the Greenway at 23rd (L has already made the trip from Brooklyn) and pedal on up to the GWB, L reassuring me en route that if we’re done-in on the return, we can take a subway from 180th home. That of course is the least of my concerns, as I have doubts of returning at all. However, I take heart when I make it up both hills at the end of the Greenway with good grace.
From there I’m proud to be able to lead the way to the GWB, a path which L has never traveled (she usually goes via Riverside), and although we agree it’s a little bit of a detour, it’s pretty. And it has a plus that no other route will give you: Porta-Potties, which come in handy when you have a long ride ahead.
From there, we hit the GWB, joined by every cyclist in NYC who has not left the City for the Thanksgiving Holiday. This is the first good day we’ve had in awhile and everyone has taken notice.
We ride into the Palisades. We must be about half way through when L turns to me and says, “I don’t remember it being quite this hilly.” You mean like this?
We finally hit The Beast. L decides to “tack” her way up (I’ve always found this an amusing technique).
Which can only mean one thing: coming back will be hell. I put this thought out of my mind and eventually we glide into Nyack - and the Runcible Spoon.
This is a well-known bakery where cyclists gather to celebrate their journey and refuel. I’ve googled it, and they serve nothing gluten free, but the place is worth checking out anyway, if only because it’s such a scene. There is actually a wait for bike rack parking. And the same people who carry two locks in the City, don't bother with one here: no one wants to carry the weight on such a trip.
L and I order a mushroom empanada and a large piece of spinach quiche.
Thus fortified, we start our return trip.