So maybe I’ve been a bit crazy busy/ lazy. Maybe this post should have gone up last Tuesday. But it’s summer! And up until about three days ago it was the kind of warm, but not hot, summer I like. So I hope you will forgive me for my lateness. I promise to not let the summer get the best of me when there are so many fun things to share. So without further ado, The Ride to Montauk.
June 16th was the Bicycle Shows U.S. Ride to Montauk, and it was my fifth time riding to Montauk. It is just an awesome ride out on Long Island past the little fields and massive beach house mansions. Let me first explain what is actually is before I get to far like I normally do. Bicycle Shows U.S. and The Five Borough Bike Club both host rides to Montauk and they are both basically the same. You can ride your bike approximately 35, 70, 100 or 145 miles and everyone ends in Montauk, the most eastern point of Long Island. You load your bike on to a truck the day before or in the wee morning hours at Penn Station and they see it safely to your starting point. You take the Long Island Railroad out to your start point. You find your bike and start pedaling. About every 25 miles there is a rest stop with food, water, and an emergency bike station to help with flat tires, seat adjustments, whatever it is you may need. The last rest stop always has pie and it does taste good after so many miles. At the end is a big party with tons of food and beer to replenish the massive amounts of calories you parted with along the way, massages, hot showers, and a beach. And your bag full of clean clothes, beach gear, or whatever, is also waiting for you at the end. You can elect to have them get you and your bike back, just your bike back as well. Sounds pretty good right?
The first time I did the ride was in 2008 with my friend K and boyfriend at the time. We only did the 35-mile route and thought it was so far at the time. It was the farthest any of us had gone before. There were some snags in getting our bikes due to some traffic problem so we had to wait quite awhile for our bikes to even arrive and we finished in the afternoon sometime. I don’t even want to know now how long that ride took. My old bike was a heavy clunky sort of thing that is good for getting around town, but not the best choice for a long ride I would find out. K had graciously driven her car out and left it at the end so we could leave when we were ready and not have to worry about being crammed on a train. I remember we were pretty proud of ourselves for finishing and were already talking about the next ride.
The following year, K and I started doing training rides in March, to do 100-miles May for the 5BBC sponsored ride. I went on vacation in the middle somewhere, she go hurt somehow, so we only did the 70ish mile ride and saved the 100-mile ride for a month later through BSUS, which ended up getting pushed to August due to conflicts with the LIRR. The 65-mile ride wasn’t too bad and we roped in some new friends to do the August ride. We also decided to rent a house in Montauk and enjoy the weekend with even more friends meeting us out there. It was a blast. Tropical storm Danny had other plans for us. Almost the entire ride was in the rain. Soaking wet. At the last rest stop, it finally eased up and we dried out just before getting to Montauk. I also learned that my crappy bike was not the best for such long rides. My body was in so much pain at the end of that ride, I couldn’t go up and down the stairs at the house, I lifted myself with my arms on the handrails up and down the stairs. Yeah. Despite that, we had a great weekend. We actually spent time at the beach even though it was overcast and just had a good time with friends.
In 2010, I decided it was time to take the plunge and bought Fancy Bike in the early spring. Just in time for training for the June 100-mile ride. We rented a bigger house with a pool this time, had more friends riding, and had an excellent time. K was injured, so she didn’t end up riding, and I found a couple nice people on route who were nice enough to let me ride with them. I am still understanding the concept of drafting and how to ride so close to someone else. Anyway, it was an amazing ride. After 100-miles I wanted to keep going. It was awesome, I wasn’t tired, I was pumped. One of people I rode with had a bike computer and our average speed was 16.8 MPH (or close to it). The rest of the weekend was great too, the weather was nice and we all enjoyed ourselves.
Last year I fractured my elbow, riding to work one morning, so I was out for the ride. I had already signed up to volunteer to get the ride free, (the key to not spending money!) so I was assigned to checking people in at a table, not lifting bikes into a truck. We didn’t do any organized rides last year because weather ruined the Night Ride, another ride I highly recommend on the North Fork of Long Island. I’ll tell you about it after it happens this year.
So because of last year’s injury, I still had a free ride to use up. Christian also had a free ride to make up for the cancelled Night Ride. Another biking friend emailed us all when the email went out saying that the ride was actually going to end at the lighthouse instead of the train station, a much more desirable finish line, even if there are five miles of hill to get to it. In the end, I was the only one who could do it, so I rode solo.
During the first 15 miles I found a couple to team up with and practice my drafting skills. It was an absolutely perfect day for biking, even though there was a pretty strong wind head on frequently. I now have a computer on my bike, and we were booking it along at about 18 MPH. Seriously awesome feeling to look down and feel like your barely working and going over 20 miles an hour cause your on the tail of someone else. Until it’s your turn to lead the group.
The couple I joined up with were really nice and also lived inNew York. Had a chance to talk when it wasn’t so windy or at the rest stops. Between the last two stops the guy motioned for me to pull up next to him. I got up there and he said something like this, “So we’re gonna stop at this little beach inEast Hampton,” and I was thinking, I like this idea, “and I’m gonna propose to her,” my mouth drops open, I look from him up to her and back again, “she has no idea. We’ve been talking about starting a family…” All I could really say was “that is so awesome! I’ll take the pictures” or something to that effect before a car forced me back in line. I only had a quick chance to ask him if it was before or after the next stop so I could figure out how to NOT be awkward. Poor guy, this random stranger crashes your proposal plans. Opps. At the stop, I talked to him a bit more, and was like, how do I not give away something by coming up with an excuse to fall behind or something. He was fine with me still riding with them, the beach was obvious and I would just hang back and let them have their moment. He didn’t know what he was going to say, but he knew how he was going to do it. It was all really sweet. Unfortunately, my chain desperately needed grease, I don’t know how it got so noisy, and the wait was a bit much, so they took off with out me because they had people to meet at the end so I didn’t have to be awkward at all. We didn’t find each other at the finish, probably because I went really slow the second half, but I sent her a “Contratualations!” message when I was done and she sent me the picture of them right after he proposed. Hopefully I can do some rides up to Nayak with them this summer.
After a fast start, I went pretty slow for the second half. I didn’t find anyone else to team up with against the wind, and I really had not trained for the ride, which is why I was only doing 73 miles instead of 100. My final average speed was around 15 MPH, which I can’t really complain about given the circumstances. I was pretty sore after this one, the last hills really kicked my ass. My hamstrings were seizing up and I was debating whether or not to stop, get off my bike and stretch, or just finish the last miles and stretch at the end. I was afraid if I stopped, it wouldn’t end, and I would have more trouble getting back on, so I I stretched as much as I could still on my bike on the down hills. I was so happy to be finished and with the way the finish line is at the light house, there were a lot of people cheering you in, which was nice when you’re to drop dead.
I dropped my bike off and went to find my bag to take my shower. I couldn’t find my bag, so I went to find beer, hoping that would help. After going through the pile again and again. I went to look in the other piles, based on where you started, to see if it was in one of them. I was looking in theBabylonpile. Where the 100-mille ride starts. Where I started the two times before, but not this time. Opps again. Another beer in the shower later, I was feeling much better and wolfed down a hamburger, some grilled chicken, pasta salad, potato salad and more beer. Then I waited for my massage. I don’t know if anything feels better than a massage after a long bike ride. It made me very happy. I grabbed two hot dogs for the road and headed to the yellow bus taking me to the LIRR for the long ride home, where I promptly passed out.
God that was a long post. If you made it this far, I hope it didn’t bore you to tears and I hope it inspired you to get out on your bike! It’s pretty amazing how far you can go on two wheels. The final question is: will I ever do the 145-mile ride? Two of my friends already have, and K wants to do it, I am kinda indifferent about it. I would have to have my ass in gear and have built up the miles to do it and I don’t know if I care enough, I get the same reward for doing 100-miles. We’ll see…