I had a very tough morning yesterday, not because it was emotionally difficult or anything logical like that, but because I decided to ride my Bianchi Imola Women’s Road Bike to work. My Bianchi is one of my most prized posessions and it was the bike I used in my triathlon. It’s my baby and it just arrived 4 weeks ago from Denver. I knew it had to be mine the moment I saw it. I loved it’s carbon fiber body and it was so light! I could pick it up with one hand. It’s a beautiful bike and I bonded very well with it as I trained for the triathlon.
We brought it to New York City and I had been itching to go riding. When I lived in Denver, I would ride it to school and to get around town. I trained to ride 12-15 miles for the triathlon and would take it on training runs during 2010. It wasn’t until I reached 42nd street yesterday that I realized that I was extremely unprepared for my cycling adventure to work.
On Sunday night, I told the hubs that I wanted to ride my bike to work. He laughed and then said something like “That’s a horrible idea. You haven’t rode on it for 2 years!” All I heard was “womp womp womp… womp womp womp… womp.” I tend to tune him out when he tells me I can’t do something. I told him that I would be fine and would make it to work in 15 minutes. Then he laughed. “Fine, 25-30 minutes tops!” I said. He explained that on his motorcycle it took him 25 minutes to get to our work neighborhood. I justified it taking that long for him because of the traffic lights. I would be riding on a bicycle trail with no traffic or lights, therefore, it would only take me 3o minutes tops.
Now, please keep in mind, that he was right. I hadn’t rode a bike since 2010 except for the stationary bikes at the gym, but I was reading about Kim Kardashian and Snookie, so clearly I wasn’t peddling fast or hard enough to lose concentration, and on top of that, I didn’t have my clip on shoes for the bike. The shoes clip on to the pedals so that you can peddle faster and stronger. I decided I would use my Toms and I would be fine.
Sunday night, he pumps my tires with air and warned me about being careful, not riding it on the streets and reminded me to turn my light on in case it gets dark. I replied with “I’ll be home before it gets dark! I don’t want to ride at night in NYC on the path!” Fine. Whatever his wife wants, she’ll get.
Yesterday morning I woke up later that I had hoped for, showered, got dressed and prepared for my ride. I noticed that my front tire was a little flat still, so I pumped it up again, figured it was “good enough” and ran out the door with my helmet on. I’d like to say at this time that I was also wearing a dress. Not the best attire to wear for a road bike in NYC, but whatever.
I was as giddy as a school girl on her first day of school! I tried to climb on and wobbled around a little. I thought “Damn! I don’t remember the seat being so high or so hard!” Still, I jumped on, rode down the street and prepared to ride the steep hill that leads to the park. As I was riding down the hill, a sense of panic overcame me as I realized how long it had been since I rode my bike and how steep this hill was! I made it down the hill without flipping over my handle bars and headed out towards the trail. Again, I noticed my front tire needed more air so I pulled over and pumped it up again. Good enough. I got back on and kept riding, looking for a way to reach the lower trail that runs along the highway and on the Hudson. I live off of 147th Street and would need to bike to Hudson St. a nice 147 blocks away. Yeay.
Poop. I’d have to walk down the stairs to get to the trail. So I picked up my bike, and started walking down the stairs. I reached the path and jumped on. Finally! It had already been 10 minutes, I had 20 minutes left to make it to work. I started peddling as fast as I could, and quickly felt a burning sensation in my things and calves. My legs were already tired and we hadn’t even hit 96th street! I kept looking for the landmarks to see how fast I was going, but when I finally reached 96th street, another 10 minutes had passed and I was beat and covered in sweat. On top of that, my stupid front tire was losing air and I knew I’d have to pull over and pump again. At that moment, the worse feeling came over me and I realized something…HE was right. The hub was absolutely correct! There was NO way I’d make it to work in 20 minutes and there was NO way that I was prepared for this. I hate that feeling.
So I decided to take my time, slow and steady but make it to work. There really wasn’t another option. I couldn’t hop on a taxi and the train station would still be far away and difficult to access until 59th street. So I kept peddling and holding my tears back. My butt cheeks were numb and my left hand was starting to go numb too. I tried to peddle faster but my thighs weren’t having it and my calves had already told me to screw off. I think my body was slowly shutting down and I kept having the urge to throw down the bike and kick it, then pass out on the grass underneath the highway. I felt like doing this to my bike.
At 43rd Street I saw the Intrepid Museum and got excited because I knew I was passed the halfway point! 4.5 miles down, but another 5 to go. Shit. I got off, rubbed my butt, stretched my legs and my back and put more air in the stupid front tire. I dreaded getting back on and considered taking a cab, but I knew the cabbies wouldn’t let me put the bike in their truck or their backseat and if I did place it in the trunk, I ran the risk of it falling out. So I jumped back on and peddled slowly but steady.
I passed 14th street and I knew I only had a few more miles to go. I wanted to scream because my butt hurt and because I hated myself. I could hear the hubs voice in the back of my head saying, “told you so, told you so, told you so.” Damn it.
I finally reached my street and had to ride slowly because of the cobble stone. Each cobble stone was like a mini punch to my butt. I walked into my work building covered in sweat and looking like I just had the crap beat out of me. My hair was a disaster, makeup smeared and glowing from humidity.
It took me an hour to get to work and I had biked 9.8 miles. That’s ridiculous. I trained for 12 in 2010 but yesterday I just had a wild hair in my ass and decided to ride to work without knowing how far it actually was. I text the hubs as soon as I sat down and told him what happened. All he could do was laugh but then said, “You better bring that bike home tonight too!” I left it alone because I knew there was no way I could ride it back. Just the thought of doing it again made me nervous and sad.
I walked around work looking like I had ridden a horse. I was sore and tired from the ride. As I prepared to leave for the day, the hubs called and said, “just ride the bike back. You’ll be fine. It’s a nice bike so I don’t want you leaving it at work and I don’t want you riding on the train with it during rush hour. You’ll be fine. Ride back.” I tried arguing with him but knew that he was right. A bicycle in a train car during rush hour is hell and rude and I couldn’t leave it in my office. Well, I could leave it in my office but knowing the Hubs, he’d probably make me go back to get it. I decided to brave the ride and placed my sweater on the seat to try to alleviate the hardness of it. Stupid front tire was flat again, so I filled it up with air and made sure it was as full as I could get it. Then I took off.
The ride home was slightly better because the front tire didn’t go flat, but it was painful. At one point, my back hurt so bad that I had to stop and stretch. Then my calves were shot and started to spaz out so I had to take it a little slower than I was hoping. It got dark on me so I had to take my glasses off, turn on my light and keep riding on until I reached home. I was on the phone with my friend Jimmie from about 69th until 147th so he kept me company. However, around 79th-96th, a guy whipped out his “man piece” and started waving it around like a maniac! I got a bit freaked out and at that moment, I thought, “Dear God, please don’t let him chase me because I don’t have the strength to get away!” I turned around and realized that the weirdo just kept walking on. I rode a little faster to get out of the area and told my friend what happened. I probably should have called the cops but that area is hard to access and it would be too late by the time I reported him.
I made it home safely with just a bruised ego and butt and with a bit of soreness on my lower back. My legs felt like jelly and I just wanted to take a hot bath. The Hubs came down and hugged me then helped me take the bike up to the apartment. I admitted to him that he was absolutely right and that I was positively wrong, which is a rare thing in our house. He said he was proud of me for not quitting and I told him that was one of my best qualities! I will not give up. I also added, that’s a problem too, I don’t know when to quit! Ha! I told him that I am in “Extreme” athlete and he said, “Yes, extremely unprepared and stupid!” We both laughed and grabbed a quick bite before my hot salt bath.
It was a definite lesson learned but I know I ll get better. I have the tendency to think that I can just run a race or do things like that just because I’m athletic. Truth is, I’m crazy. Now I’ll prepare for our 5K Warrior Challenge in Connecticut in one month. My logic is that if I can bike 20 miles without training, I can finish a 5K challenge in mud, water, and fire!