Sunday, March 11, 2012

Astoria to New Jersey and The Palisades/Tallman Mountain (46.23 miles)

In my quest to traverse all of the bridges within my range I took a long hard look at the George Washington Bridge and saw how, connecting to Henry Hudson Drive, one could reach Tallman Mountain (apparently this is a very popular route).

Starting out it was cool, but I felt some measure of comfort knowing the temperatures were only supposed to rise. The trip over the Triboro Bridge was uneventful, and making my way up and crosstown presented no real challenges. As I approached the George Washington Bridge I was struck by the instant presence of many other cyclists, all traveling to and from the bridge.

Upon stopping for some water on the far side of the bridge I decided to ask a fellow solo cyclist if he could point me towards Henry Hudson Drive. He explained that he was heading in that direction, and would be happy to show me the way. I told him I appreciated the help, and would try to keep up. As we entered Henry Hudson Drive I was delighted to find that it began with a long downhill that wound under the Tapanzee Bridge offering breathtaking views of the Hudson River. When we came to the beginning of the steep hills heading North I said goodbye to Scott as I knew he would fairly glide up these huge hills, where I had to spin slowly up them. After spinning up these prutal hills in agony for longer than I would like to remember, I finally cresting the last of the large hills and find Scott sitting in front of what I think is a park rangers station just about where Henry Hudson Drive meets 9W. He tells me I've done well and that there are bathrooms, water, and a soda machine inside. When I asked him how much further it was to Tallman Mountain he said that I should only attempt the rest of the trip if I felt strong enough. I assured him that I was o.k., and took off in the direction he had indicated earlier, up 9W.

Arriving at Tallman Mountain on 9W, I entered it's hard packed dirt trails, and find myself surrounded by complete wilderness. Only a couple of miles into the trail, and I arrive at a small restroom building with picnic tables, and a water fountain. Here I rested, shot a short video and ate the nuts and raisins I had brought along.

My return route would follow 9W/New York State Bicycle Route 9. Heading South, into the wind, I had a stroke of luck when 2 cyclists (one with a blue jersey and one with a grey jersey) passed me trading drafts, and were traveling at just the right speed so I could catch a conservative draft behind the ever rotating second rider. I had never had the opportunity to draft for such a long stretch (maybe 7 or 8 miles worth of drafting), and I could really feel the difference, especially when climbing. After following them for a stretch I asked the blue rider how much further to the George Washington Bridge, and he said we were nearby to it already and to follow them the rest of the way, which I did. After crossing the George Washington Bridge to New York City I found my way down to the 125th Street Bridge for the last leg of my journey. Apparently this is a very popular ride, and I can see why. The views are breathtaking, and the hills are good/brutal training. I will definitely be riding this route again.

No comments:

Post a Comment