Sunday, July 22, 2012

Astoria to the Palisades (31.9 miles)

June was a record high mileage month for me, and I paid the price. After returning from the Clarence Fahnestock Park I was forced to take a few weeks off from riding to heal a saddle sore, and as luck would have it I came down with a terrible Summer cold that insured that I would be laying low and avoiding strenuous activity in this heat wave that NYC is experiencing.

Listening carefully to my body and the weather forecast, I saw that yesterday (July 21st) would be just over 80 degrees, which was the lowest temperature in over 2 weeks. My sore had almost fully healed, and I was antsy to get back in the saddle. I decided to ride to the Palisades over the George Washington Bridge as it had been some months since I had done this scenic ride. Considering that it had been a few weeks since I rode I felt I should not try to push myself too far and decided to ride about 30 miles to begin ramping up my endurance once more.

I set out around 11am and made way through the mild morning sun towards the Triboro Bridge and Randalls Island where I now have my choice of bridges to cross the East River (103rd st bridge is open once more). I decided that I would like to shoot a longer clip from the Triboro, and let my camera roll until I reached 122nd Street in Harlem.

Riding from the Triboro Bridge to 125th Street Harlem.

I rode through Harlem using my usual route connecting St. Nicholas Avenue with Fort Washington Avenue to reach the bridge entrance near 177th Street. Many cyclist flowed in either direction as the ride to Peirmont is chock full of hills, and is a very popular training destination for cyclists.

A block in Harlem that was closed off to traffic and each building adorned with balloons.

Riding from 177th Street over the George Washington Bridge to the entrance of Palisades Park.

The Henry Hudson Drive is a long North/South road also often incorrectly referred to as River Road that includes many steep hills for grinding begrudgingly up and sailing happily down.

From the entrance to Palisades Park to under the George Washington Bridge. A training ride to the Palisades.

After a couple of miles the road leads to a riverside park and public boat launch that has an outdoor cafe. After shooting some panoramic pictures at the far end of the marina I stopped at the cafe for a BLT, a gatorade, and to fill up my water bottle before pointing myself back north.

The view from the end of the marina on Henry Hudson Drive.

As I neared the 15 mile mark I realized that if I was to go much further today I would likely be pushing myself too hard, and promised myself that I would turn around after I crested the next tall hill. Upon reaching the top of the hill I found large chunks of fallen rocks blocking the road in an almost ominous reminder of the steep terrain who's gravity threatens anyone passing through.

Fallen Rock Zone

Turning around I rode back to the entrance of the park, and made my way toward the George Washington Bridge. Here I stopped to shoot some panoramic pictures and soak in the stunning views of the city.

Views from the George Washington Bridge

Passing through Harlem once again I kept my eyes peeled for a shaved ice cart and upon locating one purchased a fruit punch flavored treat which I ate as I carefully approached the 125th Street bridge.

In short order I was climbing slowly up the Triboro Bridge on the Randalls Island side and rolling down into Astoria once more to complete the trip home. When I arrived home I found I was unusually exhausted from the ride. I attributed this to 3 weeks off the bike, my recent illness, and the fact that the temperatures were still on the warm side.

All in all it was really great to get back on the bike, and I'm very much looking forward to my next cycling event and century ride which is The Farm Ride, July 27-29.

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