As I have mentioned, I am exceptionally unathletic. Simply put, I don't do stuff like this. Ride a bike for 42 miles? Ha! I've never done anything close to that. I know people do that and more all the time, but not me.
So, I've been trying to prepare myself. For the past couple of months I've been trying to eat better, largely by stocking my kitchen with more fruits and veggies and fewer Mint Milanos. I've also been trying to exercise more regularly, which thanks to the WINTER THAT WILL NEVER END, has mostly meant doing Jazzercise DVDs in my living room.
Last week it hit me that I had less than a month till the bike ride, so I started getting up every morning to hit the gym in our building to ride to the stationary bikes for a while. That has been going great, and I'm even able to prop up my beloved Kindle so I can read while I ride. It reminds me of my college days, when I would sporadically get inspired to go to the gym and would study while riding the stationary bikes. Only now, I get to read for fun. Less Freud, more fiction. Good stuff.
On Saturday, the temperature rose to a balmy 60 degrees or so, and the sun actually came out. That meant that Eric and I scrapped our plans to spend the afternoon inside at a museum and instead pulled our bikes out of the bike shed for a little reunion. We bought bikes back when we were living in D.C., when we were just blocks from an amazing bike trail that traveled along the Potomac. We were filled with visions of actually biking from Arlington, Virginia into D.C., and how much fun that would be. Although we did go for a few very nice rides, we never made it across the river. And, we haven't touched our bikes since.
So, we gave our bikes a little TLC - some air in the tires, a decent washing, a quick inspection - then headed out onto the streets of New Jersey. We got off to a rocky start, because within 10 minutes of leaving our building, we saw two bikers crash into each other badly. We're talking flips over handlebars, bleeding faces, the works. Everyone seemed to be mostly okay (primarily just really shaken up), but it definitely spooked me. I was ready to turn around and go right back home and never ride a bike again. I'm a wuss.
Eric promised not to crash into me, so we continued on. We ended up riding for about 10 miles total. We went north of our apartment, and although we had to off-road it and get creative with our route in a couple of places, most of our ride took us along very nice paths along the Hudson River. We rode past beautiful parks and very nice communities, all with a view of my beloved Manhattan skyline across the river. Very nice. On our way home, we also caught sight of some wildlife. Now, I consider myself a city girl, and I have no idea if this is a gopher or a groundhog or what, but it was definitely some sort of burrow-making animal and it spent a good while staring at us before backing itself back into its hole:
Super lousy Blackberry photo, but he's in there in that hole and he sure is cute.
Although the ride was lovely, things did get tough on the way back, as we were riding into the wind. Who knew wind could make life so much more difficult? But, we powered through and felt great when it was all over. As the night wore on, however, soreness set in. My...uh...posterior was not pleased with the day's events, nor were my shoulders, hips or palms. Basically, I'm a big ol' mess. Somehow, Eric felt nothing. It was as if he had been sitting in a recliner all day instead of biking 10 miles. How exactly does that work? Life is unfair.
Despite my lingering soreness, I'm feeling good about my training plan for the next 20 days. I also ordered some biking gear (an actual athletic-type top and some padded bike shorts) and some bike repair must-haves (a small pump to attach to our bike frame, and a small tire repair kit to bring along). And I will continue my morning rides in the gym. Now, I just hope the weather cooperates and gives us more opportunities to get outside and get some long training rides in over the course of the next two weekends!
I think we'll be ready on May 1st, and I am very much looking forward to it! Well, when I'm not too busy freaking out, of course.