Saturday, August 13, 2005

72 miles to Nyack Beach State Park

The misnamed Nyack Beach State Park isn't a beach, but it's beautiful - an idyllic biking locale, with a curvy path along the Hudson. This photo doesn't do it justice.

At the end of the waterfront bike trail I exited the park in a mountainy area. I climbed part of a half-mile hill before heading home due to the time. That area is actually in Twin Ponds, which is above Upper Nyack.

I reached this area accidentally, after missing a turn on 9 West. (The road read bike path so I didn't realize this until returning.)

Here's the river from the same spot.

Above Twin Ponds is Rockland Lake State Park, which is also extremely pleasant. I wasn't there today, but was last year.

Let's go back in time to Piermont, NY, which is around 27.8 miles into the trip. I stopped here for a late lunch. Piermont is a cozy little town with picturesque houses and luxury cars galore. Off of one of their two main streets, they had an annual chili bakeoff.

Across the road near the waterfront, a gaggle of geese were enjoying the warm day. They didn't mind my approach at first, but as I came nearer they began to look cautiously around, so I didn't take a closer photo.

Here's another photo of their waterfront.

I stopped for lunch at the Sidewalk Cafe, where Mike and I had eaten in July. I ate a very tasty "Guatemalan" garden burger with steak fries, and drank a strawberry margarita. Mmm. The waitress said, "I don't know whether I should card you" - then she did. I suppose I'm flattered that anyone would think I'm that young.

The last 17 miles of the return were tough. My energy was fine, but I got a leg cramp in my right leg - it was stuck straight. After a rest, I continued several miles, climbing hills mostly with my left leg.

Returning home, having returned to upper Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge, I went down Fort Washington Avenue instead of going through the Hudson River park, because four sketchy looking guys (and one girl) were just hanging out on the narrow pedestrian overpass. Nobody hangs out on that overpass. At least one was wearing a wifebeater. Had I passed the first two I would have been defenseless, so midway over the overpass, about 18 feet from them, I just turned around and headed to Fort Washington Avenue, angering them but avoiding a needless risk.
Back on the streets of upper Manhattan, my left leg then cramped. I got to the side of the road - somehow got off the bike - and let myself fall to the grassy sidewalk to recover. Though my left leg was stuck, sticking out straight, I tried to appear uninjured so passersby wouldn't realize that I couldn't move! (Manhattan's super safe but this part of Upper Manhattan was a bit more sketchy.)

Both my right and left legs were in bad shape so I switched to a low gear to minimize the leg cramps. I had to stop three more times when they started cramping up too much. One of these stops was on the Cherry Path, where a family of ducks were just hanging out.My photos of them didn't come out - I was too far away and couldn't move closer ;-).

I had drunk over a gallon of water because of the heat (a high of 98 degrees and humid), but started to get faint and nauseous from low blood sugar. After half an hour I reached a riverside cafe and had a regular Coca Cola. It helped a bit but it wasn't until dinner that I felt better - tofu mixed vegetables with yummy brown sauce from a local dive.

With the exception of the last leg of the trip, it was a very pleasant ride. I think the leg cramps were just a result of too many skipped rides in the last two weeks due to the San Francisco trip and a busy workweek; and because my seat is currently about an inch too low.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before I moved out West I used to take the ride from Brooklyn to Nyack Park often. Not too hilly, but a great ride out of NY with some great scenery across the GW bridge and along the Hudson. Also, there is usually a stiff breeze coming of the water along RSD in upper Manhattan.

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Good post. I actually just did that ride yesterday for the first time. And yeah... it puts your legs to the test. I do a bunch of mean hills here in jersey.. but nothing was like the Nyack hills (esp that one!). But it is totally worth it once you get there.

4:10 AM  

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