Today was a HUGE day for me, ok maybe all caps is overkill but it certainly felt like a really big day for me :)
One of the greatest gifts of triathlon is friendship. I've been blessed to meet so many new and inspiring people from online forums and my teammies. Today I met up with Jaime in Jersey for a nice 40 mile ride to beat the incoming rain. The caveat was she had never ridden from the GW so I would have to be the lead biker which is a first for me normally I just put my head down and follow the leader.
The first obstacle of the day was the bridge itself and I was very nervous to be doing it alone even though I have accomplished this feat in the past. I tried to ride up the ramp but when I hit the sharp curve things did not go well and I ended up kind of stuck. Luckily no one else was there to witness my klutzy actions and I was able to unclip, jump off the bike and walk it up the rest of the way. I was a bit nervous in the areas around the towers where you have to turn and things are tight if someone is coming but it went pretty well.
Jaime and I met up at Strictly's bike shop and set off on our way up 9W, planning to do about 20 miles and then turn around. I forgot to start my watch but realized fairly quickly and started tracking, but I was trying my base salts for the first time and planning to take them when my watched beeped every 5 miles however my watch was beeping every mile. (At no point did my brain say to me "Wait it only beeps every mile on RUN mode").
We found a nice flat parking lot and I was able to practice getting into and riding in my aero bars, things started out very shaky but Jaime gave some great advice to put my weight back and let me abs absorb the shock instead of my shoulders. Once I leaned back things felt more comfortable and we set back off on our way. I may have taken us past some tree pruning which was a little nerve wrecking and we may have almost gotten on a highway but I did managed to admittedly stumble on the coffee shop in Nyack where everyone meets up!
After checking out the GPS we decided to go back a different way so we rode down to the water and then realized we missed our turn so we went to ride back and were smack dab in a hill. I was in my big ring and at first couldn't change to the small ring, I freaked a bit and felt VERY clipped in (I felt like I was going to fall and couldn't even get my foot out) but I was able to get into that little ring and shift properly to get up the hill. SUCCESS!
We made a few stops on the way back so I could check the GPS but luckily Jaime is nice and calm and not type A. There are some beautiful river views and nice houses in that area and I was able to get in and out of aero bars several times on nice flat roads, even with cars! After the horrible hill climb back up to Englewood cliffs I realized that I had inadvertently taken us the safer route to cross over 9W instead of having to make a left off the road, score!
Riding the GW back was a bit heart attack inducing as there were a lot more people out and about including walkers who were not looking to see bikes and did not listen when you yelled 'On your left!' I had a near miss through one of the tower sections and I decided to walk the ramp. The cross city ride was dangerous, people have no idea the actual rules of the road or they just don't care at all and I had a close call with an impatient taxi driver but I made it back in one piece!
All in all I felt it was a very successful day and training peaks thought I had run a 3 minute mile so it agreed today was ground breaking...ironman fail. :-)