28 May 2016

Looking Out At My Great Luck

Every traffic report I heard said, in essence, that traffic would not be heavy today, as most people who planned on traveling this weekend had left yesterday, or even earlier.

Those reports turned out to be true--even for going to the beach.  I decided to take a chance in riding again to Rockaway Beach, but continuing to Point Lookout because today was just as hot as yesterday.  And, as with yesterday, I was pedaling into the wind on my way to Rockaway Beach, though it wasn't quite as stiff as what I experienced yesterday.  Or, perhaps, it didn't seem as difficult because I was riding Arielle, my Mercian Audax, which has gears.  In contrast, yesterday, I was riding Tosca, my Mercian fixie.

Perhaps it's strange to antrhopomorphosize a bicycle, but sometimes I swear Arielle is just excited to be outside on a beautiful day.  She may not be the lightest machine--she is steel, after all, as are all of my bikes--but she's hardly porky.  To me, she's proof that design--specifically, design by and for cyclists--is more important than exotic materials. Though, I must say, people in much of the world would probably think Reynolds 631 is pretty exotic compared to whatever bikes they have available--if indeed they have bikes available!

But back to Arielle's sprightliness:  Sometimes I think she's like that because she knows the sun brings out her colors!

Anyway, the ride--both to Point Lookout and back--actually was faster than I thought it was.  That, or my watch slowed down, which seems unlikely as it was, at the end of my ride, still in sync with my cell phone and every other time-keeping device I saw.

Even after my decades of riding, there are some things I haven't figured out.  What I experienced today is one of them:  To wit, I have done considerably less cycling during the past month than I would normally do at this time of year.  Yet my time today on a ride I have taken many, many times before was about the same, give or take two to five minutes (over a 105 kilometer ride) as it was at my peak during last year's riding season.  Yet there have been times when I was in better shape (and younger!) and thought I was pedaling like Eddy Mercx or Jeanne Longo, but my ride took a lot longer than I expected.  Not that I care so much about time, except when I'm "sneaking away" or "playing hooky" and have to be somewhere (e.g. work or a date) at a specific time after my ride.

Oh well.  Perhaps I should also mention that I didn't stick around long at Point Lookout. (I don't count the time I stay at my destination in my ride time.)  A lot of people were there, but none in the water, there or anywhere else along the coast.  As I mentioned yesteday, the water is still fairly chilly (at least for most people).  Also, at Point Lookout, most of the people were there to see the air show at Jones Beach, directly across the inlet.  The show wasn't scheduled to start for another couple of hours, but as I understand, the beach would be as packed as if it were the Fourth of July, with weather like we had today.  I couldn't, however, bring myself to stay for it--in part, because I wanted to continue riding, but also because one of the planes scheduled to fly in the show crash-landed in the Hudson River, killing its pilot.  I don't know how I would have felt while watching the stunts after seeing footage of poor Bill Gordon saving everybody but himself after his plane's engine failed.

Today I was luckier indeed.  And I am grateful for that:  I had to do nothing but enjoy my ride. 

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