The Point of No Return

We’ve all encountered this in some activity, particularly for those involved in outdoor sports such as hiking, cycling, climbing, mountaineering, and erm, abseiling.

No, this post isn’t about rappelling off some crazy big wall (though I’ve done this at some point too, and it’s likely my least favorite part of climbing), but rather a relatively straightforward (or so I thought) and standard bike ride from New York City to Nyack.

Firstly, in an attempt to avoid cycling the crowded city streets due to the New York City Century Ride today, the original plan for me and Sung (one of my climbing/cycle/spin partners) was to take a brisk ride to Piermont and back for a nice cuppa joe.  This would’ve been a respectable and somewhat hilly 40 miles round-trip up 9W via the Palisades and Rockland County .  Easy enough, right?

Wrong.  Somehow we missed the turn to continue up bike route 9, and ended up on the gosh darn highway.  Oh, and we had gotten separated before what I like to refer to as the point of no return – when you realize you’re biking on a rather narrow highway accompanied by passenger cars heading 60+ mph.

I stopped on the side of 9W (bad idea, I surmised) to reach Sung by cell, but was unable to get a hold of him.  I wondered if he had made the same novice mistake as I, and hoped that he didn’t.  Stopping on a highway with passing cards somehow proved to be more difficult than anticipated, and although I was lucky and mindful enough not to get cut off or crash into the side of the highway, I did manage to scrape my poor hand (which was gloveless due to misplaced bike gear from my recent house move), resulting in this gnarly (and pretty painful) injury:


I quickly exited the highway, looking for signs to Nyack after passing the Village of Piermont five or so miles ago.  Sung and I finally did manage to meet up in Nyack, where we both relayed stories of nearly sh*tting our padded shorts from the highway oversight over coffee and salty caramel-glazed donuts – a well deserved treat.

The remainder of the ride was not the most pleasant, given the scrapes incurred, as well as the whole sans cycling gloves experience.  But it was certainly memorable.  By mile 48, I was pretty stoked to stop by Strictly Bicycles to refill my water bottle and snap a celebratory ‘you’re nearly there!’ photo:


(Note the matching pink Pearl Izumi jersey, handlebar tape,  carbon cage, and water bottle)

So much for a relaxing ride culminating in a cappuccino.  Well, there’s always next weekend…

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