Monday, August 30, 2004


Giving 110%

One of the dopiest and most frequently used cliches in the sports world is the phrase, "The guy gives 110%".

As the blogospher's resident mathematician, Ben could tell you, it is impossible to give more than your maximum which is, by definition, 100%.

Or so I thought until yesterday when my century bike ride turned out to be 110 miles rather than 100.

Yesterday's ride was brutal. The temperature reached 88 degrees and the humidity was oppressive. Starting at 7:30 a.m., I was able to get through the first 54 miles in 3 3/4 hours, a pretty decent pace. I stopped only once to buy some water since I had missed the first rest stop.

At that point I felt pretty strong and thought I could make it another 46 miles comfortably. Of course, perhaps I didn't consider that at 11 a.m. the temperature was climbing and the sun was in full exposure.

Still, at the 75 mile mark, I thought I could struggle on another 25 miles. When I got to the last rest stop, I had already gone 92 miles. I had very little energy left (I had not eaten enough during the ride), I was completely baked and my butt was killing me. I took comfort from the fact that there were only 8 miles left.

Then I saw the sign. It said "18 miles to the Finish". Oh boy.

I didn't know what to do. I seriously thought of dropping out and waiting for the SAG van to pick me up and take me to the finish. Instead, I spent about 10 minutes eating a banana, some watermelon and chocolate, and refilling my Camelback and water bottle and shpritzing water on my face.

Making matters worse, the final 18 miles were substantially uphill. I went out with another rider and we struggled along. I went into my second crank gear where I stayed much of the rest of the ride. There were three ridiculous climbs where I had to go into the granny gear and could barely keep going forward. On one of the climbs, I lost the chain when switching to the granny gear. I had to dismount and put the chain back on. The problem was, I was on such a steep incline, I couldn't get started again. I walked my bike up the hill a few yards till I reached a driveway. I started downhill in the driveway and got the momentum to start uphill again.

Finally, I reached the last section, a 3.7 mile rolling road. I told myself that this was less than 2/3 of a lap of Central Park and I could easily do it. With difficulty, I did. 8 hours and 18 minutes (including all the rest stops) and 110 miles altogether.

I can't describe how tired and hot I felt. I stuck my head under a sink and poured on the cold water. I ran the air conditioning in my car for ten minutes while I hooked up my bike and changed into dry clothes. I drove home hoping that my legs would not cramp up. (They didn't). I ate dinner, went to shul and went to sleep at 9:15.

Remarkably, when I woke up this morning, I felt fine. My knees are solid and nothing is sore other than my 'seat'. I will take today and perhaps tomorrow off and get back on the bike in a couple of days.

I'm very psyched because I can't imagine anything on my Israel Bike Tour being as difficult as yesterday where I gave 110%.

Thursday, August 26, 2004


The First Century

I am planning on doing my first 'century' on Sunday. A century, for all you silly non-riders out there, is a 100 mile ride.

It's stupid enough to do a century when you're feeling well and the weather is supposed to be good. Unfortunately, I almost blew out my left knee during Tuesday morning's ride, developed a nasty cold yesterday and the weather report for Sunday calls for isolated thunder showers (which means high humidity).

Will any of that stop me? Unlikely.

I have been taking 12 Advil a day since Tuesday so my knee is getting better. Unless I physically can't get out of bed on Sunday because of my cold, I intend to do the ride. There is always the option of bagging out after 60 miles (a metric century, for sissies) but that's not my style.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I Always Wanted To Be A Redhead

I went to a very early minyan this morning and then rode out once again to Point Lookout. Excellent ride. When I got back, I went to my bathroom and got ready to shower. I looked in the mirror and saw that my entire forehead was red.

This was strange. First, I wear a helmet that has a visor and blocks the sun. Second, I rode at 6:30 a.m. How much sun could I have gotten anyway?

Then I realized that I had just taken off a sweaty new red bandana that I had worn under my helmet. Mystery solved.

I always wear a bandana under my helmet. It keeps the sweat out of my eyes. It looks cool. It also drives my older daughter crazy, especially combined with my spandex bib shorts and bright red and yellow jersey. As long as none of her friends sees me it's ok.

I have to remember to wash the new bandanas before using them for the first time.

Monday, August 23, 2004



In contrast to Friday's ride, Sunday morning's was ideal. Once again I drove to Central Park with my son. We were on the road at 6 a.m. and it was only 55 degrees. We were both wearing short sleeve jerseys and we were both frozen for the first five minutes until we got to the Great Hill in Harlem.

My son knocked out 18 miles and I did 24. I would have done 30 but I knew I had a wedding that evening and wanted to conserve some energy for the dancing.

I was very strong, especially up the hills. The truth is, I believe I am in good enough shape for the Alyn Hospital Ride now. I wish it were tomorrow.



On Friday I was able to leave very early. I decided to go for another ride to Point Lookout.

It was 87 degrees and the humidity level was 100%.

The ride itself was actually great. There was no wind to speak of (and whatever wind there was was at my back on the way home; always preferred). Interestingly, my heart rate monitor was showing a bpm in the mid 150s the entire ride even though I was working at a level that would normally have registered mid 140s. I guess the heat and humidity do that. I don't really understand the reasons for that but it is a fact both when I run or bike in high humidity.

I rode with a 70 ounce Camelback full of Powerade and I was drinking the entire ride. I purchased another 32 ounce bottle when I got to Point Lookout. All in all, I went through almost 90 ounces of Powerade in an hour and three quarters.

When I got home, I was cooked. I took a cool shower kept drinking fluids the entire afternoon. It's weird. I really enjoyed the ride but I don't really know what I was thinking going out in that weather.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004


A Leisurely Ride with MHW

I did indeed make the 4:42 yesterday afternoon and went for a nice ride with MHW in the Hewlett Bay area. Riding with MHW is not really a workout since she rides a clunker mountain bike (and would prefer to take in the flowers and scenery rather than crank).

In any event my legs are very fatigued so it was good to just spin my wheels for an hour in the pleasant company of MHW.

Lest anyone think that I just abandoned work yesterday, keep in mind that I am surgically attached to my blackberry and cell phone. I was answering emails on the train and after my ride. It was a win-win. My clients were well taken care of and their lawyer had a refreshing ride with his HW.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


Playing Hookey

I am very tempted to leave work early today to...guess....ride my bike.

From the middle of August until post Labor Day is usually very slow where I work and this year is no exception. Half the firm seems to be on vacation and very few deals are getting done. I'm still busy but the phone doesn't ring and the email flow is much slower so work is very manageable.

Today is another glorius Summer day. If I take the 4:42 I can be on my bike by 6 p.m. Mincha maariv is at 7:35 so I have a solid hour and a quarter to crank.

Let's see how things go in the next hour.

Monday, August 16, 2004


Two Flats and $80 Later...

....We had a nice ride.

Since Sunday morning was a rainy mess, I didn't bother getting up early. Instead, my son and I decided to ride to Point Lookout again at around 10 a.m.

Unfortunately, when I went to inflate his tires, I saw that his rear tire was flat.

So, I hooked up the bikes to the back of the car and drove to the bike shop. The rear tire on his bike (my 15-year-old Schwinn Circuit) was shot. I bought a new tire, a Botranger Kevlar tire for about $40. With the new tube, labor and tax, that came to about $65.

We rode out fast and hard to Point Lookout. There was a slight tail wind so we both pushed the biggest gear the entire ride. We turned around and started heading back. The ride, into a slight head wind now, was a bit more challenging but not really a problem. We were cranking and having fun.

Until I got a flat.

I was about to start changing my flat when a passerby pointed out that a bike store was literally one block away. Since I would rather spend a few bucks to have someone change a flat then do it myself, I walked the bike to the store. Sixteen dollars later they changed the flat and I was back on my way.

All in all, a great, if expensive ride.

Sunday, August 08, 2004


Why Am I So Slow?

I had a wonderful ride on a magnificent morning (the summer has been ridiculously mild). I could not have asked for better conditions.

I was on the rode in Central Park at 5:40 a.m. I started my ride with six one-mile 'repeats' of the Great Hill in Harlem. Then I did 5 six-mile loops of the perimiter road. 36 miles altogether (right Ben?)

Starting at 6, there was a bike race in the park. This is a very humbling experience because there were constantly bikers passing me (including the female variety) as if I were standing still. In fact, I am so slow, I am almost standing still. My average speed today was actually slightly below a pathetic 15 mph.

I am running out of excuses for being so slow. I think I am resolved to being slow. Steady but slow. I will make it through my tour in Israel, but very slowly.

Friday, August 06, 2004


Riding with my Son

Tamara Writes:

Blessings. A case of fresh, ripe figs. Sun when they forecast rain. Washable crayons. Riding the ferris wheel with my son.
I commented, "A glorious morning, a bike ride with MY son".

I've been riding a lot with my older son. Lately, I've been picking him up on Sunday mornings on the way to Central Park. He has inherited (during my lifetime, BH) my old Schwinn Circuit (the bike that I loved for 15 years) and he does it proud.

The truth is, even though he's thin and in good shape (for a college/yungerleit) he can't ride as fast or as long as I because he's not an obsessed lunatic and because my bike new bike is so much better.

Nevertheless, I gladly sacrifice my training for the zechus of riding with him. As Tamara suggests, it is indeed a blessing.

Monday, August 02, 2004


Rough Morning

I should have known it wasn't going to go smoothly when I pulled up to Dunkin Donuts at 5:10 on Sunday morning and there were five ciustomers ahead of me, one of whom was ordering 7 dozen donuts. (I have no patience and would normally have bolted for 7-11. The only reason I stayed is because my son only drinks Chalav Yisrael and DD was the only place open at that hour that serves it).

After finally getting our coffee, it was on to Central Park. I had an ambitious plan to do a couple of 6 mile laps but mainly to do hill repeats of the north hill in Harlem. Unfortunately, at the end of our first lap, we ran into an in-line skating race that had hundreds of skaters of varying abilities. It was annoying but manageable.

What wasn't manageable was the rain. During my first hill repeat it started raining hard. The Israel Ride that I am training for is guaranteed to be dry, so I have no use for rain, particularly while descending steep hills.

We left after completeing our second lap. The good news is that I was extremely strong. I have reached a higher madreiga in my biking. I flew up the hill on each of my three climbs and was much faster and stronger all around the park.

On our way home, I went to the EZ Pass lane only to discover that my account was messed up. They confistacted my EZ Pass tag and now I have the hassle of replacing it.

Long lines are a bad omen.

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