Friday, July 29, 2005


Hit By A Car

I had a very harrowing bike experience this morning and feel extremely fortunate, BH, to even be able to write this.

I went to the 'vasikin' minyan this morning and was on my bike by 6:20. Destination: Point Lookout and back, about 29 flat miles. Since last Sunday was a fast day and I couldn't ride last Friday morning, it had been almost two weeks since I had been on my bike.

I was feeling strong and was barreling down Central Avenue in Cedarhurst (ironically, to avoid the traffic on Broadway). I got to the busy intersection of Central and Rockaway Turnpike, looked both ways, and sped through a red light. Except the road wasn't clear. I don't know how I missed it but I did. At the last second, I saw it. A white car about to hit me. He slammed on his breaks, I slammed on mine and instinctivly veered to my right. In that split second I braced myself for the impact. Boom!!

His passenger-side mirror rammed into my handle bars and flew off his car. But, remarkably, I didn't even fall. I was literally upright in the position I would have been had I simply stopped for the light!

The driver pulled over and came to see if I was alright. Remarkably, it didn't look like I had so much as a scratch (it would turn out later that I had an ugly welt on my side.) I assured him that I was fine. I asked him if HE was ok and he said, yes, just very worried. I told him that it was entirely my fault and apolgized for riding carelessly. He hopped back into his car and drove off.

I then assessed the situation. My butt muscles seemed to have been strained by the impact (and the fact that my shoes are attached to the pedals with clips). My bike was a little mangled but much less than I would have thought. The only thing wrong was that the handlebars were facing left and the wheel was facing straight. I manually adjusted the handlebars so that the allignment was almost normal and, amazingly, my bike was actually usable.

What to do? I could have gone back home, called it a day and counted my blessings. Instead, because I'm a little nuts, I decided to keep riding. I figured that it would actually be better to ride and loosen my muscles rather than go home and get stiff. (That could be totally wrong medically but I'm a lawyer, what do you want?). Because of the lost time, I cut the ride short and rode to Lido Beach and back. In any event, the rest of the ride was uneventful.

I got home and showered and discovered a very nasty 4 inch welt on my side. The tip of my elbow also started to hurt. I took a couple of Advil and went to work. It is very clear by now, four hours after the accident, that I am going to be one sore puppy this weekend. I am starting to feel stiffness from the left side of my neck all the way down to my tusch.

This was by far my closest call on a bike. A few observations: 1. I need to be more carefull passing red lights. 2. Anyone who doesn't wear a WELL-FITTING helmet is a complete idiot. 3. Anyone who let's his or her kids ride a bike without a WELL-FITTING helmet is an even bigger idiot. 4. Finally, I am thankful to Hashem that I survived this morning's accident with no serious damage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Olive Oyl Arms

Despite the fact that I have been working out religiously for about 20 years, I still have puny, Olive Oyl arms.

This used to bother me because no matter how many weight exercises I did, and no matter how much weight I lifted, I still had (and have) these skinny little arms. Notwithstanding the many pull ups and dips that I've done over the years, I have absolutely no definition anywhere on my arms.

Everything changed two years ago when I completely dropped running and focused instead exclusively on biking. The ideal biking body is one that is very thin (2 lbs. per inch) with skinny arms. So overnight, I went from being puny to being ideal. Just like that.

Now I don't even bother with weights, instead concentrating on isometric excercises using my own body weight. No Popeye arms for this rider. Call me Olive.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Toast at the Coast

My sister and I did the 72 mile option at the Gold Coast Century ride on the North Shore of Long Island. It was much harder than I had anticipated. The hills were very steep and they just kept coming. Add to that the intense heat (around 90 degrees) and it made for a very brutal day.

The ride was 24 miles longer, and much more difficult, than any ride my sister had done previously. By the last 10 miles she was pretty cooked but she hung in and finished. I assured her that, though somewhat different in structure, today's ride was as difficult as any day on the Alyn Ride with the exception of the optional climbs and the climb to Jerusalem.

One issue that has been brewing was chrystallized today. My sister, while in amazing shape, simply cannot keep up with me. Today's ride took me at least an hour longer than it would otherwise have taken because I rode more slowly than I would have and I still waited for my sister repeatedly at major turns in the ride.

Believe me. I am no great rider. Compared, for example, to most of the riders who did either 72 or 100 miles in today's ride, I am a complete piker. However, on the Alyn Ride, I am one of the stronger riders, clearly within the top 15%. So, it remains to be seen how this will play out in Israel. I don't think my sister will do the two optional climbs but I don't know whether it will make sense for us to ride together. More about this another time.

On the losing weight front, today really brings the issue home. I probably burned 6000 calories and probably consumed 2000, maximum. It's pretty simple.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Coasting to the Gold Coast

I put in almost 90 miles this extended weekend.

On Friday morning before work, I rode with my son almost thirty miles out to Point Lookout. (The vasikin minyan at the Young Israel of Woodmere has given me tremendous flexibility in my training. I could not have done this ride or many of the organozed summer rides without it). Yesterday, I rode with him 4 laps (24 miles) in Central Park. I managed not to kill any animals this time. This morning I rode by myself back to Point Lookout.

The weather all weekend has been spectacular and I was actually cold when I started riding both yesterday and today.

This coming sunday my sister and I are scheduled to do the Gold Coast ride on the North Shore of Long Island. We are going to do 70 miles, our longest ride this year. I know this will be a struggle but I think we will manage ok. It is very hilly and very challenging but I think we are ready.

Once again, like last year but more accute, my biggest training concern is my weight. Simply put, I seem to be vanishing. I am down about four pounds (to about 128) with 4 months untill the ride. I find myself struggling to ingest enough calories to maintain the strength I need for these long rides. I have an appetite and like to eat but I find myself getting full very quickly and unable to eat as much as I need. Being thin is good for long distance riding (particularly for climbing) but sometimes I feel very wiped out after a long ride. I don't really know what to do.

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