The weather on Saturday night called for mostly clear skies all day in Sunday. Five AM Sunday morning we awoke to the sound of a steady rain outside. Oh well, that's cycling.
Nehimiah and myself loaded up the car and headed across the Bronx and down into Manhattan to the start line.
The start line was right by
a NYC landmark, the USS Intrepid. We got a great spot at the start line - the second row! But in order to do so we had to arrive at 6:45 and wait around until the 7:30 start time. The entire time we stood there it kept raining. Riding in the rain is one thing (riding helps keep you warm) but standing and doing nothing to keep warm is brutal.
Finally (and thankfully) 7:30 rolled around and off we went. The first 5 miles were horrible. Since I was already soaked the air moving past me made it feel colder than it really was. I was ready to pull over right there and quit and go take a hot shower.
But, I didn't. We continued down the West Side Highway right past the WTC site and through the FDR Dr. tunnel (that was an awesome experience). That provided a few moments of much need dryness and heat that made the rain bearable.
Once out the tunnel we continued back uptown on the FDR. It was the coolest thing to look to my right and see Brooklyn and then to my left and see the iconic NYC/Manhattan skyline. On top of that, to be riding up a (usually jammed) NYC freeway topped it off. At this point the entire group was still moving pretty slow as the rain made it difficult to spot potholes, and because more caution is needed in such conditions.
Eventually we got to the top of the island and Innwood park. By this point the rain had stopped and the sun even made a brief appearence. Everyone had to stop here until the NYPD cleared the West Side Highway for us to ride on. While we were there I had another cyclist take a picture of me and Nehimiah.
After that point it was only another 15 miles until we completed our loop of Manhattan Island. Once we arrived back the start/finish we headed out to New Jersey through the Lincoln Tunnel. The NYPD shut down a tube for the cyclist to go through. That was an amazing experience - descending into the tunnel and then climbing out with the other cyclist is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It was while were waiting to go through that I grabbed a photo that's rarely seen from the bike.
Once we cleared the Lincoln Tunnel and stopped to fuel up, we began the next 70 miles through New Jersey and the Palisades. In Part 2 I will tell the rest of the story and share some more photos.