Unicycling to Manhattan
I rode my unicycle 85 miles yesterday as part of the NYC Century Ride of 2008. That's longer than the ride from New Paltz to Manhattan (a ride I've contemplated recently). So while I didn't actually ride from one city to the other, I could have!
I set out with five other riders, 3 of whom I'd met during the recent Ride the Lobster race in Nova Scotia. Of the six of us, only my friend Roland and I were on geared 29s, and we rode together for most of the day. One rider joined us later due to car troubles.
The other 5 of us took off a few minutes earlier than the training wheel crowd, but they quickly passed us when I took everyone 5 blocks out of the way by accident (I possess a wonderful sense of misdirection). Eventually we headed down a slightly different route that allowed us a faster, smoother (and longer) ride towards the Brooklyn Bridge. We stayed together until the first rest stop (at mile 14) after which Roland and I zipped off with the goal of 100 miles; the others had to contend with choosing 55 or 75-mile options due to the time constraints.
Going for the hundred
Roland and I had a great time. The route took us around all of Brooklyn, which had a pretty flat route, and thence around Queens, which never seemed to end. In fact, the break between rest stops is surprisingly large at that point, going from mile 42 to 71 without any peanut butter or bananas. We took our own breaks frequently, partly to rest my groin or Roland's legs.
Pain and breaks
It was odd how each of us suffered differently, especially since I was not expecting any troubles after having such a relatively pain-free Lobster. But the rest stops made a huge difference, and by mile 71, we'd made great time and were looking at finishing by 5pm (that is, in 11 hours, total). This was not to be.
More pain: a massive UPD for me and wet pants
A few miles later, as we finally arrived in the Bronx, it was time for me to upshift yet again. I was just ruminating over how many times I'd successfully shifted up to that point -- 50? 100? -- when suddenly the gear didn't catch and I fell over backwards like a bowling pin. Happily I was wearing a helmet, wrist guards, and even a fanny pack hydration system. All of these were essential in my coming out of the fall with nothing more than two tiny scratches on my elbows. But in falling, I smashed my helmet on the ground. I wasn't dazed, but it was certainly the hardest I've hit my head (out of three times total). But as I lay there realizing that I was ok, I wondered why my pants were wet: my hydration pack had ruptured. Having checked that my body was unhurt, I next checked my 2nd-most valuable possession at the time, but luckily my iPhone was ok. Phew!
Gun shy and sore
At this point, I had ridden about 78 miles. There was still time to complete the 100, but I was nervous that my head or neck might have some latent injury and that I had no water for the remainder of the ride, tho I could always buy liquid, so that wasn't a big issue. The real issue, however, was my bum. I was really sore at this point, and I worried that I'd only be making things worse if I rode for 3 more hours. I decided to quit the ride a bit early and headed to the race's endpoint while Roland rode on thru the hilly Bronx. He ended up finishing the ride (about 105 miles) in just over 12 hours. Then he threw up. It turns out that his stomach had knotted up, so to speak, and that he wasn't able to get any food down. Maybe he was dehydrated, but by the next morning he was fine.
When I got to my mom's an hour later for a shower, I took a look at my bottom. It looked like one of those cartoon Santa faces from the 1960s with really red cheeks, only in my case, the cheeks were a bit closer to the, uh, nose.
The shower was painful and the drive home (80 miles, or just about the same distance it took me 10 hours to ride) was a bit uncomfortable.
The good news
Well, I was happy that my ride didn't tire my legs or make any other muscles sore and that I was able to ride nearly 85 miles after having only ridden about 25 in the two months since the Lobster race. It's too bad about my toosh and about that nasty fall, but it was still a great day.