I was stronger on this Bear ride than any other and managed PR’s going up Bear, Perkins and several of the segments on Strava – my ride is HERE.
A Thank You
This blog is basically a big thank you to all the members of our cycling community – every single person who says “Hi Vito” as we see each other on the road, all the people who participated in our Gavia Cycling Group Rides throughout this summer and fall, the team at Strictly Bicycles who tolerate my bicycle mechanical ignorance and my unwillingness to let them say anything other than Campagnolo when describing components, Uli and Lidia for creating Gran Fondo NY and pretty much saving my life in the process, all of our Gran Fondo NY participants and last, but most importantly my wife Melanie who encourages me ride my bike and participate in anything to do with cycling.
As I write this I realize I sound like the guy who just won the Giro D’Italia; truthfully that is what I feel like – and that’t the point. Each one of us has an opportunity to do our best and feel good about our achievements; we get in trouble when we begin to compare ourselves to others. It took me 40 minutes to climb Bear yesterday, my friend Juan Carlos does it in less than 20 and I saw the results for GFNY Cozumel yesterday where Uli rode 160 km in less than 4 hours. Those results are not attainable for most of us, but to know that someone you talk to a couple of times a week is doing something like that through sheer dedication, hard work, discipline means that we can do the same and improve as well. You all have a good example right in front of you on our group rides – Omar Tejada . Omar wasn’t a member of Gruppo Sportivo during our first year as a team. I was one of the C Group leaders and being the widest person Heidi would let me stay at the front on the way on most of our rides; Omar would ride next to me at the front. He wasn’t the Superman he is now, his cycling skills were ok but not great, and we walked up the climb just past Rockland Lake at least once together. He fell in love with cycling and GFNY and when he became part of the Gruppo Sportivo he dedicated himself to proper training, nutrition and consistency – look at him now, talk about a role model for cycling! Most of us can’t be Uli, some of us can be Omar, all of us can be a little more focused on our health and well-being, pick a goal and GO FOR IT!
We can certainly use the achievements of others to believe we can reach greater heights but in the end we need to simply be happy with our own self-improvement – looking at life in an optimistic way – looking for what’s good no matter the current condition – and surrounding ourselves with people who inspire us, some unknowingly, is one of the greatest advantages we have in life.
Look (or lookout) For These People – AKA “The Inspirers”
Our Bear Ride
We planned to merge two groups on the ride; a couple of our Gavia Cycling members were not certain about riding the entire round trip so we made arrangements to have them drive to Nyack, we planned to meet there and head out to Bear; Ken was flying in from LA and wanted to ride, we thought it better to wait at Strictly Bicycles so he could do the round trip with us. La forza del destino, as always, worked in our favor; Jared showed up unexpectedly so we had an opportunity to lead the group together through Piermont into Nyack and when we got to Nyack we found out that the last of the three people who were going to meet us by car couldn’t make it – off we went! Jared pulled off at Rockland Lake and Thomas turned around in W Haverstraw, leaving 6 of us (Aleksandra, Avi, Hector (no, not Ektor), Ken, Kevin and me to continue on, against the wind as Bob Seger would say!
It was a little colder up North but we kept a steady pace, got to the bottom of Bear, stopped at the circle to take a couple of photos, and headed up. My goal was to maintain a strong and steady pace and, having done the GFNY Podcast with Uli a couple of weeks ago I thought I would listen to my own advice (if you would like to listen to us discuss the entire GFNY course and things for you to consider, especially if you have ridden GFNY less than 6 times, please click HERE for Episode 22) where I talk about saving a gear – meaning try not to use your easiest gear not matter what, unless you really, really, really need it! I did that all the way up, using my 39 x 25 on Perkins for maybe 100 meters total.
Listening to yourself is not always the easiest thing to do; my previous blogpost is titled “Burn the Ships” where I talk about not giving yourself an opportunity to make it easy on yourself – a couple of weeks ago the bearings went on my Campagnolo Euris wheels so I went back to my Campagnolo Bullets and kept the 11/25 cassette that had been installed on those wheels. This was a major feat for me; I was prompted to switch to a 29 when, in 2014, a small group of us went to Little Tor and as soon as a made the right turn I said “not today boys”, got off my bike and walked up.
But then again, the riding and Melanie’s great eating habits have helped me tremendously over the past several years:
The descent off Bear was pretty cold and it was a little slow going until we got to the Cove Deli; one of our riders looked like it might be a long day for him and another had cramped on Bear, so I thought I would call and see if someone wanted to come and get us but there was no way to fit 5 people and 5 bikes into one vehicle (Aleksandra got caught between the first three and me and Hector so when the first three stopped at the deli she didn’t see them and kept going) and honestly, it wasn’t that bad, I was trying to be lazy, giving myself the “I came to ride Bear I don’t need to ride all the way home” but, as I said before, la forza del destino prevails, we ate something and headed home. The ride home was the perfect way to end the day, it warmed up as we got closer to Fort Lee and we got to see some amazing sunsets; mostly we had that feeling of having accomplished something really special!
Indoor Cycing Studio in Englewood Cliffs
Some other good news – we are opening an indoor cycling studio on 9W in Englewood Cliffs – and would love to send a FREE PASS to anyone registered for GFNY 2016. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with FREE PASS in the subject line and we will get that out to you next week; we expect the studio to open mid-December and will offer indoor group cycling classes and GFNY speficic training courses on the latest Elite indoor trainers!
Please join us for a group ride!
As always, if I can help you in any way, please feel free to email me at: email@example.com.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving Weekend with your friends and family!