30 September 2013

Climate Ride Recap - Day 1

Let me first say, I've realized I was a horrible photographer on this trip.  There were many times I was riding along thinking, I should take a picture of this or that - but my phone/camera was tucked away in a shatterproof case, in my handlebar bag, and it was just too much work to snap a quick photo.  Looking back, I should have stopped.  I have ordered the photos from the "professional" that accompanied us on the ride, and am hopeful that - provided I credit him properly - I'll be able to post a photo blog of the trip once those arrive.

That being said, here is my recap of Day 1 of Climate Ride!

 I'm actually going to include a little bit from Friday night, as we checked in to The Space.  I arrived in NYC and spent some time lounging at the new Rooftop SkyClub Lounge before meeting up with Gal after she got off work.  She was gracious enough to offer her home to me and two other Climate Riders, just a short subway ride away from the start.  So I headed out from JFK to meet up with her at her apartment in the East Village, thankful I had sent my bike with Tom and the other WABA folks, and wasn't trying to get it and my luggage through the NYC subway system.
She has a great apartment in the revitalized Village, and a car, which we jumped in to travel over the bridge to Brooklyn where we met up with the other riders at The Space - our homebase inn NYC before we would be leaving the next morning.  My bike was there, having safely made the trek with Tom, and I got us both signed in.  I got a tag for my bike, took my photo for the board, and signed away my life.  Seriously, I just signed the medical waiver, but since I don't currently have insurance, it was like signing my life away ;)
Before the evening concluded - with drinks and snacks to keep us happy - Caeli Quinn, one of the Climate Ride co-founders, told us the story of how Climate Ride came to be and prepped us for the amazing journey we were about to embark on.  A group of us left The Space and grabbed a bite nearby before heading back to Gal's to crash for the night - we had a big day ahead of us!

The next morning, Abi, Barbara and I took off from Gal's and made our way to the best coffee shop in the Village before jumping on the subway for a quick jaunt across/under the river to our starting point.  I was glad I'd opted for the bag with wheels, but definitely was excited to turn it over to the crew and not worry about schlepping it around for the next five days!  We got to The Space, filled up our water bottles, grabbed snacks galore, and waited for our first talk from Blake.  Today's ride would be 47.4 miles - with a grueling 4.8 miles from the start through Manhattan to the ferry that would take us over to Atlantic Highlands, NJ!

 Here's one of our amazing leaders for the week, Blake, letting us know just how many miles we had left ;)
We were off from The Space, and I was a little nervous about real city riding, but the New Yorkers were nice, and there were some fantastic bike lines across the Williamsburg bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  On the way, a group stopped for a photo for the 350.org Draw the Line campaign, taking a stand against the Keystone XL pipeline and the other political issues that are standing between us and winning on climate change.  It was a great way to start the ride!
We were to be on the ferry for a 10:45 departure, so it was a quick 4.8 miles, but once on the ferry we all spent some time getting to know each other.  The ferry ride was about 45 minutes, and gave us some amazing vistas of NYC and Lady Liberty.  And also, just for dad, I took this great shot of a light house in the harbor.

Once we made it to NJ - our second state of the ride already - we grabbed a picnic lunch, learned more from Blake about the route, and then were off for the remaining 42 miles of the day.  Everyday was going to be an experience for me, as the longest I had ever ridden before this was ~38miles.  I would be lying if I said it was easy, but the folks on the ride - both riders and the amazing support staff - helped make the miles fly by.  Not to mention the beautiful scenery we were passing through.  On today's ride, we rode through the campus of Princeton to end the day, but it was amazing to realize how beautiful New Jersey really is ;)  (and, yes, I will be using the word amazing over and over again to describe this entire experience)

Each morning, we were handed cue sheets to tell us how to get from point A to point B - my first time riding with these - but they were great, along with the pink "Climate Ride" signs that helped point out turns to us.

After lunch, we had a water stop to get to, with a few winding turns and hills, but overall it was a fairly easy day - especially compared to the following day!  I really wanted to be able to track each day's ride with my RunKeeper app, but my silly phone battery is pretty sad (luckily there is a new phone on the way - not an upgrade, just a new version of this one with a spiffy new battery), so I only captured bits and pieces.  I am hoping to go back in with the amazing cue sheets and put in the ride (I did use a Timex GPS watch each day which tracked total miles, pace, and total time), but for now, here's what the ride from the water stop into Princeton looked like on RunKeeper.

It was a great way to start things off!  Once we got to the YMCA camp in Princeton, it was time for a nice hot shower and dinner.  We had a great catered meal from a local place, with locally sourced food.  We had lasagna and salad.  It was great.  Gal and a few others had decided before the ride that since the forecast called for rain, we would princess it up and get a hotel in Princeton.  After the evening speaker series on the campus - with talks from top fundraiser Monica of World Bank and about fracking from NRDC, we hopped in our cab to the hotel just at the right time.  It started raining as we were getting in the cab and apparently rained on all the campers until about 4 in the morning!  We were thankful to be nice and dry indoors.  I had a mild panic attack thinking I had lost most of my cash, so I didn't sleep very well, but it was nice to at least be dry.

Want to know what happens next?  Stay tuned for the next installment of Climate Ride Recaps!

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