Before I start be recounting my day in New Jersey and New York City on the bike, I want to start by paying tribute to Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt who died after crashing during Monday’s third stage of the Giro d’Italia. It is tragic that anyone dies cycling. Feeling pleased with myself at the end of today’s ride, I turned on my phone to see a couple of texts from my father advising me of this tragic news. It helped bring home that this cycle ride is in memory of those who died doing their job, just as Wouter Weylandt did.
Anyway, today brought a 05:00 start for breakfast, luggage on waggons at 06:00 and a start due at 07:00 which then became a start at 07:18. We were to head off to New Jersey and then onto New York City.
Whilst waiting outside the hotel this morning it was chance to meet old friends from last years ride and chat again with Craig Floyd the CEO of the National Law Officers Enforcement Memorial. It was heartening (or worrying) to know that Craig remembered me from last year’s ride and at lunch time today in his rallying call to the troops he game me a name check – even if I now apparently am a prosecutor from England!
ERIK, LISA, CRAIG FLOYD, ME, MICHAEL T & JEREMY before the ride
The weather this year was glorious even so early on. I was able to wear my short sleeved top and my shorts.
We set off and Michael T and I were at the front of the procession for around 3 miles until SHE struck. By the time the sag wagon picked me up, I had the wheel off and inner tube replaced. The sag wagon team put in a new tube and I was on my way, now having to ride at 30 mph alone to catch the back of the ride. This is harder than it sounds. I did catch the 700 or so riders up and then had to try to make my way up the line to find others from Team Ohio. By the first stop after around 27 miles, I had made my way to near the front again.
After a water and snack halt, it was off to New York City via the Holland Tunnel. This is a twin bore tunnel with 2 lanes in each direction. The tunnel is for motor traffic only, but today for us, they closed the tunnel so that in the 10th anniversary year of 9/11 we could ride past Ground Zero where nearly 3000 people including 37 police officers lost their lives. It was an amazing experience to ride through the tunnels and then emerge in New york on streets empty of motor cars. We rode along the dual carriageway past Ground Zero and then doubled back on ourselves to head to the tunnel.
NEW YORK STREETS WITHOUT MOTOR TRAFFIC!
RIDING PAST GROUND ZERO
We then returned to the previous stopping point via the Holland Tunnel where we had lunch. After lunch there was a ceremony and speeches by numerous people, including Craig Floyd (see above) when he specifically mentioned by name Lisa and I as two of only six overseas riders in this event! Fame or is that infamy?
After lunch we continued to ride around Newark & New Jersey on our way to Edison NJ for our night stop. The Americans do everything bigger, including the potholes. The roads in the UK are like snooker tables surfaces compared to here. The craters and potholes are incredibly dangerous. There were numerous punctures suffered today. One marshal had at least 3 even after having a new tyre (not just inner tube) fitted. Me, after about 50 miles SHE got me again and another visit to the sag wagon ensued. A quick repair and I was back on the way again chasing down the ride and making my way back to members of Team Ohio. We finally rolled into Edison around 15:30 and after a brief photo stop at @ Albert’s Palace (a PUT sponsor) we hit our hotel.
Before dinner in the hotel we had time for a shower and Lisa came to give Michael a massage. I have been told I’m not allowed to tell you that they also had time to sleep together before dinner and they allowed me to watch – so I won’t tell you that.
Dinner was a help yourself buffet of pasta and chicken with potatoes and a great salad. Yes you read that right, the salad was great. All credit to the hotel for a great spread.
After dinner we all retired to our room where Lisa did some ironing for me! See,some ladies know how to use an iron. She Ironed my St George Cross onto my 2 other PUT cycling tops. The Americans have their police force patches, so I have my English Flag to identify me. Lisa has been a star, looking after Michael T and myself. She is welcome again, so Michael says. He has not said I am invited though
I also managed to copy Lisa and Jeremy’s photos today. I am compiling everyone’s photos onto my computer so we can burn copies of the pictures onto DVD/ CD for all of team Ohio.
Its 9pm now and all of Team Ohio are in bed asleep I believe except for me, but I will be going there shortly after this.
Tomorrow is a long day in the saddle, possible a century ride. The stats for today’s ride are shown below courtesy of my GPS device
Distance: 59.67 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,995 ft
Calories: 2,273 C
Avg Temperature: 68.8 °F
Moving Time: 05:05:28
Elapsed Time: 08:11:47
Avg Speed: 11.6 mph
Avg Moving Speed: 11.7 mph
Max Speed: 32.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 1,995 ft
Elevation Loss: 2,037 ft
Min Elevation: -76 ft
Max Elevation: 315 ft
Avg HR: 124 bpm
Max HR: 165 bpm
Avg Bike Cadence: 63 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 121 rpm
Avg Temperature: 68.8 °F