Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring is Here?

It's been spring for a little over a month now and I as I sit here writing I know less about what spring in NY is than I did before I moved back.  We were off to a great start a few weeks ago with a nice string of days well above 60°.  Gone were the jackets and long sleeves, replaced by t-shirts and even shorts some days. Apparently that was only a trial run at nice weather as it hasn't been nearly as temperate lately.  I know the good stuff is around the corner so I'm doing my best to brave the last chill or two.

Despite taking a turn back towards the cold (I'm sure I won't consider 40° cold after a couple more winters), I'm glad the changing temp has made it easier for me to get off the trainer and get back outside.  Spin classes and endless hours on my own trainer helped me get some saddle time but they were no substitute for the real road. 

While I may never stop missing Miami, and the life it afforded me as a triathlete, the cycling on Long Island's north shore is definitely a treat.  I'm still working on finding more regular routes but locating the hills hasn't been hard (unlike climbing them).  In Miami our rides were super flat: long rides down in Homestead had virtually no topographic changes and Key Biscayne's flat Rickenbacker Causeway was only twice interrupted by the isle's two bridges (one small, one a bit larger).  My rides on LI feature rolling hills right from the onset.  As soon as I leave my neighborhood and jump onto the nearby service road, the hills begin.  On a typical Miami long ride I barely covered 100 feet of elevation change, whereas now my rides often approach 2,000+ feet.  

I'll admit that at first I was ill-prepared for the rolling hills (I probably shift more on one NY ride than I did in a month's worth in Miami) but as I become more accustomed to the roads (and their curves) I'm really enjoying the extra challenge to my rides.  I know that as I put in more time I'm going to become a stronger rider than I have ever been and that my bike times will steadily improve.  In addition to being a great workout the climbs and subsequent descents really help to break up the monotony of a long ride. I'm looking forward to the weather getting better and my rides getting longer so I can experience more of what Long Island has to offer.  In the coming weeks I plan to try joining some fellow cyclists so I can see where the locals like to ride. 

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