I spent all day Saturday on another training ride for the NYC Century next month. Today's ride was scheduled for 58 miles, from Williamsburg to the Far Rockaways and back. I volunteered to be a marshal for this ride, so when I arrived at the bike shop in Williamsburg I got an orange vest, a first aid kit, and the responsibility of helping shepherd 20 riders through Brooklyn and Queens. There were a few other marshals leading the ride, so I occasionally took point, rode in the middle and pointed out turns, and swept at the back near the end of the ride. As with the last training ride, we left late and stopped frequently to let the slower riders catch up. Unlike the last ride, we never really split into slower and faster groups, so we ended up setting a slower overall pace than I would have preferred. One of the other marshals told us about a pizza place he knew out in the Rockaways, so most of us stopped there before we went to the beach for a rest stop. A few people went swimming, but mostly we sat on a stone wall, ate, and relaxed for a while.
We left the Rockaways around 1 PM and for a while the whole group hung together. But somewhere near the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens we lost about half the group, so we were down to nine riders. I didn't want to abandon the lost riders; I saw that as a failure in my job as a marshal. We made a few phone calls and tracked down some of them -- they'd made a wrong turn at the racetrack and ended up by JFK before they turned around. A few others had already told us they were going to find their own ways back to Manhattan. We met the "lost ones" about an hour later at Kissena Park. By now it was 4 PM and we had 15 miles to go to return to the bike shop in Williamsburg. Somehow we managed to keep the remaining riders together all the way back, with me riding "sweep" at the back to make sure we didn't lose anyone. We pulled up at the bike shop at 5:40. I dropped off my vest and rode back to Manhattan via the Williamsburg Bridge. I turned on Allen St. and rode north onto 1st Avenue, and I got home about 6:15, only 11 hours after I'd left. So it was a long day in the saddle for not as many miles as I feel like I rode. However, the weather was excellent, I met some interesting people, and I had some great pizza out in the Rockaways. And I know that I'm in good enough shape to handle a century next month.
My stats for the day:
Total miles: 74
Average speed: 11.3 MPH (that's really slow for me)
Total miles so far in 2006: 559