Saturday, August 19, 2006

did you cyclists wake up on the wrong side of the bed?

this morning, i managed to make it to practice not simply on time, but early despite various obstacles such as the annual green team summer party (where, sadly, i came in 2nd for the 2nd year in a row in the women's pingpong match) and various trains that were slow/not running.

today we were running based on time, vs distance. this was in case we were "hurrying" through the distance runs, today was about maintaining a steady pace for a set amount of time. beginners were running 50 minutes total and intermediates were running 60. we decided to split the difference and go for 56/57.

there was a nice breeze coming off the hudson and the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds which made for a mostly pleasant morning. one of the things that annoys me about the westside bike/foot path though is the traffic. other foot traffic (including tourists going to the intrepid/circle line, etc but rarely even notice they are crossing a path where other people might be coming from a different direction), car/truck/taxi traffic turning in and out of the piers, rollerbladers, and of course, there are cyclists.

now, i was a cyclist, er, probably biker is more accurate, before i was a runner and biking certainly is my preferred method for getting around the city. the westside bike path, especially on the weekends, was something i usually avoid because of all the traffic i noted before. there are, however, cyclists that appear to enjoy getting their "serious" miles in on the bike path. and not only do they like to do so, they like to go fast. and if you're in their way, look out because they barely slow down, they certainly don't stop, and more than likely you'll get yelled or whistled at (not in the cat-call fashion, in the i'm-so-serious-i-ride-with-a-whistle-in-my-mouth-to-get-all-these-people-out-of-my-way fashion). i never understood why you would want to spend time on that bike path as a serious cyclist with all the chances of getting into some accident or another, but people do.

so the first jerk with some saturday morning angst was coming opposite us through a very tight part of the path. oh yeah - tons of sections are under construction so the path is even more narrow than usual. there were a lot of us, but we were only running at most, two people across. he starts screaming "YOU GOTTA GET OVER" because he's trying to pass another cyclist on his side for the runners to get over and let him by, essentially needing to come into the wrong side of the path. i really don't know how people can muster up enough energy to exercise AND get mad that early in the morning. i only have enough steam for one.

the second guy was right in his getting angry but screwed up the execution. after we had turned around and were on our way back towards 72nd street, a cyclist almost got cut off by one of those little mini-trucks with the wagons attached to the back. the guy driving didn't put on his turn signal so the cyclist was nearly hit in the process. cyclist grabs the back of the wagon, for a minute and yells to the driver to signal when he's turning. of course this turns into a testosterone battle with the driver yelling "what? what'd you say?" and they cyclist screaming at the guy to SIGNAL when he's TURNING, "whatchu talking about, i DID signal" etc. etc. while this is all going on, the cyclist is still peddling but is now in the wrong lane going into oncoming traffic and not looking where he is going. i look up to see another guy on one of those fold up bikes headed towards the fray, acting kind of like a squirrel because he's not sure which way the first cyclist, who is still not looking in the right direction, is going to go. they were headed for a straight on crash and charlotte and i started yelling HEY! WATCH it! WATCH IT! pointing at the guy he was going to hit, and finally he swerved at the last minute, looked back at us and waved. good reason to be angry. almost caused another accident in the process of expressing it. smart.

at the end of the day if you're going to spend time over on the westside path, no matter what you're doing, you have to be prepared to:
• stay level-headed. there's lots of other people and you knew what you were getting into and if you can't handle it then you better bike, run, rollerblade, gawk at the big buildings somewhere else.
• pay attention!! if everyone paid a little mroe attention to where their limbs, handle bars and blades were in relation to the other people around them, there would probably be less angst out there
• don't block the path. regardless of transportation method, you and your friends shouldn't be taking up the whole lane and under NO circumstances should your group spill into oncoming traffic - it's rude and dangerous.

[end lecture]

other than that, the run was uneventful and we did 4.21 miles, our longest distance yet! we did walk for a few blocks, which was probably about 6 minutes of that time, and i'm going to guess that distance was about 2 blocks, so i'm going to further assume we were just over a 12 minute mile. that freaks me out a little bit because that would mean finishing in about 5 hours and 15 minutes, but you know what? it's the beginning of week two and i am determined to get faster.

today's mileage (correctly spelled courtesy of demps, now to be referred to only as "smartypants"): 4.21

total mileage: 18.3

No comments: