Took the ferry over to Block Island on Sunday. I haven't been since 2000, something that surprised me. I knew it had been a few years, but seven? Anyhoo, despite all the riding I've been doing recently, this was the toughest 11 miles I've done in ages. I was whipped. I was amazed at how whipped I was. Yes, the ride starts with a long climb up to Mohegan Bluffs, the highest point on the island, but it's not that long or hard.
Still, I made it up to the top at Southeast Light just fine. (Although I did stop part way up to take a picture. That's Southeast Light in the background.) Once at the top, we spent some time wandering around the lighthouse grounds. Southeast Light used to be closer to the edge of the bluffs. Too close actually. Erosion dropped a good chunk of them into the sea over the years since it was built, so about fourteen years ago the entire building was moved 300' back from the edge. Quite a feat.
A couple hundred yards down the road there's a staircase down to the beach, 150' below. We always go down to the beach, even though it means we have to come back up again. Lessee, 150' is equivalent to about a 15 story walkup. Except that the first couple of stories require clambering up loose rocks. Why are we doing this again? Oh, yeah, for the fun of it! Of course, the climb down isn't bad at all. It's coming back up that's the killer, and I have to admit I was beat by the time I reached the top I really am getting too old for this.
After that I was never comfortable on the rest of the ride, and had problems keeping up with the kids, something that I never really had trouble doing before (although admittedly it had been awhile). It's mostly downhill or level from the top of the bluffs, but even the lesser hills killed me. Still, it was a good time, and the ferry home was nowhere near as rough as last time when I spent most of the trip home on the deck in the spray to keep my stomach in line.
More photos from the trip...
Monday, I was still incredibly sore from Block Island, and it rained most of the day besides. But the weather was gorgeous Tuesday, so I was back in the saddle, doing twelve miles on the path. I 'd been unhappy with the fact that I hadn't gone out two days in a row yet this year, so I made it a point to hit the path again Wednesday. I couldn't have picked a worse evening. It was sunny and cool, but with a gusty breeze coming from the west. That was fine on the eastwardly outbound leg of the ride, but even then my eyes were bothering me something awful, as though I was riding through a sandstorm. I wasn't sure what it was until I turned around to come back, when with the setting sun behind it I could see the culprit. Pollen grains filled the air. Pollen grains as big as ping pong balls. Okay, maybe not that big, but I could actually feel them as they hit my eyes. As I rode into the swarm, my eyes hurt like heck, and my sinus started to clog up, and I started hacking, and then sneezing (exacerbated by the sun that was directly in front of me). And this was with me on both Claritin and Singulair. It was just a miserable ride back, so I decided against doing a second lap.
I went back again Thursday, and had a much better time, doing fourteen miles. It really was a lovely week for riding. It's funny. I was down on myself earlier in the spring because I wasn't happy with my progress, but I took a look at my logs from previous years, I'm actually doing pretty well. I charted the data, and I've done better this spring than any since 1994! Surprised the heck out of me. It also shows the slow recovery from the accident in 2004. (Although I suspect I probably would've done better last year if it hadn't rained for the entire month of May.)
I feel pretty good about this right now. Most years I'm bugged by the fact that I rarely get into the riding groove before summer solstice, and I'm cursing myself that I'm riding in shorter and shorter evenings. There's better riding coming, too. I'll be calling later today to see if my new bike has arrived yet.
And if anyone ever needed proof that the interbunny is a very small place, an acquaintance from Dodger Thoughts, Linkmeister, found out exactly how small it is.
ETA: Well, bother. The bike hasn't arrived yet, although they do have the invoice, which means it'll be there next Saturday for sure.