Day 23 June 5th
Arrived in NYC at 6 in the morning but by the time the mini bus dropped a few others off it was after 9 before I got to the hostel. The forecast was for a few showers in the morning and rain in the afternoon, but from what I could see it was rain all day.
I couldn't check in till 4 pm so I dropped off my luggage, got a map of the city which also included the underground and decided to walk downtown. I started to go through Central Park but thought there would be more shelter if I went down one of the streets. 5th ave runs alongside the park so I chose that. It seemed like forever that I was walking and I still hadn't reached the end of Central Park and the only shelter was the canopies on each building that go from the entrance to the kerb. The rest is completely empty. I hope that would change when I got downtown into the shopping district but no, the only shelter there was new buildings that had scaffolding. Times square looked lit up in the gloomy weather though. There were no underground shopping malls either so I just couldn't get out of the rain. I was getting wet and cold by this time and it was 1:30, so I had some lunch and made my first attempt at the underground. Getting the ticket was fine and getting onto the station, I thought was fine because there was only one station and I could see the numbers of the trains I could catch. The only problem was that none of those trains came along.
I eventually asked a young guy who walked past and he told me I was on the wrong platform. I won't go into what I was doing wrong as the explanation would fill up the page, but he set me right and I successfully caught my first subway. It was only a 5 min walk to the hostel so I know which way I'll be going next time.
The weather is supposed to be fine for Saturday & Sunday so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
DISTANCE TODAY 0km TOTAL DISTANCE 543 km
Day 24 Jun 6th
Fantastic - the weather was fine although a bit cloudy in the morning, but no rain. I rode the same route down 5th Ave. and it was nearly 7km so no wonder it took a while yesterday. Saw most of the major sites but rode past the Empire State Building without knowing it. Saw Wall St, World Trade Centre site and went into the memorial gallery for 9/11. It was very quite in there with everyone just reading the text and looking at the pictures they had. I was thinking about going on a boat trip out to the Statue of Liberty but the line was huge. I rode for a while back along it and gave up when I still hadn't found the end.
There was a bike path along the waters edge, so I followed it along the Hudson River as I had to go North anyway. It was about 20km upriver before I got to the George Washington Bridge and according to my map this was where I had to head to the other side of Manhattan Island to get to Highbridge Park. This is where the MTB race was going to be on Sunday and I wanted to check out the course. I found it without any problems and rode the singletrack bit which was quite technical. What made it worse was the rocks which were slippery from yesterdays rain. After a couple of laps it was back to Harlem and the hostel.
The 5th game of 7 for the Stanley Cup Ice Hockey was on at 8pm so jumped on the subway and went downtown to Times Square to find a sports bar. I found one and had some pasta and a few beers while watching the game. The bonus was that on one of the other big screens alongside was the Socceroos v. Quatar game live so I saw a fair bit of that before the hockey. Brad turned me into a hockey fan while staying with him and I had to support the Pittsburgh Penguins who were playing the Detroit Redwings. The series was tied 2 all but the old Penguins put up a pretty poor show and lost 5-0. Made it back on the subway all by myself this time.
DISTANCE TODAY 56km TOTAL DISTANCE 599 km
Day 25 June 7th
Another fine day which was great and it was a 7.5 km ride to Highbridge Park for the race. I got there nice and early before the categories before mine started so I would know how it was all run. These early categories were run and won and then it was out turn. There were 5 starters in 50+ pretty much like home last year. We were the last group off along with the 15-18 year olds and I sat in behind the kids up the first climb. When we hit the singletrack it was mayhem as we caught the end of the previous group almost straight away. It was the 3rd lap before I got a clear run thru the singletrack and it was nice when I did. The lead kid and I swapped spots a few times and we had a great race between us until halfway thru the last lap when he snapped his chain and had to run the rest of the way. He still won though and I managed to stay in front as well for the whole race. I got and engraved headset cap so eventually that will replace the one that got damaged on the 1st plane flight. I declined the other prize of a carton of sports drink because I couldn't carry it home on the bike. They gave me a T-shirt from last year's race instead.
I watched the Cat 1 pro race which was on after ours and they were really hammering it, but no more than our elites do home.
A nice cruise home and I washed my bike on the sidewalk, right out in front of the hostel.
DISTANCE TODAY 39km TOTAL DISTANCE 638 km
Day 26 June 8th
Another fine but overcast day so it was downtown again and the first stop was a local bike shop in Soho that had sponsored the race yesterday. They were giving a free tune up to anyone who raced yesterday and I was pretty sure I had bent my derailleur hanger on the rocks, because my gears were shifting like a piece of sh**t. He straightened it for my and checked everything else out as well which was nice of him.
It was then off the the Empire State Building to get a birds eye view of Manhattan. Visibility wasn't fantastic but I could still everything. It wasn't really busy as we were able to bypass the corrals you normally had to go thru, but we still had to wait a fair while to get up. There must have been 2 whole floors and 100 people just organizing the visitors. It took just as long to get down as we had to line up again to get in the elevators.
Stopped off at Grand Central Station and boy is it big. I was wheeling my bike thru it so didn't go looking everywhere, but from what I could see there were 26 platforms plus a heap of subway lines running off it.
Later in the evening I headed to another subway station and want to Yankee Stadium. I didn't realize until I go here that they just opened a new stadium right across the road from the old one. It was great and even thought I was close to getting nose bleed, I was so high up, I could see the game no problems. The Yankees beat the Rays 5-3 so the crowd was happy.
After the crush on the subway, I started the walk back to the hostel and heard some blues music belting out. I went and checked it out and it was a tiny bar with a group of 6 playing. It was great to listen to, so I bought a beer and stayed to listen for a while. No charge to get in or ridiculous prices for the beers. A great way to finish the night.
DISTANCE TODAY 28km TOTAL DISTANCE 666 km
Day 27 June 9th
Had huge thunderstorms with lots of lightning overnight and it was still raining in the morning. Couldn't be bothered getting wet again so just mooched around the hostel and surfed the web for a while. It fined up after lunch so I went for a ride around Central Park and then went and found a BBQ rib place in West Harlem that I had read about.
Walked back the for dinner and had a huge meal of ribs and 2 other meats with sides. I'm glad I had to walk home to walk a bit of it off.
DISTANCE TODAY 30km TOTAL DISTANCE 696 km