Cycling vs. Softball

At the beginning of the spring, I promised that I wouldn’t let softball take over my life. I can’t even begin to count how many Saturdays I squandered because I had a game later in the day.

Escaped New York

But on Saturday I had a dilemma. I was committed to riding in this year’s Escape New York ride as I was more active with the cycle club than in years past so I felt like I had a stake in this annual event. Moreover, I also had a free entry since I had helped mark the route. I had done the same job for the last few years, but I hadn’t ridden because the Robots were in the playoffs. To paraphrase a line from a movie, the problem is not when your hobbies get in the way of work, but when they get in the way of each other.

Route marking for the 65-mile route of the Escape New York ride.

Route marking for the 65-mile route of the Escape New York ride.

This year, I had the same conflict. The Robots were playing a single-elimination playoff game against Matchless at 4:00 PM. As a means to not let softball take over my cycling, I compromised. Instead of riding the full 100-mile course, as I had hoped to do when I was racking up miles every week, I “settled” for the 65-mile, metric century course. That would allow me to finish by 2:30, head home to shower, and make the game in Williamsburg. The appeal of doing a supported ride, such as Escape New York, is that I aim for longer distances than my usual weekend ride. It’s a special occasion after all. And this year, my weekend rides were each about 65 miles long, so this amounted to one of those.

Escape New York 2013

Although it had been about a month since I rode my bike, I pedaled from Long Island City to the ride’s starting point at Sakura Park at Riverside Drive and 122nd St. From there, I was feeling especially strong, and managed to maintain a little better than a 14–mile-per-hour pace throughout the entire route, including the slog from Queens to upper Manhattan and the rest of the 65-mile course. I finished by 2:25 PM, five minutes before my goal. I grabbed some food and liquids at the finish line, headed home just after 3:00, showered and changed from cycling to softball clothes, and arrived by 4:15 to fill in as a pinch hitter. By that point, however, the Robots were well on their way to big 20–9 win, and advancing to the finals.

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