Like a “Turkey,” I Risked Frostbite on Thanksgiving

(via New York Cycle Club on Facebook.)

Giving thanks for cycling. (via Facebook.)

Yesterday was Thanksgiving Day, and it was another year that I didn’t see any family. Since everyone reminds you to be thankful for what you have, I professed my gratitude for this year’s bountiful harvest our global, just-in-time food supply system that made possible a huge Thanksgiving feast and days of leftovers.

Last night’s feast was actually my third Thanksgiving dinner of the month. A few friends in Long Island City hosted a dinner for friends two weeks ago. We continued our tradition of observing the annual Fake Thanksgiving dinner in Kentucky. And, of course, there was last night’s huge feast. All those dinners lead to a lot of surplus calories!

Thankfully, the skies were clear and the roads were dry enough for a bike ride to Piermont to make room for this third Thanksgiving dinner. Early in the week, our region hosted a big storm that wreaked havoc out west. By Thursday, however, the storm had passed and left us with a cold and windy but sunny day.

Turkey Day to Piermont

In New York City cycling terms, riding to Piermont on Route 9W is almost as routine as riding in circles around Central Park. It’s a fine ride the first twenty times you do it, but it gets boring after that. However, it’s a great ride to do on Thanksgiving morning. You’ll get about fifty miles of riding, which for me burns about 2,500 calories. You get done in about four to five hours, leaving plenty of time for a snack and a shower before indulging and passing out for the day. And the best argument for riding to Piermont is that the Community Market is open on Thanksgiving Day.

Our group of nine riders braved the cold and some isolated patches of ice in the name of caloric balance. When we started in the morning, it was a brisk 30°. The 14 mph wind made is seem like it was 20°, but if that’s if you’re standing still. Because we faced that wind for our entire ride to Piermont, it was like adding another 15–18 mph to that headwind. I don’t even want to think about what the “wind chill” was.

Our riding group at the Piermont Community Market. The photo is blurry probably because the photographer was shivering.

Our riding group at the Piermont Community Market. The photo is blurry probably because the photographer was shivering.

The challenge to riding in cold weather is remembering to drink. When it’s that cold and your water bottles are close to freezing, the last thing you want to do is take a sip. But you have to keep hydrated, otherwise, you’ll cramp up and die. The same is true when it’s hot, but in that situation you’re faced with a different challenge: remembering to eat.

After gulping some room temperature water and devouring an egg and cheese sandwich at the market, we all began the trek back to the city. Gettting going was tough. My fingers were instantly numbed by the wind, and I began shivering. The magic of Thanksgiving however put a nice climb ahead of us, and with that, I was warmed up and stopped shivering. We also had a nice tail wind for most of the route, which was welcomed because it was not a bone-chilling head wind.

32.5 Miles Until I "Earn That Turkey"

Another reason I rode yesterday was because I signed up for this silly Earn That Turkey Challenge put on by Ride with GPS and needed some miles. Even with the eighty-mile New Haven ride (77 miles) and yesterday’s Turkey ride (53 mile), I still need another 32.5 miles to finish 200 between November 11 and the end of the month.

It looks like I’ll be riding tomorrow to get that silly 200-mile badge.

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