One of the highlights of riding to Montauk last weekend was stopping at Tully’s Lobster in Hampton Bays for a lobster roll. Growing up in California, I am relatively inexperienced when it comes to lobster rolls, as it’s not as much a thing as it is out here, so I can’t tell you if it’s the best lobster roll in the Hamptons. All I know is that I like what I like, and I like the Tully’s roll a lot.
Another bonus to stopping there for lunch, aside from not having to fight hungry and tired cyclists for scraps at the depleted rest stop in Westhampton, was that I earned airline miles for eating there because the Backbay Grille, the restaurant operation at Tully’s, participates in the Rewards Network dining program. A few friends of mine are really into earning miles while we eat, and we each have stories about getting that surprise email informing you that you dined at a participating restaurant a few days.
That’s what happened to me. I had to have a conversation with myself to figure out where I earned these miles:
Where on earth is the Backbay Grille? Did I really eat there on Saturday?
But I rode to Montauk on Saturday….
As a VIP member, I get five miles per dollar. My twenty-dollar lobster roll, with tax and tip, earned me 118 airline miles, which puts me 1/169th of the way towards a domestic economy-to-business class upgrade. All I had to do was ride almost as many miles on my bike, 101.8 miles apparently, which makes riding for airline miles a pretty terrible deal.
And if that calculation is not bad enough, because I was cycling, I was primarily eating for energy. I don’t want to know how much I paid per calorie.
In the halcyon days of the dot-com bubble, it used to be ten miles per dollar. ↩
The day had an inauspicious start. I woke up around 4:30 AM and, as I was preparing to go, I heard outside of my window, the sound of screeching tires followed by a crash. A small sports utility vehicle, which was blaring music at a very high volume, had just rear ended a minivan that was stopped at a red light on Vernon Boulevard at 48th Avenue. I then heard a woman’s voice in the minivan scream in a slurred voice, “Shit! Let’s get the fuck out of here!” The small SUV then went in reverse uncontrollably and almost hit the curb on Vernon Boulevard. Luckily, there were no cars parked on the street or else they would have been crushed for sure. The driver in the minivan got out of the car, inspected the damage, and made a phone call, presumably to the police. As I continued getting ready for my ride, I would go back to the window to check if the police had arrived. After several minutes, I saw that the driver and passenger in the SUV swapped seats, and then the SUV accelerated south on Vernon Boulevard, blew past a red light, and fled the scene. Ten minutes after the crash, the paramedics arrived, and they proceeded to check the driver of the minivan. By the time I went downstairs to hit the road for my ride, the police had still not arrived to investigate a hit-and-run collision that was also likely a DUI. Thankfully, no one appeared to be critically injured, but because the police didn’t respond for at least twenty minutes, with a precinct only two blocks away, I can’t trust the NYPD’s ability to respond to felony hit-and-run and drunken driving.
Watching a hit-and-run crash right outside my window made me very anxious about pedaling through Brooklyn, Queens, and Nassau County, knowing there would be a bunch of residual drunken drivers on the road at 5:00 AM and that they would proceed undisturbed.
Thankfully, my initial concern was unfounded as I saw very few cars out on the road at 5:00 AM, and since I knew there wouldn’t be any police out there anywhere, I blew threw just about every light and stop sign until I got into Nassau County. After all, Montauk is very far away, and I have only thirteen hours to get there.
Headwind, Heartburn, and My Hammy
The ride itself was a lot harder than last year. First, I had not been on my road bike since my last club ride on May 3, and there’s always some comfort issues going between my road bike and my commuter bike. Around mile 35, my right hamstring cramped up. After eating a shot block, drinking a bunch of water, and stretching my legs, I returned to the road, but because I was anxious about cramping up again, I wasn’t able to pull up on my pedal and wasn’t able to go very fast.
Second, I had not eaten an especially good pre-ride meal. Instead, I ended up at Corner Bistro devouring a chili burger when I should have gotten something with rice or pasta. For the first third of the ride, I had some pretty bad heartburn that didn’t clear up until I got to Patchogue, around mile 60, and it was bad enough that I didn’t get any beer at the Blue Point Brewery.
Third, there was a significant headwind the entire ride. Everyone I spoke to complained about the wind, and although it wasn’t so strong that it threatened to blow you off the road, it did force you to pedal hard the entire route. You weren’t coasting for very long on this ride. Last year, I finished the 150-mile route in a little more than nine hours of riding. This year, I pedaled for more than ten and a half hours. The wind was toughest on those long flat stretches, such as the nine-mile stretch of Union Avenue, east of Babylon, the seven miles of Dune Road, between Westhampton and Quogue, and the final sixteen miles of the Montauk Highway, east of Amagansett. That last stretch included some hills, which blocked the wind a little and gave you a nice descent after you reached the top. I have never been so happy to see hills!
Riding for a Lobster Roll… and Pie
As I suspected would happened, food was scarce after the Westhampton rest stop. There were a few energy bars left, and I ate a couple to give me a bit of energy. I didn’t need that much because I was planning on getting a lobster roll at Tully’s in Hampton Bays. And that’s exactly what I did.
In years past, the pie from Briermere Farms is available at the rest stop in Water Mill, but this year, it was at the last rest stop in Amagansett. I skipped this stop last year, but this year, I needed a bathroom and water break, so I stopped there. And I had a slice of cherry pie.
I finished the ride around 5:40 PM, and I had a great time despite the wind, heartburn, and sore legs.
Despite ruining a lot of people’s plans by shrinking the ride, the cops in Southampton and East Hampton provided a few police officers to guide us through some tricky intersections. That was nice of them, but I couldn’t believe how young a lot of the traffic cops looked. Is that what kids do for jobs now that we don’t have video stores for them to work at?
At least it’s nice to see cops patrolling traffic somewhere!
Sarah, for one, was planning on riding the Montauk-to-Montauk loop, after spending 12 hours route marking the week before. She had even brought her bike out east a few days earlier, but then she had no ride to do. ↩