May 26, 2019 at 05:55

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So it all started on the day I finished my first 100-mile ride. Lauren texted me asking would you like to go from Boston to New York by bike. And then the next text was I just saw your ride on Strava and you did a 100 mile so you are totally fine. I met Lauren on a bus when I was going for a hike somewhere in Giant mountains with two friends from Delaware and they were going to pick me up in Albany. It's whole another story. Will write about it sometime.

I read that message after I completed my write up for 100-mile blog. I was like that sounds very cool and also because I recently completed a 100-mile ride with a lot of hills I thought that I can do this as well. So I just said yes simply and we were celebrating on the text. She was soo stocked about it. I reached Boston the next day. I never went to New York from Boston so thought let's see the distance and what does Google maps suggests. As soon as I opened, it said 250 miles. 😱😱

I was like whattttttt. Did I say yes to this? I messaged Lauren immediately and she said it's not 250 but close to 210. I was like its just double the distance I have done only once in my life and I am not used to doing 100 miles over a weekend. She said now you committed and you cannot back off. I told myself I think I can do this and if I do this, what an achievement it will be. So I was just laughing with her. After a while, she said you commit too early and that was soo damn right. But I like to do these things and when the idea sounds cool, I say yes.

We checked the weather and it was showing rainy so we decided to check it again after a week because we were still 3 weeks away from it.

After a week I just checked the weather again and I was soo delighted. The day looked sunny and day temperature in low 70s. Texted Lauren and she was also happy. I remember how pumped she was and she was also writing it in every ending text. I am sooo pumped.

Bike and biker shadow

Now this time I had to figure out my shoes but I thought I would do it afterward because I was busy with my work. I was really not getting time to even work out as my schedule was not allowing me to.

The week before we were supposed to go, we finally decided to book the Airbnb and rental car. Lauren booked the Airbnb and I booked the car. So now after doing this we were fully committed and there was no going back.

I don’t know why I delayed buying the shoes. Now it was Tuesday and couldn’t get the shoes I wanted on time from Amazon. So I went to Somerville Bike Kitchen to replace my chain which I bought before going to 100 miler.

Someone there suggested that I should change my chain according to the cassette. It might not fit well. So I thought maybe I should not take chances as it will be a long journey and if chain got messed up then it will be really bad. So just oiled my chain and other parts of the bike. I tried to tighten the brakes but messed up so had to come again on Thursday. The bike kitchen is a not profit where you can work on your bikes and is only open Tuesday and Thursday from 6 pm to 9 pm.

On Thursday, I went to office biking as while coming back I wanted to buy new bike shoes. I planned everything but still, at last, I forgot to get the cleats which go under the cycling shoes. I left the office around 6:20 pm and went to Crimson Bike Shop. They didn’t have the shoe size I wanted so they suggested Cambridge Bikes. It was near Central so biked their fast as they close at 7 pm too. After reaching, they said that they only had one shoe. The shoes were good but expensive but didn’t really have a choice. Thought it would be a long term investment so bought it.

Went home, picked up the cleats and straight to Somerville Bike Kitchen because I had to fix my break and now have to install cleats on the shoes as well. After installing, I just tried them on the bike. Went round in small circles at the porch. It felt different and I couldn’t get off with it. It has a trick. You have to move your foot to the left side so it pops out. Someone there gave a piece of advice that because I was new to wearing cycling shoes, I should get at least one shoe out of the pedal before stopping. (Right advice but really forgot about it and ended up falling later).

Had to meet Lauren for the swim and dinner after so that we can plan out but then I couldn’t reach on time so messaged her for meeting on dinner instead. I reached the recreational center by 9:15 pm. She was on the way. After she came, we canceled the plan for dinner instead sat there to do the planning. We decided to make a list of all the things we needed and when and where to meet.

Like having 16 bars as it would take us 16 hours to finish the journey. So one bar every hour. Clothes for wearing while reaching there and flip flops. Many more things like that. We decided to meet at the Recreation Center at 4 am on Saturday and planned to reach New York by 10 pm.

Next day I decided to sleep by 7 pm so that I can wake up by 3 am but of course it didn’t happen. Left office at 7:15 pm on Friday and reached home by 7:50 pm. Started packing everything which was on the list. Prepared two sandwiches also which we would eat on the ferry. Then Lauren messaged that the GoPro she got had no SD card in it. I was like whatttt. I thought about it for a while and got an idea. I have a Samsung phone and I use SD card in it so messaged her to take it along and charge it well. Meanwhile, I emptied like some 9GB from my SD card because it was nearly full. I wish I should have done more.

This all took time and now it was around 9:25 pm. So fewer hours of sleep now. Slept around 9:35 pm and woke up at 3 am. Only 5 and a half hours sleep. Got ready, eat breakfast and was out on road by 3:55 am. Reached MIT Recreation Center by 4:05 am. It was all empty roads with blinking yellow lights. Didn’t had to stop anywhere. The bag on the shoulder had weight. Around 4-5 kg. I was thinking this will have to be on the back for hours and hours and it might give a problem.

As soon I reached, I couldn’t get myself out of the bike. You know new shoes so for some seconds my conscious mind tried to get out but didn’t succeed and I finally fell on my arms. First fall in just 10 min since starting. Lolll. 😅😅 It was a little painful. I made a video right there.

One guy was passing by and he asked while seeing the bike on the ground and me standing there, are you okay? Need some help? I said - No, I am just waiting for someone. I sat on the stairs waiting for her. Looking at the empty roads, I was thinking of how busy they are in the day time and now everything so silent. She came after a while with a bright light in the front. We asked each other about how many hours we slept. She only slept for three hours. We then started our journey. It was also tricky to get the shoes in the right spot at the first attempt. I like the clipped in sound. It makes you feel fully attached to the bike. The 4 am skyline view from the Massachusetts Ave bridge was soo beautiful. Felt like I should come here every day in the morning.

Lauren was cycling fast since the starting. Around 17 or a little more. Inside I was like we have to go 200 miles and then thought maybe she is strong. After some 5-6 miles, she came back to normal speed. These were the roads I have never seen before. We were just going straight on Mass Ave. The hills were not rolling hills and bigger than that. Lauren's weak area is hills. She doesn’t like them so we get very slow on hills.

Two bikes

Weather was nice but then it started to feel colder. It was gonna be 70F in the day time that’s what I checked last time. When we were passing a cute small town, we saw a board that said current temperature 48F. On the bike with the wind, it feels even colder. Now Lauren said, I am cold. Until she saw the board, she was fine. Haha.

This was around 5 am. I thought it would be great if we can have every hour checkpoints(I don’t know why I called it a checkpoint because the point was not decided. It should have been the check hour or something). So decided to make a video every hour. Two things happened with this plan when I am thinking while writing: 1. We got to check how we are doing every hour and how are we feeling. 2. Not thinking of the journey as a whole. Broke down into hours and looking forward to the next goal which was the next hour.

Stopped at a Dunkin after 2 hours around 6:30 am. We could see the Sun and the rays were just coming to us. Over there I asked Lauren for the GoPro she brought. I inserted my SD card from the phone. We didn’t know how to operate it but thanks to GoPro, they have made it super simple. What we wanted to do is record a video. For that, there was an ON button so as soon as you press it, it starts recording and when you press again, it stops recording, saves the video and shuts off. (We didn’t know all this. We assumed it must be saved. After coming home from the journey, I read about this camera in detail and that’s where I learned this. So simple. Thanks, GoPro but sad that they no longer sell the model which we had.)

After shooting a test video, I wanted to keep it somewhere where I can take it out easily without stopping. Finally decided to put in the front of my bag and when I would need it, I would take out one arm from the bag, hang the bag on one shoulder and take out the GoPro while biking. I decided to take it out as it was our 2-hour checkpoint. I would not say that taking out was easy but fair. After recording putting it back was a little pain so I decided to keep it in my hand. Also now it was quick to record anything interesting or checkpoint.

We decided to eat every hour but we were kind of not following it. The next stop was Province town according to Lauren. In the middle, we were discovering new city names that we have never heard of. Soo many cities start with W. Don’t remember now other than Walpole. We also wanted to reach the ferry by 12 pm so that we could be on time to reach New York and Airbnb. Because of this, we didn’t take any breaks. There were back roads which had houses both sides of the roads and there were 4-lane roads where cars and trucks were passing by. Even in the city on a 2-lane road, a big truck crossed us. I have that in the video. That was a little scary.

Province town was nice and I could see some high rise buildings. I didn’t know it was Province town. After crossing the downtown I asked so how far is it and she said this is it, we just crossed. We stopped at a trail which was long enough and also to eat and apply some sunscreen. Now the Sun was getting brighter and hotter. I don’t like the direct contact of the Sun as it gives me rashes in no time and that’s the only reason I wore a full sleeve. Lauren wanted to get tan but still, she was applying sunscreen.

The trail was long, steady and with many crossovers in between. We had to be for a while on that. Some parts of it were not perfectly paved so there were a lot of bumps on the bike. One of the time when we were crossing, we had to turn and then go to another side, I jumped from the sidewalk because I was not aware that’s coming.

I was biking in front and I didn’t see Lauren for a while as she got slow. So I biked slow and got to know she was having pain near her knee. We had a long way to go. I asked her to stop and stretch. Giving rest to muscles and contracting relaxing makes it usable for some more time. After a while, again she was having pain but she kept going on with it. Strong girl.

There were long rolling hills and more actual hills. We wanted to be at the ferry by 12 pm. We could have made it but we biked slow. In all the checkpoints, whenever I asked Lauren how she was, she always said, everything is looking fine, we are doing great and we will make it to the ferry by 12 pm. After a big hill, I checked the time and we would not have made it with current speed so we rested on the side of the road. By now it was 11:15 am and the sun was up, bright and hot. We rested in the shed of trees and that’s when you realize how great trees are. The breeze under the tree makes you calm and feel so good.

Two people on Ferry

At that time, we were at the top of a hill so going down was nice. In between, we reached our 100 miles so I celebrated that on the video. Last time I remember I screamed when I completed my first 100 miles. Last four miles to the ferry was through a short route on a trail which leads to an interstate highway sidewalk which goes over the bridge and the river flowing down. Through the bars, one could see the gorgeous river. After getting down on the road, we now could see the ferry spot. It was 12:15 pm at that time. We got down there, bought tickets, filled our water bottles at a small shop, got checked out tickets and into the ferry.

Ferry was huge and the cars were waiting in the line to go inside. I didn’t even think about this. I was always imagining a small boat where we will have a problem putting our bikes into. After laying our bikes on the handle, we walked up on the deck. The ocean was beautiful. I found a place where there was shed, so we put the bike computer and GoPro to charge. Then we eat a peanut butter jelly sandwich. By that time the ferry started. I took a video of how I was feeling about the ferry ride. I took a round of ferry. It had a cabinet downstairs where people were sleeping, reading books and kids were just playing.

I came back on the deck. The sun by now shifted and there was no shed anymore. I just decided to lay on my back where the life vest boxes were kept and closed my eyes. I think I rested for some 30 minutes. Before waking up, I could hear Lauren talking to somebody about where we were coming from and where we are going.

The ferry was 1 hour 20 minutes and we reached our next starting point on time - 2:20 pm. Where we parked our bikes, that gate was open. It was huge and didn't see it while boarding ferry. We took our bikes out. I didn’t have any water left and Dunkin was far away but luckily we found the same kind of shop we found before catching the ferry. We asked the people to fill the water bottles and they did. I left my bike outside and because of the wind it fell down and the seat started to wobble. We applied sunscreen as it was too sunny and the sun rays were pinching my skin. As soon as I sat on the bike, I could feel my butt hurting. Felt like rashes but not really.

By this time Lauren was slow again because her knee was really hurting. She used to tell the direction like straight 5 miles on this road and I use to go on my speed and then wait for her when it was nearly over. Around 125 miles we stopped and thought to stretch. She was not showing any emotions but I could feel she was in pain. One car on the road stopped at the light and the music it was playing was pumpy. I wanted to dance at that time.

Two people smiling with their bikes

Now this time on the next video she said that her legs, shoulders and everything was hurting and she wants to take ibuprofen. There were so weird suggestions on Google. Some people said they take ibuprofen on longer rides and some on rides longer than two hours. That was just hilarious. 🤣🤣 Because we wanted to reach Airbnb on time, we decided that I will go ahead. I took the route from her through some app. It was pretty much 25 and 25B state highway. So I went ahead.

I didn’t have Gatorade so stopped at a Gas station to take it. The cars on the road were passing very fast. There was also not enough shoulder to bike on so had to be on the road most of the time. The Sun was setting and the evening began to rise. More cars now as people were going home or somewhere. It was getting scary to ride but kept going. I stopped for a bar and water break and that time called Lauren. I was done with 160 miles at that time and still, there were 50 more miles to go. She told me that she was taking a train as it was getting dark and scary too. I told her I will try to reach there by 11 pm but I guess I was wrong.

Now slowly I could feel that my body was really getting tired. Not just the legs, the whole body. I could feel all the body muscles which didn't have the energy to work more. I kept telling myself that this is how much left. (Like for 50 miles- Pranjal you do this on a good day, 40 miles - You did this last weekend) etc. Around 172 miles, I stopped in front of an Audi showroom. While coming till there, I could hear fireworks as it was Memorial day weekend.

The grass was perfect in front of the Audi showroom. I placed my bike on the grass and just laid down under the sky. It was soo calm. I wanted to just sleep there. I could have totally. After resting 10 minutes, I got up and ready to go, mentally. Gosshh I have soo many pictures in my mind right now but can’t explain. The evening rolled in darkness. I was still on the 25B state highway. Soon the cars became less but light also. In some parts of the road, I have to totally depend on my front bike light. Absolute darkness.

Person on the grass with bike

At 186 miles, I again stopped. Sat in front of a Chase bank on the road itself. I made a video and really I was very very tired. I said that in the video as well. Right across there was a 7 Eleven. I wanted salt this time. Luckily the store was open as it was around 11 pm now. I asked him if they had any kind of salt. Ended up buying a Gatorade and a chips packet with the highest salt content. Slowly crossed the road again and hopped on the bike. Kept telling myself - 20 miles you can do any day. Common you can do it right now. Slowly 186 turned to 189 to 192 and I just kept going. One good part was Lauren chose a route which was straight and I was on 25B for like 70-80 miles.

Here I enter New York City. Didn’t get good vibes I don’t know why. Soo many streets and I had to stop at soo many of them. I was annoyed by popping the shoe in and out of the pedal again and again. Also, one bus was soo annoying. I overtook it and then the bus again overtook me but stopped ahead at its stop. I overtook it again and it continued. I was not getting good feelings with this bus also and some people on the stop ahead tried to scare me as well. Streets after streets after streets, finally the number ended and I had to go on a different street. I was continuously looking at the watch at that time. 198. 198.5. 199. 199.3. 199.4, 199.6, 199.9 and the magic number 200. Goshhhhhhh.

I just stopped there. I couldn’t believe what just happened. Never ever in my dreams, this was possible or have I ever thought about this. Made a video right there. There were still soo many cars on the streets and it was 12:30 am. Now the Airbnb was 7 miles away. I got this energy from somewhere and it felt like all the pain in the left thigh and all the tiredness was gone as if I was just starting to bike. I was averaging 17 mph which is just insane to me at that moment.

Lauren called in between to check where I was. Reached the Airbnb finally but it was a wrong address. She gave the right one but Google ended up getting it wrong. Had to walk like two blocks back. Finally reached the real Airbnb at 1:20 am. Entered inside and what I got to know is I have to carry the bike to the 4th floor. I was like this was the only thing which was missing now. Slowly got it up there and finally reached in front of the apartment. After putting my bike inside, took a shower and decided to sleep. Went to bed around 2 am. I couldn’t sleep well that night. It was not the place but don’t really know why. Woke up around 7 am. Did all my morning routine and then woke Lauren up.

Strava map picture

After getting ready, we went to have breakfast. It was a nice Jewish community. Even the buses had Hebrew written on it. I eat a large bagel and cheese muffin. Then we went back to Airbnb, took our bikes and bag and decided to bike to the car rental. I swear I didn’t wanted to bike. I was done but we still biked 7 miles which took us 50 minutes. It was again a sunny day. We came across a festival going on the streets. We walked through it and this is where Lauren drank Sugarcane juice for the first time.

After reaching the car rental, getting the car was smooth. Disassembled out bikes, put it in the truck and on folded seats and off to Boston.

I could never ever imagine I would do this. It just happened. I would like to thank Lauren for asking me to come on this trip and making the plan. This is a thank you deep from my heart. ♥️♥️ One doesn’t do these stuff daily and what we did is one of its kind in the entire life. Now it will remain with me for the whole life.

Peace

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