Eventually the weather will get a bit nasty and I’ll switch from obsessing over cycling to something like heavy confections, wine and wool, but until then my evenings are on the bike.
I realized that I’ve been posting all of these entries about Prospect Park (where my nightly rides take place) but have not posted any visual indication of what the ride is like. Here, then, is The Route with numbered points of interest:
- Since I live a block off the southeast side of the park, #1 serves as my entrance and the beginning of every ride. This is the low point of the park and contains only rolling lumps to begin. Flow of traffic around the park is counter-clockwise. Autos are only allowed in the park from rush hour am to rush hour pm. Beginning at 7pm the park is closed to all motor traffic and us cyclists get two vehicle-sized lanes of traffic (in addition to the cycling lane on the left)
- After a few minutes of spin you’re hit with the hill, a steep grade that takes you up to the Grand Army Plaza. The first section will give you a little burn in your legs
- The incline of the hill eases for about 20 meters then ramps back up to it’s steepest grade. Most riders who have been holding their pace will begin to slow at this point due to the steepness or because of their legs beginning to tire.
- Section 4 would be characterized by rolling hills with a very very gradual climb up to section 5. For whatever reason you almost never see anyone making any moves in this stretch. Probably because they are still recovering from the hill.
- After climbing from 2-5 now begins the release, the big downhill stretch which will take you most of the way to 7. Though I like to coast now and then, when things get competitive you’ll see trains being led by someone pushing hard at the front. Generally speeds are about 30mph but they can easily near 40 on good days.
- I only mark this point as it seems to be the point where the largest numbers of stupid pedestrians gather and get hit by bikes. This is a good section to be “heads up”
- Here at the bottom of the hill one of two things will happen: (1) The group will hit “cruise control” and have a smooth flight allllllll the way to the hill or (2) someone will decide it’s time to do a 30mph sprint clear across the bottom of the park, blowing the group up into little pieces. If strong, it will re-form shortly before the hill.
Overall the park is about 5km around and laps take around 10 minutes to complete at a good clip.