One of the highlights of August was a day that my friend and I decided to spend training. Our plan was to drive to Jacob Riis Park – a national park with a great beach, just past the Rockaways. From there we would run, bike and/or swim. It was very sunny and very hot – even in the morning. So we decided to skip the run. Instead, we would bike first and then cool off with a swim in the ocean.
We started our ride on the bike path, painted alongside the road, towards the Rockaways. Once we reached the Rockaways, we noticed that people were riding bikes on the board walk. While this wasn’t permited in Coney Island, we didn’t see any signs saying it wasn’t premited at Rockaway Beach. In fact, we cyclists riding past policemen who didn’t seem to mind their presence. We immediately decided to scrap the idea of a training ride and instead road along the beach on the boardwalk. It was amazing. We rode past swimmers, bathers, surfers and sand dunes. The breeze felt great. The scenery was incredible.
On the way back, we stopped at one of the surf beaches with a large outdoor food pavilion. We had incredibly fresh tostadas from Rockaway Taco and, at one point, contemplated ordering a beer. Listening to the music coming from the pavilion and looking out at the surf, the only reminder that we were still in the city was a couple of policemen with NYPD on their shirts. But we felt a million miles away.
Once we got back to Jacob Riis we put the bikes in my friend’s mini-van and headed to the beach. We swam for about 20 minutes, practicing sighting and other open-water techniques. Then we walked along the shore for another 40 minutes or so. It was an incredible day. And even though the only real “training” we did was the swim, we still had a full day’s worth of exercise. Better yet, we shared each other’s company while enjoying amazing scenery and exploring new places.