I've been getting into a groove, doing the same ride every day. Enter the park at Columbus Circle. Ride around the park drive, but take the cutoff before the big hill at Harlem Meer. To make up for that, I do an extra circuit around the front part of the park. So I actually get more mileage than one circuit. But I'm getting stronger. Pretty soon I'll start going the full route.
The difference between this year's standard ride and last year's is this -- hills! At first I swore I'd never get used to it. But when I rode in Menlo Park/Woodside in Calif, I did a lot of hill riding. So I can do it. I just have to get in shape.
My rides are getting me more oxytocin or whatever it is that you get high on. Because I float after I ride. And if I miss a day, as I did yesterday, I get very grouchy. I think it's called withdrawal.
One more thing. It's wet and humid today and the park is filled with smells. These are magic smells. I'd get this experience when I lived in suburban Boston, because these were the smells of childhood, the good ones (there were bad ones too, like the smell of the incinerators burning garbage, they used to do that in NY when I was growing up). Boston was close, but these are the exact smells my brain is programmed to recognize as "home" -- proof that our lower brains are programmed just like all animals, to find comfort in being in a familiar place, even at a sub-conscious level. Another reason my heart is activated on these rides (the other being, of course, exercise!).
Map: 7.5 miles, 43 minutes.