Thursday, February 08, 2007


Did you ever have one of those days where the wind was always in your face? Today was one of those days! I was feeling adventurous and board of my Flatwoods 12.5m-loop routine, so I ventured out the the Suncoast Trail. I waited for it warm up to about 60 degrees, which took until about 11:00am - by 11:30 or so I was wheels up.

A change of scenery sure made it nice. The friggin wind in my face, however, kept my head down for most of the 35m trip out. I started out at the Lutz Fern Trailhead and headed North, right into the 5-10 mph wind (it sure seemed stronger than that - the trail is very exposed, running right along the parkway) The last few miles were in some nifty hills (a nifty hill is one that does not require shifting from the big ring, but does require some standing up) which blocked the wind a little. I stopped for a minute or two to hit one of the two bathroom facilities that are on the trail, and refilled with water and got back out on the trail.

The first thing I noticed on the way back was a lack of relief from the driving, in-your-face wind that I had to deal with on the way out. I remembered reading Myle's 300k brevet report on how in Arizona the wind blows one way in the morning and then the other in the afternoon. Well, I started before be fair, the wind didn't do a 180 - more like a 90 degree shift, and instead of wonderfully at my back, it was now blowing across the path.

I also realized I need a bunch of work with the new pedals - the Looks - those are heck to clip in and out of! The old Speedplays I had let me twist out of them completely - these require a twist and then a pull, and while I haven't fallen yet, I've been close a few times while flailing about trying to get my foot unclipped. All those road crossings today shed some serious light on the joys of owning one-sided pedals.

As far as hard bike rides go, this one was the second hardest I've ever done - the long century still tops it, and the Hilly 100k is just behind it. I'd certainly recommend this route for someone visiting or living in the Tampa area - the path was well paved, the road crossings were busy, but they were at lights at the busy intersections, and there was plenty of rest stops and water points, should you need them. Having just over 80 days until the 101 with it's 80 some-odd mile bike, I've got to put in a few more of these over the coming weeks, and change my perspective on what an "easy" ride is. Looking at my GPS download, I got pretty close to the end of the trail - maybe next time...

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