We have passed a major weather milestone. Yes, the average day time high began to climb a day or two ago. Woohoo! Unfortunately, forecasters are predicting the horrid pattern that inflicts us each day will continue in to March. Is it ever not this way? Well, come March, I will be elsewhere but more on that to come. Meantime, continue to sweat profusely on those trainers while I bide my time, trying to limit my weight gain to 1 pound per half day.
If you have to come to Florida for business, you may as well come down a few days early and hit the hills of Lake County. Rising from the surrounding flat lands is the Lake Wales Ridge and is crossed by lonely country roads that provide a great environment for cycling. Roads like Sugarloaf Mountain, Buckhill, Scrub Jay, etc... are up and down like Blue Jay Road east of Newark, OH. Usually, these roads are filled with cyclists but with today's temp (54) and winds (gusting to 20mph) I saw only 3 others.
The view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, the highest point in peninsular Florida at 312'. The climb to the top is not exactly daunting but at about 1/4 of a mile and grades sustained between 8-14%, it beats the bike paths. Short ride today of 40 miles with 2700' of climbing. Warmer tomorrow and lighter winds.
On the ride back, I saw a large group of kids playing what I assumed was flag or two hand touch football but nope, it was the real thing and there were some bone crunching tackles. One kid caught a pass and was immediately lifted in the air and slammed to the ground. It was like old time NFL.
Kyle Wingler is looking for some able bodied people to come out with gloves and appropriate clothing to hack through brush and add to the mountain bike trail at Lobdell Reserve. Having participated a couple of times, this is great fun....well, it's better than sitting around watching TV....well, it's better than a sharp stick in the eye! Here is Kyle's message:
Time to work on trails ,I hope some of you are able to come out and help this sunday 1-19 the weather should be good for trail building .We can meet at the gas well area on Mounts rd at 9:30 plan to work for 4 hrs ,bring good boots leather gloves and dress in layers .If anyone has any questions please call me at 6145060825 thanks.
Hendra, aka Panzerwagen, is gearing up for racing season and posted the below.
It is with a very heavy heart and guilt ridden conscience that I depart for Florida, to the hilly central area around Clermont/Mt. Dora, etc... on Tuesday. I know, many of you will want to know when I will return and to that I do not have an exact answer. But rest assured, I shall return.
Upon arriving at the parking lot in New Albany, it was looking kind of bleak. Flyin Tuna and Jeff S were sitting in their cars and making no effort to ready themselves for a ride. After inquiring, they stated they were sitting tight and likely going to abandon. Discouraged, I retreated to my car and called Kenda Janet to see if she and Paul were on their way. Sadly, no, they had spit the bit. Just then, Steve O arrived and so that spurred us to emerge from the comfort of our cars and began the ride readying process. Within minutes, others arrived, including this new guy, Philippe, originally from France, transferred from Texas to our garden state.
Little Muscle Dude, John Day came out in conditions he probably judged to be balmy since he rode last Tuesday when the temperature was -3 with a wind chill of -27. Only rode for 18 minutes that day but still, the toughness, coupled with the proper technical clothing, is admirable.
Wow, Hendra rolled in too with friend Joe. Shaking visibly, it was easy to imagine Hendra recalling fondly his days riding in Indonesia where the temperature is a tad bit higher. A total of 10 of us rolled out including Dirty Dan, among those not already mentioned. Dirty is taking some heat from co-workers who have discovered his nick name and drawing inappropriate conclusions. The nick name committee is considering a modification, maybe changing to "Dusty" instead of "Dirty". Have to think about that.
A 33 degree start with fairly strong winds out of the SW. The pace was reasonable with Hendra taking it easy on us and so too did everyone else who could have put a hurting on the weak and I. We got on to Dutch Lane where John had a flat. Some of us kept rolling for a mile but then turned around to watch the flat fixing and doing so, turned in to a wicked, wicked head wind. Immediately, some of us began second guessing the primary target of Utica and once John had his tire pumped back to life, Jeff, Flyin T and I headed south toward Alexandria and then back to New Albany, finishing with 39 miles. Did not hear from the others but hope they had a good time on the 63 mile route. Ok, here is the route, http://ridewithgps.com/routes/3889773.
The temperature will soon cross from the positive to the negative, in an hour or so but cheer up. In a matter of a couple of days we will be back in the 40's. Looks like a day or two will be ridable although the forecast is bouncing around a bit. I think Flyin Tuna is studying her maps and preparing to unleash a great route on us.