If you, like me, has had previous experience riding in Florida, you know it to be flat, boring and swarming with "bluehairs" who run cyclists over in their oversize Caddies. East coast, west coast...ugh.... but in central Florida there is a giant sanddune that runs across part of the state and lots of lonely country roads crisscross the dune and provide a nice environment for cyclists, of which there are many around here. Above, the approach to Buckhill, a multiple hill road, think of it as "Blue Jay Junior".
So, Grand Poobah, was a nice guy and falling back on his vast experience from riding around here, sent me a route to follow that would include some of the climbs. I headed out into strong winds and a forecast of low 70's. Within a couple of miles I got off the route but ran into lots of people who offered me help. Usually, they would look at the "Poobah Route" and say, "Oh I know a better way to get you to Sugarloaf Mountain" but I was doggedly determined to follow the great one's route and plodded on, eventually getting back on the route. Amazingly hilly is the area and after reaching the summit of Sugarloaf, was greated with this great veiw of Apoka lake, the 2nd largest in Florida.
An old retired Air Force guy puts this water out each day for cyclists. He puts a large block of ice in each container, with cups and keeps the area in front of the fence mowed so motorcyclists can stop and take in the view.
The area is not densely populated like other parts of Florida and with the hills, the great roads and light traffic, a great destination for cyclists. OK, it's not southern California with real mountains and it's not as good as Tucson with great hiking and cycling but for anyone enduring the winters of the midwest, it is a great alternative and my report tomorrow about a group ride, will demonstrate there are lots of lots of cyclists around here.
I ended my first day with 63 miles and 3600' of climbing......yes....in Florida!!!!!!!