Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Failed Century

Monday morning dawned with a chill here in central Florida.

I took off early bundled in layers of lycra and underarmor for my February century.

My New Year's resolution is a century every month. I already slipped in January, only making it 75 miles on the family vacation in Bonita Springs (the last 20 being in a downpour  - that really should count!)

But now I'm geared up to get back on track in Feb!

I did 20 miles before returning to the hotel to get Al. And off we went on a new route. And what a route it was!

The West Orange Trail is amazing! Wide, smooth, scenic! We could bike side by side without being cursed by drivers.

Early in the ride we saw our first red-tail hawk soaring over the scrublands. This was a good sign for the dedication of our big ride to the Red-tail Conservancy.

22 miles we rode together breezing along until WHAP! We hit the End of the Trail! Shades of Shel Silverstein! This is the place where the sidewalk ends...

Intrepidly we turned around and biked back to Winter Garden.

Lovely place - with bike shops, ice cream and the Moon Cricket Cafe. AL got a lovely cheese platter and chatted with fellow bikers. I munched pretzels and reviewed the possible routes home.

4:00 now and we re-evaluated our goal. No way we were going to get in a century/80. Sunset in 2 hours and clouds coming in. So we reset our sights for a 90 for Helen and a 70 for Al.

We jumped onto a loop route we had found on . It swung us down south of Clermont into lovely neighborhoods and windy roads.

We took one wrong turn which risked our lives along a narrow stretch further narrowed by construction. As Al said, "It's a good thing neither of us is fat" as cars whizzed by inches from our handlebars.

Finally back out in the open on Marsh road. Big hills. Dark. Getting cold. Tired. Rain.

As we turned off Marsh Road to head back to the hotel I became convinced that Al will do great biking across America. All she said about the last rough stretch was..."well that was tough". And on we went.

In fact, when we finally turned into the hotel, Al called out "See ya later..." and continued on so she could complete a 75 mile ride.

We didn't make a century but we met every challenge.

And we will be ready this summer to bike across America.
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