Once again time has passed by way to quickly. I hope I can get better at keeping this updated more often. I have not been training like I should be or more probably like my competition has been doing. Oh well, it is too late to change that. I can only move forward and try to improve every week and hope to end up some place when I need to be there.
I did try to do a power block to see if I could make up for some lost time. I joined a group of guys that go to Florida in the spring to get a lot of miles in the legs with some good weather. Boy was it some good weather. It was upper 70’s to 80 almost everyday. There was not too much climbing, but there were some bridges to climb and a fair share of wind to keep it from being too easy. The riders did their share to make it impossible for it to be an easy trip.
We left on Wednesday after work. I didn’t get a lot of sleep Tuesday night with a lot of tossing around. Part of it was stressing about the trip and some of it was trying to figure out what I was forgetting. Work was crazy as usual and before I knew it, time to get loaded up was there. It took a little bit to get everyone loaded and ready and we were on the road. And it was going to be a long road.
15 hours later, a few stops at a gas station and plenty of times the windows were rolled down. Morning traffic was crazy, but when the sun came up and we finally could see the water, it was a great feeling. We found the condo and were happy that the cleaning lady’s were nice enough to let us in. We unloaded the cars, changed clothes and I think with in 30 min. we were rolling down the street.
I could not believe the views and the change in weather. I had to make sure and pay attention to where I was going or I would end up crashing in to someone. We were staying in Clearwater Beach. We headed out to Fort De Soto. It was a good trip out and I was feeling good. The bridges hurt to climb a lot more than I thought they would. On the way back I was really starting to feel it. The legs were very heavy. Ii was struggling to keep up with the pace. I was falling off the back and toward the end I had to ask them to back off the pace a little.
When we finally got back to the loop, the plan was to head north some and try to get in the planned 100 miles for the day. They tried to talk me in to going, but I was hurting and not happy that I was holding them back. I was almost talked in to going, but at the last minute decided that I had enough for the day and it would probably be best that I headed back to rest. We still had several more days of riding and 70 miles for the first day was not bad. After some harassment, they went their separate way’s and me thinking I knew how to get back to the condo. Well, that’s what I get for thinking. Well, around the first corner I hit a crack in the sidewalk and flatted the back tire. I thought I was only a block or two away and didn’t really want to change the tire right then. Well, after walking around in circles for a few blocks and not seeing anything that I should, I finally found someone to ask where I needed to go. I was still several blocks away, but knew where I was going now. When I got back, I was wore out and hit the shower. I am sure that the lack of sleep the night before we left, the driving 9 of the 15 hours and not being able to sleep in the car did not help at all.
Friday morning we were up early and on the road before I knew it. I was hoping that the legs felt better than the day before. This ride we headed north first to try and miss out on the traffic. We headed north to Tarpon Springs. This it self was a good little ride. I did have a little shifting issues and my chain dropped behind my cassette. A little maintenance and I was back up and running. Once we hit Tarpon we turned around. This was going to give us a 55 mile ride to Fort De Soto straight in to a strong wind. Great, this should be fun. If I have the same issues as the day before, I will be way too far from the condo and will have some issues getting back.
Fortunately the legs held on for most of the day, but I did have a little knee pain and I did struggle a little out at the fort, but took in some food. I managed to keep with the group and when we rolled back in to town the other computers showed 110 miles. My computer decided to run out of battery at 75 miles in. I forgot that I had the back light set to stay on. I am sure this didn’t help anything and I am not sure it was completely charged. I could not believe that my legs did me that good after how they felt the day before.
Saturday we woke up with a lot of fog and some light rain. It was warm enough that I felt I could still ride with shorts and a short sleeve jersey. We headed back out to the Fort. The road was very wet in spots and it was hard to see. The air was very moist and I was sweating more than the previous day. I was very happy with how the legs felt after two hard day’s on the bike. The pace was a little peppy as we were getting to the Fort. I kept up, but it put a hurting on me. On the way back my knee was really hurting.When we stopped to eat, a suggestion was to head back out to Fort De Soto and we would have our 100 in for the day. My legs wanted to go along, but my knee was killing me and I knew it would be a very bad idea. As it turned out, there were only two riders that went back south. Everyone else headed north toward the condo.
This ride back was horrible. My legs had the power, but every pedal stroke hurt so bad. At one point it even crossed my mind to dump it and crash myself. I figured at least then I would have a good reason to call someone to pick me up. I had to ask them to back off the pace some as I just could not go that hard. I was not the only one hurting and soon enough I had some one else drop back to keep me company. I don’t think I could have been happier to see the final bridge to town. I knew I was only a few blocks away from getting off the bike. We ended up being done earlier than the previous days and took advantage of that to rest up some and also take in some views at the beach. A few of us found a nice bar that had an open window to rest up at.
Sunday morning we woke up early. Four of us were brave enough to head back out on the bike. I was not sure how the knee was going to feel, but it was doing better than it was the previous day. I figured I would see how it went and if the pace picked up too high, I would just fall off the back and get my own ride in. I knew we were on a 2 hour time limit. The plan was to head south for and hour and turn around. We did see a huge group of riders heading north while we were still heading south.
The knee was not hurting and I could maintain the pace for the hour out. We turned around and headed back toward the condo. I think there was a little tail wind or something because we were flying. I know I saw 24-26 mph for a good part of it. As we got closer to the final bridge, I was beginning to think we were going to get back in 45 min. Well, that was before the legs started to give out. I think the several back to back rides were adding up. That an the fact that we were really cruising. My pace fell off some, but was still not slow. Up and over the bridge and we were back to the condo in 50 min. A quick shower, change and as quick as the trip started we were back in the car and heading home. I had a blast on this trip. Lots of laughs and good times, plenty of warm miles and good food. Even though I was the butt of a lot of the jokes, I am ready to go back next year. I just hope to be a little lighter and in better condition. Now, if someone could just figure out a time warp for the drive, it would be perfect. How can I complain about getting in 285 miles in 4 days riding in 75+ degree weather, in February.