Sunday, October 2, 2011

Riding the Withlachoochee State Trail

The first cold front of the season came through last night.  We woke up this morning and it was officially fall.  The temperature was 60!  It was a shock to the system, especially dressed in Lycra bike clothes.  The good news was that it was sunny and clear.  We left the motel and pedaled north just under 2 miles to the headquarters of the ride.

It is always a surprise to see the wide variety of people who come to this ride.  There are the usual "roadies" but there are people of all ages, from little kids on teeny bikes, to people who appear to be in their 70s (and one guy that HAD to be in his 80s).  There are fat people on bikes, and super fit people on bikes.  There are guys in Lycra with truly amazing pot bellies.  There are roadie dads with their kids on trail behind bikes.

There are 16 miles of trail north of ride headquarters.  The century riders head that way, but most of the other riders head south.  The north section of the trail will have fewer riders and that appeals to us.  We head north, joking with a couple of guys about how cold it is and about what wimps we Floridians are about cooler weather.  Hot we love.  Cold we suffer through.  There is a sag stop in about 12 miles.  Al scarfs peanuts and m&ms which are served in little cups.  I opt for the chocolate chip cookies that have a small dollop of peanut butter with a thick slice of banana on top.  Delicious.  (Yeah, there are bananas, and bagels, and orange wedges, and tiny peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.)  We headed out and continued to the end of the trail, then circled back to ride headquarters.  On the way back, we stopped to chat with a woman and her daughter who were walking two miniature horses down the grassy border of the trail.  We've seen a bunch of walkers with dogs, but this was the first sighting ever of walkers with miniature horses.  The horses were not even waist high to me, and I'm only 5'1".

We stopped briefly at ride headquarters to snarf up a cup of coffee and lemon pie.  Then we continued south.   The southern section of trail did have a lot more casual bikers, families, and slower bikers.  At 45.5 miles, we decided our legs, arms, and backs were ready for the bike season and felt just great.  Our butts, though, were still getting used to the saddles on our new bikes.  45.5 miles was enough for us today.  We'll do more next ride.

Back to the motel for a shower.  Then off to the grocery store for more picnic supplies.  We'll spend the rest of the day on our balcony reading, then catch some TV, watch a movie, and tuck in.  We drive home tomorrow.   Overall, an excellent ride and day.