We drove up to Inverness on Friday. We were registered for the Clean Air Ride on Saturday. On one hand we were excited about doing the event. On the other hand we were seeing the end of our bike season.
Beginning in April, we begin water skiing. That means that while we still ride our bikes, our priority each day is water skiing. Biking moves to days when it is too windy to ski. This being Florida, we severely limit time in the sun. Besides, heat and humidity really does make biking best done very early in the day. It is typically 74 degrees and very humid before dawn daily, lower to mid 90s by early afternoon, and raining 4 pm to 6 pm. So we need to be out on our bikes as soon as it is light. We water ski at dawn (when the wind is calm and the water the best of the day), so we can't water ski and bike on the same day.
The Clean Air Ride is a great end to the season. It is held on the Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46 mile long, 12 foot wide, paved trail. Perfect for a fast century ride. For a lot of the riders, that is what this ride is all about. It is particularly a favorite of clubs who do a team century ride. It also draws a fair number of riders like Al and myself. What is doesn't draw is beginning riders and families. (Nothing like a lot of club pace lines to scare away those guys...)
The day started out in the upper 60s with high humidity, light wind, and about 50 percent sky cover. By mid-morning the heat ticked up as did the wind. We had a headwind for the first half of our ride, but that gave us a very nice tail wind for the second half! About the time the day was getting toasty and really sticky, it began to rain. We rode in a moderate rain for about 10 miles, then enjoyed the pleasant cooling of our gear drying as we rode to the end of the ride. Al and I were not doing the century (100 miles) but rather a metric century (100 kilometers which is 62 miles).
|Sag Stop (Water and Yummies)|
|Turn Around Point at the Southern End of the Trail|