Central Florida has hills. A nice variety of hills. And in October it has the Gainesville Cycling Festival. Saturday is a group of event rides (century, metric, gravel, family) benefiting the local Boys and Girls Club. Sunday the rides move south of Gainesville to the Ocala area and horse country. Sunday has delightfully scenic routes, assuming you love horses and all that.
Since the surgery on my feet I've had to make some changes.
- Studded flat pedals only. No more clipping in. (But I still use stiff-soled bike shoes. They are much more comfortable.)
- No pushing through the ball of the foot when pedaling. (I've gone back to the pedaling style I used decades ago for off road rides on my mountain bike. Keeping the foot flat on the pedal with the axle of the pedal about an inch behind the ball of the foot.)
Bottom line: climbing is (ahem) interesting. I wouldn't call it more difficult. But it is slow, frustrating, and demoralizing since I can remember how much faster I used to climb clipped in. I'll get a bit faster as the muscles get stronger so I can push my average power higher on climbs, but I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and accept being a turtle on climbs.
But back to the Gainesville Cycling Festival. The bigger hills were the most fun. I got left far behind by my riding companions on the way up, but (have I mentioned I love descending?) I could catch up with them as long as there was a nice descent on the other side of the climb. The highlight of my ride: my power meter readout. After the first half hour I knew my numbers to assure that I'd keep up and make it to the end of the ride in OK shape. (Three cheers for power meters! Worth every penny you spend on them!)
It was a great weekend. The Gainesville Cycling Festival is a weekend of riding that's well worth the drive to Gainesville. Lovely hills, and great routes to ride. A winner.