So I came one step closer yesterday to hitting the half century mark. Sadly I’m not talking mileage on the bike, but mileage in my bones. My dear friend/brother Dr. Dave sent me a birthday wish, where he suggested I ride a mile for every year I had under my belt. Not being one to pass a challenge, I accepted.
Now I had no intent to take up that challenge on today’s ride, as I had not yet mapped out a good 49 mile loop, but at the 15 mile turn around mark I felt so good I decided to extend the ride by another 10 miles or so by riding out to Coconut Point. I shot under I75 and headed towards my new destination, and came up on 3 riders awaiting the traffic light. I greeted them and started a little conversation, only to find out that they spoke only german. Cycling is universal, so we still managed to converse.
They explained that the road was far better in the direction they were headed vs the route I was on, so I decided to do a little exploration and followed them. I found out at the next stoplight that my three German friends, named Helmut, Christoff and Ingrid, were very dedicated cyclist, riding five times a week since their 30’s…mind you they were in their late 50’s. That experience was very obvious as they rode in perfect formation at a clip around 18 to 20 mph, which just happens to be my sweet spot.
I happily tagged along with them for 20 or so miles (riding in a group is very enjoyable, even if they speak a foreign language) until they turned off to head for their home. They signaled that I should keep on going, which I did, when it dawned on me…I had no frikkin’ idea where I was!
I was so content and concentrated on riding in a formation, that I failed to watch for street names and landmarks. I continued on a few miles and realized I was on Livingston Road down in Naples, which I happen to know parallels I75. I passed the large Collier Park that is home to Sun n Fun Lagoon, and continued down Livingston, thinking I was traveling North, and basically looping back home. When I got to the Pine Ridge Road intersection, it dawned on me that I was still traveling South, away from home. To make matters worse, all the bike lanes terminated at this point forcing me to backtrack on Livingston.
By this point I was quickly approaching that 49 mile challenge Dr Dave had laid down on me, so I powered back to Sun n Fun and watched those 49 miles, plus a few extra for good luck, flash by on my CatEye computer. I was pretty much out of water by this point, so I rode into the park to fill up, and take a short little break. While filling my bottles my legs rudely let me know that they were swimming in lactic acid.
With exhausted legs and over 50 hot miles of asphalt awaiting, I bravely jumped back on my bike and powered home……NOT. I called in my trusty support team (wife and son) and ever so nicely begged them to come pick me up.
So the moral of today’s story is, 1. Map out your ride before you go out and stick to it, 2. Exploration is fun, but not before mapping out the routes, 3. Seasoned Germanic cyclists Rock…even if they leave you lost in Naples, and lastly 4. Ha! I got your 49 and then some Dave!
Here are today’s numbers:
Route: Lost in Naples
Started: Mar 21, 2011 9:33:11 AM
Ride Time: 3:32:17
Stopped Time: 1:25:36
Distance: 51.79 miles
Average Speed: 14.64 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 20.85 miles/h
Ascent: 602 feet
Descent: 554 feet