It’s Saturday which means it’s time for my favorite weekly 70 mile ride to the white sands of Vanderbilt Beach and the Fit & Fuel Cafe. Both Señor J and Young Pup were on board for an early morning start, but Young Pup forgot he had to take his car in for service, opting instead to meet us at Coconut Point.
Señor J and I headed out at 8:00 am with the intent to maintain an easy 18-19 MPH pace giving his sore knee a gentle workout. Like always, we completely ignored our plan, cruising at 21-23 MPH instead. Luckily his knee is feeling much better and is nearly back to 100%, so why not give it a workout.
In about an hours time, we reached Coconut Point and met up with Young Pup who informed us his friend Ryan was going to join us on the ride. Additional riders are always welcomed, so we waited a few minutes for Ryan to arrive. We greeted Ryan upon his arrival, and he began to unload and prep his bike, when he realized he had forgotten his cycling shoes. For those not in the know, Cyclist wear special shoes with cleats that latch us onto our bikes (think ski boots locking into skis). It is not really possible to ride your bike without them. Keeping with my silly name tradition on this blog, Ryan will now be known as “Cinderfella”… sorry Ryan.
We modified our normal route to meet up with Cinderfella near his home. The new route took us down US 41 to Bonita Beach Road and then down the Naples coast on Vanderbilt to the Fit & Fuel Cafe. The altered route was actually quite delightful as US 41 is a very good cycling thoroughfare between Estero and Naples. Although it has a designated bike lane pretty much all it’s length through SW Florida, cycling on the Fort Myers leg is suicidal as the lanes are very narrow and there are far too many distracted drivers. The short ride down the Naples beachfront on Vanderbilt was particularly enjoyable as it had very little traffic and provided a great view of the beach as well as all the native wildlife!
Upon reaching the Fit & Fuel Cafe, we ran into our riding friends from the great white north, Ben and Bill, sitting down enjoying a mid ride break. Young Pup and Cinderfella had to push on to pick up the car from service, so they tagged out and replaced themselves with Ben & Bill. After some lively banter, as well as a bagel and parfait break, the four of us headed out on our return ride.
While at a stoplight on Vanderbilt a little Fiat 500 with a very friendly soccer mom pulled up next to us. She was in her own world, dancing away to some serious dance tunes on her stereo when she realized we were all staring at her leaving her rather embarrassed. We all smiled approvingly and told her to crank it up, giving her little dance a big thumbs up and telling her Jennifer Lopez had nothing on her…she drove away with a really big smile on her face!
The remainder of the ride home was a somewhat uneventful cruise into the wind. Not the big bad gusty kind, but the tedious unrelenting kind which always reminds me of the Florida cyclists saying that “the wind is our hills”. I say “somewhat uneventful” as Señor J got his third front wheel puncture in two days, fifth in the month! Now flats are not all that rare, but front flats are, and to have five of them within a months time is pretty much unheard of…I’ve probably jinxed myself now for saying this and will be riddled with flats on the next few rides.
All in all a fun ride on another beautiful warm winter day here in sunny Florida. If Señor J is up to it, we’ll hit up the Trek group ride tomorrow. We haven’t ridden with them since before the Christmas break, so it should be fun.
Route: Modified Vanderbilt-70
Ride Time: 3:46:20
Stopped Time: 1:38:25
Distance: 67.36 miles
Average: 17.86 mph
Fastest Speed: 25.95 mph
Ascent: 911 feet
Descent: 1096 feet