Yesterday we had not one but two real treats lined up to satisfy our cycling cravings over the long holiday weekend. Both rides were scenic long distance routes which paralleled the SW Florida coast, the difference between the two being overall distance, one a metric century (62 miles) and the other a full century (100 miles).
I was up for either, leaving my options opened till the last minute, but after a sluggish start to the day (I woke up late which made me drive out to the rides start vs cycling out to it, like I prefer to do), I elected to go with the shorter metric century…I have to be in “just the right mindset” to go over 100 miles.
About 15 riders showed up early morning at Bell Tower for the start of the ride. Both groups rode together at a very brisk pace as we cut across town down to the Matanzas Pass Bridge, crossed over to Fort Myers Beach and then hugged the coastline cycling through Estero Island and Bonita Beach. It was a familiar route I had done many times before on family outings in a car, but never before had I done it on a bike. It’s always amazing how different your perspective is on a bike vs a vehicle. The sights, sounds and even smells are all accentuated, making even a well known route new again.
Once past Bonita Beach, we held up for some stragglers (like I said we were moving briskly) and then split up into the 62 and 100 mile groups. Our group, now 8 persons strong, headed down to the Panera Bread on Wiggins Pass Road and US 41 for a welcomed break. While there, we decided to extend the ride down to Vanderbilt Road and then return using the inland Livingston/Imperial/Three Oaks/Tree Line corridor we are so accustomed to. This return would not be a scenic as the route down, but it would make tackling the now increased winds a little easier.
The return was an easier pace (low 20’s vs mid 20’s) as the wind and heat worked against us a bit, but we were still smiling and chatting all the way back to our starting point.
I’ve kept the ride recap short this time as I want to take a moment to thank all the brave men and women of the armed services who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom and way of life. Thanks to all of you, we can enjoy long coastal rides with friends.
Route: Coastal Metric Century
Ride Time: 3:25:06
Stopped Time: 1:06:27
Distance: 65.53 miles
Average: 19.17 mph
Fastest Speed: 42.30 mph
Ascent: 716 feet
Descent: 727 feet