A Tale of Two Bike Rides

I had a ride out to the barrier islands scheduled today with my good friends from the Caloosa Riders. Although I was looking forward to it, I was not looking forward to today’s projected heat index, which was going to be in the low 100’s before mid day. I was feeling a little beat up from the heat lately, so I switched things up at the last moment (sorry guys) and called a couple of cycling friends to ride a relaxed 40-some miles followed by a nice big “recovery lunch” at Connors Steak and Seafood restaurant.

Post lunch giddiness….especially after two chocolate desserts.

Both Gus, AKA “El Taco Ardiente” and turtle rescuer extraordinaire, and Tara, AKA “The Stud Muffin” were up for the ride, so we made plans to meet out at Connors at 8:30 am and head down Livingston at an easy “recovery pace” to work out all the built up lactic acid in our legs from previous rides…the benefits of a true recovery ride (not exceeding heart training zone #2) are amazing…give it a try some time, your legs will love you for it.

As Connors falls within my 15 mile rule (If a rides starting point is 15 miles or less away from my home, I go by bike), I headed out early morning to meet up with my cohorts. As I rode past the Sweetbay Market (always the hotbed of cycling activity) I spotted Lisa, Maura, Mark and Marshall gearing up for some high speed training. I stopped to say hi and wish both Lisa and Mark a happy birthday, and was quickly invited to join them on their ride, after all, they were riding right past my meetup point.

The speedy group goofing off at a stoplight

Although today was designated as a recovery day, it’s always fun to kick up some serious dust with this speedy quartet. As expected, we were flying down Tree Line reaching speeds near 27 MPH…so much for staying in zone 2. But hey, there is nothing wrong with pushing that old anaerobic threshold into overdrive and burning up some serious carbohydrates.

We reached my turn off to Connors in no time, leaving me panting, sweating, and looking for some all important shade while waiting on Gus and Tara. They eventually arrived and I switched to recovery ride mode as we cruised down Livingston at a very relaxed 18 MPH…and boy did it feel great!

Maggie and Gus about to enjoy some sinful chocolate decadence

Even with the already high temperature, our slow, steady pace made it feel much cooler than it actually was. At no time did we ever exceed 20 MPH, keeping it locked in and spinning at an easy 18 MPH the vast majority of the time as we chit-chatted our way to North Collier Regional Park. After a scenic loop of the park, we reversed directions and started our easy ride back towards Connors and our awaiting caloric binge.

As we neared the end of the ride, we made some quick calls to both Tina, who has been recovering from her run in with an evil mailbox during the Wheels and Wings Ride last month and my wife and son, to join us for lunch at Connors. We all arrived at about the same time and sat out on the patio, quickly putting our waiter to work overtime refilling our drinks (although our ride was relaxed, we still worked up quite a thirst by rides end).

Tara and Tina couldn’t even wait for the plate to be put on the table before they attacked it

For those who are not familiar with Connors (they have three locations, Knoxville, TN, Huntsville, AL and Fort Myers, FL), it’s a wonderful steak/seafood house which also specializes in many classic southern comfort food dishes. The atmosphere is elegant yet relaxed (casual wear, even our lycra kits are welcomed) with great friendly service and excellent food. The menu is very diverse and although it can put a good ding in your wallet, the lunch menu is very budget friendly, offering a wide assortment of delectable dishes priced at $8, $9 and $10.

Tina and Maggie went for the Spicy Fish Tacos, Tara elected a heavily customized Chicen Club Sandwich with a Bloody Mary on the side, Gus chose the Chipotle Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad, while I went into protein overload with the Prime Rib Sandwich…oh and my son asked for the Grilled Chicken Breast and steamed broccoli. All dishes include a wide selection of sides, but curiously we all ordered sweet potato fries.

Eat it like you own it!

Great conversation and funny anecdotes…as well as a few tall stories were told as we eagerly worked on our dishes. Once finished we turned our attention to the dessert menu and went all out ordering a German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake and a Chocolate Mousse Cake, which were both very large and most importantly, delicious…and mind you this is coming from a non-chocolate lover….yeah I know, I’m weird.

Tummy’s full, hearts content, legs well rested, we parted ways to go home and do some serious digestion! All in all an absolutely fantastic day with great friends, and  a good ride…..both of them!

Route: Recovery Ride
Ride Time: 3:06:34
Stopped Time: 1:57:28
Distance: 52.51 miles
Average: 16.89 mph
Fastest Speed: 28.65 mph
Ascent: 519 feet
Descent: 579 feet
Calories: 2715


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