Tina’s Back, Albert’s Saved, Rain’s Avoided, Damn it’s Hot

Great news! My good friend Tina, AKA “The Duchess of Veloshire” is back on two wheels after her brush with a very evil mailbox back in August during the Wheels & Wings III cycling event in Punta Gorda. She was recently cleared by her doctors to ride…sorry Speedsters, she’s all ours until she’s allowed to run again…and went out with Gus and myself for a nice 40 mile break-in ride to Coconut Point.

She’s baaaack!

Technically this was Tina’s second attempt at a comeback ride as she showed up to yesterday’s ride without her cleats, but she was more than ready today. After prepping her bike and getting a quick braking refresher from Gus, we headed south down Tree Line with Gus in the lead and Tina sandwiched between us at an easy 17 MPH pace. Her prolonged downtime from the “incident” didn’t seem to have any lasting effects on her capabilities as she had no issues keeping up, climbing the Estero Parkway bridge, and even sprinting a bit along the way. In fact, she had a big smile on her face all the time.

As we approached our mid ride break at Panera, a few clouds were beginning to look menacing. A quick look at the radar on the iPhone showed a blob of weather closing in from the West making us elect to sit it out instead of attempting to race it home…never a bad thing when there are apple crunch muffins and lots of java to go around. Our buddy Tim was there doing some last minute cramming for an exam as well as some loud New Yorkers (is there such a thing as muted New Yorkers) discussing all things bagel…which of coarse Gus joined in immediately while Tina and I rambled on about that toddling town…Chicago (Gus and I are always having NY vs Chicago debates).

Mid ride stretching at Panera.

Once the rain stopped, which was never really more than a drizzle, we mounted up and headed back North at the same easy pace. After crossing the Estero Parkway bridge again and turning North onto Tree Line, we were absolutely shocked to see a magnificent Red-Shouldered hawk in obvious distress standing oblivious to it’s surroundings, on the shoulder/bike lane of the boulevard. It was making no attempt to move as cars zoomed past within a few feet.

Fearing for it’s life, we dismounted and walked over to it. We were able to get within inches of it while it stood there cautiously looking at us. Not wanting it to be hit by the speeding cars, we attempted to coax it over the curb and onto the sidewalk, but again it made no attempt to move. I went for my bike thinking perhaps I could “persuade” it to move, and again, no reaction. I gently moved the wheel ever closer, eventually making contact with it, gently nudging it as it reluctantly moved up the curb.

Gus cautiously approaching the wayward raptor

As Gus and I stood there forming a barricade and providing it shade, Tina got on the phone with CROW, the Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife , notifying them about the ailing raptor. Each year, CROW cares for over 4,000 wildlife patients and more than 200 species of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife patients in its veterinary hospital, which is one of the nation’s leading rehabilitation facilities for native and migratory wildlife.  They said they’d have a volunteer out there in about 15 minutes, so we patiently stood by providing it shade and protection.

After about 10 minutes or so, the bird surprisingly took flight, landing a short distance away in a pine tree. The flight was not the most graceful thing as something obviously was wrong. As we stood there observing it, a squad car came racing down the boulevard with lights ablaze. It stopped on the median to see if all was well. We quickly explained the situation to the officer to which he said he’d be right back (he was in the process of chasing down a vehicle, but stopped to see if we were all ok), and quickly took off to resume his pursuit.

Distressed and oblivious to it’s surroundings it was still magnificent

With the raptor up in a tree away from traffic and CROW on the way, we realized we had done about as much as we could, so we slowly mounted up to resume our ride. As we did, the same officer pulled up again apologizing for having to take off. He had already notified the local animal rescue center on his way to us, and was interested in seeing the bird. We walked him over to it…sure enough it was in the exact same place. He made a few more calls and volunteered to stay with the bird until animal rescue came by. Nice guy!

Gently coaxing it off the street with the rear end of my bike

We mounted up and resumed our ride. By now it was past noon and the sun was at it’s strongest. The thermometer in my cycling computer was showing 101°. Granted that was not the air temperature, but it certainly was a correct measure of the ground temperature. Black tarmac plus a relentless high noon sun is never a good combination. It was hot. Luckily we just had a few short miles left.

By rides end we were all feeling pretty happy. Tina was riding again, and riding well, and we helped save a magnificent bird of prey…all was good…except for perhaps a little sunburn. Welcome back Tina, we missed you out there!

All smiles after a very good and fulfilling ride

***UPDATE***

Tina and Gus called to inform me that Albert, the hawks new name, was rescued by CROW and was being treated at their clinic. The initial checkup did not reveal anything significant, and they were awaiting some x-rays for further evaluation. We will go visit Albert tomorrow to see how he is doing. Hopefully we will have some good news.

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:28:15
Stopped Time: 2:57:12
Distance: 38.71 miles
Average: 15.67 mph
Fastest Speed: 25.30 mph
Ascent: 1049 feet
Descent: 1073 feet
Calories: 2100
HR Average: 88
HR Max: 137
HR Zone 1: 1:06:25
HR Zone 2: 48:18
HR Zone 3: 19:52
HR Zone 4: 0:00
HR Zone 5: 0:00

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