The title of this post pretty much sums up today’s group ride, well at least the first half, as we not only had to scrap our initial beach loop plan, but also picked up the most unique flat I have ever seen. Let me backtrack first…

Our ride plan called for a beach loop down Estero Island and Naples. Perhaps not the best day for the ride as it was gray, windy and chilly, well at least by Florida standards. We had some riders bail on us, leaving just three of us, making the prospect of the surprisingly heavy headwind return ride rather displeasing, so we quickly altered our course to our old standby Coconut Point loop to Panera bread…the knowledge of a sweet treat and hot java played a major influence on the decision making.

We were partially down Daniels Parkway when we made our decision, making us backtrack to get back onto Tree Line. This meant having to navigate once more through some rather debris filled roadway (due to a recent accident where a truck struck the underside of the I75 overpass). We came out unscathed, and turned south onto Tree Line to find a couple of riders a little less than mile ahead of us. Thinking they might be lagging riders from the Caloosa Riders group, which passed us while we were on Daniels, or from the Trek group, we gave chase to catch up. As it turns out it was Ray and Israel, both from the Caloosa group. Not being in any kind of rush, we joined their casual pace down Tree Line.

As we made our way south, Manuel noticed a very distinct clicking sound coming from Gus’ glitter endowed Pinarello. We called for a mechanical, and slowed the group, eventually stopping out of traffic in a right turn lane. A quick inspection revealed a very unique site…a flathead screw was imbedded smack dab in the middle of his rear tire tread, looking as if someone had purposely drilled it into the tire! Curiously the tire was still holding air…Gus runs tubeless wheels, and although he had a tube in the tire from a previous flat, the remains of the Stan’s sealant must have kept the tire from deflating.

As with all well sealed tubeless rims, removing the tire was a bit of a chore. Once off, we saw the the screw had not only transected the tire, but was darn near close to penetrating the rim! It was so well lodged into the tire that we actually had to unscrew the screw to remove it! Once unscrewed, we made a temporary boot using the old tube and went about remounting the tire onto the rim as scores of riders from the Trek group passed us…all pointing and laughing….er I mean asking politely if we needed assistance.

Once repaired, we continued on to Coconut point, the official, unofficial, cycling hub of SW Florida…they definitely need to get some more outdoor tables and chairs for the lycra clad invasion that descends upon it. With so many local cycling groups and clubs, they could almost open up a cyclist cafe…hmm now there’s an idea. Oh, and the newly featured cranberry bagel with cranberry cream cheese was quite a treat, perhaps not quite the home run as the Pumpkin Pie bagel, but still quite yummy.

Not wanting to fight the wind on our own (yeah we were a little lazy today), we joined up with all the Caloosa Riders for the ride back. As with most Caloosa rides this time of year, the pace was rather spirited, even into the rather stubborn headwind, causing the group to splinter. Not wanting to leave a rider behind, especially after he had stopped to assist our earlier roadside repairs, we stayed back with Israel since the pace and wind were beating him up a bit. The four of us settled into a very leisure pace and just enjoyed the rest of the ride back home.

So, even with a “screwy”  start, the ride still turned out to be a good one.

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:40:34
Stopped Time: 2:24:35
Distance: 42.72 miles
Average: 15.96 mph
Fastest Speed: 27.37 mph
Ascent: 2048 feet
Descent: 2065 feet
Calories: 2230


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