The first day of the Festive 500 kicked off with Perry’s “Under the Weather” ride, for all those getting or recovering from the “crud” that has been going around here in SW Florida. Our rider number was less than anticipated (I guess the crud’s really got a grip on a few of us), but there were still enough of us to have a great ride. Today’s goal was just to ride and have fun, as we basically made up the route as we rode southward down Tree Line.
It was colder than anticipated…damn weathermen never get it right in Florida…but not nearly as cold as the last couple of days. Once the sun came out from behind a big old, slab-like gray cloud, it became much more comfortable out there. We cruised down Tree Line and took a scenic detour through the airport, methodically quickening our pace, which was supposed to be “relaxed”for those recovering from the crud, but we all know how some riders tend to ramp it up while out front…and yes my middle name is “some”! By the time we were approaching Coconut Point, our relaxed pace had morphed into the mid 20’s, but hey, warm drinks and baked goods from Panera awaited us, so it was worth it.
Speaking of baked goods, a pizza sized pastry with apples, cherries and cheese caught Perry’s eye, so naturally it ended up on our table as a mid-ride Christmas Eve mini feast! Needless to say it did not last long as the six of us went to town on it. Once our tummies were full of sugary goodness, we mounted up only to find that Craig’s bike had a rear flat…curiously it flatted leaning against the same tree Iso’s bike flatted just two days ago. Obviously that tree has some issues about being used as a bike rack.
Craig quickly changed out the tire using a CO2 canister to fill it. The tire was still a bit low, so he reached for a second canister, just to top it off, when all of a sudden…BANG!…the tire exploded in spectacular form! Craig’s expression was priceless as we, and all the patrons of Panera chuckled quietly. Disgruntled, he reached for another tube (this is why we always carry more than one tube) and made a quick repair. Not having a full CO2 cartridge, he elected to ride over to the Trek store to top off the tire correctly, so he mounted his wheel back onto the bike, and we all headed over the bridge to Trek.
We pulled up, walked in, and greeted all our friends who work there…btw they were pretty busy. It’s good to see bikes are still high on the Christmas present pecking order. Craig walked his bike back to the service center for assistance and right on cue…BANG!…the tire exploded again…only this time with an acoustical echo from being indoors. Needless to say, we were all in stitches, as we have never seen a tire blow out spectacularly and successively. I just wish I would have captured it on video….not to self, get a GoPro already and keep it running all the time.
Tire changed, jokes exchanged, and lots of playing with Veruca and Layla (the store pups) we headed back in a rather spirited maner to Sweetbay (so much for the relaxed ride) ending up with 45.55 miles leaving 426.7 KM to complete the Festive 500!
Time now to kick back with family and friends and enjoy Christmas Eve. Best wishes to all for a Christmas filled with happiness and a new year filled with many safe cycling miles!
Route: Coconut-40 + airport loop
Ride Time: 2:19:49
Stopped Time: 2:02:29
Distance: 45.55 miles
Average: 19.55 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.27 mph
Ascent: 1550 feet
Descent: 1565 feet