Cycling has been a bit of a luxury as my new schedule continues to keep me off my bike. Another three weeks shot by without a chance to get “The Mistress” out on he road. To make matters worse, I actually took her up to Tampa where she tease me relentlessly as she rested next to the fireplace. Luckily Labor Day rolled around to correct matters, as we packed up our gear and headed back down to SW Florida for some R&R, as well as some badly needed big ring therapy.
I wasted little time kitting up Saturday morning and headed out to Sweetbay hoping to meet up with some fellow Riders…the local Sweetbay is always a Mecca for weekend group rides. My fellow Fort Myers NutBags were there, as well as some of the tri/du folks including my friend Lisa, who recently returned from kicking some serious butt at the worlds duathlon championship in Ottowa.
After some warm hello’s and hugs, the usual suspects and I headed south on Treeline to meet up with the rest of the gang near the airport. It felt great to be back in a pace line, watching the sun rise with the wind in my hair…..speaking of wind in the hair, while up in Tampa, I finally managed to get a new brain bucket to replace the one I cracked while “stunt riding” on my last visit to Fort Myers. The fine folks at Outspokin Bicycles helped me get my hands a very “Darth Vader-ish” Kask K10 Dieci. Although not on my original helmet list, I liked it’s lower profile and wider vents than the Mojito or Vertigo. It’s unique up/down hinged retention system is second to none when it comes to comfort. If your in the market for a new lid, be sure to look at Kask’s lineup….sure they are expensive, but hey, you only have one noggin!
We wound our way through the airport picking up a little too much speed for the group, myself included as I’ve only been on the bike a handful of times in the last few months. My buddy Craig went into “yenta” mode letting us know we were blowing the group apart…and he was absolutely correct…all riders must respect the group dynamics, if not, why even bother to do a group ride in the first place.
We got the pace issues under control and continued through the airport back onto Treeline, over the Don Eslick bridge and onto Three Oaks. Instead of taking our normal turnoff down old 41, we snuck in another bridge on E Terry Street…the guys are trying to get in as many elevations changes as they can as they have La Vuelta de Puerto Rico coming up in January…it’s never easy to train for mountains in pan flat Florida.
We eventually pulled into Panera Bread for a mid ride refueling. While there, I received a call from my wife and son asking if I wanted to go to Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, a local water park located at North Collier Regional Park. Being only 18 miles south of my location, I told them I’d cycle down and meet them there…A nice easy spin would feel great after the often spirited pace we were maintaining, so I bid adieu to my friends and headed southward to the park. As luck would have it…dumb luck in this particular case, as soon as I turned onto Imperial Parkway, a hard charging group of twenty or so riders from Naples Cyclery came along side and said “hop on”…..so much for my relaxing spin down to the park as my cycling computer stayed pegged in the high 20’s. I knew the cool water of the “lazy river ride” was awaiting, so I just tucked in behind the group and enjoyed the burn.
The groups pace was so high that I easily beat my wife and son to the water park. Maggie packed a picnic lunch as well as some badly needed ice cold refreshments, which we enjoyed sitting under a big old shady tree before heading into the park. A quick change out of my kit and into a bathing suit…by the way, I would have made any triathlete proud, as my stage time was lightening fast…it had to be as I changed right in the lot between a strategically parked car and bush…and we headed into the park for a fun filled wet afternoon.
Pretty darned good way to kick off a long weekend…
August 31, 2013
Route: Airport Loop and North Collier Regional Park
Ride Time: 2:48:02
Stopped Time: 1:04:03
Distance: 51.60 miles
Average: 18.42 mph
Fastest Speed: 27.45 mph
Cycle This Month: 174.05 miles
Cycle This Year: 3,636.96 miles