Thursday, May 19, 2011

BaY to LaKe RiDe

The Transflorida project persist.

It does.

I mean it.

Rob and Mike Kanning have been working hard at making a mostly off road route from Downtown Tampa by the bay to a section where we could pick up the other half of the TransFlorida.

To make a Long story short, they did it.

Yes they did!

In keeping with shorter long stories, it was rad as well.

BUT, I'm sure you don't look at this blog for the short story, nah, you look to get all the details. So here we go.....

It was an early Saturday for us, Edith, Shelby, LIL'r NI and I packed up the car bike and all heading towards a Soccer Game in Winter Park Proper. It was one of the Shelby's Last game and I had not been to a one so I was anxious to see her in action.

I was also APPALLED that they were playing 6 on 6 soccer. After a brief and deep discussion with Edith, where I thought 6 on 6 was a disadvantage and she thought it was an advantage, we watched a pretty good match that ended in a tie.(in retrospect I think she is right, but dont tell her that)

After the game we went to Mellow Mushroom. For the first time since my birthday, October 24th 2010, I was gonna eat some grains. And it was Yummy..

After, we rolled out, heading to downtown Tampa so I could meet up with Mike and Rob to start our little overnight adventure.

The plan was for Rob and I to ride all the way to Clermont and for Mike to ride home after coming a certain distance. I wanted to ride all the way home from Clermont as well, I figured I needed the miles ya know.

After some Traffic induced frustration, Mike and I met up, I got changed, said my good byes and we went over to hang out with Dawn before leaving. Soon enough after hanging out for a bit waiting to see Dawn's Dragon Boat team getting a trophy, we decided it was taking too long and rolled out.

Now usually when I tour, I like to ride my ride. Ride my pace, after years of experience this is what works for me. BUT, I made a resolution to keep up with Mike and Rob, and as we made our way on pavement that soon gave way to grassy Levy's and technical under pass bridge crossings. I did a fairly good job of staying in contact.

It took a long time to get out of Tampa, but eventually after finishing up some sweet double track, mike Headed back and Rob and I had to figure out on the Fly how to finish the route. And we did without issue. In the process we rode through a nice neighborhood, and some really nice undulating dirt roads.

Sometime around 10pm or so we reached the Green Swamp and not even a mile into it, with only a mile to go to Rob's pre planned camp for the night, we found an actual campsite with all the amenities and since we were done early, we had plenty of energy to start a fire and have a little bit of fun.

IN the distance I could hear a motorcycle, and I admit it made me nervous, but eventually it faded away. We set up camp, I didn't have an air mattress so I made a pad out of Moss I gathered from around the camp ground. It was actually pretty comfortable.

Rob proved to be the more prepared rider as he pulled an over the head mosquito net out of his bike to sleep through the night. As I laid there with bugs buzzing my ears, I thought that his mosquito head net wasn't much different then the mesh sack I keep on the bike when I need to carry more food then I can fit on the bike. And I got up, pulled it over my head and presto, I had a mosquito net too. Ingenuity is the mother of all inventions, LOL.

I drifted off to sleep fairly fast and slept fairly deep only opening my eyes when sunlight broke the night at 615am in the morning. Since I felt rested and we only had an estimated 35 miles to Clermont, I got up and got dressed with not delay. I ate some chocolate and before long we rolled out into the chilly morning enjoying even more pristine Green swamp doubletrack.

As we got closer to Clermont we hit some super sandy patches and even a long section that I was forced to get off and push on, but it really didn't matter, although I was starting to get fatigued from a lack of water, my spirits remained positive and eventually before turning to the final 8 mile paved section to Rob's house, at the convenience store, I urged Rob to continue as I needed some time to digest and hydrate.

He did.

I must of ate about 1300 calories in about 13 minutes of mostly grain based items.

I paid the price about 10 miles later as I was feeling so sleepy that once I reached Killarney station on the West Orange Trail I had to stop and take a nap.

The lazy bogged down feeling persisted, as I got back up and kept the cranks turning towards my goal.

The clock was ticking and I was feeling so tired, that even the Older people on hybrid bikes were passing me on the bike trail (how embarrassing).

Eventually I reached winter garden and hit the local Coffee shop for some much needed espresso.

I contacted Edith telling her how I felt and she offered to come pick me up, but I wasn't having it, Winter Garden was way too far I instead told her to meet me in Apopka.

I rolled out and the espresso did the trick as my strength returned and my pace was strong and fast once again. It took a good, 3.5 hours to recover from my mornings deficit. I reached Apopka quicker then expected, with close to 130 miles covered for the day, much farther then the predicted 85 miles to clermont (was actually closer to 105).

I learned alot. Enriched grains and I during efforts just leads to sleepy feelings. I thought after the TNGA that it was the amount of calories but its actually the content of the calories that causes that sleepy feeling. The week before at the Tour De Gainesville I ate alot of calories comprised of mostly protein and potatoes and had no crash like what I felt after eating on this morning.

Lesson Learned.

The Bay to Lake ride may soon become part of a system that gives riders the ability to ride from the east coast to Tampa Bay or Break off more north and cross Santos and ride to Withlacoochee Bay, just plenty of options. I really enjoyed the route, and when I'm done with the Tour Divide, and I decide I want to ride a bike again, I will be back to ride it, but next time from coast to coast.

Take care,

Laters,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Monday, May 02, 2011

FuLLy LOaDeD FeRRy FuN

At one point all my rides were pretty chaotic. They involved hours of me looking at satellite photos and using the measuring tool to anticipate a turn that may or may no longer exist.

THEN along came Topofusion and the ability to sketch a track was born and for a couple of years I have become arguably one of the top off road route creators in the state.

But recently, I have learned, better said, craved, just going out and seeing what happens. I guess variety is the spice of life.

Awhile ago, Curt Reffner contacted me about doing a mostly off road route that involved a ferry crossing. Sounded like a good time, we made plans to do it, but at the last minute Curt had other pressing matters that needed his attention.

So the ride got put into the archives. And recently, I got my new bike, and recently I wanted to pack it up as if I was Touring the Divide and take it for a run.

So I did, I rode out from Edith's house, using the Dirtiest google map navigation suggestion to Fort Gates Ferry road some 40 something miles away.

As always I was pleasantly surprised by the route I was riding, dirty, scenic, back country,but then I came to a spot that required me to go straight where a fence was in the way. To my right there was a fence as well, but this one was labeled, "conservation area".

I hiked my way into the conservation area, hoped a fence,went through a gate onto some more pristine fire road. Or so I thought. Before long I was amongst big construction vehicles kept following the navigation instructions and came upon the tallest fence ever. As I attempted to skirt the fence in the distance I could see a 4 x 4 pick up truck coming towards me. I kept riding.

As it got closer I started wandering what they wanted, but didn't increase nor decrease my pace. Just then I hear a Honk and I stop to be confronted by a tall guy pretty upset that I was trespassing.

I explained that I was following a route, they got irate, got pretty confrontational, and I told them to call the police.

Eventually, there was a back and forth heated discussion. I was calm, but they were not. They were real upset and they were anxious to see me get arrested for my offense. Eventually, after speaking to the police they were told they could not hold me, so I hoped the fence and left, much to their dislike.

I didn't honestly know I was trespassing and I didn't see any signs saying to the contrary. In fact, I am now pretty educated on Florida trespassing laws and will be ready to educate anyone that attempts to pull something like this on me again.

For miles after, I was expecting to see the Police pull up and give me the business, but nothing. I kept the pace intentionally high, and nothing. Eventually I turned off the main road, and now it became a race against time as I had left late, and had been delayed, I knew the ferry only ran till 530.

And I didn't even need to do all the hauling ass I did. I made the ferry, crossed the river, got to the other side, treated to a plethora of wash boarded forest road. Before long I was in Salt Springs sitting down to food and beer.

I bought some soy candles for my girl and took off after some careful news paper wrapping and packing. I made it to the secret singletrack and started heading towards Sanford where I had planned to camp.

As I rode in the dark alone, I thought about the divide. Thought about all the time I will be alone from the ones I love. My kids, my girl, my family, my girls kids. And when I got to SR 40, instead of continuing on to Seminole forest to my solo camp spot. I turned east towards De Leon, towards my girl, towards home. I figured, I feel good, I feel strong, the bike feels nimble, the test was a success. I got twenty days or more to be camping alone in the forest, I think tonight, I wont be alone, not cause I have too, not cause I couldn't, not cause I was bonking, but because I wanted too.

The event is truly closing in fast and the last thing I need is more camping practice.

So the trip was cut short, about a 10 hour voyage, 95 mostly dirty miles and a Ferry boat river crossing. Thanks for the Idea Curt.

Take Care,

Laters,

The NaKeD InDiaN

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