Thursday, November 22, 2012

CFiTT 12

Several years ago, Rob Roberts suggested that we link a route from the coast to part of the Naked Indian Route and snake across the state.

Long story short, after several years and several different routes and one or two rides across, I found a route I liked and decided that the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial, from now and forever more would go coast to coast.

I thought about it for a long time and I believe that is the most briefest synapses I have given of the process that took several years in the making.  I was excited by the response and the amount of people that showed up that Saturday Morning to ride my latest creation, was flattering.

I have gotten pretty good at putting these things on.  This time the only  added stress was just the amount of things I needed to get done day before the event.  The combination of helping Racers get to the start and take care of my kids, proved to be a Lil more then I had planned BUT, when I sat down late that Friday Eve and ate  my meal with Edith, I felt content, not annoyed that I was losing sleep, figured it was a precursor of the night to come, to keep my sleep light that night.

3 hours later I am up, and hustling to the door cursing at myself for being late to my own check in on the coast of New Smyrna Beach.  Thankfully everyone seemed in good spirits.  I am like a a detective so I noticed the pavement was damp and the sand was tacky.  I must of rained pretty good and the lightning flashing in the darkness behind the riders provided an Epic backdrop.

Edith helped me with the start.  The plan was to let everyone go in 30 second increments to avoid the madness of riders being uber aggressive.  LORD knows the start line was stacked with very fast people and strong Underdogs, people I had never seen race, but I had a feeling they were bad asses.

I really didn't let the fact that a Huracan and TNGA record holder was my challenger.  I Am after all the fixed Gear CFiTT champion, that means something doesn't it!!!!  At the last minute Markley had joined the party as well, Jeff T was there and Bryan Frantz too.  It was like a Tempest of Beast Mode Fast  people.

Regardless, my attitude was, and don't anyone take offense, remember I am a warrior, its not personal.  This is MY HOUSE, this Is MY RACE...LOL...

I let everyone leave and I was the last one to roll out at 615 am.  I didn't care that I would be last, in fact, I liked it just like that.  I plan to leave last every race now.  After all its a race against the clock not a race against everyone else.

The most complicated initial dynamic of this off road cross the state challenge is Getting to the Ferry. The ferry was an estimated 114 miles away, but it ended up being 117..  I had a solid plan.  Pack heavy, ride straight.  No store visits, no lallygagging, not chit chatting, no FUN, LOL.

Early I caught people as soon as I traversed the apartment complex,  See ya Peter and Peter.... Then I caught up and passed at the 8 mile mark The Irish Turtle and BobE CaPers.... Love you guys,...DIng ding, ding ding...

I could see someone up ahead.  Turned onto Volco.  Was analyzing tire tracks, it actually looked one or two people wiped out.  I gave myself encouragement, complimenting myself on how straight my lines were.
Then before I knew it there was Shey on the side of the road, I kept going.  Got to pavement and Shey went on by.  See ya later Shey, or maybe Never Again.....  Caught up To Dave Muse and since the pace was at 17 mph, I stuck around and chit chatted (breaking my own fun rule already)

I don't remember what we talked about, but when I am out there I am racing, so I kept my pace high and then I look and Dave wasn't there any more.  And I  thought... Ok well Hope to see you later Dave, I got a boat to catch.

I passed Lynne we rode through the construction together, it got gnarly and it made me smile.  Stopped across the street from the Osteen Stone marker.  Now I told people get a pic of your bike and the object, but I didn't ever say it had to be your entire bike ( thank J Tommi for that one). And I took the pic right from where I was across the street.  And passed a bunch of people.  See ya later probably not, cause now  I am going to go really fast.

I rode fast and when I roll up to the water fountain at Lake Monroe, there is Ruth, Kevin and Steven.

HI GUYS... I run in the bathroom to fill my bottles and for the most part they are all gone before I can top off my four bottles.

I get going again and was impressed I had not caught them.  I made it through all the climbs taking me up to the blue springs basin without passing anyone and when I started getting closer to Dutchman's Bend I passed Steven on the side of the road doing something,  He keeps pace with me for a long while, staying back and relatively close till I hop the fence like a track star passing Ruth in the process.  Then on the service road I lose Steve and pass right by Kevin.  When I pass Kevin all the while I wonder what he thinks of my baby, he did after all ride the entire Divide this last summer.

I pass under the bridge and somehow miss the entrance to the bike path.  I backtrack, get on track and go  into maintenance mode, taking deep breaths, drinking, eating, stretching. I knew I had some hard stretches coming and I wanted to be recovered for it.

In the singletrack I catch up To Paul Schmitt.  I feel bad that I am not chatty cause I'm in full on business mode, Paul is a good dood and one of my favorite people on the planet.  But, I am all Racer Boi Nerd go mode so I take my pic and go.

Paul stays close, then passes me on the pavement, then disappears when I stop to pick up a bottle, but then I see him again, and then next thing I know I'm behind him in Lake Woodruff and then He pulls away, and then In Chuck Lennon I pass him.

But from behind, here comes Shey passing me in Chuck...How did he get behind me? He had passed me on the road long time ago?  O  I thought... He must of hit the Hontoon store.  He had a gap on me but it wasn't big enough to restock and still keep the gap... Aha, my plan was working...

I shredded the track.  Got to the lot, filled up on water again, I was drinking alot and taking care of myself.  Next thing I know, as I hit Tarmac and turn North, the wind says hi.  At that point I had caught up to Shey and Bryan and Paul.  But lost them all on the pavement.  They rode away, and I was OK with it I had a plan.

I got low in the freddies intervals and kept my pace modest, 15 or so.  Didn't want to make matchsticks of my legs before the big forest crossing.

I passed Aaron on the road and I was so confused cause last I saw him was at the stone marker and I had not deviated off course or stopped... We chatted and he agreed to send me his gpx file after the event and let me figure it out.

He rode away from me.  LOL... I did my best to ignore when people rode away because it was hard to not get all cycling cannibal and start chasing and such.  Paul somehow was behind me again and then he wasn't he stopped for snacks at the store, I rolled on.

The roads got bad, but I rode them all.  I was happy I had a 24 middle ring on my 2 x 10 being able to spin a high cadence and pick good lines is the secret to riding and not walking even the deepest sand and getting through it quickly.

I got to the Ferry.  Shey, Markley and Aaron were there.  We crossed, I got my sodas ate some food.  At that point, I knew it was time for me to stop and rest.  So I made the call once across the river to let them go as I did a little more maintanence for the long haul.  I got a report at that point too that Tom and T dog where gone.  So it was looking like a top ten finish for me today not so much a top five or even a win.  O well... 12 hours to go.  While resting another two riders got across, Bryan and Paul.  They rolled fast as well obviously everyone at that point had taken breaks and I hadn't, LOL.

I left alone, 10 minutes after them.  Got to Salt Springs and restocked on my big macro nutrients and then hauled ass, only to be caught from behind by Paul and Bryan.  Guess the other group was long gone.  That was fine I figured.  We rode together for hours.  The road were fast and the avg speed was swift.  Lake Eaton was so much fun as well as I made quick work of my three pics.

I really enjoyed Lake Eaton man that place was all shred.  We stayed together and climbed out of the ONF. My goal was Santos by 10pm.  I was told it was a lofty goal but I was determined.  I rode the road alone as the guys rode away from me again. But in Marshall swamp I rode away from them and then later they came to visit me in the Santos Bathroom.

I had gone in, stripped to my shorts.  Washed my face.  The night had gotten cold but I lost one arm warmer so I rode with just a base layer up until I got there at 1021.  After eating, and doing some yoga stretches, I took blue pills caffeine pills and put on all my clothes even my one arm warmer.

Paul wanted to stick together and I didn't mind either.  He was outpacing me by a good 3 minutes or more on the road, but I was outpacing him by a good 8 min or more in the singletrack so it was an even race at that point.  The only difference in our performance that day was that he left at 6am and I at 615am, so even though we had at times both took turns leading each other, by the clock I was still faster.

I was content, determined to keep the gap to less than 15 min at all cost.  Bryan didn't rest and left before us.  I broke up The Santos epic into mental segment and began taking it apart.  I would intentionally ride some segments fast to have a chance to stretch at the end and wait for Paul.  It worked well, but I got sloppy.  I was tired and bouncing off trees.  I ate, took caffeine, but I had horrible gut, felt gassy from eating junk food all day.  It was truly an awful feeling, but together we pushed on.  Even though everything seemed to last forever. We pushed on.

Over fences, through sand and before we knew it we climbed a huge mound of earth and dropped into the bike path for the final stretch.  The night had just gave away to day and we kept the pace at 18mph all the way till the end when we snapped pictures and I left.  Too tired to talk or celebrate, just wanted to climb into a hole and hide from the cold.

I sat in the bathroom after.  Shey came and picked me up. Markley and him finished four hours earlier. Jeff was right on their tail.

When it was all said and done, it looks like a fourth place finish for me.  Not a win, not top ten, but pretty darn close to the top and in excellent company with record holders and pure bad asses.

it was fun.



The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The HuRaCaN 260: Croom To PruiTT

530am or so a truck showed up with riders.

I wondered if they could see me, or if I had enough distance and shadows to be hidden.  I tried to ignore their presence but I could hear everything they were saying, It was in some ways annoying.  Another car pulled up and shortly they were all off on a 25 mile ride, the weather report said NO Rain according to a man who called himself, Mr. Doppler.

I decided to get up, use the bathroom, tend to my chapped bottom and then get some food in me and prepare to leave at the crack of daylight.

The day before, somehow, my seat had slipped.  I hadn't noticed and I rode for HOURS with my seat too low.  This put my butt on a part of the seat I don't normally use and that I don't normally lubricate and ended up chapped raw.

I ate my breakfast.  Rolled out and headed towards Croom.  It was 7am and my goal was to be out of the singletrack before ten am.  3 hours I figured at a modest pace was realistic.

 For the first time since mile 40 I actually started having fun.  Croom was green and in full jungle forest glory.  I carefully made my way keeping good pace, ticking away the miles, heading towards he infamous pits that this section of croom is known for.

As I made my way through pit one, the rain started.  I thought about Mr. Dopplers prediction and laughed.  I kept moving.  I checked the time and I was ahead of my anticipated finish time.

I get to the next to last pit and right in front of me drops a rider, and as I pass the junction point another was coming out of the same hole.  It was a bit surreal. I just had zero expectations of seeing anyone.  I had to actually keep the pace through the bench cut and crested the next short uphill and let the guy pass.

I started losing my pep.  I was getting tired, only 2 miles left in this section.  Once I got off the singletrack onto Nobleton road, I was super happy to be done with the skinny undulating trail and was ready to pound out some thoughtless bike path and pavement miles.

The lack of sleep, the long road, the rain storm had left me  tired.  And I saw a bench and decided I needed to stretch my back.  I laid there, resting, sleeping a very blissful and wonderful sleep.  When raindrops hitting my face came as my wake up call and I had to get up and go again, off to chase Santos which was closer then ever at this point.

Floral City was my next Oasis.  I started dreaming about hot food, I was really wanting something cold to drink.  The rain was fine.  It actually felt good and in spite of my raw ass cheeks I felt great.  The miles were coming quick and I was greeting all the riders traveling opposite my direction.

Low and behold I caught sight of the riders I had heard plotting their 25 mile round trip voyage.  I know its not nice but all I could think was, damn I rode the 14 miles of croom and got 6 miles past that point, 22 miles or so, in less time then it took them to do half their trip???

By the time I got to Floral City I was water logged.  I was soaked.  My hands are all pruny.  They had outside seating at the restaurant.  Which I was thankful for.  As hot as it is outside, the AC inside the building felt even worst.  The whole trip anytime I went in a convenience store I ended up shivering so much that I wasn't free to comfortably think and shop, Forced to move fast.

She served me hot food and sweet potato fries. I had several cokes, cokes are not part of my normal meal plan but I am in survival mode.  It all felt great, but halfway through my meal, I feel asleep head down, for a long while.  The storm was in full force, I would wake at moments and eat a little then go back to my nap.

Awful I know, but it was what I felt my body needed to continue pushing forward.  And after I finished eating, and drinking I stopped at the gazebo and restocked on my water and continued forward.  I had been on the Withlacoochee bike path several times.  And today it seemed different.  Although I was on pavement, the trail had such a backwoods feel.  Everything was green, lush and tropical.

I had packed away my shirt.  Riding only in my base layer and my jacket.  Finally after several hours of riding in the rain, it stopped and I took off my jacket and packed it in the back as well.  I stopped at wal greens in Inverness to get lithium batteries, I had been getting reports that my spot quit working and since I left the convenience store in Ridge manor the battery light warning had been going off on my Spot Tracker.

I put in batteries and continued on my trip.  Before Long I was entering Potts Preserve.  I came across a group of people barbecuing, I was reminded that it was indeed Memorial Day.  I rolled on, exited the park, rode the grassy canal road, seeing several ATVs.

I went through the fence and stopped at the convenience store for more drink.  I was really tired, I wanted to sleep more, but I was noticing my time was running out.  I had gotten a call earlier that Kailan didn't have a ride home and now I had to make an unexpected trip to New Smyrna, AFTER I finished the sleep deprived Hell ride and be home BEFORE he goes to school in the  morning at 8am.

Amazingly enough Stumpknockers was closed.  I got into Haltapa.  It was exhausting, so hard, I was hating it, and after a long slog I got to the parking lot at Pruitt and laid in the grass under the shade of the oak tree to sleepy and tired to continue.

I don't know how long I slept, it was so nice and peaceful, it truly felt like heaven.  I got a text and that woke me up, I got on the bike and left noticing time was really getting short now and in a few hours it would be dark.

I trudged through Pruitt got on the limestone, marveled at the baby armadillo with his cute little claws who didn't have enough sense to run and hide when i rolled by leaving him only 8 inches of space.  As I exited Pruitt I was really out of time now and exhausted.  I wanted to sleep, get some more hot food and then continue with the 20 or so miles I had left.  So sleep would of took an hour or so, food would of took an hour or so and the ride 3 hours or so at best.  That's 5 more hours and it was 730 pm. Putting me back at the car at midnight, with a drive to from Ocala to New Smyrna back to my home in Deltona, to get up at 7am and get ready for work and school.  The math seemed like more then I was willing to deal with, so me and my chapped ass decided that 260 was more then enough knowing if I would of not had the pressure of picking up my son, I could easily finish, it would of just took 5 more hours.

The route is powerful. Some of it is really too much though and there are some sections that I will change for the sake of continuity.  It is after all what I think is best to promote flow.

Take care,

The NaKeD InDiaN

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The HuRaCaN 260: Day 2, LaKe ApoPka to RiDgE MaNoR

I turned my phone off at 2 am when I went to bed for a reason.  I wanted to be natural this a.m. and let my body wake when it was done resting.

Instead, like a giant eager playful Labrador, The Morning Sun licked my face and woke me up much earlier then I had plan.  I rethought things instantly, whats more natural then rising from a suns Kiss.  And I began gathering my breakfast and getting ready for the day.

It doesn't ever take me long to pack if I want to go fast.  But if I am not in a rush, I lolly gag, I listened to the birds, I listen to the wind, I listen to the water.  I sit and just absorb the moment.  I had two oranges and a handful of nuts for breakfast.  I really didn't feel much like eating, my stomach still felt weird, but I did what I had to do and before long I was rolling along the grassy double track taking me towards Wolf Head Road.

Wolf Head Road is total garbage and If I can get rid of it I will.  I mean it was even worst then the last time I rode it and it sucked then too.  Regardless, I did some hiking, and some riding, and some conserving my energy and was motivated by the sound of the cars off in the distance.  I passed over the yellow gate and got on the road, taking a moment to dump out about an ounce of sand out of each shoe.

I took off up the road.  It had been awhile since I had been on this part of the course and I made a pact that I needed to keep it moving so I could get to Hancock and eat and relax.  It was already getting hot and I had a dozen or so big hills ahead.

I'm pedaling along and look and see two riders coming around the corner fast in full on road racing style effort.  Not long after another rider came along dipped in Tri Gear and on a Giant Cycles Time Trial bike, seemingly giving chase.  I thought to myself, what a dramatic morning on the road.  These guys are serious about riding!

Up and Over one hill and as I start the next, a rider comes flying by.  Normally I am a cannibal.  I give chase and refuse to be passed.  But today I was humble and determined to stay steady and not pop.  I had made a goal for myself for a cool drink at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.  For as long as I can remember there is a residence that puts out ice cold water coolers that you can pour cold water from.  Lately on my rides some of my biggest craving and desire fantasies have to do with Ice Water.

I saw all kinds of people.  I mean, like thirty riders when it was all said and done.  People parked and gathering at spots that I have never seen them gather out.  Not only riders but runners which at the time I thought nothing off, but in retrospect it seems weird.  Usually when I'm riding Clermont in the fast curvy downhills I might scrub some speed for safety, but not today,  I was hell bent on getting as much free forward movement as possible.  I was hungry.  And really wanted to get to refuge.

I got my drinks at the top of Sugarloaf.  Making every climb, no walking.  Roll up Scrub Jay and into Grassy Lakes and before long I was at Minneola Trailhead.  Up onto the bike path I go, I can almost smell my temporary finish line.

Up and down and under the road I went, one more Lil up, o here comes another and then right before the final little crest so I can roll downhill for a minute into the Starbucks.  I just decided I'm tired of pedaling and walk the tiny little last hill.

I walk into Starbucks.  Although I'm so hungry and so tired of the bright sun I have no motivation to eat.  I order a drink and then sit and order out some food, sitting inside till the delivery person shows up and I go outside and have an impromptu picnic.  Anyone that knows me reasonably well, knows that when it comes to eating I can finish a dish FAST.  Well, not this day.   It was small bites and chewing and it took me nearly an hour to finish something that usually takes me a minute.  I had to put effort into eating, stay on task, and work at it, It was not a fantastic experience to say the least.

After I finished eating, I still had half my drink.  I made a new plan.  I didn't think it was smart of me to keep pushing through the heat of the day.  Figured it was smarter for me to sit and wait and let things cool off.  Plus I had heard that there were chances I may have to deal with a tropical storm.  I wasn't too worried about the storm, because I know what the environment looks like when a storm like that is approaching.  BUT, I also know that a storm like this will push rain in all directions and know all too well that if it rains, the outside temps can drop sometimes 20 degrees which would make a long push across Green Swamp even easier.

So I waited and charged my phone and slept.  I basically used my left over in school class sleeping techniques to undercover catch a snooze inside the air conditioned coffee shop.  It was actually kind of nice.  I rested, and started getting ready to go again, when a person I know from my previous Career who heard I was at the shop came by to chat a bit.  I admit, it was nice to talk to someone I had been on my own and in my own world for hours and hours.  And sure, that is a great thing to experience, but I have done so much of it, that I think I am burnt out on being alone and doing long long miles.

We wrapped up our chat and I packed up and left, choosing to restock a few miles down the road just to get the legs moving again.  The air was indeed cooler and I felt strong again.  I made my restock, grabbed lots of liquid calories and kept the pace steady.  It was actually easy and nice pedaling out of Clermont.  I thought about how one more town was in my rear view mirror and grew ever more anxious about crossing Lake Louisa state park.

Before long I passed the walk in gate an made my way up and through the old orange groves.  I hit some very sandy spots and instead of battling the sand I did some hike a biking, choosing instead to save my muscles for what would be the next two big challenges getting to ridge manor and getting across croom.

Once I got to the fence hop in Lake Louisa I took a moment to put some calories in the system.  I sat with my back up against the gate.  In the distance I could hear the thunder.  Up to this point I had not been rained on and I thought for sure by the sounds I was hearing that the rain was gonna catch me this time.  I got over the fence and half way to the next fence when I noticed something pinging my front wheel.  I had forgotten to put on my headphones and once I retrieved them they were in four pieces.  I then backtracked searching for my red mp3 player but had no luck.  I really needed the music as I had gone all day before Starbucks without it and found it was giving me strong steady legs.  I had no choice but to play my collection from my telephone on speaker and continued my forward motion after the search turned up zero results.

I was on dirt, hard clay for awhile.  Then I was on pavement, for what felt like forever.  The roads that take you to the intersect of Van Fleet and then into Green Swamp seemed so so long.  It was starting to get dark.  I made it to the Van Fleet trailhead and took another break at the little pavilion taking a moment to layer up as I felt a chill in the air, and stretch my back.  I could see big tall 4 x 4 pick up trucks rumbling into the swamp and it made me nervous thinking that I would be back there with all the rift raft.  I thought briefly what I would do If I encountered confrontational people, but dismissed the thoughts and took off.

On the my  Dakota GPS it says Logging road.  It was a piece of garbage today.  If there had been rain, the green swamp hadn't seen it.  I walked for several miles through here.  Eventually having to swap the lights in my Princeton tec push which lasted incredibly long.  The new batteries made the light super bright and eventually I got on to Center Grade road which is limestone and I was done with the hike a bike.

I rode across the forest quick, several trucks passed me, but no one fussed at me or yelled or started any problems.  That was good.  When I got to the start of Richloam I took another break, and then rolled out into the jeep roads that make up the tract.  This place had seen rain and it had been very recent.  I could still smell it in the air and the ground was still wet with puddles in places.

Somewhere on Trail number 6 I spotted what I thought might be a baby alligator but thought it was weird that it didn't have any scales.  In fact if anything it had lizard skin, and just as I got closer to take a look, it took of like a bullet shot so fast that I screamed like a woman and veered my machine in the opposite direction.  Yeah, that wasn't cute!

Anyways, I can see on my GPS that the road is getting closer and just as I am about 1/4 mile away, a truck springs to life in front of me and takes off really fast.  I guess they were spooked by my approaching lights.  There were LOTS of teenagers out in Ridge manors in their big trucks and in big numbers again, making my spidey sense go crazy with plans and ideas on how to handle any conflict.  BUT the conflict never came.  I got on Old Ridge manor road and then went to the Circle K for food and restock.  I wasn't much for hungry.  I was more tired then anything, but I choked down some food and then topped off the charge on my phone and slept on the hard dirty concrete for a bit while I waited.  Eventually I got my stuff and took off, deciding I would stop at the first withlacoochee trailhead and sleep there till the morning.

It was hard for me on this trip to figure out what the magic bullet would be to make me feel better and make me want to push farther.  I would eat, but then my stomach would hurt.  I would drink, but then I wouldn't feel thirsty.  It seemed as if satisfaction was always too far away.  Instead it was sleeping that would recharge the batteries and allow me to push in earnest, and by the time I made camp I had it calculated at four hours of sleep before I got up and took off into the Croom Forest.  At the ridge manor coochee pavilion I laid out my clothes hoping they would dry off a bit and slept on the concrete next to my bike.

It wasn't a deep restful sleep.  It was uncomfortable.  I didn't set up my hammock out of fear that a policeman would show up and give me a vagrancy ticket.  I didn't go away from the pavilion cause I was concerned that the rain would show.  So I cat napped on the hard concrete right by my bicycle.

Last Part next,

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Friday, June 01, 2012

The HuRaCaN 260: Day 1, SaNtOs to LaKe ApoPkA

The week after the Stagecoach Trip I spent resting.  I had invested weeks of riding getting ready for that challenge and I felt a break was needed.  I admit my training is haphazard at best, and I have no real structure, I mostly go by feelings and desires.

The week after my rest week, I caught the worst Flu I have had in years and spent a grueling 4 days dealing with the illness.  First with me suffering feverish sleepless nights and then Kailan contracting the illness and me spending more sleepless nights looking after him.

I ended up having to take Anti Biotics to fight my infection and the problem with such strong medicine is not only does it kill whats ailing you, but it kills all the good bacteria  you have in your body as well.  So the week after my illness I spent it, feeling so tired and off balance.

I had only managed two rides since I had been back from California.  One was just a destination nowhere ride, where I felt good.  I had a lot of leftover fitness from the Stagecoach.  The other was the Saturday after my illness in between my low energy off balance week, I pedaled rather speedily to Guruv yoga in Lake Mary and did a class and then pedaled home.

Regardless, even though the week had been crappy I had made a commitment to go and tackle the Huracan and I was hell bent on doing it.  So hell or high water, when Saturday 430am rolled around I packed up and left heading to Santos to start where everyone else started this year and Begin my Individual time trial.

I have had alot of rides cut short lately.  Always for good reasons so I was eager to start getting some whole enchiladas under my belt.  Still, going into this, I was still off balance, and I had rested and stayed off the bike more then I had wanted.  I have learned, that is my fortune, I should always expect everything to not go right.  Maybe one day that will change, but for now, that is what I have grown accustomed too.

Everything went smooth and I actually left Santos trailhead early on my way to tackle this beast that I have dedicated so much of my time too.  I had a different plan then usual, I wanted to go out conservative and stay conservative.  Instead of coming out the box riding so hard and then falling apart I wanted to start up slow and build momentum.  Seemed to all make sense in my head when I made the Plan.

As I pedaled the pavement making my way to Baseline trailhead, I greeted the people picking wild berries along the paved trails edge.  Before I knew it I was riding Marshall Swamp trail, noticing lots of little off shoot trails that I had never noticed before.  I took a small break at the trailhead and kept on pedaling.  Up and over the Oklawaha noticing that they had used the old bridge as a greenway pedestrian bridge as they had promised.

Onward I went making quick work, easily averaging close to 12 mph even as I made my way across the forest and encountered numerous Dune Buggies out speeding on the hard pack forest roads.  I was trying to do everything better.  I was drinking, I was eating, I was taking supplements, I was on top of the situation.

I cleared sellers lake after a brief stop and water restock and then ventured into the first real challenge of the course Billy Bay.  It took some effort and I really got hot through that section, but I kept my pace up and ventured right into Paisley Mountain Bike trail.  Seemed like all the places before this had seen rain in the past week, but Paisley looked just as sandy today as it did the last time I rode it with Kailan.

I kept moving, ticking off the miles, getting hungry and anxious to be done with this section of the ride.  After what seemed like forever I exited and made my way to a cold drink and food restock only to discover that my normal store to visit was locked up???  Ugggghhh, I continued deeper into town, past the Pirate's Pub and to the next store, where I ate and drank and ate and then feeling a lil depleted decided I would nap under the oak tree and give the sun a little time to burn off.

Around 4pm, I left that spot, after soaking a rag and placing it under my helmet, I rolled onward towards Maggie Jones.  Again, apparently no rain had come this way as Maggie was sandy and washboarded the entire way.  About 20 miles ago the ride started feeling like work, and I must admit the feeling had not dissipated.  But work I did as I made quick work of Seminole, stopped road side to score beverages and oranges and reached and passed the gate in Rock Springs.    I made my way through the park, pedaling the challenge trail.  I was liking the single track, but the double track was a mess and recently graded.  At least it seemed it had seen rain so although the ground was not fast rolling, at least it was rolling.

After what seemed like a long time I crossed the river passing a couple of boy scouts and several canoes along the way.  Not saying a word.  By this point I was eager for real food and darkness was coming and I still had five miles of complicated trail to negotiate.

The trail was green and dark.  Cypress knees everywhere eager to grab at your pedals if you didn't time things just right.  I kept the pace high knowing that after I emerged from the basin I would reach more of a scrub and open environment providing brighter light.  I really didn't want to stop to pull out my helmet light and after what seemed like another long long time I made it out in the dark.

As soon as I hit pavement, what I thought would be a two hour trip to Zellwood had already become a 2.5 hour trip and I still had a good 8 or 9 miles to go.

I pedaled and moved along the pavement, using my Fred's as much as possible and then eventually taking 441 to the Mexican restaurant that Curt had told me about.  I parked my bike and went in.  Sweaty, dirty, grimy with a rag under my helmet and muddy sun warmers on my arm.  As soon as I go in a guy starts talking to me, but I was on a mission for food and the music was blaring so loud that I pretended instead to not hear his stupid "your exercising alot today" comment.

The young waitress came over and we had to practically speak in each others faces.  She was surprised that I could speak Spanish and I ordered two sandwiches but she talked me out of them and into only one.  I didn't care, I wanted food.  All the while I waited for my food, I shivered from being wet with sweat in an air conditioned small building.  The Man who had spoke to me when I came in kept looking over at me with a glaring stare as if I had been pinching his girlfriends ass or something.  I admit I was nervous at the numbers.  7 of them, 1 of me, I am not going to even look over in their direction.

I got my food, ate, paid and left.  As I got on the bike the only late convenience store was closing and I realized I had two small bags of gummy, two oranges and a bag of cashews.  As I fussed to myself over missing the restock, I saw a electric plug on the outside of a building with a chair right by it.  I took advantage and sat and charged my phone while I sat in a comfy chair waiting.

After a few hours at midnight I rolled out and rode about ten more miles making quick work of the Lake Apopka all the way to the tower. I didn't see any gators as I only had my Princeton Tec Push lighting the way.  But I did come up on a 3 foot tall white faced owl in the middle of the road.  I had only seen an owl like this 18 years ago and was surprised to see one again.  Being the Indian that I am, I wondered if there was some sort of warning I should heed or did he come to give me inspiration to keep pushing. When I finally got there I carried my bike all the way up and set up camp.  Stripped off my wet clothes and hung them up put on my dry gear and laid down in my hammock fighting with the mosquitoes for a lil while before I finally got them to leave me alone.  I fell asleep to the sound of all sorts of owls and animals creeping and crawling about.  Briefly I regretted not peeing on the stairs leading up to the loft, thinking that the smell would of discouraged coons or possums to come up to my perch.

It had been a 110 mile day, and the sleep came fast, I needed all the rest I could get, as the last 90 miles had become a chore and had become way more work then I anticipated.

Part 2 next.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

WiLsOnS CrEEk, PiSGaH FoReSt, Nc

Luis, my good friend, the artist formerly known as Mucaro Mtb Dot Blogspot Dot Com, and I have almost the same birthday in the same birth month.  In fact, we didn't even know this, but the first time I ever saw the forest of Pisgah was with Luis and it was on a weekend where we both had birthdays.  We, without really knowing each other, except through the inter web(recurring theme), went on an out of state trip, with two birthdays in tow, talk about coincidence.(need I remind you there is no such thing)

And we repeated the tradition.  For many years, going up together at least twice.  Once during our B day month and once during the PMBAR.  This year we planned a five day trip and we planned it way ahead of time.

My failure in the Deserts of New Mexico in 2011 was like a radioactive spider bite to spiderman.  After that Tour Divide Experience, however small it was, I became a different person.  I guess you could call it a mid life crisis, but I had discovered that after 20 years of straight full time work, I had not really followed any of my dreams outright.  Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things I am slow, even in my aging, and still feeling youthful, I came back to do things differently.

I made lots of life changes since my return and all have equaled even more happiness then ever.  ONE of the most serious changes I made was increasing my seriousness in my Professional Cycling Adventurer title.  Its like that has become my full time passion and work has become something that I do that helps facilitate that.  In the past it was the other way around, I was more a cable technician who rode bike, if that makes any kind of sense.  With the Trip planned so far a head, I resolved to treat it like a training camp for the upcoming CFiTT.

The morning of our day before we left Pisgah forest we spent it doing dawn patrol into the fully loaded Honda Element, heading out on speeding highways in search of John a good friend who was going to show us the SECRET GEM of Pisgah Forest.  Usually, we don't leave the campground except to restock and ride.  The four days before we spent exploiting the forest for its singletrack goodness.

After our arrival on day one, we spent the afternoon evening, cresting Black Mountain, feeling the slash of the Clawhammers brutal steep wake up call.  I know our rides our never races, but you get three strong riders together and you cant help but smell the competitive vibes.  I was last up the mountain, playing it safe, saving my legs, using my gears.  My compadre's where on single speeds and had no choice but to stand and mash and they disappeared up the mountain.

 The Crest of Black Mountain came faster then I anticipated, and when we got back to camp, we were all surprised by how quick we made it back, beating the setting sun.

Day 2 started with rain, and finished with a fun loop around the campground and me losing my side knobs on a slippery corner.  I love my renegades, but the cornering on them is tricky.

Day 3 was the hardest longest day with the most adventure to be had as we really put the crush groove down and climbed tons of peaks and tons of great descents.  At the end we had an 8 mile road ride back to the campground and it was my chance to show my single speed brothers the advantage of a 44 tooth chain ring.

Day 4 we drove to North Mills and climbed Laurel Mountain, descended Pilot rock and eventually, to my surprise I caught and passed Aaron who only 100 feet from finishing destroyed his valve on his tubeless and we could not get it out to resolve the issue.  I had broke my leatherman so I could offer no help, so Luis and I had a one on one game of cat and mouse racing back to the car, with me eventually getting crushed by 5 seconds.

Luis and Aaron are great company.  We would hang out and talk and I would go to bed early cause I wanted and needed a rested body to keep climbing and climbing day after day.

Day 5 was the unexpected part of the trip.  The adventure into the unknown.  The morning went smooth enough and after dropping off our shuttle, we started with a long downhill, then uphills, then abandoned tracks and rutted out snake run like descents, huge drops, it was a smorgasbord of everything I like.  Side cut overgrown forest roads in the side of mountains.  Treacherous river crossings.  Huge 4 foot sheer drops that you either had to Huck or ride, but you had to choose quick.  This place was heavenly and rugged, and raw and beautiful.

At the end, we had 3 miles left of climbing to get back to the vehicles.  The single speeders took off, but knowing It was my last day in the mountains I had no fear and gave chase.  I stood up, clicked up and hung in as long as I could before cracking 1/4 mile shy of the top.  I finished third in our imaginary race and gave my self third overall in the five day pisgah training camp stage race.  I still felt proud of all the climbing I did and all the descending, but ashamed about some of the drops I by passed for safety.  I made a promise to two women when I left that I would play it safe and I did.

Luis, the artist formerly known as mucaro mtb dot blogspot dot com has since moved to Colorado where he shreds singletrack mountain trails and hero dirt daily with Unicorns and rainbows everywhere.  Aaron and I have hung out since and we continue to talk.  This sport of mountain biking seems to be boundless in what it continues to offer.

I love it.

Take care,


The NaKeD InDiaN

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

ThE BiG HeaLThY LooP

I cant remember what the exact day was or the time or the month, but I know it was a long while before the very first CFiTT that I got an email from Lynn Daniels asking if I needed volunteers for my event.

My events tend to be bare bones no muss/fuss affairs and I really didn't have much for Lynne to do, but I asked her to come anyway and she helped me stash my car not too far from the start the morning of the race.

Its interesting the things that this world wide web facilitates. I had never met Lynne, yet she helped me out when I needed it and asked nothing in return.

The next year she actually showed up to race the CFiTT and became the first female in the state of Florida to ever compete and finish an off road Ultra.

Lynne's courage and determination are legendary, she came out to the Huracan and raced again finishing third, still on the female rider's podium and still putting in another great consistent showing.

When I put on the Ride the Divide movie premier in West Palm at the Bicyclery Lynne showed up to donate, support, watch and purchase. I remember her shaking LiL'r NI's hand asking him if he knew his dad was a Legend... Shucks...

When my bike Broke and I after being encouraged by friends on FB started a get a new bike fund, Lynne was by far the biggest contributor of the bunch, and I was flattered once again by her kind generosity.

So once I got back from the divide I really wanted to give back, cause I like to give back. Some would say I do enough but I always recognize those individuals closest to me and I invited Lynne and Paul to do a creative modified loop in the Ocala National Forest, seeing part of the cfitt route and exploring some new stuff as well and without hesitation they were both on board.

The plan was to leave early Saturday morning and return Sunday about 120 something miles later, with a planned overnight stop somewhere in the forest, all yet to be decided and determined as the pace of the group dictated.

Edith being the sweet gentle generous spirit that she is, opened her home to Paul and Lynne staying the night before and although I had created a gpx and shared it with them too, I got the chance to tell them up front all the cool features the trip would behold.

First we would get to see the historic old abandoned ghost town of St. Francis. We would ride the old St. Francis to Paisley wagon trail. Ride loads of beautiful remote and rarely seen forest trails whilst making our way up to the ONF portion of the CFiTT. Planning as well to stop in Mill Dam to eat and restock and possibly camp, depending on mood. The plan for the trip was flexible all the way around.

We sat around that evening laughing and watching Scott Pilgrim vs the World, a movie I had seen several times as its a family favorite, but something they both got to enjoy for the very first time.

The next morning, my lovely lady got up early with us before our departure and made us fresh french pressed coffee beans. I packed light expecting the temps to not be too savage and we rolled out. The first part of the plan involved some rambling and exploring a mostly off road route to SR 44 that would take us towards the edge of the forest. It wasn't long into our route that we had to figure out a work around because of the posted signage saying the preserve was closed because of hunting. I was willing to brave the preserve, but Lynne thought better of that idea and the point of the ride was to travel as a group and make group decisions. So we did a workaround and still had fun, and then after wondering around the forest and discovering some renegade trail we found a perfect path onto the course I wanted to take and reached the second preserve.

This time we ignored the posted warning signs and decided to just ride fast and be loud and hope that no one mistook us for tall deers riding bicycles.

The rest of the route was a dirty as I had planned and proved to get us to where I wanted to go taking as much off road as possible. We rode the old rough singletrack that dropped us into the ghost town of St Francis. We ate and soaked it in taking off down the wagon trail. Once inside the wagon Trail the gap between us got big as I managed to pedal the entire thing, which mind you is no easy feat.

After a cold creek crossing we hopped on more track heading on our way to the next destination,
Buck Lake.

When we got to Buck Lake I was spooked. There were loud voices of men, rambling and talking and laughing. It made me rather nervous and after stopping for a bit to discuss I offered to the group that we go around. I didn't feel comfortable riding through the group of loud men. But Lynne basically said she wasn't worried about it and we pressed forward with me in front mean mugging through the Buck Lake Group camp.

The last thing I expected to see in the middle of the forest was about 100 fraternity boys, drinking and being loud. There were beer cans everywhere. The place looked desperate and lonely. There young men passed out on the forest road an we pedaled straight through the camp, not hearing a single comment or a single word from the group. Guess Lynne was right.

The forest road undulated up and down and I kept the pace brisk. Occasionally making sure I was in contact, but at the same time, satisfying my own selfish need to test myself a little bit. I was after all training for the CFiTT and I was in the prime place to prepare for the event. We regrouped and continued up the road, marveling at how perfect the weather was and talking about how good some hot food would be. It wasn't long before we were at the convenience store in Mill dam and the clerk pointed us to across the street as a good enough place to get a bite to eat.

Really couldn't beat the Value for food ratio at "MOMMA'S DINER", and after eating our fill, we agreed we would be adventurous and check out all the hub bub we had been hearing about regarding the Drum circle at mill dam.

Kudo's to the Drum Circle organizers, the signage was spot on and it was easy to locate the entrance. Unfortunately they wanted $25 for us to come in and participate. I was not interested in paying that much and off we went, 1/4 mile down the road where we could still hear the show and pay absolutely nothing.

We made camp while the sun still dangled high in the sky. Cleaned off in the lake. Cleared out and set up our camping area. I went all Bear Grylls on the situation and dug a hole with palm frawn bark and built the primo fire to ward off the unusually Cool Florida Fall night.

We all cozied up after building our forested hobo houses. Ate food, chatted and relegated about the day. Drum Circle music reminiscent of Commanche ceremonies was our sound track, "choice indeed".

That night it got cold. And I really wanted to sleep. I remembered that I could use my Hammock like a tent, and got out and slid it down to the ground. climbed in and amazingly enough slept real good for the rest of the night. It was hard to fall completely asleep wondering if the neighboring tribe was planning an attack, after all the drums did literally play and echo from lake shore to lake shore all the way till 3am in the morning.

As soon as the light broke the morning, I climbed out and hearing Lynne and Paul stirring, I told them to come out to see the lake. The fog seemed to be coming out of the lake and it was quite the sight. I ate a bunch of candy and some more potato chips, made crude Starbucks Via Coffee in my water bottle and drank it black, then bundled up for the chilly temps rolling out with the next destination being Lake Eaton Loop.

The road to Lake Eaton was hard packed and fast.  I got caught up in the fire roads reminiscing on bombing North Carolina Mountain Roads and enjoyed the speed the road was offering.  We got to Lake Eaton so fast that I spent a moment wondering why I thought those two places were farther apart.

After soaking in the Lake we rolled out again across the Hopkins Prairie road with our next destination being Silver Glenn.  After pedaling all the way across the forest to SR19 we were flanked by a mass of motorcycles who all gave us thumbs up and hang loose finger signs as they passed by, I have to admit I did feel the camaraderie of being a two wheeled traveler.

As always Silver Glenn was pretty and I took a moment to restock on snacks before we left again on the forest roads rambling towards Juniper.  After Juniper we climbed up and up to Forest road 599 aka the Dragons tail, hung a left, and then got on the pavement making our way to Billy Bay.  Billy bay was a mess and compared to the rest of the ride proved to be the most difficult and taxing section and I knew when we got to the end that although we had about 30 more miles of dirt left, I better reconsider our options.  The sun was sinking in the sky fast and I knew Lynne and Paul had a long drive home.

At the Gates of Alexander Springs I negotiated a reopening of the store as we were all eager for something cold to drink.  I was successful and after leaving Alexander I informed the group that I wanted to take the road all the way back.  The dirt section we were about to attempt would be unknown to me and it could be hard and fast or it could be a complete redo of billy bay pushing us late into the night.

No one argued with my decision and we played road riders all the way back to Edith's house taking turns at the front and eventually all of us finishing arms raised and happy that another great overnight was in the books.

That night we ate and relegated over Edith's delicious dinner.  We talked and laughed and were actually sad to see Lynne and Paul go.  Although I had known Lynne through the Internet and spoken to her several times here and there and watched her race, I felt after this weekend, I had made a new friend.  Its funny what a long tramping in the woods will do to build a relationship.

Take Care,


The NaKeD InDiaN