For the past two weekends, it has seemed like Bill and I have been playing a game of dodge
ball rain with the storm clouds when trying to get in a bike ride.
I’ve learned that in Florida, it is actually possible to maneuver your way away from and/or around rain storms. Or you just get rained on for a little and then it clears as quickly as it started.
Last Sunday, we ventured up to the Suncoast Trail with a goal to ride at least 50 miles. We couldn’t leave home without properly fueling, so I made some blueberry yogurt and orange infused pancakes. Man oh man were they tasty! Next time you make pancakes, add a little orange zest. Trust me. It’s delicious!
On our drive to the trailhead, it started to downpour. Just great. We’re going to drive 30 minutes only to turn back around and drive home. But thankfully, it was a “typical” Florida storm, and by the time we parked the car and got geared up, the rain had stopped. Yeah!
So, we hopped on our bikes and hit the trail. We rode up about 12ish miles, but the clouds were looking very ominous up ahead. I was fearful we were headed straight for a huge downpour, so I told Bill that we should turn around. So, we headed back towards our car. Heading that direction, the sky was blue, so we discussed biking to the car, turning around, and doing the loop again if the storm had cleared out. Unfortunately, we were about two miles from the car and we saw more storm clouds ahead. Crap. We looked behind us, and saw blue sky. So, we turned back around and rode in that direction.
We dodged the rain that these clouds brought!
A few miles later, the trail splits off to a little park. There’s a 6.5 mile trail that takes you to the park entrance. So, we decided to ride that way, which would also take us away from the highway that paralleled the trail, and away from the storm clouds.
There were no other cyclists (maybe one?) on this section of the trail, but we did see some other signs of life.
I think we saw about 3 or 4 of these guys throughout our ride.
We also rode within feet of some deer. Unfortunately, the time I tried to get a picture I wasn’t fast enough! Can you see the brown spot in the center of the picture below? That’s a deer!
After riding this part of the trail for 13 miles (6.5 each way), we hit the main trail again and decided to keep on riding. We were feeling good, had the trail mostly to ourselves, and the overcast sky made the temperature bearable. We laid down a few more miles, and Bill pointed to look off the side of the trail. Armadillos!! There were five of these little guys crawling around. I thought they were actually kinda cute.
Though not as cute as the guy trying to lure them to come closer. 🙂
When they started to scurry away, Bill and I got back on our bikes to finish our ride. The remainder of the ride was pretty uneventful, except for a failure on my part to keep my electrolytes up. At around mile 60, I started to feel ill. I had taken salt tabs, and was drinking plenty of water and eating Gus and gels, but I just started feeling nauseous. So we slowed down tremendously and stopped at the rest area 2 miles from the car. I drank some Gu Brew and sat for a few minutes before I felt ready to continue. We slowly rode the last two miles back to the car and then I drank up some Gatorade. I still wasn’t feeling 100% until we stopped for some Chipotle and I drank some Coke. I used to turn up my nose when people told me that Coke was the drink of choice after a triathlon or marathon; now I usually bring a can with me to long training sessions and races.
When it was all said and done, Bill and I had ridden 63.5 miles.
That’s a PDR for me! Yeah baby!
This past weekend, Bill and I had grand plans to get in a good long bike ride. We weren’t going to do 60, but we decided to get in a good solid 40. We drove to a five mile long, quiet road which dead ended into cow pasture.
To the left of this there’s a research center, and on the same road there’s a hospital and a gated community. So random.
We figured we’d do four loops, and then go for a little run. When we started our second loop, I saw clouds rolling in. We heard thunder as we rode away from the storm, and when we turned around, I feared that we’d be in the pouring rain when we got back to the car.
Thankfully, it appeared that the storm was passing off to our west (south? east? not sure which direction). But unfortunately, Bill and I were both feeling kinda crappy on the ride. We thought about pushing through, but opted to go for a short jog before the storm hit. By short jog, I mean we only went half a mile. Wah wah. Neither of us were feeling the run either, and we worried about leaving the bikes tied to the truck while we ran. So, we threw in the towel and went home. A 20 mile ride and a half mile run ain’t so bad, right?
We were almost home when the sky opened up. I was relieved we didn’t get caught in that! Later, we caught sight of a rainbow that filled the sky. I wish I had the ability to take a panoramic shot, because it was a full rainbow!
Two weekends and two bike rides, both of which we managed to walk away from having dodged the rain. I’d say that is a win in my book!