Lake Monroe Loop


This is a description of a route and not one ride. It was three rides on the Lake Monroe Loop which may or may not be its official name.

On January 24 I had a reservation on the AutoTrain from Sanford to Lorton, Virginia. The train left at 5:00 pm, but check-in with a vehicle was from 11:30 until 3:00. I wanted a nice ride in the area before a 15-hour train ride.

Near the AutoTrain, Sanford

I found a ride on RidewithGPS that started at the Bicikleta Bike Shop in Sanford. It was a 27-mile loop around the lake and looked perfect. I found the bike shop and started to follow the route that I had uploaded to my bike computer.

Bicikleta Bike Shop, Sanford

I was only two blocks from the downtown area which is absolutely charming. Sanford has brick streets so I checked out the downtown before starting my ride.

Downtown Sanford

Downtown Sanford is only one block from the lakefront which is very pretty.

Lake Monroe, Sanford

I obviously did not study the route. I envisioned a 27-mile route hugging this lake the entire time. What I got was three and a half miles of lakefront views. I crossed a bridge over the St. Johns River which flows into the lake. And then I picked up a series of bike trails.

Coast to Coast Trail

Part of the trail picks up a section of the Coast to Coast Trail

Coast to Coast

There were sections of boardwalks in the swamp. (Boardwalks scare me) Pretty but I’m not a fan of tires on wood.


I wasn’t quick enough with the camera but as I came around one corner I saw a juvenile armadillo scurry off the trail.

More boardwalks

I gave up lakeside for woods. And swamp.

Not so wildlife. Goats.

Eventually, the trail connected with a bike path next to Fl. State Hwy 415. It is separate from the highway and has an underpass at the one bridge to get to the other side to cross the river.

Lake Monroe

About five miles from Sanford the trail ends and one must ride on the road. But here the roads are more streets than highways.

Red corn snake

The first time I rode it when I got back to the start I continued a second pass down the lake and found the AutoTrain. It was just an enjoyable loop.

Osteen Trail Head and Hwy 415

My next AutoTrain reservation was on March 13. Arriving on March 14 I was prepared to ride the same loop. However, I thought it would be fun to reverse the route so I rode the same course but counterclockwise this time. Near the end, I routed to PDQ Chicken for lunch and then used the Wahoo’s Route to Start feature to get me back to the parking lot that was two blocks from Bicikleta’s.


And it was six days later I was headed home. No AutoTrain this time but I was headed up I-4 early in the morning. I stopped at the park next to the bridge that crosses the St. Johns River. I would ride the loop again albeit with a different start location,

PDQ. Worth the trip.

There were no surprises. I could ride this loop without a map. But it’s nice to have a map on the computer as I like to display the distance remaining.

St. Johns River below I-4

This is an easy, flat, ride with lake, swamp, and forest views. I highly recommend this to anyone in central Florida looking for an easy and enjoyable ride, Finish with lunch in Sanford.

St. Johns River

Flying Fox Airport Loop


My travels took me to Orlando and I was looking for a ride. I found the Florida Freewheelers Bike Club that also sponsors the Horrible Hundred each November. They had a ride posted for today called the Flying Fox Airport Loop.

I am not a member of their club so their public site may be different than their private site. I could see a ride map but not a GPX file that I could upload to my bike computer.

A ride map (not the one for this ride)

I emailed the ride leader and asked for a GPX file. He sent me a file but it was only 5k in size. It was a data point – the ride start. I went to the ride map and drew the route in RideWithGPS. I wasn’t 100% sure but I think I got it.

Brick streets near the park

I arrived at the park at 7:30 a.m. for an 8:00 a.m. ride. At 7:45 I didn’t see any other cars. I have a feeling I was in the wrong part of the park. I decided to roll out ahead and figured I would be swept up by the group.

Toll Road – Bikes stay to the right (even though that guy didn’t)
South Goldenrod Road

It was a mixed road route. It is not for everyone. The residential streets were fine but there were some highway segments. And I was buzzed three times today. The first time a car passed by within an arm’s length. I thought the driver was careless. The second time I thought it was deliberate. And the third time I know it was deliberate. There seems to be an attitude that cyclists don’t belong on the roads and the drivers will punish you. I am also always aware that Florida has more cycling deaths per capita than any other state.

Slow with the camera – just missed getting a shot of this Spirit Airlines airplane

The route passed by the Orlando Executive Airport and then the Orlando International Airport. At one location the route went on a toll road but there was a Bike Route sign to take cyclists past the toll booth.

Jeff Fuqua Blvd – just south of the airport

On some shoulders, the roads were marked with a white line directing cyclists away from the drain grates. Very nice safety feature.

Infrastructure – Notice the white line directing bikes away from the drains
Heinztelman Blvd by Orlando Int’l Airport

It was cloudy but humid. My legs felt good although I was coming off a poor recovery (19%). I had thought about trying hard to find the group but then wondered if I would have the legs to stay with them. Catching me was a better option although they never did. I was riding well enough but at two miles per hour faster they must have been close.

Bike lane – Hansel Ave. (Englewood)

I love finding routes, downloading them to my Wahoo, and following them. So I was able to do that today. I didn’t meet any new people but that was okay too. Thanks for the ride!

Ormond Metric


My trip to Florida led me seeking sun and warmth and preferably ocean views. Or one view. I ended up at Ormond Beach because the Hampton Inn was very reasonable. I found a route I wanted to ride but the map was showing sections of unpaved road north of Flagler Beach that seemed strange. I ruled that out.

Next to Halifax River

I found a ride on RidewithGPS that I would follow. It began at the Hub Cycling in Port Orange up and over to Flagler Beach then back south to Dayton Beach. While I wanted to ride on A1A next to the ocean, the route avoided much of that when there was an alternative, presumably because of traffic and safety.

South Beach St., Daytona Beach

The roads were a mix of residential streets, country roads, a little highway, and the A1A right down through Daytona Beach. At one point I deviated from the course and rode over to the A1A.

A1A, Ocean Shore Blvd, Ormond Beach

I wasn’t sure what it would be like when I reached Daytona Beach. But on the two-lane southbound route, I found new sharrows had just been painted. A sharrow means bikes can use full lane and are often on roads where it would be too dangerous to pass a cyclist riding on the right side of the lane. Better to ride right down the middle. Any cars that would pass would already be partially in the left lane and would always move over.

Daytona Beach

I was headed into a moderately strong headwind from the south. And I as getting tired. I had two bottles with me – one with Skratch and one with water. I took two gels and two feeds. I could tell around 50 miles I was running on E.

North Beach Street, Tomoca State Park

I found a service station/convenience store and stopped in for water – and a Snickers. I haven’t had a Snickers in forever but I knew its sugars would sustain me the last 12 miles.

Tomoka River, Old Dixie Highway

I didn’t realize it at the time but this was where we started our cancer ride on April 11, 2013. Today I just missed passing the starting point because I had moved off the A1A and back to John Anderson Drive next to the Halifax River (less traffic).

Vikings. Daytona Beach Shores

I was hoping to go faster today but on that day we had a group of four setting a good pace in 2013. I wasn’t going to match that. But my goal of warmth, sun, and an ocean view was met.

Hill – Port Orange Causeway
Halifax River View from causeway bridge

Crocs vs. Gators


This was my third time with this ride.All have been fun and they would be hard to rank if I wanted to. I don’t.

Parking Lot Full – Everglades National Park

I drove from Miami and passed a huge group ride. It also could have been a bike event but I couldn’t find an event simply by searching. I did see a photographer at the end of the street so maybe it was. My first thought was to stop and see if I could join them. But it looked to be already in progress. It was 9:30 a.m. And more importantly, I went deep yesterday and haven’t recovered.

Line to enter Everglades National Park

At lunch yesterday I had avoided any cramping. And then, a slight turn the wrong way and my hamstring about killed me. I tried to stretch my leg and bend my foot backward. Back to the car before the drive to Miami I drank a Hot Shot cramp killer. It worked in that I didn’t cramp anymore yesterday. But last night, twice in my sleep I awoke with a cramp in a calf, both calves, different times. My body was not recovered. I checked my Whoop Band score this morning. It was only 34% recovered. I knew I should stick to today’s plan which was to ride two loops at Shark Valley.

Shark Valley Visitor Center

Two loops would be simple to satisfy my daily mileage (30 miles). And also for Strava. I knew a loop was timed and I could set a PR by not stopping but I would dedicate the first loop to watching nature including stopping often for photographs. And the second loop would be just riding without stops.


Arriving Shark Valley the sign on the roadway announced the lot was full and to expect delays. There were scores of cars already parked outside the park but I got in line to see how long it would be. There were at least 12 cars in line and they would be admitted one car at a time for every one car that left. And since it was 10:15 a.m. the lot probably had just filled up and the early morning folks might be a while before leaving. I did a U-turn and went back out to the highway to park.

Cars parked on the Highway outside Shark Valley

Most of those parked on the roadside had bicycles but a few were walkers. And this observation. The government is not serious about vehicle emissions. The admission for one car was $35 whereas for one individual it was $20. For the cars that parked outside the park a couple walking in would pay more ($40) by walking in that by driving in. They want you to drive your car.

Admission Gate at Shark Valley

I have a National Park pass for free admission so it was an easy decision for me to park on the highway then ride past the long line or parked cars. But if I had a family of four in my car I would wait in the line to pay for the vehicle rather than have to pay individually for each of us with a bike, even though I would be free.


The ranger greeted me and asked for my pass as though I looked like someone who would have a pass. Of course, I did. She said that I would have a great tailwind going out and a pretty stiff headwind coming back. She was right.


I headed out of the visitor center on the straight road next to the water towards the observation tower. I only saw seven alligators in the seven miles out to the tower. Winter is the dry season and they are less active. So I saw less today than my other two rides but it was still satisfying.

Gators on the road

I arrived at the tower and saw a few people looking at a big one. I realized that with it’s longer snout and pointy teeth on the outside that it was a crocodile. I would later learn that it was a female.

That’s a crock. Also, never turn your back and take a selfie.

I counted eight alligators and one crocodile before turning to finish the loop. The second part of the loop looked uphill even though it was pancake flat.It was a struggle into the wind. Most people I saw who thought it would be fun to rend a bike realized that it isn’t fun riding into the wind. Most were walking.

After ‘while Crockodile

When I reached the visitor center I had to decide whether to ride another loop, as planned, I met a couple on mountain bikes and they asked me which way to go. I told them the wind was brutal coming back and that I thought there might be a little protection riding clockwise vs. counterclockwise.

Lots of people walking

It was then I decided I would ride the loop again but reverse my direction. I decided a PR on a loop was dumb. Strava is just for social media and I should do what I wanted to do. So I reversed direction. While I would still be nose into the wind the last seven miles, at least it would be along alligator alley and not just in the desolate grasses.

Just lounging

I soon caught the couple and then caught the site-seeing tram. Once the tram stopped and let me pass I never saw it again. I guess the driver didn’t like me drafting. Hehe.

Bird – Help me out here. Everglades.

I tried not to double count alligators. Many were in the same spots one hour later. I would say that I saw 14 today. And two crocodiles. On the way back I stopped to tell three girls to look for the two alligators on the side of the road about one mile further and after that they would see a juvenile crocodile and not long after that the adult female. They were pretty excited.

Mouth open means annoyed

It was a good day. No Strava records, well, maybe one. But that was organically because I had no segments marked.

Intracoastal Waterway Century


Quick Thoughts – The registration process stated that the event materials including a T-shirt would be mailed to the riders. I registered two months in advance but never received anything. I had to arrive early today for late registration ready to explain that I never received anything. Turns out they didn’t mail mine. Sigh.

A t-shirt and my riding bib/tag

I met a nice young woman who was sitting on the curb 15 minutes before the start time. I convinced her to sit on a bench with me and save her legs. Kristen Reynolds was riding her first Metric Century and was a bit nervous about being able to finish.

Waiting at the start

Part of me wanted to ride with Kristen to make sure she would finish but I decided to stick with my plan of a full Century ride. At just about 8:00 we all started moving. The event had around 400 riders so it wasn’t too large, unlike a Sea Gull Century which has more than 5,000 riders.

Early morning Start line

As I rolled out I recognized one of our Roosters from this summer’s trip to Luxembourg. I rode up to Keith but he didn’t know who I was. Strange. Very strange. I rode with Keith for the first 15 miles even catching Kristen who was flying. I was surprised that the split in the two routes came so quickly. I never really said goodbye to Keith or Kristen. They turned right. I turned left. Goodbye.

Keith from the Roosters
Although we rode in a group of nine for six days in Luxembourg four months ago – he did not remember me

I turned west on the Century route while a large group I was in went east for the Metric. I was the only one who turned left. I thought I would be riding the rest of the century alone. I was prepared to ride alone. In one mile was the first rest stop. I made a quick pit stop and noticed a group of 5-6 guys getting a group photo taken. I left. Solo.

Rest stop one

After departing the stop I may have ridden one mile, at most two, catching one rider when the group I saw minutes earlier passed me by. One rider announced they were passing and told me to jump in. Another said, “Jump in, take a rest and recover, and then take a turn.” I liked the invitation.

Rolling at the start – Cocoa Beach

After the group passed me I jumped in. I had to judge what type of rotation or pace line they were riding and match it. We went in order with each person pulling off when they were comfortable. There were a couple of short pulls and a couple of long pulls. Their group of five became a group of six. As we passed other riders we grew to about 20 with the six of us doing all the pulling with 14 passengers. There were riders willing to tag on but not become part of our group.

Rest stop two

The composition of the group changed when we came to the NASA Causeway Bridge to the Kennedy Space Center. I was at the back hoping to take some photos. When I ride I love to take photos. Sometimes I can do it while riding solo but more often I pull over for a shot. Today I was in a line most of the way and could not capture the views to share with others.

Eau Gallie Causeway
Dr. W. J. Creel Bridge

It was flat. Everywhere was flat. But the causeways all were bridges that became hills for those in this area. We came to the “hill” on the NASA Causeway. There was a split in our group and I found myself on the back of the split. I quickly moved past one or two riders to catch the front of our group.

Every ride needs a Velomobile

Coming down off the bridge we had a great view of the space center to the left across the Indian River and a canal to the right. I saw an alligator in the canal but could not take a photo.

Rest stop two

At the end of the causeway, our group pulled over realizing they dropped Walter. One rider doubled back about one-half mile to see if he was coming but didn’t find him. I later learned that Walter had been off his bike for three years and jumped in today to ride 100 miles. Dumb if that’s what he did. The group waited about 10-12 minutes and then continued on without him.

Baby Cokes at Rest Stop 4. These were a life saver.

Walter apparently abandoned and presumably called for a SAG. But no one in our group called him? Maybe they knew him but weren’t necessarily friends with him much as I would be in the Prince William Cycling group. I know a lot of people but I’m not friends with most or have their cell phone numbers. Poor Walter.

Kennedy Space Center

Around Mile 60, Herb and I were at the front and we caught another group. In doing so we dropped the other three riders we were with. I was willing to hang on the back of the new group after pulling so much but Herb suggested we wait for his group because “they need us more than we need a free ride.” We waited.

Rest stop 3

Leaving the third rest stop I wanted to ride faster. And it was a weird situation that I joined a group and rode 45 miles with them but was ready to abandon them. Is that wrong? Twice when their riders were hurting the group stopped so I did too. I was part of the group. But to ride a century the advice is to ride the first third slow, the second third normal, and leave yourself enough in the tank for the last third. I did.

On Merritt Island – the Indian River

Today I had lots in the tank and wanted to pick up the pace. Every time I was on the front I was constantly looking to see if someone was on my wheel. And often it was one rider with a split. Sometimes it was just me. I slowed down.

Bridge on Merritt Island

At what point do you become part of the group and can’t leave? I could have pedaled away at any point, with or without a word. But I stayed with the group taking turns pulling with those still working.

Rest stop 5

In the end, we finished together except for Jim who dropped back with three miles to go. And I know Tom appreciated I was pulling my share in the group when he couldn’t contribute. After the ride, he thanked me for pulling. He said he doesn’t normally ride that fast and was just trying to hang on but was very pleased with his average speed for the day. I didn’t tell him that I was always slowing it down to keep them with us.

Indian Harbor Beach – Eau Gallie Causeway

It was a good day. I started slow to stay in with the Metric riders until they turned. Then I thought I had 85 miles of solo riding ahead of me. The Melbourne Old Cranks (my new name for them) made the ride very interesting and enjoyable. I don’t know how many they had passed and how large of a group they wanted. But they invited me to work with them and that clearly saved my energy. And I was the only one who joined them.

Rest stop 5

Never say never. I thought this would be a one-and-done ride and it probably was. But I already drew a new route for my personal century ride if I would do this again. I’d follow the Metric ride back to finish, cross the causeway at Cocoa Village then pick up the Century route. It would mean four causeways instead of two, only two miles that are “off course” (crossing the causeway at Cocoa) and a new distance of 107 miles. Sounds awesome. Maybe I’ll be back. I would like that.


I monitor my biometrics with the Whoop Band. Without fail, my recovery the night before a big event is always in the red. Today was no exception.

Take it easy. Don’t ride too far today. Yea, right.

I think the mental aspect affects the physical recovery. It’s not like I stayed up all night worrying but just knowing a big effort is required seems to effect me.

Bad slice

At the Eau Gallie Causeway, I heard a piece of metal being hit and landing. It has a distinctive sound. I also knew it was me. I thought for sure that I would have a flat within the next 30-60 seconds but I survived that. Unbeknownst to me was I had a slice in the tire. We were at Mile 79 and had 21 miles to go. None the wiser, I rode on the slice back to the finish line. Pretty impressed by those Continental 5000s.

I should have pulled over and inspected it. Although I had an extra tire with me in my car, I didn’t carry it with me on the ride. I really had no choice regardless. Ride and hope. And carry the SAG number in case I had to stop.

If there was any question as to whether I was part of the group and therefore should not have left them it is this. Jim gave me a shoutout on his Strava (although I’m not from Roanoke).

It was windy. But most of the route was north-south and the winds were consistently ENE, in other words, crosswinds.

I’m still learning Windsock but this graphic shows the wind direction. Crosswinds. It also looks like there was a two-minute penalty for the wind which I guess means with no wind I would have finished two minutes sooner. That seems low to me but it’s fun to think about.

The Citrus Tour – The Short Loop


Today was the cold version of yesterday’s hot version. Whereas yesterday the temperature was 82° today would be cloudy and 52°. I have become smarter with my decisions and basically determined that I would ride the 25-mile route instead of the 50-mile route.

While I slept well last night, my Whoop recovery score was only 17%. Very poor. If Whoop could talk it would have said don’t move today. I had cramped badly yesterday which is a sign of muscle fatigue. I would honor the ride and my donors by riding but didn’t know if 50 miles was in the cards for me.

I ride for Mark

Unlike yesterday, there were volunteers directing riders where to park. In fact, it seemed there were no riders. Yesterday was clearly the main event and today’s ride was the icing on the cake of the MS weekend.

Start line

There was a race announcer or DJ who would give the start signal at 7:30 a.m. But no recognition or staging of riders.

I looked at a guy, Zack, who wore shorts and a jersey. It was cold. The wind was blowing. He looked at me and said, “I think I’m going to regret this.” I asked him if he would wear a jacket if I went back to my car and he said he would. I came back as the riders were rolling out. He put on the jacket and we rolled out.

I ride for Kristi

We discussed how far we were riding. I pretty much had already decided that due to my poor metrics, I would go short (actually a 23-mile route). But if Zack had my jacket and was riding 50 then I would too. But he had a wife and a couple of small kids waiting for him and was going short.

Two early riders (probably Riding with MS)

I thought we were near the end of the riders and we were just riding along when a fairly large group passed us. At the end of the train I jumped on and Zack followed. On a right-hand turn the group broke up with only about six or seven riders at the front. I asked Zack if he wanted to bridge up and he said yes. We did and we rolled along. Before Rest Stop One, I had dropped him. I was surprised when I looked behind me and it was someone else. We averaged 17.7 mph on this segment.

Rest Stop One

We rolled out by ourselves for the next segment, which was a loop and then returne to the start. I was feeling better and when we came to the 25/50-mile split I was willing to ride 50 but Zack wanted to head back.

We came rolling into the finish and I met Zack’s wife who was a finish-line volunteer. It was 9:00 a.m. What now?

Barry and Zack

Yesterday any additional effort on the pedals brought cramps. I was afraid of pushing it today although I briefly toyed with riding the full 50. The soreness brought on by cramps was gone but I knew to take it easy.

After getting my jacket and saying goodbye I went back to my car. But it didn’t seem enough. So I went back on course for a couple of miles before turning around and thinking, “What am I doing?” I went back to the car and called it a day.

Hilton Vacation Club

The official hotel of the event was the Omni Resort in Orlando. Even with the special MS group rate, it was too pricey for me. I opted for the Hilton Vacation Club Mystic Dunes, which was also pricey, but I had a free night coupon.

Hilton Vacation Club

The Citrus Tour


I was here for the MS-150 — the first MS-150 event of the year in the U.S. I went to registration at the Omni Resort yesterday at 5:00 p.m. As a “VIP” (“Club K” for those who raised at least $1000) we were told a perk would be an “Exclusive VIP experience at packet pick-up.”

I’m not sure what that experience was. I walked up. They gave me a jersey. I walked away and then had to go back. “Do I get a t-shirt as well,?” I asked. They went and got me a t-shirt. They did have a room with wine and hors d’oeuvres but that wasn’t my thing. I looked. I left.

The coolest “VIP” experience at registration I had was at the Livestrong Challenge-Philly in 2009. When I went to the registration desk a volunteer found my name. Then she rang a bell loudly and announced, “Barry Sherry raised $3000.” Then everyone in the room (or tent) cheered. So my thought was something similar would happen here. But maybe I missed it but it seemed like the same experience for everyone at packet pick-up.

Riders getting ready to roll

This morning there was to be “VIP parking at the start line.” As I drove in I asked two volunteers about VIP parking. I even showed them the screenshot of Club K perks. They knew nothing about VIP parking.

Tent Village at the Omni

My planning for the ride included a hotel which was actually a resort. But being a resort meant no breakfast at the hotel. Instead, I passed a McDonalds on the way and got an order of hotcakes.

I was concerned about nutrition and brought Skratch drink mix and Honey Stinger gummy chews. I also brought Hot Shot anti-cramping mix. As I grabbed what I wanted for my ride, I completely forget the Hot Shot. Crucial mistake.

Opening ceremonies recognized those riding with MS, the biggest earners, and the largest teams. The National Anthem was sung by Sonya Bryson-Kirksey (and someone can check me on this). Are helmets not hats? I removed my helmet but I would guess that less than 10% of men did. Or maybe respect for the National Anthem has died.

Always mindful of whom I’m riding for

The rollout was in groups. I expected it would be staged by the previously mentioned categories or by distance but that we would all roll together. Instead, there may have been one minute between each group as they announced them and let them roll out.

Rest Stop Bravo

We rolled slowly and it was immediately apparent that we would have stiff winds. Once it was safe I started passing riders. I had a guy join me and we briefly talked about not being able to ride a 12-hour Century (which it would have been at the pace we were riding). When he picked up the pace he was followed by a rider named Sharon (we had nametags on our backs).

At first, I wasn’t going to follow but we were all going the same pace. So I latched on. After a mile or two I went to the front and told him that I wasn’t going to let him do all the work. He dropped to third wheel and after a mile, Sharon told me he was about 20 yards back. I soft-pedaled for a while but he never came back. I never saw him again the rest of the day. Sharon, I would see her a lot.

Pickle Pops – No words

There’s a proper way to ride a Century. First third – go slow. Second third – ride at a normal pace. And then use what’s left in the tank for the big finish. I knew I was probably going out too fast although I felt good. I wasn’t sweating that I noticed but I was still concerned about losing too many fluids. I would drink a lot today.

Waiting at a traffic light in Davenport – Mile 9
First Rest Stop is just to the right

We were riding along and one of the larger teams came by. Sharon and a couple of riders joined in and I tagged on in the back. There was a split and I was caught out. I decided I would bridge up to the faster group and was about to make the catch when they went through a yellow light but it turned red for me. I waited for the light to change and the group that I tried to ditch caught up to me. When it finally turned green I let them go ahead and I sat in on the back.

Top Fundraiser (I assume)

The first Aid Station was only 10 miles in and I blew by it. I stopped at the second one, Bravo, and they were serving sandwiches. Hmm. It was 9:00 a.m. I rolled out from Aid Station Bravo and rolled through a glass field on the shoulder/bike lane. I went about 200 meters then turned around. I found a discarded shingle and spent about 10 minutes sweeping the glass off the bike path. #DOGOOD

Neat water bottles at Aid Station Bravo

At Mile 60 I felt “pre-cramps” if there is such a thing. I could feel the telltale sign of a cringe when I dug deep for more power. I tried to conserve where and when I could. I drank. I took on more than eight bottles of fluid. I was riding with a team – Road and Trail Bike Club (Lakeland, Fla.) and gently let them go up the road without me. The subtle accelerations needed to control the whiplash effect on the rear weren’t there for me. I did not want to dig deep. They never went far ahead but I never caught them. One of their guys dropped back and I passed him.

Rest Stop 4 – Lake Wales Scouts

At Mile 80, Aid Station Bravo (again), I departed on my own. I was happy to ride at my own pace. I wanted to ride solo. While there is a very real benefit of riding in a group, I didn’t have the energy to raise the pace even one kph faster to stay with the group or to match accelerations when needed. While a tailwind most of the way back, the advantage of group riding was less.

At this point, I wanted to be left alone, wind or no wind. Whether in a group of 10 or a group of two, we try to stay together which meant that I would have to find a little extra on turns and the little rises that they called hills. (Note: They’re not hills.) Riding alone I could go as slow as I needed to and not push to the point of cramps.

Rest Stop 3 – Charlie

I was caught at a light by a woman I had stopped earlier to help her with a flat from the field of glass. (She needed SAG/bike shop to make the repair). I was glad to see her riding and she was going about two kph faster than me. Normally I would match her pace so we could work together but I did not have the extra gear. Then I was caught by Sharon. She gave up waiting on the two guys she had been riding with and Sharon and I rode together until we came to an intersection. She went straight when we should have turned left. I briefly followed then yelled to get her attention. I would have ridden right up to her but I didn’t have the gear.

Road and Trail Bike Team

We had a brief interchange – basically it was “this is not the right way,” and “are you sure?” I was. We went back as team Road and Trail were coming by and making the left-hand turn. We jumped in with them.

Cute – but SHARE THE ROAD is better

The first real cramp came at Mile 95. It was bad and I wasn’t sure I would handle it. The pain was intense and my reaction was to get off the bike and stretch. As we came to a left turn at a “T” the group got into the left turn lane and stopped behind five cars waiting for the light. I had no choice. I could not coast and didn’t want to unclip and put a foot down. I kept pedaling softly and took the empty right turn lane but then went straight across the intersection to make my left turn. The group came by and I briefly tried to stay with them. I did right to Mile 98. Then I took to the sidewalk to keep moving while they waited at a light. I had to pedal at my own pace. Coasting wasn’t working and I could not add pressure. Lightly pedaling was the best way to keep the cramping from being too bad.

Crystal Lake Park – Mile 30

Still, the group finished about 30 seconds ahead of me which wasn’t bad. I would have given them 30 minutes. I was hurting. I slowly rode to my car, moved gingerly as I dismounted, found my Hot Shot, and chugged that down.

I walked over to find lunch. No one knew where it was. On the website, it said lunch was provided by PDQ. I then found some empty PDQ containers in the trash. We discovered the 25 and 50-mile riders ate our lunches.

PDQ Lunch Boxes – No lunches for distance riders

I was tired. It was 3:00 and I needed lunch. While there was a dinner at 6:00 back at the Omni, I knew I would not be going back to my hotel, cleaning up, and then returning for dinner. Partly I was afraid that I might cramp up during dinner and that would not be pretty.

In my GPS I found a PDQ eight miles (air miles?) away. I drove to it and then asked the manager if they provided the lunches to the MS Ride. They had and I thanked him for it. I also told him that the riders who rode the farthest didn’t get any. He gave me a complimentary lunch. It’s a great place and not just for free food.

Lunch at PDQ

An MS ride is more than a ride. It’s about the mission to rid the world of MS. I like to connect with people and hear their stories. The first person was a young woman, wearing a tutu (maybe a bad idea for a distance ride). She had written on her bib she was riding for her mother. I told her I was riding for my daughter and showed her the cool stem cap. (She can be seen in the Davenport photo.)

I asked her how far she was riding and she told me she was going to ride 100 but was now thinking about 60 (The routes were 23, 50, and 75 so maybe she was thinking about 50 miles). A group, her group, was rolling out of the rest step and I just missed jumping in with them but left in a hurry to catch them. And then I started regretting not spending more time with her and offering to ride 100 with her. It was obvious no one in her group was willing.

The second person I talked to was Sharon. She was in the Top 50 fundraisers as evidenced by her blue bib number. She told me her connection was seven or eight friends who all have MS. She also said she lost her 35-year-old niece within the last year to MS due to a blood clot. Of course, neither of us knows for sure what may have caused the blood clot, be it MS, medications for MS, or medications for something else.

DISTANCE: 101.2 miles
TIME: 6:04

Advice from the Jensie


It was chilly, if not cold, at the start. Just 52° (11°C) and pretty windy. There was a forecast of rain moving in in the afternoon. My options were a 100-mile ride or a 70-mile ride. Plus whatever distance I would be adding to and from the hotel.

I met Scott at the start

I was thinking about the century ride and whether I would have enough time to ride 100 miles and beat the rain. Maybe the weather would force my hand. But there was something else.

Massive start

I have been wearing the Whoop band which measures biometrics. Last night, and the two nights prior to that, my “recovery” rate has been poor. My body is not recovering the way I need it to and therefore a big effort may be hard to achieve.

Just random cyclists

I was out the door by 7:00 a.m. and was at the start by 7:20 a.m. I was ready to roll but wanted to meet a friend first. Scott lives in the area and we planned to meet at 7:30 a.m. But he was running late and we did not meet and get rolling until 8:00 a.m. I felt like everyone who was riding was already on course and ahead of me.

A “private” port-a-john just 10 miles in

As I pedaled the first 15 miles I didn’t feel right. The jump in my legs was not there. Or maybe worse, the enthusiasm I had for riding the bike was missing. There was a group of 30-somethings, probably four men and two women although maybe it was three and three, that went by me. It was a group that I might normally jump into (if they didn’t mind). But I didn’t have the energy to stay with them.

Rest Stop one (of one)

I didn’t need Whoop to tell me that. I was off. I felt it. I decided then to take the 100-mile ride off the table and do the 70-mile ride. But the weather started turning. There was some spitting rain already and I had to rethink my strategy.

Volunteer at Rest Stop one supporting UVA (he attended)

I remembered what Jens Voigt said when he retired. He loves riding his bike but the two things he will no longer do is suffer and ride in the rain. And I knew that even if I rode 70 miles, I would be suffering. And I would probably be riding in the rain.

Bikes at Green Mountain (Rest Stop one)

That made my decision easier. There’s something nagging about shortening the route as though one has failed. I had to put that out of my mind and convince myself that it was okay. But I knew that today, it was the right thing to do. This was the fifth time for this event. I have ridden the 100-mile route twice and the 70-mile twice so I knew the route and what I would be seeing or missing. Plus I had nothing to prove. My decision would have been different if this was my first event or first century.

Raining during lunch

I came to the 30-mile cutoff and turned. I would go short today. Well, it wasn’t exactly short. I added one extra loop around the lake and there was the distance to and from the event. So I still rode 45 miles.

Back to the hotel

But at the pavilion, as I ate lunch, I watched the rain come down. I knew it was the right decision for me on this day. I rode in the light rain back to the hotel. When I got back I cleaned my bike and then went to the hotel’s whirlpool. It was outside and still only 52° and raining, but it felt so good to slump all the way down in the water.

Relaxing in the whirlpool (photo from the prior day)

I wanted more miles today. But my body said no. Plus the thought of dealing with soaked shoes and soaked clothes while traveling was one I didn’t want to deal with. There will be other rides but Jens is right – no need to suffer or ride in the rain.

EPILOGUE – I felt very good about my decision today. It rained all afternoon and was generally miserable outside. The thought of soaked shoes while traveling was the worst. I could have washed my clothes but not much to do with the shoes.

Before it was Horrible


This was my fifth time coming to the Horrible Hundred. A great feature, and perhaps my favorite, is the “familiarization” rides held on Saturday, the day before the event. They are actually just no-drop group rides.

Before the ride

The first two years I joined the 8:30 a.m. 50-mile ride. It was their “A” level ride. The second time I rode it I decided it was too large for my safety and comfort and instead I rode with their “B” or “C” level (but probably B). Like Goldilocks, this one was just right.

Loving my Bici photo bike stand

Last year we had perhaps 20 riders and it was a really nice group. I was hoping for the same and even the same group leader from last year.

Downtown Clermont

I left the Marriott Fairfield Inn hotel and headed to the waterfront. I arrived at 8:45 a.m. while the C group was headed out. I waited a few minutes, looking around to see who might be riding. Some people gathered but they weren’t part of us. At 8:58 a.m. a guy wearing a “Ride Leader” jersey asked if I was here for the 9:00 ride. I told him I was and he said, “It looks like it will be the three of us.”

Dan followed by Don

Don was our group leader. I soon found out he lived in Woodbridge forty years ago. Our other rider was Dan. I found out the two of them rode the Trans-America Trail, from Yorktown, Va. to Oregon some time ago.

Blue Heron

Don had an eBike. He announced that we would take one-mile pulls and ride in a pace line. Since I was displaying kilometers I always rode at least two kilometers and sometimes three before pulling off the front. When we came to the hills Dan would trail off. Don said it was because he was 75 years old. Good for him. When we came to Cherry Lake Road Don told me to go ahead and ride back without them so they didn’t hold me back. I did ride ahead but when I reached the top I turned around and went back to Dan and rode up again.


It was a nice ride. It’s a very nice route (42 miles). I hope that with three people the event doesn’t decide to cancel it. If I go back I plan on doing this Saturday route again.

Christmas Trees in Clermont

I rode back to the hotel and was enjoying the weather. Rather than stop riding, I simply dropped off my Horrible Hundred t-shirt and then went to PDQ for lunch. After lunch, I rode back to the waterfront. I visited a decorating of the trees for Christmas. There I talked to Melinda from the Clermont Triathlon Club. She told me of a ride for C2C that I should look for. Maybe next year.

Clermont Triathlon Club
We approve except for the running and swimming themes

Relaxing in the whirlpool (Marriott Fairfield Inn

LODGING: Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Clermont, Fla.

Alligator Alley


I enjoyed this ride so much last year I wanted to do it again. And this time I invited, Margaret, one of our Roosters Racing, Inc. team to come and join me as well.

Shark Valley Tram

In the Everglades, we headed off on the tram trail. I thought that this wasn’t the best season to see alligators but we would make this work. Actually, it was a great time.

My first alligator of the day

I misremembered when I was here last. It was March 2021. In other words, the same time as I rode last year by two weeks. That wouldn’t make much of a difference.

This is as close as Margaret would get

I thought that I rode earlier in the day last year but a check of the GPS file shows I started about the same time on both rides (1:00-1:30 p.m.).

Last year there were some alligators on the side of the trail. This year it seemed they were all hiding. But in the end, it was probably about the same as last year. In reading this is probably the best time of the year. It is still dry season and not overly hot. In the summer the gators are more submerged as they try to escape the hear.

Blue heron

I love this ride. The key is to not go too fast. Slow down and enjoy the roses. Or alligators. I probably saw 15-20 alligators.

Another gator

We rode and I called out “gator!” I don’t think Margaret was thrilled about seeing them. At least I can say for sure she wasn’t as thrilled as I was about seeing them. I loved seeing the gators.

Leave me alone

The ride is a 15-mile loop. Both years I rode in a counter-clockwise direction. Most of the gators can be seen on the portion going out to the observation tower and not much coming back.

Baby alligator (bottom center)

I enjoy this ride so much. Will I do it again? I hope so.

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