Sunday, March 9, 2008


Here I am in Orlando for a four days of family stuff and road riding.

Day one: My morning—and Jean’s morning—started EARLY. We were up at about 4:00 and on the road to the airport by about 5:00am (that’s a dedicated wife). My 6:50 flight left on time and it was PACKED full of kids. Packed. I was in the middle seat and the woman next to me even had a toddler sitting on her lap for the whole flight. Well—most of the flight. He was also running up and down the aisle along with the other kids for a Romper Room at 36,000 feet. The little lap dog next to me even had me covered in pieces of waffle and snot. I do have to say though, that the Jet Blue airline had a good amount of leg room and free DirectTV entertainment. Thanks Jet Blue. I landed in Orlando without incident and immediately picked up a large, black Starbucks coffee. I was feeling the lack of sleep. My mom picked me up and we stopped off Bike Works of Orlando to get my road bike (which had been sent down ahead of time via FedEx) and some supplies.

I wanted to get as much riding in as I could so I assembled my Sarthe, squeezed my self into some spandex, and, despite being dead tired, hit the road. So much has changed since my last ride in this area. Miles and miles of roads that used to be lined with orange trees are now lined with new housing developments and strip malls. It’s total sprawl with repeating sequences of Mobils, Starbucks, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, Best Buy, Linen & Things, Marshalls, Ross, Circuit City, Home Depot, Subway, Walgreens, Blockbuster, Olive Gargen, etc, etc. It all looks the same. About 13 miles in, I got a flat, ironically, along a stretch of road that I was remembering getting a flat on years ago and being besieged by mosquitos as I was changing it. No bugs this time. My first ride was a little over 22 miles and it felt good to spin the legs out.

Day two. I mapped out a route and headed out for a longer ride, this time hopefully about 40 miles. I had a tiny map with very little detail and a large, but older map, with great detail. And, of course, as my luck always runs, my course would take me off the edge of the good map. So, yes, I did miss a turn. In the end, I still managed to pull in a little more than 40 miles. Forty flat miles. It was on this day that I realized how out of shape that I am. Damn.

Day three. No riding today—we’re having some wild weather: wind, rain, thunder, lightening, and a tornado warning. I spend the day bringing my mother into the 20th century by getting her off dial-up and on to DSL. Why is anyone still using dial up?

Day four. Unfortunately, the wild weather persists. We’ve got a wind advisory with sustained winds of 20-30mph and gusts over 40mph (see vide0). Yeah. So, I thought about going running instead, but I figured that I had spent money to ship my bike down so I should suck it up and head out. I did. It was CRAZY windy, with head winds that just about stopped me cold, nasty cross winds that tossed me around like an empty can, and merciful (but proportionally limited) high-speed tail winds. I had hoped for 50-60 miles for the day, but after 37 miles I rolled in and called it quits. With a morning flight on Sunday, I had to box my bike up and ship it out right after the ride.

My total mileage for the four days was about 100 miles. Not great, but better than I would have done at home on the trainer or out in the elements.

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