Monday, October 17, 2016

Mt. Dora Weekend

October 17, 2016

It's been a week since the Mt. Dora ride but it has been busy and I am just getting around to blogging about the weekend.

The Mt. Dora Festival Bicycle Festival was suppose to run from Friday 10/7 through Sunday 10/9 but Hurricane Matthew changed all that.  The festival at first was only canceled on Friday but organizers were advised to cancel Saturday too to give first responders and clean up crews time to clear the roads.  It was a disappointment but fully understandable.  Over 1,300 riders were registered but with only one day a riding a lot of riders did not come to the event.

There were five of us registered for all three days including Dave C. from Buck County who flew to Florida to attend the event.  Two of the group decided to go up Thursday regardless of the weather predictions in hopes of getting a ride in all three days.  The other three of us went up on Friday afternoon when it was determined that the west coast of Florida was safe for traveling to the event and for riding.  As it turned out, with rain and wind gusts of almost 70 mph and Hurricane Matthew not making a landing by mid day,  the two that went early did a lot of scouting out of routes via car.  Most everything in Mt. Dora was closed as was in the surrounding areas in anticipation of power outages and downed trees.  There was also limited gasoline as there was no power for the pumps to pump gasoline to car fuel tanks.

Dave C and I arrived around 3 PM on Friday with no incident and plenty of gas on Interstate 75.  Liz and Leslie, the other two people who had traveled to Mt. Dora the day before, were staying in the same motel and we met up for dinner and to discuss the next day and whether we would ride.  They determined that the roads were rideable on Saturday and we went to an Applebee's for dinner which was one of the only restaurants open in the area.  Liz and Leslie decided to do a century on Saturday ( with predictions of wind gusts of 30 mph!!) and Dave C, Joe B and I decided to meet others in downtown Mt. Dora and determine ride length and route then.

On Saturday morning bright and early, Leslie, Liz, Dave C and I rode towards Mt. Dora which was about a 6 mile ride but it was dark and we needed lights at 7 AM.   We parted ways about a mile outside Mt. Dora because their route was going in the opposite direction of Mt. Dora for the century route.  Dave C and I met Joe B and a bunch of others who decided to come up on Saturday and ride even though the event was canceled  The three of us tried to ride with another bigger group but when they were still chatting at 8:15 AM ( and we were ready to go at 8 AM) we decided to do the 40 mile route on our own.  It was called the Three Bob Ride.

The route was well marked but there was a lot of debris on some of the roads.  We kept running into two other riders who were following a similar route but doing a 60 mile route.  We met them again at the only convenience store that was open in the area.  It was about 25 miles in the ride and I was glad to get off the bike for a while.  The two guys said that they had met two crazy women who were doing a century.  I laughed and said we knew those two crazy women who were part of our group doing a longer ride.  Liz and Leslie had just left the convenience store and I tried to call out and get their attention since they were just at the corner near the store but they didn't hear us.  That was about 9:30 AM and that was the last we heard from them until about 3 PM.

Dave C and I rode pretty much together while Joe B.was with us for a good part of the ride but was feeling his oats and rode ahead with a faster group a few times.  My right side began to go numb and I had to stop and get off the bike to stretch.  Thank goodness Dave was with me.  I got back on the bike and had about 10 miles to go and I thought that it would be just Dave C and I but Joe waited up ahead and we all rode back to Mt. Dora together. 

Joe B was staying with family in Orlando so he had parked his car in Mt.Dora for the ride and then went back to Orlando to spend time with them while Dave C and I had another 6 miles to ride back to the motel.....into the wind.  That was the hardest 6 miles I have ridden in a long time.  Rolling hills on a busy highway ( with a bike lane) into the wind.  I was never so glad to see that motel entrance and get off the bike and collapse in the room.  The shower was a welcome relief as well.

By 3 PM we had not heard from Liz and Leslie so I texted them and they were still 30 miles out and facing headwinds of 20+ for those 30 miles.  They arrived back at the motel after 5 PM.   They later told us that the counties of DeLand and Volusia were devasted by Hurricane Matthew.  The convenience stores that were marked on the route sheets were closed because there was no power.  Debris on the roads and power lines down made their ride very tough.  They finally found one biker bar open and it took them an hour to get food.  They need to stop, though, as it was the place open and they were running low on snacks  They needed their time off the bike and food to fight the winds for 30 miles back to the motel.

 Dave C and I decided to go into Mt. Dora at 2:30 PM to walk around the town and pick up our registration packets at 4 PM.  Liz and Leslie asked if we could pick up their registration packets and I said I would try.  I had made arrangements with one of the registration staff when we returned from our ride earlier in the day to pick up Joe B's registration materials.  We also made dinner reservations at the Lakeside Inn through one of the registration staff who graciously offered to do so.   Dave C and I walked around town and then picked up our registration stuff at 4 PM.  What we didn't know was that we were in the first 150 people picking up registration stuff so we were able to go on the wine walk.  That allowed us to taste 6 wines at 3 locations.   Here are some photos from that walk.

 These bike wall hangings were in the second shop where Dave C and I relaxed with wine tastings two and three.

We heard from Liz  who was going to meet us at dinner at the Lakeside Inn which is a hotel/restaurant on the historic register of buildings.  Leslie decided to stay in and relax.  Their room had a full kitchen so she had plenty of food to eat so that she could refuel for the ride the next day.

Here is a view from the Lakeside Inn porch where we had dinner.

Dinner was very good despite the noise from a wedding being held in the main dining room.

We were back in our motel early so that we could get a good night's sleep and be ready to drive over to the ride start at 7:15.

On Sunday the ride was fully supported with sags and ride leaders. Here's a group photo before the ride started.

 In fact, the ride leaders had neon zip ties tied to the top of their helmets so they could be easily identified.  It was really a great idea.  The most popular ride, The Assault on Sugarloaf Mountain, was 39 miles with Sugarloaf Mountain being the hardest climb at 14 %.  Dave C's Garmin said 17% but who was going to argue a 3% difference.  It was a hard climb.  The first rest stop was several miles before the climb and they had lots of goodies, including pickle juice in small cups.  Why pickle juice?  It is suppose to prevent cramps!   It was the most sought after item at the rest stop. ( but not by me)  The also had bike valets which were people who held your bike while you enjoyed the rest stop.  First time I have ever seen such a thing.

The climb up Sugarloaf Mountain was tough.  Dave C. compared it to Jericho Mountain in Bucks County.  Several people had to walk and one person stopped in the middle of the road and just stood there.  I am not sure if she was cramping up or just couldn't do the climb.  Guess she didn't try the pickle juice.  At the top was the second rest stop.  The host was Harry, a retired veteran, who puts out large canisters of water for cyclists.  He does that every day not just on the day of this event.  He also puts a donation jug next to the water for donations to The Wounded Warriors as well as instructions on how to fill the water canister if it is empty.  Just go up to the house to where the hose is located and fill up the canister and return to the table in front of the house.  It's just that simple.  I was lucky enough to meet Harry and shake his hand.   I doubt if you would see that in NJ or PA. 

Harry did have a few interesting signs posted on his front lawn.

I thought I was getting away from politics but even on this ride it was not going to happen.

We had one last rest stop which was the same as the first.  The bike valets were there ready to hold our bikes again.  Very cool.

We rode back to Mt. Dora and there was one last hill to finish the ride.  They really know how to hurt a tired rider.  However, there was a little surprise at the end of the ride when you showed your number and proved that you finished.

Last Saturday there was another century ride....this time by our group here in Florida....the Southwest Florida Cyclists.   Of course Liz and Leslie joined on that train of riders.   The rest of the group....7 of us....did a 43 mile ride.

You go girls!  Keep pedaling.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Monday September 5th

The group that I ride with in Florida. Southwest Florida Cyclist ( So We Flo) decided to have a brunch ride.  What is a brunch ride?   Well.....we rode half way through the ride, had brunch at Flipper's restaurant, and rode back to the start.  For a group who is so driven all of the time with distance and speed, it was nice to kick back and have a more casual ride.  Maybe it's Florida's version of the " All Paces Ride."

There were 16 riders and 6 spouses or significant others who joined in the brunch festivities.  We were pretty much the only people in the restaurant at 8 AM but the place was full by the time we left around 9 AM.  The service was great with two smiling waitresses who served the entire group.   It's a hidden gem.  The view and conversations and relaxed pace of the ride made it one of the best rides I have done with this group.  Hopefully there will be more of these!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Jeff's Thousand Island Trip

Wednesday August 3rd

Jeff Lippincott sponsored a joint camping/cycling trip through the Princeton Freewheeler's and the Appalachian Mountain Club which I was lucky enough to attend.  Most of you know that I don't camp....only at the Al L found a small motel nearby the campsite and that took care of least for us.

Al L and I headed up a day early to Chaumount, NY since my flight schedule dictated that I came in on Tuesday and the trip was scheduled to start on Thursday.  Jeff  was kind enough to allow me to stay at his house for a night until Al and Icould get ready to leave the next morning.   

We stayed at a small that we couldn't even fit a second bike in the room....motel, the Duck Away, about a half hour from Long Point State Park where the other 17 people were camping.  They actually had the best campsites in the park with the best views and right next to the shore of Lake Ontario.  I would highly recommend this state park if you ever decide to go camping in that area of the Thousand Islands.

On Thursday morning Al and I rode out bikes to check out the area and to do some sightseeing.  Jeff had recommended that we head to Cape Vincent via Route 12E to visit Tibbett's Point Lighthouse.  It was well worth the trip. 

The original Tibbett's Point Lighthouse.  Enlarge the photo and read the history.  It is actually sitting in the parking lot of a general contractor's business on Rt 12E

 These scenic by way signs are all over Rt 12 E

This is the new Tibbett's Point lighthouse

A view of Lake Ontario from the lighthouse.  That's the ferry, in the distance,  that takes people and cars to Wolfe Island in Canada

You know this Princeton Freewheeler......

We decided to add some miles so we did some of the points on the island.  We did Point Salubrious and saw this relic.  Where is Jimmy Hendrix when you need him??

We also cycled Three Mile Bay before heading back to the motel.  We were meeting the group at the campground for more detailed information about the trip.

One of the tents.   It was nicknamed "The Taj Mahal"  

Andy and Heidi C had a large camper which was actually a motor home and provided breakfast for the group if they wanted each morning.   Coffee, OJ and cereal.....what could be better.

The sunset over Lake Ontario from one of the campsites.  Amazing!!!

On Friday the plan was to cycle to Cape Vincent to ride the ferry to Wolfe Island in Canada.  The far was US $3. 

The group waiting for the ferry

We had to go through customs on Wolfe Island in Canada before cycling 7 miles to the next ferry that would take us to Kingston, Ontario

Unfortunately we only had an hour in Kingston, Ontario so food was more important than photos so I didn't get a chance to take any photos while there.  We cycled back to the campground for a total of 54 miles.  We were all glad to get off the bike even though we had an awesome day getting to know the area better.

One of the sights we saw on Saturday when Al and I were cycling over to meet the group in Chaumount boat launch area.  

An Osprey nest

We cycled on Saturday to three different points.   The first was Three Mile Bay, the second was Point Salubrious and the last was Pillar Point.  Jeff had friends who live in Adams Cove on Pillar Point and who graciously provided the place for a picnic.

 An artist put this Object d' Art together on Pillar Point and I couldn't help but stop to take a photo.

 Someone else had other ideas of what to do with this Object d' Art!!

 Jeff's friends who provided their home and the grilling....and Bundy the dog.... to keep us fed and entertained

 Bundy was begging for food from one of the riders.  I think he convinced this rider to give up some food in the end

Their home in Adams Cove facing Lake Ontario.  Great location

 A bunch of well fed Freewheeler's / AMC folks relaxing on the porch.  What a life!!

Jeff worked very hard to put together a dinner at the Chez Heron Restaurant on Saturday evening.  The group met at the building next to the restaurant where group dinners are often catered by Chez Heron.

Al and I nicknamed the building  "The Mausoleum." 

I had to get back to NJ so that I could get my flight back to Florida so Al and I left Sunday morning.  Sunday was a rest day off the bike for those who stayed and some did a boat tour of Boldt Castle and some brought their kayaks and paddled on Lake Ontario.   Here is the link for more information about the castle

On Monday the group did a short ride and then headed to Clayton for lunch.  I was in NJ by that time and met up with Nevada to ride NJ roads through the Sourlands before heading home to Florida on Tuesday.
It was a great trip and I hope that Jeff will organize another trip to this beautiful area.   I highly recommend this trip if he decides to organize the trip again next year.  If you don't camp there is always the Duck Away Motel. Just be prepared to keep one bike in the car if you are sharing the room!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

My First Ride in July in Florida

Sunday July 3rd, 2016

Hard to believe I have been in Florida for almost two years and this is the first time I have rode in July.  Now I know why I stayed in NJ last summer....and rode a lot.  It's hot in Florida in July!
Today was the most brutally hot ride I have done so far while living in Florida.  At 7 AM it was already 79 degrees with a heat index in the 90's!  We had headwind going out, although not too bad, and headwind coming back which was strong and more than predicted by the weather people.  By the time I was done with the ride I was done period.  It's now evening and after resting today my legs still hurt.

There was a charity ride today for a 38 year old veterinarian who was struck by a car in Majorca, Spain and remains in a coma after a month.  The doctors there say she will eventually be ok and now that she is stable her family will have her medivac'd back to the states for further treatment.  The cost of the flight is $80,000 and the ride today....only 8 miles...was to raise money to pay for the flight. Even though I didn't do the charity ride I wanted to contribute to the cause.  there  I ran into one of the strong riders that I usually ride with on Saturday who also rode today, Sunday, and even he was beat from riding a regular group ride before this charity ride.  He came back to the start and didn't finish the charity ride.  It made me feel better that is was not just me.

I keep asking myself......why did I move to Florida?   I will be able to answer that question when the winter months arrive and there is snow in NJ!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Neuse River Greenway Trail

Sunday June 26th

On a beautiful North Carolina sunny afternoon my sister and I decided to ride mountain bikes on the Neuse River Greenway trail.  She has a mountain bike and I rented from  "The Bike Guy" bike shop that can be found at the greenway entrance on Old Falls of the Neuse Road

Here is the link in case you are in the area and want to rent a bike.

Some photos that I took of the shop

 The service was friendly and the cost reasonable for a half day or full day rental.   Since the trail is 27.5 miles long I decided to rent for a half day which was all the time the bike shop was open on Sunday ( 1-5 pm)

Here is some information on the Neuse River Greenway Trail

My sister took this shot of me and the rental bike

The rest of the photos are some sights I saw on this Sunday ride

 Some kayakers on the river.  This is a multi-sport area

 A view from the trail.  The trail often surrounds housing developments.

A couple and their dog enjoying a swim in the river to cool off.   You may have to enlarge the photo to see them.

I highly recommend you try this trail if you are in the Wake Forest, NC area.

On a separate note.....the first photo below is a ceramic frog that my sister made ( in a yellow polka dot bikini....with a large hanging bell.   Too cute!!

The photo above was made by my sister's neighbor.  Can you guess what it is made of??  The answer........

Potting Plants.....ingenious!  Amazing what artists can create!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Ride with the Cape Cod Cycling Club on Father's Day

June 19. 2016

It's always least for ride with new groups who I don't know when I am traveling around the US.  Today we rode 33 miles....rolling hills for a good part of the way with a bit of headwind.....from East Falmouth to Woods Hole and back to the start.   It was a beautiful ride with 11 other smiling faces with some of the best weather and awesome scenery.  We rode rolling hills in the trees to the shoreline with an awesome view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Thanks to the group for being great hosts.

After the ride I drove to Dunkin can find them on most every corner here because Dunkin Donuts was started in Boston.   I had to take a photo of the sign in the store.

Any takers??

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Saturday June 18, 2016

After spending the morning in downtown Falmouth at the Arts Alive Festival, my friend's husband, Arthur, took me to Mass Maritime Academy for a tour of where he worked for over 40 years.

Mass Maritime is located in Buzzard's Bay, MA.  Here is a link to a bit more about the school

It was an interesting tour.  In fact, graduation for the class of 2016 was held today with Governor Charles Baker as the keynote speaker.  Here are some photos from my visit today

 One of the graduating classes gave this granite stone memorial which is engraved with the graduating  class that gave the memorial as a gift

 The new library building and deck bridge simulator which is located inside the building

Graduates who made chief engineer status

An area of study for students

 One of the labs.  This one contained a steam turbine engine that students used for study

This is a teaching ship located on campus.  Interesting that it's original name was "The Enterprise."  The name was changed to "Kennedy" in hopes of receiving more dontations for the school.   I wonder if it worked.

A railroad bridge, operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, that is moved into position when trains pass through the area.   It is easier to lower the bridge for trains than for ships that pass through the Cape Canal which runs underneath the bridge