Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Photos by Bob S.
A Ride through true 'Old Florida' & Bonita Beach up to Lovers Key.

Bonita Springs, FL 

The reason why Bonita Springs is my favorite place to ride is because it is a charming Florida town, very much true to its character in Old Florida. I get to see many other locals on their bikes commuting to work, into their favorite taco places, and to English classes at the Bonita Springs Literacy Center, mostly newly arrived families from Latin America. 

By starting at Town Hall and the artists cottages you crossover a small river and make your way down Pennsylvania Avenue to connect with Bonita Beach Road. From there hang a right towards the beach and this will take you all the way to Lovers Key. Along the way you will pass by some of the most beautiful beaches in America, and crossover great rivers and inlets from the Gulf. You'll continue on a two lane road with a respectful bike culture, and many bike lanes along the way to Ft Myers beach...It is a total of a 17 mile ride there, 34 round trip!

Story contributed by:
Bob S.
Bonita Springs, FL

Thank you for sharing your story Bob!
LongsCycle - August 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Photo by Mark H.

My favorite ride in Winter Park, FL
Cady Way to Lake Baldwin:

I met my best biking friend here just a few weeks back upon arriving in Winter Park (my new home in Central FL just outside of Orlando, where I am a teacher)... Seeing his bike workshop garage from my thoroughfare on way to the Y, I stopped and struck up what would be a long conversation about working on bikes and fun rides to get started on in my new home...
I was quickly invited to take part in his Saturday morning ride with the entire family!  What a warm and nice bunch of welcoming bikers, including his middle school daughter, wife and Columbian parents.  I quickly learned that the Cady Way (Cady Way Infowas a great way to see  the city and traverse it with no traffic, as it is a former rail trail in great condition.

This particular route is only 8 miles to the lake, around and back, if one takes off from FL Hospital center on Lakemont ave, but can be extended to a 32 mile ride if one takes Cady way the entire journey.  (Link Provided here from Map my Ride, if you are ever in the area :
Also, not to be missed, you can do part of this route with Winter Park Cycles (Winter Park Cyclesand they travel at a good clip every Tues/Thurs and Saturday!

Hope everyone has an awesome Fall riding season. Hope to see you on Cady Way!

Story contributed by:
Mark H.
Orlando, FL

Thank you for sharing your story Mark!
LongsCycle - August 2014

By: Jennifer Olszowy 

I had no time to waste. I got my shirt on, socks and shoes. I ate a quick bite of food, before I put on my gloves and helmet. I then asked about sunscreen and after I was slather up I ran towards my bike. The volunteer had a bit of trouble handing my bike off to me but I took it in stride and was excited to find the mount line. My first leg complete and my transition went fast 8 minutes and about 37 seconds. I quickly got on my bike to start the next leg of my day. I really enjoy the first half of this course because I spent so much time riding it to prepare for this race. I was going to own this part because I knew the second half was more challenging and an unknown quantity. I was excited for the challenge. My longest ride for training I had cut short because I had run out of water instead of the anticipated 92 miles I rode 87-88 miles. So I knew I had a few challenges ahead. I was quite excited early on because I was able to see my family. Mark and Mackenzie decided to holler at me early on because this was part of the course they saw when I competed the 70.3 in preparation for the Ironman. This was my first triathlon season since 2010, when Mackenzie was around 9 ½ months old. I had decided on signing up for the race series to get me reacquainted with triathloning. I took the 70.3 as a total workout experience, I didn’t even wear a watch, and pushed hard when I raced the Olympic race to be more ready for pain, since it was closer to the Ironman day.

I stayed quite focused on keeping a solid performance and speed on the part of the course I knew best. I decided once I got to the unknown part I would have to vary my riding tendencies a bit. I have always been a masher and knew I would have to switch up to spinning some so I wouldn’t wear out my legs. Overall I was happy because I felt great, was in good spirits, and my nutrition plan was working. I couldn’t be more stoked. It was hard at times to watch people I played leapfrog with be tended to by medics and eventually driven away from the course. It was a very hot, sunny, cloudless day. We had higher humidity then we normally do, as well. I tried to keep eating some nutrition every hour, even when I didn’t want it. I was not as faithful about my salt capsules on the ride but made sure to eat salty things on the course. My first bottle pick up I was a bit wobbly, but I recovered from that experience and had no trouble after that. I just didn’t connect well with the person handing the water off. As time went on, I transitioned over to using their sweet Power Bar drink so I didn’t need to dig my Nuun tablets out. As our ride continued, I was a bit nervous I wasn’t hydrated enough because I never peed on the course. I did stop and step off my bike to eat from my special needs bag. Those were the best tasting Pringles potato chips I can ever remember eating. I had to stop and savor them. Once the chips were gone it was time to start the unknown. Overall, I was happy with my bike performance. The unknown was a bit challenging at times, but I just kept my eye on the prize. About mile 80 I started playing leapfrog with a gentleman from the Chicago area. It was nice because he was very encouraging. We never violated the biking rules but we would get to talk for brief moments, as we would pass each other back and forth. I had disclosed to him at one point I had finally ridden the longest I had even been on my bike. Once we hit the 100 mile mark, he welcomed me to the century club. He then asked me a bit about the Three Sisters, the worse hills on the course. I let him know I had only done them once on relatively fresh legs. They seemed worse when you have ridden your longest ride but I need to conquer them. I am happy to report I was able to drop down and spin right up!! The last 12 miles seemed pretty long but I did finally get back into the groove and push a bit faster. I must say I was very happy to finally round the corner and see Boulder High School and the bike finisher’s chute. Boy, did it feel awkward to stop my bike at the dismount line. It took a second to feel comfortable to stand. We were encouraged to walk through the chute. I completed the bike in 7 hours, 27 minutes 32 seconds, which was a 15 mph average, 1989 out of 2814 people, and I was happy for that!

Once I handed off my bike and picked up my changing bag I struggled to get my helmet off. My hair was stuck in the part were you tighten it. A nice volunteer helped get the hair out of the turn knob and I was into the changing tent.Time for the next leg of my journey. I am happy to report I finished my first Ironman in 16:35:39 and the worst thing that happened were some blisters!

Thank you for sharing your story Jennifer!
LongsCycle - August 2014