( Note from the Ellsrider; reading this post might make you feel like you are in a field in Iowa, as there is a lot of CORN in the following post
It all started on Friday afternoon. I called to AJ's Bikes and asked if they could get my road bike ready for an afternoon ride. I stopped by at 11:30 and they had that suckka ready to go. I do my first official road ride, spinning approx. 12-15 miles in and around fishhawk, fishhawk blvd, dorman road. The last mile going home I got caught in the afternoon rain. It was a good ride but it will take some getting used to. These bikes aren't as safe as mountain bikes. Still it felt good to be out riding around and I had a little muscle pain in the back of my thigh where I don't normally feel any pain, so I must be building where I don't usually. Felt good to be turning that big gear. I wanted to get some saddle time on the bike before I get a fitting, to maximize the potential gains from the fitting.
So I get home and shower, eat a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches and watch some HBO waiting for the Alafia night ride. The gebronis swing buy to pick me up and we head out for Alafia getting there by 6:15. The gates open at 6:45 and we head in. Not the biggest crowd, D from AJ's, Bob V,Brandon from Plant City, me, original Ellsrider and the Idster. Six riders and 5 out of the six are riding Ellsworths. There is a sense of anticipation in the air as we unload and prep our bikes, gearing up with HID's and LED's and Lithium Ion powered lights, this convergence of Ellsworths , coming together to ride the trails at Alafia, on this misty, humid night, a night of riding the areas most treacherous and feared trails. This night that most have decided to stay home, safe in the warmth and comfort of their homes, safe from the pitfalls, pratfalls, and other dangers of the wet, slick roots that face the six, the few that have chosen to face danger ,on this night that danger has the upper hand.
We head out and hit the North Creek trail. Even with the high quality lights, vision is impaired and discerning the trails roots and rocks is challenging. By the end of north Creek each and every one of us knows full well that on this night, the trails are looking for blood, looking to claim another victim. Looking to mark the spot where so and so went down, got busted up. We rode on, holding a tight line, tire to tire for most of the ride. We kept a good pace and fought our way through not knowing when our rear tire would shoot out sideways or lose its traction grip and just spin out. The lights were bouncing through the woods, dancing on the trail in front of you from the riders at the rear of the line. We rode Horsehoe and Shelleys Loop, Bridges and the woops, D hit one of the Rabbit Ears and we rode Roller Coaster, skipping Moonscapes as the Idster had a shifting problem and we headed into the parking lot. We said adieu to the Idster at this point and rode back and hit the Rock Garden followed by SandPine. We headed in after this having survived whatever the trails threw at us, knowing that if you show up on a night like this, if you bring your A game, you can still enjoy a night ride.
So I end up riding about 12 miles at Alafia and we decide to hit Morris Bridge in the morning. San Felasco is just a few weekends away and preparing for this Epic 50 miler had better begin soon. Saturday morning at 6:10 and the Original Ellsrider is on the phone getting me up and moving. I roll into his driveway by 6:45 and we meet The Idster at the Cracker Barrel in Valrico for eggs and pancakes. Inspired by others, I had reccommended that we do a couple of laps at Morris Bridge and we'll need some food stuffs in us to carry us through this long ride. At Morris Bridge we ride the main trail staying off almost all the ancillary trails. We want to go for the distance and the main trails are smoother and the roots are still wet at this time. We near the completion of the first lap and the Idsters wife is on the phone pressuring him to get home for family Christmas stuff. Again, we say adieu to the Idster after one lap ( I might change his nickname to the Frenchman if he keeps bailing on rides) and me and the Original Ellsrider push on. We' re talking about riding out to certain points and turning back to complete the ride, but we leave it at completing another lap and seeing how we feel at that time. After the second lap we rest and have a Gu, some water and breakfast bars. We decide to ride on and complete a third lap. As we approach the end of our ride we cross trails with Art and another rider and we jump on there rear wheels. They're at their 38 mile mark and me and Orig. Ellsrider are at 40 miles. We ride on for a little while and Art makes a move to drop us. The othe rrder asks if we want to chase and The Original Ellsrider bolts out and I follow. I yell back that I don't know how long I can hold this pace and fortunately it's not long as we catch Art a short distance up. We ride back into the Hole in the Fence and Art and the other rider ride on to complete their ride. We end up with 41.75 miles at 11.7 avg.. It tooks us over 3 hours to ride but we we were not going for speed or fast times. Just to get some distance and get our bodies used to the long haul.
That completed 22 hours of the day in the life of the Ellsrider. Three rides in less than one day , 65 + miles, and still feeling pretty good after completion. That should hold me through for a couple of days, although , now that I have the road bike, I might sneak out for a recovery ride on Sunday.