The Tuesday evening ride with my new graduate student/ex-racer is now complete and I am happy to report that I am not dead by the side of the road.
We had arranged to meet on the south edge of town at 4:00 and I did not get off to an auspicious start. I must have been a sight when he arrived as I had blood streaming down my leg. I am embarrassed to report that today I am no longer a clipless virgin and have joined the ranks of the fallen. The incident was classic. I had unclipped to stop and as I was putting my foot down I heard the sound of my foot clipping back in and down I went. I wish that I had it on tape because I was able to keep my bike from ever touching the ground. I was surprised at how easy it is to unclip as I lay on my back with the bike in the air. My knee took the brunt of it, but I don’t think it will be too bad. I shave so the bandaging/scabbing won’t be too awful with dealing with hair.
So I ask my new student if he would rather do hills or flat and he wanted hills. Now we don’t have hills like some folks have, but there are a few places with short hills that rise about 150 feet in 1/3 to ½ of a mile so we went off in search of them south of town.
The first part of the ride is not very nice as we rode on the shoulder of a four lane highway (US 441) down to Micanopy (a very quaint town. It was used in the movies “Cross Creek” and “Doc Hollywood”) and about a mile south of there we turned off onto a county road and then another through the very small town of Evinston that still has a Post Office/General Store. The ride through here is fantastic in the winter because you can see thousands of sandhill cranes and in the spring the wildflowers are everywhere. In the summer it is just nice with light traffic and occasional views of Orange Lake. A little further along we get back on US 441 for a few miles through MacIntosh and then up a small hill and down into the town of Orange Lake. All the way to MacIntosh my new student is hanging in there and occasionally dropping behind for a bit of drafting, but once we hit the hills he started to suffer. Perhaps this wasn’t a good choice of routes for a first training ride in three years.
At Orange Lake we make a right hand turn and start riding on Dungarvin Road. (MacIntosh? Dungarvin? Sounds like Scotland!) Dungarvin Road is about the closest thing we have to hills around here and of course it starts to rain with lighning and thunder. I have to give it up to my new student because he really gutted it out on Dungarvin Road, but I think that he might have burned up too many of his matches on those hills. He was suffering a lot on the ride back into town and we took the slightly longer “scenic route” around the east side of Paynes Prairie and back into Gainesville with the last six miles of the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail.
The ride was about 50 miles with some wind and rain and hills, but I think that a good time was had by all. At least I hope so.