I had to pick up my niece in the Orlando Area on Wed, 3/9. I decided to wrap in a visit to a friend in Clermont, and get in a ride. This part of Fla is very different from So Fla. There are real hills, some fairly challenging to us FLat Landers.

My buddy Dave was unable to join me as he had a Dr's appt to tend to a biking injury. But I used the Horrible Hundred ride from November as a basis. I mapped out a 35 mi loop that included some of the more challenging hills on www.RideWithGPS.com and uploaded it as a course on my Garmin 305. To be safe, I printed the queue sheet as well.

http://ridewithgps.com/trips/187760

I started at 7 am, shortly after sunrise. The temp was a comfortable 62, but the winds were already kicking up. I was only into the ride about 1/2 mi when I realized my first mistake. I didn't plan a warm up. I was already into the small ring and the 28 t cog in back. I took it easy, and stayed in the saddle. By the time I reached the top of the hill it was clear I would be shedding the long sleeve undershirt very soon.

The ride got a bit easier, and I settled into a nice rhythm. I was not used to using the course Nav feature, and realized I didn't know what the window were telling me. I had to stop and study the screen.

The sun was shining strong from the east, and the smell of Jasmine was in the air. The breeze was about the same. Much of the route was familiar from the HH in November, and the earlier practice ride in October. Traffic was "heavy" for this area, but it's a weekday and people are on their way t work.

I went about 10 mi and realized I needed to take some pics. I didn't have a decent camera, but my Treo would suffice in a pinch.


This is a pic of an abandoned orange grove, the first of many I would see today.


Here is another shot of the same grove. There were some oranges on the trees in the distance.



This late in the season these oranges are very ripe, and can start to ferment. I did not partake.

Here is a view up the road at yet another rolling hill in the distance. I'm about 13 miles into the ride.




Here's a nice little cottage set off the road. It's very quite around here. I wouldn't want to mow that lawn!



Looking up the road there are yet more hills to climb and ride down. A far cry from my usual type of ride. The wind is picking up, and is cutting across the road here.



I'm 19.5 mi into the ride, a bit over half way. I turn of the road on to "Sugarloaf Mountain Road." It doesn't look like much, but it really strikes terror in the heart of the flat landers. There is about a 0.3 mi downhill run toward the base of the hill. I stop, take the pic, have a drink, and get ready. My plan is to spin up and get a good head of steam to start up the hill. There is an initial kick that caught me by suprise the first time I rode the hill. I plan to have a good head of steam as I start up. The wind is in my face, but I'll do my best.

I crank it up and get up to the mid 20s as I approach the base of the hill. Suddenly a huge blast of wind is in my face. I drop to 10 mph in no time, and I'm still not on the hill. So much for that plan.



I was quickly back on the little ring, and down to the 28t on the back. I keep cranking and make it past the initial kick. The slope slows from here to the summit. This hill kicked me the first time, and I'm determined to not let that happen again.

I notice to my amazement that there is almost no wind. I suspect the hill itself is sheilding me. Perhaps it feels sorry.

WHen I reach the top, I feel a very stong breeze in my face. I see a flag whipping in the wind on a nearby house. I'm glad the hill felt sorry for me as I ascended.




To be continued....