This past weekend was spent with 200 + other like minded mountain bike freak individuals at the Alafia Fat Tire Festival here near Tampa, FL. It was a blast and the weather was perfect for riding.
I even got to meet H.Star who came up for the weekend.
Here's my report:
I got an e-mail on Thurs. from one of the organizers. She stated I marked on my application that I'd be happy to do 1/2 time volunteer work. (Which I did mark). So, she asked if I'd be willing to be a guide leader on Saturday since I'm pretty familiar with the trails. I agreed and mentioned I was really looking forward to the night ride and the entire weekend. She e-mailed back and asked if I wanted to guide the night ride as well. SURE!
Took off work at lunch, went home, loaded up the truck, picked up my buddy Lumpy (John) and got there about 4:00 pm on Friday and set-up camp. My other buddy Big Head Todd got there earlier and picked the best camp site there!(Thanks BHT).
The night ride was scheduled to leave at 7:00, so we got settled in, and cooked some dinner. Ate, then got ready to go and left the camping area just after 7:00. We ended up riding for just over an hour and had a great time. The trails were in great shape, although a bit dry and dusty. I led a "B-" group out since I didn't want to hit the "red trails" on the first ride of a long weekend. We ended up with about 13 riders in our group. Lot's of fun, and the new H.I.D. light system I recently bought was incredibly bright. To the point people were making fun of me. There was a group of about 5 guys all from Ft. Lauderdale that were cracking me up the whole ride.
Got back, just in time for the entertainment to begin. There is a club member who plays guitar and sings, and is VERY good! Popped a couple of brews, started the camp fire, kicked back to listen to some tunes and enjoyed the beautiful clear sky!
Saturday, woke up got some grub and got ready for the ride. H.Star showed up and went through the whole introductions thingy! Again, I was a ride leader for the "B" group which consisted of about 40 - 50 people. I stated we should break it up into 3 or 4 smaller groups, but was casually dismissed! Oh well! After about an hour of riding too dern slow through too easy a trail section, the large group naturally split up into 3 groups of different ability. Somehow, I ended up with a small group of 5 and 4 of us were ride leaders! Rode a lot of the trails and had a blast! Ended up riding for about 3 hours.
Got back just as they were starting to serve lunch! Good lunch too!
I bailed on the afternoon ride, mostly because I'm still not in the greatest of shape and I could feel the leg cramps coming on. I decided to take it easy, or Sunday's ride would be pointless! Good thing too, I heard the afternoon ride was a death ride from heck with lots of miles of flat sections.
Dinner was being prepared and it was a feast! Rice with either black beans or red beans, chicken or pork, potatos...etc. Needless to say, I went back for seconds. Ate dinner, fired up the camp fire again, grabbed a brew and hung out for a bit! Ended up getting a screaming demon headache right as the band started. I crawled into the tent and took about an hour power nap! The band was still playing when I woke up and got to join the festivities a bit. Due to my nap, ended up staying up too late, and finally crawled into the tent about 3:30 in the am.
Sunday morning came way too early, but a few bagels quickly got me going.
We decided to skip the group ride and head off by ourselves. Had about 4 of us (H.Star included) and hit some trails. Big Head Todd took a nasty spill down one of the drops and ended up breaking his handlebar at the bar-end. That put an end to his 100 mile goal for the weekend with still about 25 miles to go. He was o.k., and decided to head back to camp, so the rest of us kept riding. H.Star and I hit some more of the challenging sections and I took a spill on a section that I shouldn't have. I stopped to take a section of H.Star and will post it later on. We rode for a little more and then went back to camp for lunch again! H.Star is in KILLER shape and was making me look bad on the climbs. He's a great ride and a great person. I'm glad I got the opportunity to meet him.
That was pretty much it for the riding and we spent the early afternoon slowly packing back up.
I/We had a blast and look forward to next year. H.Star was definately cool, and is now #3 of the people I've met as a result of these forums. And now, another friend I can add to my list of people I can consider a "Friend"!