Our local MS Society chapter held the first training ride for the Tampa area today. So J and I joined in since we really do need to start doing longer rides. The ride took place at the Suncoast Parkway trail and the email I received said we had the choice of 40, 45 or 55 miles. When we got there (at 10 to 8 this morning!) it turned out the 40 mile one was changed to 32. Which was ok, we had previously only done 28 miles.
The coordinators said heading out should be pretty good, we were to have a tailwind. But coming back they were anticipating rain. So J and I join the slow riders for the 32 miles and head out. We went 10 (from State Road 54 to State Road 52), took a short break, then headed back 6 miles to Jay Starkey Wilderness Park. Our next rest was at the restrooms in the park, at mile 22 (we did a very short rest just before entering the park). Heading back out of the park it started to rain. It was coming down steady, not really heavy thankfully. However I decided I don’t like riding in the rain. I couldn’t see, I had to wear sunglasses because of my contacts. And the rain on my bare arms and legs started feeling a little too pricky.
By the time we completed the ride we were soaked through. I took my shoes off in the parking lot because it truly felt like I had a small pond in each toe. Although my shoes gained water weight (they were retaining water, is there a water pill for that?) not all that much water came out. I think it’s going to take a few days for them to dry. J carries an older blanket in his truck and we sat on it for the drive home. The blanket was just to keep the dirt that had kicked up onto us off of the seats. When he left my place about 5 hours after getting back, his seats were still very wet.
We enjoyed the ride overall. It was nice riding with a group of people and surprisingly the headwinds were a little easier for me because of the group. I’m very proud to say that the “slow riders” was the only group of the 3 to actually complete their intended milage. The other two groups wimped out because of the gray clouds. We did our 32.something miles in about 2 hours 40 minutes and I honestly felt like I could continue riding for awhile at the end. So bring on the 150 miles!
Oh, and I have to mention the two animals we saw! The first one had the tail of a squirrel, but the face/body of I don’t know what! Some of the group members were thinking it looked like a lemur. The second was a white tailed doe as it bounded across the trail just feet in front of the group leaders. I didn’t bring my camera, and I’m glad I left it home because of the rain, so I sadly have no pictures. There was no way I could have taken pictures of the deer anyway, it was in too much of a hurry to get away from us 🙂