Ride report: Flatwoods Park FL (long)


Ken C. M.

It's been a while since I contributed anything interesting to this
group. So here is something some might find interesting or then again
maybe not.

Sitting at home surfing the net on Saturday I decided to try something a
bit different. I found a trail in Hillsbourgh county that I hadn't
ridden. It was listed in a book I have "Florida paved bicycling trails".
So I gathered all my gear on Saturday night and made sure I didn't
forget anything so I could get out early on Saturday morning, it's an
hour and a half drive to the Flatwoods Park area. So Sunday morning
arrives and after having the morning coffee and bagel, I head out the
door after loading the bike into the back end of the car (yes, I do need
a bike rack for the trunk) and hit the highway. It was a pretty nice
morning for a drive and an even better morning for a cycle ride. So
after making a wrong turn off the highway, I arrive at the trail. The
parking lot is PACKED! I would estimate half the cars there had bike
racks on the back end. So I was expecting there to be a few people out
there but I was way wrong on that one. I unloaded the bike popped the
front wheel on. Loaded up the seat wedge bag. Maybe I bring to much
stuff with me, but thats another thread. I start out down the trail. I
took it easy for the first couple of miles to let my knees warm up.
During that time I noticed a bunch of different kind of bikes on the
trail road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, cruisers, and even a couple
of recumbents. So after the first couple of miles the trail kind of
starts the 'loop' section and a female roadie blows past me! Okay so I
tried to catch up but she got the jump on me. I thought "No Way!" I
tried to catch up but couldn't and she was still pulling away at a
pretty good clip. Now I could give you a hundred excuses about why she
beat me but whats the point. I could say "It was all the bike she was
riding" but you know thats not very true. I could say it was that she
was probably about 40 or 50 pounds lighter I could say she had better
fitting gear. But really whats the point. I have given up on trying to
gauge my riding performance against others. Heck at one point when I was
chasing her, the little voice from inside my heart said "What are you
trying to prove! SLOW DOWN YOUR SPINNING!". So I went back to a normal
pace (normal for me anyway). I started taking in the scenery. It was a
nice ride for being so close to Tampa. It looks like it would be a good
ride for those that live in the city there and don't want to take the
chance of getting killed by a reckless M.V. driver. It's a 11 mile ride
from the parking lot round the loop and back to the parking lot. While
not that long if you rode a couple of laps you would have a pretty
decent ride without traffic. Now if you like more scenic rides this
might not be the best trail to ride, but it's not that bad. I might add
it to my list rides worth doing again list. While I was getting ready to
leave a couple of roadies came into the parking area and were bragging
to each other about their average speed. One said "I wanted to average
25mph. That's what I averaged the last time I rode here." and the other
commented back "I just checked my average speed and it was 20.2 mph.
That just shows how much harder I need to work to get my average up to
25mph over 22 miles". After hearing that I thought to myself "Yeah that
shows how much harder I need to work too!" But then again who the heck
am I trying to impress??

Messengers and mountain bikers share a common chromosome. ~James Bethea