If you listened hard enough on Sunday morning, you might have heard the banjos from the movie "Deliverance" as Beth and I made our way to the General James Van Fleet State Trail 13 miles outside of Clermont. After a visit to one of our FAVORITE Triathlon stores, Tri and Run in Winter Garden, (www.trinrun.com) we were told that this would be a great trail to get 29 miles of uninterrupted cycling in. A perfect 60 mile ride with lots of trees, lots of wind, very few people and LOTS of wildlife.
OMG! They weren't kidding. Beth and I arrived at 700am to an empty parking lot, a few covered picnic benches, restroom facilities and a water fountain. We got our gear together and took off down the long stretch of nothingness. In our first 5 miles, we had a large deer cross our path along with a bunny and a family of turkeys. Later down the road we saw a tortoise, raccoon, squirrels, more deer, more bunnies, lizards, an armadillo and vultures (I guess they heard I was going for a 60 miler and were hoping for fresh meat at the end of the course). It was quiet and peaceful in a very strange way but I loved the first 30 miles. The bridges needed some work but aside from just two road crossing, the trail was straight with no interruption.
We stopped at mile 20 for a gel and a water fill up. We looked at the map and found there were NO bathroom facilities at the end of the trail so we made sure to make a pit stop and headed out. We stopped at the end of the trail for some pictures and made our turn around and were headed for home. The GOOD thing about this trail is that it was a mental workout along with the physical. NO aid stations to cheer you on. NO fellow cyclist with which to share a "good morning". It was just you, the bike, your thoughts, your muscles and your riding partner. ON the outbound, Beth and I exchanged the lead. On the return, Beth lead the whole way as I was already getting a little rough around the edges. The mental game got me a little on this ride. My body was a little tired but not in extreme pain. What my body was really saying was "Hey don't you just wanna stop at the Olympic Distance and be done with it??" After 7 years of training for that distance, I think your body gets use to certain workouts. We are DEFINITELY breaking though some body setpoints. By mile 50 , my right foot was going numb and it was really bothering me. We pulled over and I took off my shoe for 3 minutes to rub the foot back to life and then were off again. My pace was very slow at this point and I now understand that it was all mental. Read Beth's Blog for her take on the ride but I can tell you she is one tough lady. Through some very painful muscle cramps. she never gave up. She is going to make one WICKED Ironman:)
This is now a recovery week for me !!! Thank God!! I was getting a little burned out!!!