This was my first time riding the Tour de Forts charity ride in St. Augustine Florida. This was my second time visiting the city since moving to Georgia in 2010. I really love the area because it has nice beaches and intercoastal waterways and wetlands. There is lots more for me to explore in this area.
This was the first time that I used my new Da Brim Rezzo Visor. I have a full Da Brim Cycling Helmet Visor and I love it when I ride in the rain. I wanted to get the Rezzo because it is smaller and I wanted to shield my face from the sun. I hate riding on long cycling adventures when the sun shines on my face and reflects on my glasses. The Rezzo Visor worked out great. It is adjustable and I can get smaller bills if I want. I have the large 4-inch bill and I had no problems with it staying in place during the mildly windy ride.
Just before the second rest stop at mile 18, there was a wonderful little beach. I will come back to this beach on my next visit to the area. It is a nice beach for surfing.
I chose to ride the 77-mile route because I wanted to ride pass what I thought was a lake when reviewing the courses before the ride. While writing this blog posting I now know that these pictures are of the St. Johns River.
This ride is the second charity ride that I have done since my hip replacement. My first ride was Green Tomato 50 on my mountain bike in 2016. This is the longest ride that I have attempted since getting my titanium hip. My longest ride to date was a 50-mile ride in Tallahassee From Woodville Park to St. Mark’s Lighthouse.
I decided at the start of this ride that I was going to play my training ride game. The game goes like this, I will ride really fast at the start of the ride and hit the wall or what I call mile 80 in a century ride. I know that there would be plenty of fast riders that I could use to set a fast pace for me. As soon as the cyclists thinned out I would get on a pace line and ride 18 to 20 miles [per hour for as long as I could then back off to my normal pace which is about 15 to 16 miles per hour. I did this for about 30 miles and right before I got to the town of Hastings Florida I decided that I has had enough and just decided to ride at my own pace.
Friends Challenge Me
At the rest stop near the rail trail, I met up with Ed Livingston some other cyclist that I had met on the St Mark’s Trail ride in March of this year. We rode together until we got to the part where the 77-mile route split off from the metric century route. I was tempted to take the shorter route back because I was getting tired, but then I decided to get my birthday milage in and continue on the 77-mile route.
A few miles down this county road through potato fields, I met a cyclist named Karen Cooper who had been calling out to me for a while trying to get my attention, wanted to ride with me on the 77-mile route. She was one of the cyclists that I was riding within Ed’s group. She had wanted to ride the longer route so we continued to ride to the next rest stop near the St. Johns River. It was during this section of the ride that the winds started picking up and I was starting to get tired. I decided to keep pushing myself and enjoying the beautiful country roads.
At the next rest stop, I met up with Hilton and two other cyclists who wanted to ride with us. This is where the challenge stepped up a notch for me. I can not remember the woman’s name who joined us at this rest stop on the St. John’s River but she was a really strong rider. As we turned east and headed back towards St. Augustine the winds started gusting pretty hard from the east. She asked how fast were we riding on our previous leg of the course and at the time my average speed was 15.6. She said she would keep at that pace, but if she went too fast to tell her and she would slow down.
She started out pulling the group into the wind and she was riding about 16.5 to 18 miles an hour. I really did not want to ride that fast, but I sucked it up and kept pace. When she handed the lead position over to me I continued to ride at a pace that was out of my comfort zone and then I realized that this was the part of the day that I was planning for. This was my mile 80. I dug in, ducked my head and pedaled on into the wind.
We all took turns pulling the group back to the finish. After the ride, I thanked the woman for pacing us and challenging me to ride a little harder. I always like riding with a group that inspires me to challenge myself, that is how I get stronger and become a better cyclist. My goal for the ride was accomplished, more time on the bike means more fun next time.