Sunday, November 15, 2009

Horrible Hundred Was Challenging But Not So Horrible

CLERMONT, FL -- Hats off to the Florida Freewheelers of central Florida for staging a top-notch mega-bike ride in the hills of Clermont and Lake County today.

I wish I could have been at the MDA ride in Dunedin-Clearwater. But a statewide bicycle clubs meeting on Saturday afternon brought me to Clermont this weekend, and I thought it was best to also touch base with the Florida Bicycle Association on key advocacy issues on behalf of SWFBUD at the Horrible Hundred.

And it's hard to pass up a 100-mile bike ride at the 30th aniversary edition of the Horrible Hundred. I did a sub-six hour century and that's not too shabby for a non-racer type.

Spectacular November weather brought out the roadie masses -- 2,000 cyclists did the 100-mile ride, along with the 70-mile and 35-mile excursions. Fellow Seminole Heights Bicycle Club members Rick Hickman, Ken Sturrock and Doug Jesseph made the early-morning, pre-dawn journey from Seminole Heights to Clermont for the bike ride. The trio did the 35-mile ride.

Simply put, great effort and execution of a huge ride. Let me describe the ways:

-- Police were at every busy corner stopping cars to allow cyclists to pass through, including several State Road 50 intersections. Lots of intersections had police.

-- The markings were excellent on the route.

-- Challenging course, with tons of uphills such as the famed Sugarloaf Mountain and the rollercoaster Buckhill. Here's one fella stuggling to climb Sugarloaf.

-- Tons of carbo food at the SAG stations, with a beauty off US 27 where literally hundreds of cyclists munched, hydrated and ate snacks from small plastic bags hermetically sealed. The station weas around Mile 68 and featured a mountain camping theme and the volunteers were called sherpas.

-- Volunteers -- the best. Simply great attitude and can-do spirit. These two were smearing cream cheese on bagels before dawn with a smile and a chuckle.

-- And how about a marriage before the ride. At 7:30 am on a pier at Lake Minneola, this cycling pair exchanged vows. After the ride as I left the parking lot, I saw the happy pair and snapped a photo.

All in all, an amazing day of cycling with lots of great bike jerseys. Like this one.

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