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26.2 mile ride yesterday, found new off-road trail with some nice challenges.

Thursday, October 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Yesterday morning I decided to head out for a bike ride, but when I left I really had no idea where I was going to go. Because I didn’t know exactly where I was riding, I went ahead and took my Camelbak so I’d have plenty of water. I decided to ride over to Wekiwa State Park and ride the dirt trails there. I’m glad that I decided to take my CamelBak instead of just a bottle of water, because I wound up riding more than 26 miles, most of it off-road through some pretty difficult terrain.

Wikiwa trails - October 13, 2010 ride (~26 miles)

Wikiwa trails - October 13, 2010 ride (~26 miles)

I started off with my usual ride at Wekiwa: I headed south from Marker 11, looped around the Volksmarch Trail and then back north to where the bike trail ends at Marker 18. Normally once I hit Marker 18 I’d turn around and head south back to Marker 11, but this time I noticed that the trail actually continued past Marker 18. The trail was narrow, the vegetation was very dense, there was a large number of huge above-ground roots, some mud and small stumps lined much of the path. The path was marked with a white blaze, which means it was meant for hikers. I decided to go for it. Here’s the map of the off-road portion of my ride, but you can also check out the interactive Google Map here.

The new part of the trail was pretty amazing! The forest in this area is quite thick in most places, and the large roots on most of the trail required continuous focus and attention to what I was doing. The forest was so thick in many spots that the air was very cool and damp. I felt extremely isolated and alone as I explored this new section of forest. At one point I stopped to check my GPS because the forest was so dense that the trail direction became unclear. While I was stopped I heard a low, wet grunting noise just off to my right. Wild boar? Black bear? I don’t know, but I decided right then and there – alone in the middle of nowhere – to rescind a statement I’d made on Facebook in which I indicated that I’d like to see a black bear. I’d say I was 1/3 part nervous and 2/3 parts excited, but I thought that it would be best if I moved along, so I did.

I ran out of water with about 10 miles left to go (including the paved ride back to my home). That sucked. I’m going to replace my existing CamelBak with a larger one, and one that has more storage space. I’m going to pick up the CamelBak H.A.W.G.

I’m out of time. More tomorrow!

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