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Racking up the miles: Another 30.1 miles mountain biking yesterday!

Friday, July 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

July
22
2011
Bike on a Trail - July 21, 2011

Bike on a Trail - July 21, 2011

Despite the crazy heat and humidity I’ve really been enjoying the trails this week. I think not having time to ride for an entire week really made me appreciate just how much I love mountain biking. Yesterday I did 30.1 miles, bringing my two-day total to 55.7 miles (all off-road). I wish could ride again today. 🙂

The humidity yesterday was much worse than it was on Wednesday, and I was really sweating hard the entire ride. I actually missed some nice pictures early in the ride because of the humidity! For example, I was about 4 miles into my ride and ripping down the trail when I startled a beautiful Red-shouldered Hawk. He flew a short distance and landed in a nearby tree. There was a man approaching from the other direction (the only civilian I saw out there all day, I might add), and he immediately pulled out his camera and started shooting. I stopped my bike and began the process of removing my CamelBak so that I could retrieve my camera (I’m hoping my new Cotton Carrier will be here today). Unfortunately as soon as I removed the lens cap my lens completely fogged up! By the time I retrieved my lens cloth and got everything dried and cleaned the hawk had moved on.

Well, I didn't see any bears but I did see plenty of deer!

Well, I didn't see any bears but I did see plenty of deer!

I took a few minutes to talk with the hiker. As we talked about the incredible wildlife, he casually mentioned how many bears he’d seen. He said, “Look at this picture I took yesterday morning” and then proceeded to pull up a photograph of a beautiful 300-pound black bear stretching up the trunk of a tree. I was like, “Dude, I’ve been biking out here 2-3 times per week for about a year and I’ve never seen a bear – not even once!” I tried to hide my jealously as we said goodbye and went our separate ways. I’ll bet he saw another bear 100 meters down the trail I’d just come from. Curses!

At one point I reached a section of trail that would have added a little more than 7 miles to my ride. I was feeling so good that I seriously considered taking that loop, and that would have broke my distance personal record of 36.9 miles (which I set on June 18, 2011, and it almost killed me). Yesterday I had plenty of water, 5 packs of Sport Beans and 2 QuestBars, so I knew was I much better prepared than I was back on June 18th. Still, it was starting to get extremely hot, and I decided to skip the loop. I’m glad that I did, because when I finished the 30 mile ride I was absolutely exhausted!

I loved the way the smoke caught the light. I didn't like the smoke in my lungs, however.

I loved the way the smoke caught the light. I didn't like the smoke in my lungs, however.

Another interesting thing happened yesterday. As I was riding along I saw thick clouds of smoke rising into the air about a mile ahead of me. As I drew closer I could tell that I was heading directly for the fire. Sure enough, about another quarter mile in I could see flames rising into the air just to the east of the trail I was on. I made a slight detour and as I approached the fire I saw about a dozen men and women with Florida Park Service uniforms on, a few dirt movers and some trucks with flashing lights.

When I saw the scene I was relieved, as I was almost positive this was just a controlled burn. Just to be sure, I approached one of the Park Service employees and asked what was going on; she confirmed that the fire was purposely set.

 This would have been my dream job when I was a kid. This dude actually gets paid to burn stuff.

This would have been my dream job when I was a kid. This dude actually gets paid to burn stuff.

If you’re not familiar with controlled burns, they are fires that are deliberately started and then carefully controlled. The reason for these burns is mainly to reduce the amount of fuel available to wildfires, but there are several other benefits as well.

The smoke coming off the burn was pretty thick, and I could definitely feel it in my lungs. Also, even when I was standing about 25 meters from the flames, the heat was intense! It’s amazing how much heat comes off a large fire, and how far away it can be felt.

No mountain biking today, but I do have a great back and biceps workout planned for this afternoon! Right now I need to get to work, lots to do.

Happy Friday!

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Racking up the miles: Another 30.1 miles mountain biking yesterday!”

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