- John Stone Fitness - http://www.johnstonefitness.com -

Did something new on yesterday’s ride.

Mt. Dora Trail Map.
Mt. Dora Trail Map.

Mt. Dora Trail Map.

I’ve been riding a lot at Mt. Dora lately, and I’m really starting to fall in love with the place. It may not be a long trail, but it’s well maintained, has some decent elevation changes and is super fun to ride. A new section of trail that leads down to the main loop was added earlier this year, and it’s called “Gravity Destroyer”.

Gravity Destroyer is a bi-directional trail that is about a half mile long and has roughly 65-70 feet of elevation change over that short distance–not bad for Florida! “Gravity Destroyer” is appropriately named, as this section of trail has lots of switchbacks and turns; these direction changes definitely “destroy” gravity when going downhill. I love this section of trail because on the downhill it provides lots of cornering practice and is excellent for learning to control speed before entering tight corners, and the uphill is a fantastic lung and leg burner. In fact, I have unofficially named this section trail “Leg Destroyer” when I’m riding it in the climbing direction.

After my lazy Sunday, I felt like I needed to get a good cardio workout in yesterday. I decided to do a workout that I saw speed demon Mike Simmons do last week: Gravity Destroyer repeats x 10. I also decided to do the repeats back-to-back with no rest between laps.

Out of equal parts respect and contempt, I have named this killer cardio workout after its creator. So 10 x Gravity Destroyer repeats is now known as “A Simmons”.

Gravity Destroyer Repeats. We don't have mountains in Florida, so we gotta fake it.

Gravity Destroyer Repeats. We don’t have mountains in Florida, so we gotta fake it.


It was an excellent workout! Those climbs start to wear on ya after 6 or 7, but I kept my pace fairly consistent. The heat and humidity were certainly present, but I didn’t feel like it was as bad as it has been lately.

On my very first climb I decided to go up the section of trail called “Mini Destroyer” instead of the Gravity Destroyer segment. Mini Destroyer is basically a straight bulldozer-wide uphill that has no turns. This section of trail runs parallel to Gravity Destroyer, and it’s technically a hiking trail. It’s safe to ride it uphill because, well, it’s a very steep climb, it’s wide and hikers are easily avoided (and rarely seen anyway). Downhill is another story, as you can get a tremendous amount of speed going (again, this is 65-70 feet of elevation change over a short distance) and a collision with a pedestrian or another biker would be really ugly.

I digress. So I decided to do the Mini Destroyer segment on my first uphill for speed, as I’d never made an attempt at the KOM. I wound up third on the leaderboard with a new personal record time of 56 seconds–9 seconds behind the KOM. When I looked at my attempt on Strava, I saw that I accidentally stood around for 5 full seconds inside the segment (with the clock running) before starting my climb. So, not only did I lose 5 seconds, I started from a dead stop instead of having some speed as I entered the segment. In other words, I feel this KOM is within my grasp. I’m definitely going to take another stab at it soon.

Here’s the complete ride on Strava and Garmin Connect.

After all of those trips up and and down the hill–twisting and turning, weighting and un-weighting my bike, leaning and pumping–something funny happened on the drive home. As I drove along, I found myself instinctively trying to put my outside foot down as I rounded corners, and “pumping” the elevation changes in the road. It was similar to the feeling you might have after being on ship for a long time and then returning to land, or being out in the ocean for a few hours and still feeling the movement when you’re back on shore.

Great workout, will do it again. Maybe I’ll go for 15 repeats next time. 😀