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Super fun day of bikes, gardening, nature, pizza and craft beer!

Friday, April 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


The long, hot Florida summer is fast approaching. When I did the Cross-Florida ride this past Sunday (my post-ride reports can be found here: Part I and Part II), the heat was definitely a factor. It was a pleasant ~64° F when we rolled out at 7:00 AM, but by midday my Garmin Edge 810 was recording temperatures of over 90° F when riding in the direct sunlight, and a peak temperature of 98.6°.

Here’s the temperature chart from Sunday’s 170-mile Cross-Florida ride, as recorded by my Garmin Edge 810 (click to enlarge):

The temperature chart from Sunday's 170-mile Cross-Florida ride, as recorded by my Garmin Edge 810.

The temperature chart from Sunday’s 170-mile Cross-Florida ride, as recorded by my Garmin Edge 810.


The reason I bring up the temperature (apart from the fact that I’m getting old, and everyone knows that old people feel compelled to discuss the weather), is because yesterday we enjoyed what is probably going to be Central Florida’s last taste of cool weather for many months. Yep, a little cool snap made its way down into the region, and the weather yesterday was cool, sunny and beautiful!

In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that I was going to re-test my FTP on the indoor trainer, but once I saw the weather report I decided that test was going to have to wait a couple of days. Riding indoors on a day like yesterday would have been insane!

I decided to take the day off from work and spend it with Lisa, who was also off.

After my morning ride, Lisa and I went out back and got this year’s crop of herbs, peppers and tomatoes planted (my complete list of this spring’s projects can be found here).

The automatic timed irrigation system for our potted edibles, which I installed two years ago, is still working perfectly. Proper watering is critical for herbs, peppers and tomatoes–especially considering how hot it gets here–so I highly recommend this low-cost and easy project to anyone who is interested in growing outdoor potted edibles. My complete how-to article can be found here.

Sometime over the few days I’ll get some pictures of everything, and provide a list of all the items we selected for this year’s crop.

One of the several alligators we saw yesterday.

One of the several alligators we saw yesterday.

Once we were done working outside, Lisa and I decided to head over to Mount Dora. We wound up at Palm Island Park, and went on the nature walk, which is always a lot of fun. We saw countless varieties of birds and plants, as well as several turtles and alligators.

After our walk we were getting pretty hungry, so we strolled over to the Copacabana Cuban Café. Unfortunately they were closed! I guess they close after lunch for a few hours before starting evening service? Drag, as we were salivating in anticipation.

Lisa suggested that we head over to the Mellow Mushroom, which just opened this week. I thought that was a great idea, but I’d heard that the place has been more or less packed since the moment they opened their doors. Still, I’d heard great things and figured that 4:00 PM on a Thursday afternoon was probably our best shot at getting a table, so off we went…

This was my 14" Gourmet White Pizza with fresh tomatoes and onions, and an incredible IPA called

This was my 14″ Gourmet White Pizza with fresh tomatoes and onions, and an incredible IPA called “Jai Alai” from Cigar City Brewing.

The restaurant was busy, but not mobbed. Our server was super friendly and helpful, and spent plenty of time with us going over the menu and their very impressive beer list.

Everything on the menu looked amazing, especially considering how hungry we both were. I finally decided on the Medium (14″) “Gourmet White Pizza”, which has a garlic and olive oil base, fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes and onions. Lisa ordered their Small (10″) “Holy Shiitake Pie”, which has black truffle oil and a flavorful garlic aioli.

The food was outstanding. I ate every last bite of my 14″ pizza, and I was longing for more. The place is pricy, but the quality of the ingredients was evident. Also, when it comes to pizza crust is everything to me. Seriously, the crust makes or breaks a pizza as far as I’m concerned. Mellow Mushroom’s crust is among the best I’ve ever had. I came away extremely impressed.

I tried two beers yesterday, both IPAs. While we waited for our food I enjoyed Sweetwater Brewing’s IPA, which I thought was outstanding.

As good as the Sweetwater IPA was, the beer I had with my dinner was probably the finest IPA I’ve ever had the pleasure of drinking: Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA. Our server brought out a free sample of this IPA; I took one sip, smiled and said, “Bring it!” As I later found out, this IPA is rated “World-Class” over on Beer Advocate, and I can see why.

Next time you are due for a splurge meal, I highly recommend Mellow Mushroom if you have one in your area. Locals, the food and service at the Mount Dora location was outstanding–particularly impressive considering they just opened their doors this week. Get down there and enjoy!

Now it’s time to go work that indulgence off. I’ve got a face-paced 75 mile group training happening this morning. This a “keep up or your ass gets dropped” ride. My favorite kind. Hammer time.

Happy Friday!

John Stone Fitness Comments

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