Last weekend was a great weekend. Why, you ask? Well, let me give you a little bit of history so it actually makes sense. There is a mountain bike event hosted by the Suwannee Bicycle Association in White Springs, Florida every year called the Ididaride. It’s a play on words to the Iditarod, which is the great Alaskan sled dog race running just under 1000 miles. The Ididaride is only a fraction of that at only 50 miles but it is still quite challenging to the several hundred mountain bikers that participate. I completed the ride quite a few years ago and loved it. I vowed to do it again what seemed like every year, but due to being out of shape and other obligations, I haven’t been able to attend since.
When I was training for my first Ididaride, I would ride several days during week and usually both days on the weekend. Frequently, the weekend rides were much longer at the Santos Mountain Bike Park in Ocala, Florida, one of the best trails in the area. They yellow trails were relatively flat and you could ride quickly through most of it, or at least as fast as your cardio fitness would allow. The first ride on the bike was always a short three mile loops to make sure that the bike and I were on the same page. After that, I would head out to the Land Bridge which was a bridge that went over the I-75 highway. The Land Bridge was 9 miles away from the parking lot. For those of you who don’t want to do the math, that means a 9 mile ride back to the parking lot for a total of 18 miles, plus the 3 mile “warm up”. Twenty-one miles all together plus any other short, blue trails we would throw in for fun along the way.
The reason for the history lesson is because since that time, I haven’t been able to ride that far off road, I just didn’t have the endurance. I believe it was around October 2016 that I started riding again, hoping to be able to get into good enough shape to ride the Ididaride in January 2017, but again, as luck would have it, I seemed to have missed the boat and another year would go by without my name being on the roster. All was not lost though, because what did wind up happening was a renewed commitment to make sure that I would be in the best cardio shape I can get into this year, 2017 and make sure I can participate in the 2018 Ididaride, 50 miles on my 50th birthday, how cool is that!!?? But, I have a lot of work ahead of me, cardio, remember? If you read my previous blog entries, you would remember that Santa brought me a new bike for Christmas this year and I have been riding just about every weekend since.
For those of you still with me, the hard work and dedication has paid off! This past Sunday, April 9, 2017, was the first time in years that I could ride out to the Land Bridge and back. We rode a total of 23 miles that day and it was awesome! I am FINALLY able to ride the distances off road that I did in the past and I couldn’t be happier! I try to ride as much as work, school and family permit, and will continue to do so to ensure my entry into the Ididaride 2018.