Taking off on a road trip and especially one that leads to a three day cycling weekend fills me with anticipation. I left work early to do some last minute packing and head north on a four hour drive to Mt. Dora. There is some mysterious and inexplicable force that pulls at me, holding me back, slowing me down, and keeping me from escaping the comfort of home. There is always one more thing to pack, to do, and check before I bounce.
Once on the road the sense of freedom engulfs me as I enter the freeway and gain cruising speed. Old school music streams down from the heavens and through the speakers adding to the road trippin’ vibe reminding me of old times with the Rudy’s. “Have tunes, will travel” was announced before every trip and just prior to inserting the latest cassette tape.
The morning’s ritual includes donning brand new Rapha Classic kit purchased and received just in time. The folks are keeping a gentleman’s pace as we ride through some residential areas and around East Crooked Lake beneath tree cover dripping with moss. It is a beautiful, cool morning. Heading north we crossed a highway and turned west towards Lake Eustis this time with the sun warming our backs. The lake is glowing a turquoise blue usually reserved for the Caribbean ocean and what little ripples exist are gleaming with a bright yellow and Chartreuse green stained by the sun.
As we roll up and over the first set of hills we ride tempo along a huge rolling pasture lined with horse fence. The sun continues its magic across the open field. “A perfect day for riding” is being muttered throughout the peloton. The tempo quickens and so silences the group. A series of rolling hills increases the effort even more creating gaps in the pace line. I lose the lead group reminding me I am not the
man rider I was just 12 short months ago.
After rolling into town and receiving a post shower massage I am greeted by Sal and family, David and Marilyn. Sal invites me to join them for lunch and we sit on the shade covered patio of Cecile’s French Corner and casually pass the time away with conversation and crepes. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a Friday afternoon.