Sunday, September 9, 2012

(Mis)Adventures of Training

Living in Florida is great for training.  You can train pretty much all year long.  There are a few hiccups in the summer time because it rains a lot in the afternoon, though.  There are multiple parks, trails, and roads that are somewhat biker friendly (unfortunately, Florida ranks among the lowest of all states for biker friendliness) all within a 30 mile radius of me and most of them are closer to 20 miles or less.  If you go here to the Metropolitan Planning Organization website, under Transportation Topics –> Trails it’ll show maps of the current, in progress, and planned trails and connections.  I can’t wait for them all to be done.  Pinellas County is home to the 37 mile Pinellas Trail.  There are current plans and some progress to add an East-West connection to the 20.6 mile Progress Energy Trail.  In Hillsborough County, there are the 41.3 mile Suncoast Trail and the 8 mile Upper Tampa Bay Trail.  I have been waiting years for them to connect these two trails.  It has officially been in the works for 5 years and has finally been put in the budget for 2013 to add a 4.35 mile extension to connect the two trails.  It was put on hold because developers did not want the trail to go through their development.  So, the county had to revise the plan and go around the development.  Very annoying…  Anywho,, you can read about this exciting news here.  Also,  here are maps and directions for the Upper Tampa Bay Trail and Suncoast Trail
Another trail that I frequent (not this year because it’s been flooded most of the summer) is Flatwoods Park.  This park is really nice because there are two entrances.  There is a 7 mile loop and off road trails for bikers and runners.  One entrance is about .5 miles to the 7 mile loop and the other entrance is 2 miles from the loop.  What’s great about this trail is there are no cars.  There are, however, wild life.  No big deal, except for if you’re on foot and you see a snake or get chased by an angry stinging thing (note: don’t wear any kind of scented anything if you’re planning on running here).  I’m sure it’s hilarious for someone watching you flap your arms and slap at your legs trying to get the thing away from you.  Being the person under attack is NOT funny.  Those are off-set by the occasional siting of deer, turtles, and turkeys.   
On the Suncoast a couple of weeks ago, at about mile 85 of 100, my fellow-bikers and I saw a mama bobcat and 4 of her babies running across the trail.  It was great.  You’ll see a lot of cows from the trail as well.  This weekend’s bike ride on Suncoast was definitely my craziest.  There were three of us and I was currently in the back, drafting, recovering from my 3-mile pull.  I swear this squirrel came out of thin air.  It ran into the guy’s back tire that was in front of me.  I was too close to him to react.  All I could do was scream.  More like a squeak.  Then… I ran over the squirrel.  It rolled with my front tire and got caught between the bike and the tire, bounced off onto the ground, then leaped into the grass.  I had no idea what to do.  I think it was ok because it jumped into the grass.  I’m sure it’s ribs are going to be bruised or something though.  I did get to make up for this by saving a baby turtle though.  While on my brick run, I saw a little baby turtle about the size of my hand.  I didn’t want it to get run over by the bikers or have the bikers have to swerve, so I picked up the turtle and moved it over to the grass… I hoped I moved it to the side it wanted to go.
Trails and parks are great.  Even with the few (mis)adventures that you might have if they happen to be up against or nestled within woods or wetlands.  They’re great for exercise and they’re great for the environment.  They provide homes for wild life and they provide a place for us to exercise.  If you have a chance to sign a petition or vote for a trail or park to be created or extended, please do it.   
Do you have any (mis)adventures while training? 

No comments:

Post a Comment