Friday, May 16, 2014

Tampa Trip Recap

It’s good to be back in West Bend, despite the weather: overcast and only 50 degrees at 5 p.m. on May 16. I had much better weather everywhere else on my 2,600-mile odyssey.

My trip began last Saturday with a drive to the J. Percy Priest Dam in Nashville TN:

An interesting landmark in its own right, the dam is at the end of a paved bike path. I did a 30-mile, out-and-back ride that took me through downtown Nashville and brought me back to the dam at sunset. Then I got back in the minivan and drove to Chattanooga before calling it a day.

On Sunday I completed the drive to Tampa FL, arriving there in the middle of the afternoon. I settled for an 18-mile exploration of the neighborhoods near my hotel. On Monday my series of business meetings began, but I still had plenty of time for a ride. I didn’t want to navigate, so I did a 40-mile, out-and-back ride on the flat and fast Suncoast Trail. I had to buy a $2 day pass to park in the lot at the southern end of the trail, and I was impressed with the efficiency of the self-service system:

But also on Monday I developed a nasty blister on my left heel. The problem came from my seldom-worn dress shoes, not from any cycling mishap. I’m still hobbled, able to walk barefoot without discomfort but very sore when I have to wear shoes. I can ride without discomfort; that’s the most important thing.

Tuesday was my busiest day of work-related obligations and late in the day I did another short tour of the neighborhoods near my hotel. Rain washed out my plans for Wednesday, so I finished my trip with 102 miles. Thursday was just a driving day with no time for anything else. I did my best to keep up with the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of California while I was away, watching Internet video streams from my hotel:

I’m 3 pounds lighter than I was before the trip. That’s mostly a product of better eating, and I’m proud of that because it’s tempting to just pig out at restaurants while traveling on the company’s dime. I contented myself with small meals … usually pretty healthy ones, with one or two exceptions.

In the week ahead I plan to get back into a rotation that includes road and off-road rides. I don’t have any mountain bike races on my schedule until June 7, but with only two rides on singletrack so far this year, there’s a long way to go. My fitness is pretty decent right now but my skills need to be sharpened.

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