The Villages IV - a.k.a. Phil's Mixer

Thanks for organizing the ride, Phil! Phil Mix managed to schedule the most delightful Spring day January has seen in quite some time. Over two dozen cyclists staged a recumbent parade through The Villages on this bright Saturday morning.

Here are some early still releases from our videographer, Bob Emmerich.

And here are some others from Mary Hayhurst.

Villages IV - 1/24/09 from Bob Emmerich on Vimeo.

Our lunch shot was deftly snapped by the ever capable Dogget of The LightHouse.

What a pleasure it was to ride with you all; Phil, Jim, Bob, Lew, Dan, Jerry, Mary, Mac, David, Terry, Linda, Mel, Paul, Dean, Richard, Lanny, Bonnie, Johanne, Frank, Denise, Joe, Paul, Mike, Al, and Paul.


Withlacoochee State Trail

One of the most beautiful days this year was ours to enjoy this morning, with severe clear skies and fresh, dry air that was a delight to breathe. The north end of the Withlacoochee State Trail is surrounded by a bird sanctuary and many of its inhabitants were busily flitting about as we unloaded our bikes.

I had somehow managed to forget just how peaceful this section of the trail can be. The trail and its facilities are so remarkably well maintained as to be a startling comparison to my usual routine.

A relatively small group of three of us met several cyclists and walkers enjoying the day as we rode down to Hernando and paused at the boat ramp before resuming our ride to the destination of a trail-side park in Inverness. Lunch was enjoyed with a steady easterly breeze off Lake Henderson as children played with Frisbees and each other.

Some of that breeze served as an assist to our return trek north, or we got stronger. I think it was the wind. Without being certain, I am fairly sure it was a completely cloudless outing; filled with smiles.

A larger version of the photos can be seen in the photo gallery.


West Orange Trail

Due to the forecast of a an east wind, we switched our starting point to the west end and met up at Killarney or the County Line Station. Carol, Shelton, Sheila, Larry, Deanne, Phil and I stood around trying to predict how best to dress for the upstream segment. The morning sun would warm us up for a minute, then a cloud would allow the wind to make its case. Finally, we just headed into it, and as is usually the case everything seemed to work out. As strong as it was at times, we could always look forward to its helpful hand on the return trip.

It was encouraging to see so many others out on the trail, getting some exercise, cycling, walking, skating, running, and even horseback riding.

We took in the rest stop afforded by Chapin Station briefly, both going and coming, and made the Apopka-Vineland Station serve as our turn-around point. Once we did turn around, we all suddenly became exceptional athletes!

Phil had ridden the same trail yesterday and suggested a restaurant that certainly turned out to be a winner. After filling up in Winter Garden, there were no hungry souls at the ride's end. A very pleasant way, indeed, to start off the new year.

A larger version of the photos can be seen in the photo gallery.