Staycation day 1: Seminole Wekiva Trail ride
So this is the first day of one man’s quest to do as little as possible. Well, do as little as possible that involves responsibility or contributing to society in a meaningful way is more like it.
Got a late start on the day (and did not panic about it) and brewed up some Dunkin Donuts coffee, i.e., legal liquid crack. Made my way over to College Park and hit Orange Cycle to pick up a new seat for my bike. I’ve got a Trek 7200 Hybrid (with the JLo-sized 25″ frame) that I’ve had for almost 15 years that I absolutely love. I’ve upgraded it recently (ergo grips, replaced the gear shifts, etc) but still had the original touring seat on it. It was fine for shorter distances and riding around the neighborhood, but on longer rides it was prone to cause numbness in, um, let’s just say regions that you don’t particularly want to be numb. Replaced it with a Specialized seat with a more aggressive profile and the difference was dramatic. Bye bye numb. Thanks once again to Orange Cycle for the fab gear recommendation.
Took the improved Trek out to Seminole Wekiva Trail for today’s ride on a picture perfect Chamber of Commerce day here in the land of the Mouse. (yes, that was for you suckers freezing in the snow back in SC). The full trail is around 13 miles and is paved the entire way. Picked up the trail at the north end at the Markham trail head. It’s a very nicely equipped jumping off point, with lots of parking water fountains, restrooms. Much appreciated but maybe I’m easily impressed. The first couple of miles are quite nice, with the trail paralleling the road and the conservation area, eventually passing a couple of horse farms and a residential area. A good start, but then a couple of issues. Just when you hit your stride you come upon SR 46A, where you have to cross two fairly busy streets and then follow the trail along a heavily commercial area with lots of office complexes. (So lots of starts and stop for the next mile or so.) Wouldn’t be quite as big of a deal on the weekends but a minor annoyance on a weekday morning.
After about a mile of dodging office workers, you hit a pretty wide open stretch that runs along I4, again just long enough to hit stride, and then you run into Lake Mary Blvd at International Pkwy, which if you have seen it lately is fairly well torn up with construction. The trail detours along the sidewalk, but I found a cut through the adjacent shopping plaza to be more manageable. Again, a minor annoyance, but no big deal in the end.
Once you clear the Heathrow area though, the trail really opens up, running along I4 and in and out of wooded residential areas, with the trees providing a nice canopy of shade that I’m sure is very welcome in the summer. Traffic along the trail was light due to the time of day, though I still manage to come across at least 3 dog walkers with retractable leashes who can’t control their over-sized Marmadukes. Thankfully the number of potential “flip over the handlebars and land on your head due to evasive maneuvers avoiding Marmaduke” incidents were minimal.
A potential chokepoint at 434 is bypassed with a really nice underground tunnel, a big plus for those of us who don’t necessarily like playing chicken with Orlando traffic. The trail wraps up around 436 with another nice trail head. Took a quick water break there and then retraced my steps back north. One thing you appreciate on the return trip is the subtle elevation you’ve been climbing the entire trip south. Nothing major, but a nice change for those used to flat Florida streets. Wrapped up the ride where I started at Markham in just a shade under 2 hours for the 25.2 miles traveled. Minor annoyances with the traffic around Heathrow/Lake Mary aside, Seminole Wekiva is a nice change of pace ride for an amateur hack cyclist like myself. I’d give it a B on the JLo scale overall.
After such a healthy start to the day I could have banked my 1000 calories burned, but decided instead to blow that out of the water with a trip to 4 Rivers Smokehouse. The drive home took me right past Fairbanks, so it’s pretty much a given that if I’m in that area I’m going to 4 Rivers. This is why I don’t live in College or Winter Park – a 4 Rivers Buffer. Hit it around 2:30 PM, so experienced the shortest arrival to feedbag time in my 4 Rivers visiting history. The patio and parking lot was still full, but there was no line extending out the door and down the street as is par for the course during the weekend or at peak weekday times. Hit up a Burnt End Sandwich (half pulled pork, half brisket), cole slaw and the collard greens from heaven. Managed to resist the bread pudding in a minor victory for health, but only just. I could write 1000 words about 4R without breaking a sweat, but I’ll save that for another day. Tomorrow is a long, hard day of movie watching, so I need to get my rest.