The Basketball Jesus ride
I named today’s ride the Basketball Jesus (copyright Bill Simmons*) ride in honor of #33, Larry Joe Bird, since my ride today was just a shade over 33 miles. I also wore 33 while playing basketball, but, if Larry as the Basketball Jesus was #1 on the list of great players who wore that number, then mathematics has yet to invent the number that would represent me on this scale. I’m fairly sure that’s the next task for Watson the Jeopardy playing computer.
About the only thing I shared with the hoops messiah other than a jersey number was a pasty complexion and an insane confidence in my jump shot. And if you think that is a flattering comparison for me, you would be correct. I had a decent jump shot, Bird had the jump shot equivalent of the Sistine Chapel. History will show, however, that I did make the first 3 point shot in the history of Eastside High School in 1987, but I may not have made five more the rest of year. But I was positive that every one that I took was going to go in, and that’s the sign of a great shooter (or so I’m told).
Anyway, back to the ride, which at 33 miles was one of the longer ones I have done so far. I spent this beautiful day peddling the Little Econ Greenway, which has some of my favorite views in Orlando. See evidence below:
As you can see from the admittedly poor cell phone photo, the trail runs along Little Econlockhatchee River and nature preserve in the midst of a heavily developed area and puts you in close proximity with a lots animals, joggers, cyclists, families, and random shady characters all along the trail. The trail runs for 8 miles and gets especially crowded during the stretch through Blanchard Park. As a result you find a lot of “serious” cyclists mumbling under their breath every time they have to slow down or wait to pass somebody with the sheer nerve not to be out there for the sole purpose of riding as fast as possible and setting a PR for that split. This amuses me greatly, as I personally could care less about speed or pace. Suffice to say though, anybody who gets on this trail and expects to have 8 miles of completely open road to themselves is a moron and deserves to be mocked for more than their questionable tastes in clothing.
That being said, the Blanchard Park section is home to more than its share of seemingly clueless people who seem to be out there for no other reason than to walk slowly 5 across or to walk their dog without a leash or without sufficient control of their retractable leash. Come on people, it’s a simple matter of etiquette (and it’s not like this a secret, there’s a giant sign that says all this right there at the entrance to the park) – control your dogs/kids, keep to the right side of trail, and make room for others to pass. Now, is that so hard to remember? I don’t think so. Oh, and jogger/runner people, it’s all well and good that you’ve got your latest mix pumping on the ipod at volumes that ensure you’ll never hear anything again after you turn 40 as motivation, but you people are a menace. As easy and tempting as it may be to get caught up the layered nuances and lyrical depth of the latest T Pain opus, pay attention to what you are doing. (end old man rant)
Despite those challenges, I really enjoy riding there, and had a great ride today. The scenery makes up for the annoyances, and the 8 mile length makes for a nice course to ride a few laps and get a fairly hefty number of miles in without realizing it. It has the added bonus of an actual hill at the Alafaya and Lokanotoso trail head, which is a nice change of pace for Floridians used to miles and miles of flat. Bottom line is that there’s no prettier place to run, ride or ruminate on the east side of Orlando, as long as you know going in that it might be slow going for a mile or two. Looking forward to going back soon.