To Joe & Brooke: Missed you both at the track Wednesday evening. Maybe you stayed home to photoshop a picture of you on a bike, Joe?
We rode 58 miles today and plan to ride the same or more tomorrow. It was a fabulous ride day! The Beast is such a trooper. I think she’s starting to believe she’ll be able to ride the 3000+ miles we have planned.
We biked to our home track, Tampa BMX, in Lutz, FL and took some promotional pictures to send to the NBL (National Bicycle League) for the press packets they are sending out. One of the park staff, Craig, was kind enough to help us out with the picture taking and took a real interest in our ride. Craig, we hope you and your son follow our adventure online and thanks for your help!
During a ride a few days ago, we saw two beautiful adult herons and one adorable baby heron nesting by a pond along the Suncoast trail. Frankenbutt remembered where he saw them and figured they’d still be around since the baby heron was so small. As we approached the area, we slowed to look in the high grass around the pond in hopes of taking a picture for our blog. As I was scanning the area, Frankenbutt said, “Uh Oh. Look what’s in the pond.” In the center of the pond was an alligator; a relatively small alligator. Frankenbutt pointed out that he was about the size of a “baby heron eating” alligator and that the gator had “a very contented look on his face”. Hmm. I hope he’s wrong. He usually isn’t.
We continued on to the end of the trail and then turned onto Lutz Lake Fern Drive and headed towards Dale Mabry Boulevard. We negotiated our way through a road contruction work zone and then rode side by side with three lanes of traffic as we rode to and from the track. The Beast listened beautifully as Frankenbutt and I hollered “Clear”, “go”, “stop”, “wait” and “I’m hungry!”.
We ate lunch at Mr. Empanada, across from the track and enjoyed a variety of beef and cheese empanadas and a spinach, artichoke and cheese one, too. The proprietor had no problem with us refilling our water bottles with ice and water for the return ride. We gave him our website address and he said he was going to check it out. It turns out that he lives only a few miles north of us and uses the Suncoast Parkway (runs alongside the Suncoast Trail) to commute daily and he also runs on the Suncoast Trail. Nice Guy, Good Food, may need to stop there again before we head out on our epic ride.
Frankenbutt, the Beast and I eat small snacks throughout our ride time to keep our energy levels up. We all like Clif bars and had been purchasing them in their standard 240 calorie per bar size. Since we eat 3-6 snacks per ride plus lunch, we got into the habit of eating half a bar, wrapping it up and then eating the other half at our next snack break. We recently discovered they make Clif bar “minis” at 100 calories each and in a variety box that has something each of us likes. The Beast especially likes the Clif kids “Z” bars and she loves Chocolate Outrage GU.
Carrying 9-18 snacks per day for the three of us can get quite bulky and heavy (in addition to our clothes, kitchen utensils, tent, etc.) on a bicycle. When we started looking for ideal snacks, we searched for healthy choices that packed a good amount of calories into a small size. This was hard to do. Oh, no … please don’t think that they were hard to find. ‘Tis not the case! There are tons of choices available from sporting goods stores to health food stores to department stores. Here’s the problem: Having struggled with weight issues my whole life, I can’t believe I’m actually searching out small portions that are high in calories!
The up side is that we can (and need to) eat more when we ride. It’s nice to enjoy a meal without any concern that it’s going to further pad my already ample back side. Since we started training, we’ve also found that we crave healthier food choices. My mouth actually starts watering at the site of a salad with fruits, nuts and grilled chicken. Weird, huh?
Although most long distance riders’ blogs debunk the myth that riders are bound to lose weight riding all those miles, I do have hope that I’ll be a healthier eater at the end of the ride even if I don’t shed a pound. I’m still the same weight I was when we started training months ago but my clothes are fitting differently and Frankenbutt swears he sees changes. Maybe we’ll do before and after pics on the blog and let you be the judge. Maybe not … I hate how I look in pictures. Even though a picture is worth a 1000 words, I think I’ll stick with typing out the words!
Thanks for reading and email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) a pic of you and your bike so we can post it on our “Me n my Bike” page. Include your first name and where you’re from and a personal notation if you’d like.