About a year and a half ago, we rode the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Park Trail, and it wasn’t one of my favorites – it was hot and the trail was too hilly. However, yesterday I was ready to tackle another section closer to Hawthorne.
This time we started our ride in the morning shortly after 9:30 at the Phifer Flatwoods Preserve. The temperature was cooler (only 87º?) and much of the trail was shaded early in the day. Best of all, this section was mostly flat. In fact, I rode most of the day in 4th, 5th, or even 6th gear unlike our previous ride when I pedaled primarily in 2nd gear.
We hoped to take a couple of short detours riding on hiking trails that were open to cycling but found the first to be under construction with many trees blocking the path. We rode about 200 yards down a second but our bikes are not made for riding over the small trees on the trail.
Surprisingly, I even enjoyed riding over two miles of the trail from our first ride. I’m not sure if it’s riding a different bike or a different time of day or a different section of the trail or if I’m in better shape, but yesterday’s 17.9 mile ride was great all around, especially compared to the shorter ten mile ride taken last year.
We ended the ride with a picnic instead of eating out which was also a nice change of pace. Unfortunately, we didn’t encounter the wildlife riding mid-mornining instead of at sunset, but I don’t mind missing the deer, armadillo and rabbits for a near perfect ride.
We’ll be back soon to finish the final section starting at Hawthorne. I’m hoping it has more in common with the portion of the trail we rode yesterday than the Gainesville section, but in any case, we’ve found another place to add to our list of go to rides.