Sunday, June 24, 2007

Long Leaf Trail

Left early Saturday morning - about 5:45 for the 1.5 mile drive to Prentiss by myself. No one wanted to go and I wanted to ride the Trail. I have it set up as a perm and no one has ridden it yet. I was surprised to find the gas station I intended on using as a control was boarded up. I then went to the bathrooms at the Long Leaf and they were locked due to excessive vandalism. Great! I need to go and there is no where to do it that I wouldn't be booked for public indecency. I drove back towards the main street and the gas station on the corner looked pretty scary. There were several people hanging out there and I was not comfortable going in. I drove further down the road to another gas station and there were only three people hanging out. I walked in and asked to use the bathroom. The cashier was not eager to say yes, no, or kiss my butt. When I could tell she was about to say no, I informed her that the ones at Long Leaf were locked. She sullenly gave me a key a pointed to the hallway where the restrooms were located. Both the men's and women's restrooms had large signs on them indicating that they were out of order. Opening the women's restroom, revealed a clean toilet that was in good working order. I drove back to the parking lot knowing my mileage would be off by a mile and got started. I wondered since the Prentiss rest rooms were closed if any of the depots along the way would be open. I also wondered if my car would be there when I got back. I started at 7:41 - 11 minutes late. The weather was cool and humid. I knew that it would be getting really hot before the ride was over. It was probably in the high 60s at that point.

Within the first mile, I saw a rabbit scampering off of the trail. Remembering the number of rabbits I had seen on the trail last time, I decided to count rabbits today. 1,2,3 before the 10 mile mark! So far the new Body Geometry seat was working - but boy it was ugly. I hiked out of Prentiss knowing I would be climbing all the way to Bassfield. I thought the majority of the route was uphill to Hattisburg, but I apparently was wrong. I really try to push it as much as possible. I wanted to finish with a 15 mph rolling average. 4,5 more rabbits darting across the trail.

I stop in Sumerall to get water, stretch, and go. I walk across from the Depot to look at the cafe to see if they would have any V-8 - it was closed. The knee was stiff, so I stretched it some more. 6,7 rabbits to Jefferson Street. I stopped again to stretch. There were two black girls resting on a bench at this depot. One in jeans and the other in long pants. They apparently were on bikes and had come from Hattiesburg. They had no idea how far they had come and did not have helmets or water. One asked if I could look at her bike seat as it was rotating on her as she rode. It had a quick release lever on it and I tightened it for her. I made it into Hattiesburg at 10:45. I was up 1.75 hours. At the depot, I realized the signs were wrong and that the final two miles were not complete. I would end up 5 miles off. I bought a powerade and a water and started back out at 11:05. 20 minute stop...

Passed Jefferson Street depot, the two young ladies were still there. I wondered if they would make it back. Apparently, I had a cross wind with a slight push on the way down and now had a cross wind angling toward a headwind. I really wanted to find a place to stop to get a v-8. I knew Sumerall was not that far ahead. I pulled into one of the gas stations in Sumrall and bought a V-8. I filled up with ice and water from a drink machine. The water looked like it was coming from the machine pretty fast, but I really did not think much about it. Stretched, finished the V-8 and got back on the bike only to realize that the water I had in my camel back was carbonated water - blech! I rode over to the Sumerall depot and poured out the water trying to save the ice and refilled it from the water fountain. My speed and stamina had definitely dropped off. I did the first half in 15.3 mph. I was having trouble maintaining 13 mph now. The time off the bike really hurt my cardiovascular system and endurance. I am beginning to think that there is no way to attempt the 600. If I could finish the Long Leaf at a 15 mph average, then I think the 600 attempt would be feasible, but I am struggling. I feel tired - not bonked - but just physically tired. I stop to stretch in Bassfield. A little girl is at the depot which is just up from a park. She is probably only 2 or 3 and is enthralled with my camelbak. She asks what it is and I told her it is for my water. She really wants to try to drink out of it. I leave quickly. I haven't seen any rabbits on the way back from Hattiesburg, but I now see what in the distance looks like a large rat. It ends up being a baby armadillo. He was not scared of me at all - that is probably why they are dead on the side of the road all the time! Not long after that, I see a doe running on the horse trail just in front of me. We ride/run together for 1/4 mile or so as the deer looks as curious at me as I am of it. The doe finally stops and we look each other eye to eye as I continue to ride off.

I make it back into Prentiss at 2:30. My speed has fallen to 14.3 mph. So I was definitely slower on the way back. I ended up 2 full hours thought. I go to the gas station that I skipped over this morning. I did not need to use the restroom, so I don't know how it looked, but the cashier was pleasant. The seat preformed well - no complaints. I will see how it does in New Orleans next week. Hopefully, my cardio and endurance will miraculously appear and we can average at least 15 on the 200k. If so, then I may still try the 600 - if not, the pursuit will be over...

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