In lieu of a bachelor party for Mr. Shepherd, we decided to head into the woods to ride our bikes. Sure, we were all out drinking the night before (which in some cultures constitutes a bachelor party), but we really wanted to have fun together and not get into any trouble. After growing up skateboarding with Mr. Shepherd, he’s the one that originally got me into the whole fat tire thing. A ride with all of us together in
seemed like the best way to send him off into wedded bliss.
The sign says “Off-Road Mountain Bike Trails” which is pretty accurate. No mountains in sight, but we ride “mountain” bikes on those trails. Genius.
Just like pretty much everything you ride in The Sunshine State, this trail is pretty much in the swamp. With lots of phosphate mining done in years past, there’s actually quite a bit of elevation (for
Florida, anyway.) You wouldn’t know that when you started
Once we hit the woods, we entered the RollerCoaster loop. It was a little hilly, as Lunchbox already knew.
Mr. Shepherd was digging it too.
When it wasn’t full of steep descents and short, punchy climbs, it was a vegetable tunnel. Lunchbox was happy to be in the shade though.
Oh look, it’s the Dirty Party Cycle:
What they lack in elevation, they try to make up for it with features. An elevated bridge between to palmetto trees high above the swamp? Sounds like Florida Enduro™ to me.
We’ve all been there before, but a some things have changed in the last few years. A new section that I’d never seen before seemed promising:
A little more elevation this time, and plenty more features.
We rode that whole section and I didn’t take anymore photos, but luckily I got to the end before Lunchbox did so I could get a few shots of him exiting the trail.
That section was so fun. And I’m sure I’m not the only one that thought that either, since this was at the exit:
I kinda missed riding in the swamp.
Especially since you can always find these guys:
Spotting credit: Lunchbox
We spent quite a while out there, but our time was up. Since Mr. Shepherd was getting married the next day, we still had shit to do. And since I was the best man, I had to keep us on schedule. We had just enough time to enjoy a beer in the parking lot, drive back to
Bradenton (about 45 minutes away), go to the
church for the rehearsal, and then get to a restaurant for a dinner.
I even managed to say no to a free “Sex Cookie”, whatever the hell that is.
At least we got to relax by the water.
Since there is plenty more to talk about, I’ll probably skip the normal “Fun Friday” festivities to keep this shit going.
Same time tomorrow, okay?