2017 Gainesville 300

 Posted by on February 4, 2017
Feb 042017

Five AM, sky is probably overcast but at this hour who can tell? RBA Jim Wilson gives his pre-ride instructions, cautions and weak jokes about the weather being unFlorida-like, then sends us off. Predawn Gainesville is quiet and the streets strangely empty for what is normally a traffic-clogged agglomeration of too many cars and motor-scooters. Gainesville Florida is the home of the University of Florida with well over 50,000 students on the main campus. But at this time on Saturday morning the students, staff and faculty have left the streets to a band of 18 cyclists headed towards Georgia for a 195-mile ride. Many of the other riders are from South Carolina, Georgia or North Carolina. I’m the only one from a Northern state, having driven down to escape the weather in Columbus. In February, any rider would welcome the chance to ride all day in 75-degree sunshine. Cruel trick! Somehow the weather patterns reversed themselves. At the start of the ride the temp was 54 degrees; it dropped steadily during the ride to a low in the mid-forties. The sky was indeed overcast – the sun shone for no more than 5 minutes all day. At least the wind was reasonable, barely ten mph westerly. We headed west (of course!) and as the wind shifted to the north, so did the bike route. What was I doing here? Well, in for a dime, in for a dollar so I kept moving. Continue reading »