SPBC Spring Classic 2018

The St. Pete Bicycle Club’s annual spring  classic was today in beautiful downtown Palmetto, Florida. I was to ride with two great friends Tony and Juan. The century guys were out at 7 am. The small metric was at a civilized 8:30.

There were some of my SMBC club members there too. It is a local stomping ground for us and Jim Wheeler’s 14-16 ride group. The Palmetto police got us out of Palmetto safely and away we went. 

This pace group was together for the first 20+ miles. It was nice. One thing that spring classic never has shortage of is headwind. It would break up the bigger groups. 

Juan in his Star Trek jersey and Tony in his South African road champ jersey. Some parts of the ride are amazing. Others not so much with all the new development. 

We picked up a tandem and they were nice. It got pretty warm later and it was still windy but the slow cooked chicken in mojo and pork with yellow rice and black beans, plaintains and bread was right on time. Tip of the hat to St. Pete bike club. Great day. 

My 25th Coloplast-Top End Wheelchair Rugby Invitational Tournament, Tampa, Florida

I am officiating my 25th local tournament. I missed one year to paddle my solo sea kayak from Key Largo to Key West. A great collection of teams and referees assembled for the weekend. 

My wife Mariella Smith, ex wheelchair table official extraordinaire came by to visit with her old friends. Wasn’t I lucky. 

If you did not know she is running for the Hillsborough County board of County Commissioners. We got to see some rugby. 

It was great to be hanging. The first day went well. Matt and Kristin had a nice game. 

Most of the refs went down to Ybor City and had real Cuban food at Carmine’s. Baked Chicken, steak Milanesa, crab enchilado, roast pork and of course the famous Cuban sandwich. 

The backdrop was classic 7th Ave. 

Day 2 saw me with an at large game and then the always interesting Texas v Minnesota game. A faster affair that was fun to work. 

Me and the Judge. 

Me and Gumbie. 

Me and Mason. Look at him eyeing the ball. 

Marthah got a selfie. 

It usually is old home week on Saturday at the tournament. A lot of ex Tampa Generals, Dan Casady and a strong contingent from the old Sarasota team, including Pat, DJ, Ed and Santa.  My buddy, Mr. Williamson, hung out with me a few. 

The refs have another dinner out after the day’s events at Tampa classic, CDB at USF. 

The last day had me with Josh Kearns on the final. Great weekend and great hangin. 

Day 7-Marathon to Key Largo-46 miles

A great last night party and awoke to 16-20 mph wind that seemed to be in our faces all day with the exception on the some protected bike paths away from the road. 

A stop at Layton Key for some Gatorade and shade. 

Heading over Channel #5 bridge and coming down ran over a plate with screws in it and instantly flatted. I had everything and Coach and Beth stopped with a flooor pump and away I went. 

A steady slog into Key Largo and Mrs. Mac’s for lunch. Many sagged into Key Largo but Rich and I did not. Head down and talking to the front tire but it is in the books. Peace out. Tres dog

Day 6-Stock Island to Marathon-50 miles

One of the truisms of this ride is that the wind blows you down the Keys southwest at this time of year and it seems to come at you head first northbound on the way back. Today was no exception. I started fresh after a good rest in the Keys. The scenery was great and the wind 15-18 mph. 

A stop at Baby’s Coffee and another at the Walgreens in Big Pine Key for Gatorade. It seems that Big Pine Key got a lot of what Irma had to offer. 

Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge. A classic car camping spot of Mariella and I. 

Rich and I rode steady as she goes and then it was on to 7 mile bridge. It was probably the toughest northbound crossing of 7 mile that I had done EVER. Unrelenting wind and always some debris oh, and no where to hide, baby. 

Fish and chips at Sunset Grill after 7 mile. Marathon revived a lot of damage as well. Holiday Inn tonight. 

Day 5 Social ride around Key West

A nice roll out to town after breakfast. The bayfront/multiuser path was great.

 First stop was the Key West Cemetery. Mariella and I saw this 20+ years ago. 

The Martyrs of Cuba. 

Went back out and saw the Key West Armory a wood building. 

Went down to Conch Coffee Queen the to Ft. Zachary and saw the cigarette  boats. 

Had lunch with Chrysa and Rachel. Back to camp for swim and dinner. It was a great day. 48 miles to Marathon tomorrow. 

Day 4-Rest day in Key West

The sunrise was beautiful this morning.

My St. Louis or Owensville, Missouri based flight crew were renting a 4 seat street legal golf cart for our wounded compadre, Chrysa.

The wildlife in camp was cool. 

We headed down to old town Key West with Rich during and Chrysa’s leg propped up. 

We stopped at Southernmost point and mile 0 for obligatory photo ops. Very few people around. 

We then meandered around old town until we got to Cuban Coffee Queen. Tremendo. 

There was cigarette boat race in Key West today and everyone linedup at Mallory Square to watch. 

Scurried out to Key West Garden Club to find a huge Banyan tree over. The real centerpiece. Then to la grigote for the best quiche and salad AND a 9 on the shared Key Lime pie.

Back to camp for swim break, shower than the exquisite Blue Heaven for dinner. Peace out. Tres dog 

Day 3 Stock Island

Beautiful sunrise. 50+ volunteers walked and rode to Key West Botanical Garden and Tropical Forest. 

We worked for 3+ hours in three different crews. The locals were so appreciative. I was on the heavy lifting crew with tree service and small building demo. 

I was lopperman. We really did some extensive  work much quicker than expected and anticipated. 

Our crew seemed to enjoy demo. We got a huge tree off a shed with hand tools. 

A champion tree that was killed. 

The place was beautiful. 

We also raised two trees. A cinnamon bark tree. 

The staff was just grateful. Lunch. Zombies  bike shop. 

Key West tonight. Peace out Wewa