On the morning of May 21st, we embarked for Ocala from Orlando. Originally, we though the route was going to be 80 miles, but with some routing updates, the distance was increased to an insane 92 miles. I knew the trip was going to be a challenge physically, mentally, and emotionally. We had done this distance before while going to Clewiston, but this day felt different for me. I felt a little more nervous than usual. The front half of the ride was business as usual: long miles with increasing heat over time, plus some rolling hills for good measure.
The rest of the ride was mostly challenging due to heat. The terrain and road conditions were normal, but I felt especially wiped. I switched pacelines, due to some of my teammates choosing to rack for various reasons. My new paceline partners helped lift my spirits, which made the last 30 miles or so fly by with ease. I can’t thank them enough for helping me. We cracked jokes the entire way, and talked each others’ ears off. It was incredibly fun, despite 95 degree temperatures. When we arrived in Ocala, we showered and headed to Tomorrow’s Equestrian Center, an organization that allows people of all abilities to interact with horses in a therapeutic fashion. The hospitality of that organization made me completely forget about the challenges of the day’s ride. When we arrived, we received gift bags filled with snacks and other gifts, and were treated with an amazing home-cooked meal. Learning about the people the organization serves, along with spending time with their horses really put me in a good mood. It was the perfect ending to a challenging day.