So yesterday I made my second trip to San Felasco just north of Gainesville, Fl. Got there early as we did not want to ride in the mid day heat.
Left trailhead at 9 A.M. 5 minutes into the ride we run into some horseback riders. One of them was thrown and stepped on (this happened before we got there). So having medical background I check her out. Chest bruises and possible rib fractures. Ranger finally came and drove her to trailhead. We helped the other 2 riders get the horses set to walk them back to parking lot. So there goes an hour!
BTW: I was curious about night riding at San Felasco. Sign says closes at dark but so do signs at Santos in Ocala and lots of people do night rides at Santos. Ranger flat out said "If we find you in the park after dark you WILL be arrested!" I guess that answered my question.
Ride continues. First trip we did only Meadow View and Tung Nut.
Yesterday we picked up Sweetgum to Conquistador. Conquistador is a *****. Not technical like Santos with rock gardens and stuff but steep ups and downs. Don't know which hurt more the legs or lungs. From Conquistador we pick up Canebrake and eventually go all the way out to Hidden Rise. I have no clue how many miles round trip as my GPS lost power. Got to remember to charge it the night before a ride.
I had thought Santos had it all well I guess not. Once we got past the rest area along the creek (I believe it is called Soggy Bottom Creek) we saw quite a few very large deer.
Santos deer are very nervous whereas these deer for the most part just stood their ground and slowly moved off. I'm talking 150 pounds of muscle. Just incredible. One large doe just stood her ground and looked at me. No visible sign of fear or anxiety.
I imagine it is due to the lack of heavy traffic and no hunting that allows for this.
Anyway, as we approached the rest area with picnic table nice bridges over creek etc. i was feeling the heat. i had 100 ounces of fluid but still not feeling great. Not wanting to ruin the trip I pressed on. As we started the Hidden Rise Loop I felt a dull headache and knew I was developing heat exhaustion. Not heat stroke. That is a totally different animal in which your body loses its ability to thermoregulate. think medical emergency with ice packs, i.V fluids etc. That comes after heat exhaustion.
Hidden Rise and Pine For You are beautiful loops. Huge pine trees, tons of deer and absolutely pristine. What a pleasure to not see Gu packs along the trail !!
Now I'm feeling the waves of nausea and getting the chills. Yeah, 87 degrees , I'm sweating like a pig and I've got the chills. Big trouble !!
We get back to the creek, I dip my shirt in the ice cold water and cool off . it helps, but just a bit.
At this point I am pedaling 5-6 strokes at a time and coasting. Going like 1 MPH. Vision blurry.
For the most part the signage at San Felasco is far superior to Santos. There are laminated maps at strategic intersections but we got messed a couple of times. Not sure how. The connector between Sweetgum and Hammock Hub got us turned around and after doing Conquistador on the way out we tried to get to Canebrake but somehow wound up back on Conquistador ??
See I told you it would be a long post. Almost finished.
A couple of weeks ago i downloaded a map I found on the forum. Here it is:
It shows all the service roads (which are grassy with worn areas from service vehicles.) Very ridable. i had left this at home and picked up one of the maps provided at the trailhead. I am looking at this map right now (as i did yesterday) and it shows NO service roads.
I could have used the map with service roads on it to get back to the trailhead quicker as i was ready to just give up. I mean this. Imagine the worst nausea in the world coupled with leg cramps and a rip roaring headache! All in hot humid climactic conditions
We come upon a service road and take it in a northerly direction.
It dead ends at the bottom of a hill. i almost pass out. We walk back up the hill find another service road which takes us to the power line road. Almost there!! Longest mile of my life. And I mean that. i've been in bad situations before but this was the worst ever.
Get to the lot I lie down, my legs cramp to the point I am crying. Get in truck, AC on. I'm dizzy . Emergency room for fluids or home. Home. She drives. at entrance to park i lose it . Just about puked up my intestines. Fall asleep, wake up 10 hours later and here I sit good to go. Don't think i'll ride today.
Couple of observations and questions for those of you who know San Felasco well.
1. we saw what appeared to be 2 bear traps. One out by Pine For You and one at the dead end service road. I have no issues with bears just curious why the traps? These were way too big to be be traps for wild hogs unless they are growing to 700 pounds out there. Any info on this?
2. Why not have maps showing service roads at the trailhead like the one in the above attachment. Sure makes sense if for some reason you need to get back in a hurry.
3. There is a picnic table out by Soggy Bottom Creek rest area. i found it very amusing that it was chained to a tree. Who is going to put a 300 pound table across their back and ride out with it?
Lastly, an observation. My fluids yesterday were 100 ounces of Crystal Light. Had no electrolytes or carbs ! What was I thinking ? I know some folks use straight up water but for this biker in the future it will be Gatorade or Powerade with carbs, sodium, potassium and magnesium (electrolytes). Great scenery, beautiful day but bad experience. Today I have more fond memories than not. i really cannot wait to go back with a CamelBack full of Gatorade !!
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