We said goodbye to our new Elderhostel friends and drove to the Ocala Mountain Bike Association's trails in the Ocala National Forest. This was Ellen's 3rd ride here and my 8th, and we keep returning because it is the finest non-mountain mountain bike venue I have found.
As we reached the trail beginning, I noticed 2 fellows loading bikes on a car with Illinois plates, and also noticed the dealer's sticker said "Gurnee." I stopped and asked, "Did you come all the way from Illinois to bike these trails?" They chuckled and replied they had, to which I said, "So did I, neighbors," because they live only a dozen or so miles from my house. Small world, especially when the conversation revealed one was also a retired teacher and cross-country coach, like me. We had even coached opposing teams several times at large meets.
Ellen and I then enjoyed the magnificent forest scenery and perfect sunny 60 degree temperature for two hours as we pedaled trails like this...
Signs indicated there was a big race being held here tomorrow, thus preventing our planned return to bike here prior to driving to Gainesville. This also happened to us several weeks ago as we drove south into central Florida. So tomorrow we'll drive a bit west and pick up another section of the trail away from the race course.