cycling · triathalon · winter

Clermont riding in January Sunshine

This past week Sarah and I took our bikes apart, packed them in boxes with our helmets, shoes, and cycling clothes and hopped on a plane to a place where it was warm enough to ride them.

I’ve done a few different kinds of winter riding somewhere warm. I loved my luxury Arizona cycling tour. I also loved South Carolina training camp. Both were beautiful. Both had their charms.

This year was a new thing though. No group. Just Sarah and me, meeting up with Jeff in Florida who is there with his boat. (Follow his boating adventures here.)

Originally we’d thought about the Florida Keys but that didn’t fit with Jeff’s schedule. Instead, we decided to meet up in the middle of Florida in an area Chris Helwig, my former London cycling coach, visits for riding every January.


Where’s Clermont? Smack dab in the middle of the state. It’s a great area for cycling. Lots of rolling hills and even a serious climb or two, some great rail trails, and quiet country roads flanked by beautiful trees covered in Spanish moss and miles and miles of orange orchards.


It’s also home to the National Training Centre. There’s a big pool, group rides, and regular timed runs. Triathletes everywhere!

What makes a place good for cyclists? Varied terrain, for sure. Warm weather. Now Florida had its own version of the polar vortex so it was cold for locals. But 13 degrees is just fine for bike riding and by the time we left it was in the 20s again.

There were lots of cyclists. Just having the numbers makes a difference. I loved a sign that read “You are entering a high activity cycling area. Watch for bikes.”

The roads mostly had bikes lanes. There were also paved paths not besides the road. And in the rare case that there wasn’t a seperate bike lane there were signs alerting drivers that cyclists had the right to use the full lane.

We stayed in the Clermont Cabanas on Lake Minneola so we’d have our own kitchen and space to relax after riding. That turned out to be a great choice

We had four solid days of riding, about 270 km all told, including a day of big hills. It was nice to have route maps all planned. Thanks Chris!


Here we are at the top of Sugarloaf


We did a long ride into the countryside.


And we really enjoyed the 20 mile West Orange Trail.

Oh, and after the hill day I even persuaded Sarah to give Yoga with Adrienne a try. She has a special workout just for cyclists.

We’ll back back, maybe next time with more fit feminist friends. I like you Clermont. What a great way to close out January.

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