well the bike ride. everyone want to hear about the bike ride? ;) ok well after driving around looking for the trailhead...which is easy enough to find when you're going the right way...i parked at the little enclave....took the bike off the car, guzzled half a water-bottle and set off (without water, without keys, without anything at all). i was lathered in sunblock and deet. the Swamp Fox trail is gorgeous. that was my first impression. later i found that with beauty comes horseflies, deerflies, grasshoppers, and anything else that isn't afraid of deet. the trail itself goes through several types of vegetation...first i went through a typical forest of the area...pine trees, palmetto bushes, decaying things scattered about, moisture. swampy. then suddenly it all changed and i was in a forest of tall pines. the needles were all at the top and the trunks were naked. i couldn't see anything but tree after tree, and at the bottom it was covered, no -- drenched, in ferns. i was stunned it was that gorgeous. after that it suddenly became very dry, and the trail (which was all sand the whole way) lost the covering of pine needles and became splattered with clumps of grass and fire-ant-hills. the trees shrunk, too. there were several trees that were broken at the top, evidence of Hugo no doubt. then it got wet again, and dark...and the bugs came back. then i crossed several bridges over little wine-colored creeks. i always looked, hoping to spot a water moccassin. never did. whenever i was in this type of forest the trail was of course still sandy...but the roots from the trees wove themselves throughout. i was very glad i was on a mountain bike. nothing else would have made it. a few times i crossed fire-roads and other gravel paths, but i knew which way to go because it was so well-marked. it proceeded to get hotter and hotter. of course, i started at 1:30, so i was asking for it. i tried to keep opening my mouth at a minimum to keep moisture in. then, after i fishtailed pretty badly in the sand, i came upon a water pump. in the middle of the trail! i almost heard the music. it was very metallic, but wet. then i wound through more trees, and heard a bell. i found a small herd of goats. i stopped and tried to go up to them but they all ran off. i kept going, and my wrists were hurting. at one point, just before getting on another bridge, a root grabbed ahold of my pedal and stopped me. of course my other leg kept spinning and i cut it on the other pedal. all i could think of was in "Pitch Black" when the bugs/monsters could smell people by blood. i was like...well there goes my deet protection -- now all the bugs will be after me. sure enough, it got attention. so i had to move faster. i was flying down the path, my heart racing, and every time i almost wiped out it scared me and my heart beat faster. it was like a roller coaster...constantly getting faster and the stopping abruptly to look at something or avoid something. what did i think of this entire thing? more like what not. i thought of a few people, i thought of "The Patriot" just by default -- i was on his trail, of course, i thought of water. and food. yes, when i had been on it long enough (i found out the trail goes on for 47 miles in one direction) i sat down and decided whether to turn back or not. i dreaded going back through places i had already been, but there wasn't much choice. i knew this was how it would be before i even started. so i begrudgingly set back for my car. then of course all i could think about was the water pump. and how i really need a bottle holder on my bike. i saw more deer, rode quickly past the startled goats, avoided the lizards -- they make more noise than anything else. suddenly it all came to an end. out of breath, starving, and out of energy, i hoisted my bike back onto my car. that was extremely difficult for some reason. then i sat in my car and guzzled another bottle of water. my heart was still pounding. my legs were wobbly. and i only went 25 miles. i never realized how much harder it would be to bike on a rough terrrain as opposed to Forest Park. every moment was glorious. it was almost 5pm.