Sugarloaf Mountain, at 345' above sea level, is the highest point in penisular Florida. It climbs about 274' from the base to the top. On a clear day, you can see the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico from the summit. The picture above is near the top looking back down the road.
Arriving in Clermont at 6:30 AM, it was still dark and conditions were a bit fresh, with a stiff wind blowing across the swim course at Lake Minneola. I headed out and as dawn broke I got lost for the first time at mile 6. The bike course map I had to guide me did not have all the streets marked and I missed a turn at Cherry Lake Road. However, I hit State Route 19 and headed north, eventually passing Cherry Lake Road. There were plenty of hills but my real goal was to climb Sugarloaf Mountain, which is famous for it's steep grade uphill. I reached the base at mile 23 and began the climb. It's deceptive as it doesn't look steep from the bottom; the fooler is that it gets steeper as you climb. I stood for a bit but quickly shifted down and began pedaling in my new super low 34 x 28 combo. My speed dropped to 6.1 mph which I held for a while, dropping to 5.9 for a few seconds. I kept on cranking though and made it to the top without stopping or walking which is a first for all the times I've climbed it! I stopped to chat with a few cyclists at the water stop provided by the Fenstads at their home at the top. My downhill speed peaked at 39.7 mph coming off the mountain and I headed home, happy that my experiment had worked out fine.