Stage 1 – Florida, where everything hangs lower
I wake up at a decent hour and spend some time with the grandparents. Around 3 I decide it’s time to put my bike together and go for a ride. My grandma tells me I should wait until late in the day to ride because of the heat. Having grown up in Oklahoma I think I can take the heat. Plus, I don’t want the ride to be that easy.
95 degrees out with 60% humidity. I’m soaked in sweat just from putting the bike together. A smart rider would take this as a sign to relax for a few more hours. Looks like I missed that boat.
I forgo the extra bottle because I don’t want the weight on my back. It feels good to be on the bike but I know the heat’s going to kill me. The bike lanes in this part of Florida (Flagler Beach) are spacious and the drivers give me plenty of room.
I’m not even 15 minutes out of town and I’m dying. The sun and the humidity are insane! My goal is to make it to Daytona Beach but I’m getting skeptical. I remember what this old guy on the plane said to me about Lance “quitting is unacceptable.” I put my head down and keep cranking.
Eventually I make it to the outskirts of Daytona. The bike lane stops and endless beach hotels begin. I pedal along hoping to see the official “Daytona Beach” sign.
I’m about an hour and fifteen minutes out need to be back in an hour and fifteen, for dinner. I see a sign that says “Daytona Beach Shores 3 mi.” I guess I made it to Daytona Beach but not the beach. I stop for water at a gas station because I’ve gone through both bottles already.
I leave the store and head back. I’m supposed to be back for dinner and, well today quitting is acceptable.
I have a tailwind the whole way back and average about 23. This helps but I’m still hurting. My bike starts squeaking. I noticed a coat of sand on my legs when I stopped and I can only imagine what it’s doing to my bike.
On the way back I have no bike lane so I just ride on the white line. I figure there haven’t been any close calls thus far…
I ride past stairs that go down to the beach and am reminded of the last time I went to that beach. I was 14 and we had stopped while riding up to the airport in Jacksonville. I was sporting my “Blink 182” shirt (Dude Ranch era, not that “What’s my age again?” crap). Some cutie saw me wearing it and was like “Cool shirt!” Legit! The legs stop hurting for a bit.
I finally make it back to the house.
I took two days off after that and did one more ride before leaving. Cycling and Florida don’t mix.