Bike trip 2016

Since I created this blog “on the fly” and I can’t really figure out how to let people add comments, I will just list our email addresses.  So if you want to give us words of encouragement or tell us how stupid we are for doing this, just drop us a note at:

[email protected]    or     [email protected]

Charleston, SC – Key West, FL

830 Miles

 

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 10.25.14 PM

 

 

Day – 0 (5/10/16)

I arrived in Charleston about 2pm after driving from Los Angeles.

Eric had just started his online Psychology class so he spent the afternoon studying while I ran errands.  Picking up odds and ends that we “think” we will need for this trip.

We were able to McGyver the rack onto the back of Eric’s bike so that he could put his panniers on.  We filled the panniers up pretty darn fast, so trying to do this trip with only mine, would have been a nightmare.

We grabbed a BBQ dinner at the Swig & Swine and left with full bellies (too full).  Made one last stop at Walmart and then back to the house so Eric could take another test for his class.  This is going to be a challenging week for him; not only are we attempting to ride 830 miles but Eric is taking a course that has been condensed into 3 weeks so he will have homework each night.

We plan on leaving at about 6:30 AM tomorrow and will hopefully do about 93 miles and end up in Bluffton, SC tomorrow night.


Day – 1 (5/11/16) – Charleston, SC to Bluffton, SC

Screen Shot 2016-05-11 at 5.20.08 PMThe Stats

Mileage – 89.56

Time – 10 hrs

Calories – 6,649

Elevation Gain – 294 ft

Max speed – 29.63 MPH

Avg speed (pedaling) – 13.2 MPH

 

 

 

Bill

We got off to a good start this morning at 6:30am.  We had to fight Charleston traffic on some pretty dicey side roads and actually held up traffic for a bit.

After about 10 miles we hit the main Hwy (17) and followed that for about 45 miles.  We started out with great enthusiasm…actually maybe a bit too much.

I had forgotten to scout for a place to eat lunch and as it turned out we had to ride 70 miles before we found some place.  So we did the first 70 miles of the ride

on 2 protein bars.  Not exactly optimal, but we made it.  After lunch we did about another 20 miles to Bluffton, SC and our hotel for the night.  Eric decided that

90 miles wasn’t enough exercise for him so he rode a few more miles (I’ll let him tell that story).

So I said yesterday that this ride would be a challenge for Eric because of his schoolwork.  I assumed that everyone would know why it will be challenging for me…

basically because I’m OLD and FAT.

After our first day I came to a conclusion…if the CIA would stop with the waterboarding and just put the terrorists on a bike saddle for 10 hrs, they would get ALL

of the information that they would ever need.

Eric

I’m sorry for anyone reading this, that is expecting well written essays from me. I am going to try and keep everything short and sweet because I need to get studying done and still get my beauty sleep.
I jumped into this bike ride with pretty much no riding experience, I prepared by going to the gym and using a stationary bike for an hour or two 2-3 times a week. Not ideal for 90-100 mile rides for 8 straight days. But day one has come and gone and my body is still fresh. I’m more worried about the old man. His body has the build of a bulldog but the strength of a maltipoo. Day one started out great, until we got to highway 17. This became a nightmare because there was absolutely no shoulder for biking and cars were speeding by at 60-80 mph. I’m pretty sure I had about 4 cars come within 3-4 inches of me. The other interesting news from day one, was that I now have seen every animal in the south east… lying on the side of the road as roadkill. Just today, I spotted anything from frogs and a puppy(yes, sad) to armidillos and  gators. The sight of the roadkill helped me forget I only had two protein bars for the first 70 miles.
I also want to point out that the old man didn’t tell everyone he popped a tire on the first day. I believe it was from stress of weight and not a sharp object, but I’m not a tire doctor.

As for my need to ride extra miles, I wanted to get to the hotel and relax so I pulled out ahead from the old man, and I missed the turn to the hotel and I kept riding for about 2 and a half miles. so an extra 5 miles of work at the end of the day. I figure will only make me stronger and more prepared for the 100 mile days ahead.

As for my least favorite part of the ride so far, 100% is the discomfort and pain in the corn hole region. The bike seat is unforgiving and I do not want to begin to imagine how tomorrows ride will feel. I will pedal in a standing position for 100 miles if I have to.

But for now, I need to study and get some much needed rest..

Day – 2 (5/12/16) – Bluffton, SC to Darien, GA

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 8.02.06 PMThe Stats

Mileage – 84.57

Time – 10 hrs

Calories – 6,317

Elevation Gain – 515 ft

Max speed – 32.40 MPH

Avg speed (pedaling) – 12.3 MPH

 

 

Bill

Today was very tough.  Temperature was around 90 degrees all day with high humidity.  I learned first-hand what dehydration will do to you.  I though I was drinking enough

water, but I guess I wasn’t even close.  I drank about a gallon of water and Gatorade and never had to pee even once.  After that we each downed a whole bottle of Gatorade

every 10 miles and it helped quite a bit.

We started out strong again and got to Savannah pretty quickly.  Actually we were supposed to go AROUND Savannah, but the famous Shannon Men’s navigational skills

kicked in and we ended up going over the tallest damn bridge you’ve ever seen and then right through Savannah instead…oops.

Had 2 flat tires today, bringing the score to Bill-3 and Eric-0.  I think I have magnetic tires because they seem to attract every staple, nail, etc.

Eric let me lead the last 30 miles and I think he’s seriously regretting it now.  Our pace slowed “just a bit” with me in the front, but we got here all the same.

We had dinner at Ruby Tuesdays because it is the only place within walking distance of the hotel.  Neither of us was going to get on a bike to go to dinner.  Funny thing is that

I couldn’t even finish half of my Jambalaya Pasta.  You would think that all of this exercise would make you hungry, but it’s just the opposite.

Eric just reminded me that I need to ice my knees, but the ice machine is about 50 feet down the hall and I am not sure I have the energy to get there and back.

Looking forward to tomorrow so much…who’s idea was this?!?

ERIC

Alright.. Where do I begin?
My perspective of the day goes like this…
We woke up and ate a proper breakfast before embarking on the days journey which was way easier then riding on one power bar.  I woke up with no muscle soreness or any fatigue, thanks to young age! The directional miscue was mostly my fault. we got to a T in the road and I decided left with out checking my phone and the price of my snap decision was a nice tall bridge overlooking Savannah, GA. So a little pro and con on that one. We corrected our misguidence and found our way back onto the 17. After the first flat of the day, I decided, since I lead the two man wolfpack, usually 1-2 miles ahead, it was a smart decision for the old man to carry to tire patch kit instead of me. Turned out to be a good decision because the next flat he got, I was WAY ahead and I would not of been happy to turn back 3 miles to give him the kit. But after that it was lunch time, about an hour stop at a small town deli, and off to the races again.
The last 30 or so miles, I realized the California dweller was not so aclimated to the souther humidity, as he pulled up to the gas station drenched in sweat and shirt unzipped pretty much 85% (not a sight for the weak stomach).
I decided it was a good call to let him lead the pack and I would follow. Turns out, going slow is not easy on my body! Neck muscles stiffened, toes cramped in my shoes, and the thought of 30 miles at the rate of a speedy turtle takes a little mental toughness to get by. But we managed to wrap up our second day and no one is dead yet! always look on the bright side…

Highlights of the day:

-I was riding and saw some brass knuckles on the side of the road. I now have a new souvineer from the trip. Or I found a murder weapon and confiscated the evidence..

-As we were riding we came across a sign that said smallest church in America. I pulled off to go check it out and the sign did not deceive me. That church looked like a little kids playhouse that you buy from home depot or walmart. Just constructed like a real building.. Very cool to see!

Mental and Physical Update:

Mentally took a toll today, but still going strong. I would say it dropped from 100% to 93% but nonetheless, still kicking!
Physically I felt a little wear and tear on the neck, but a good nights sleep can cure that. Also, my quads are feeling a little tight after the ride. I just hope I don’t wake up sore. Fingers Crossed!

Looking forward to what tomorrow brings! Goodnight.

Day – 3 (5/13/16) – Darien, GA to Amelia Island, FL

The Stats

Today’s Mileage – 91.48

Trip Mileage – 265.61

Time – 10:21

Calories – 6,657

Elevation Gain – 257 ft

Max speed – 21.96 MPH

Avg speed (pedaling) – 11.8 MPH

 

 

 

Bill

OK, this is the second time I am writing this because I forgot to save it the first time.  That’s just how this day has gone.  I guess I couldn’t expect anything else on Friday the 13th.

Quick recap of the day:

  • Today was supposed to be our shortest day of the trip (80 miles)
  • Slow start (I was fine but Eric was sore.  I swear this younger generation is soft)
  • Google maps tried to take us down a dirt road and we had to detour which added miles
  • Sore nipples (band-aids work good)
  • Finally saw a live animal (an alligator)
  • Stopped for early lunch and actually ate a really good sub
  • We decided to ride 33 miles on I-95 to shave off about 7 miles from the day
  • Stopped by cops on I-95 after 5 miles and forced to take a new route which added about 6 miles (but got a good selfie)
  • Saw a deer carcass being picked apart by vultures (had to stop for that too)
  • All the hotels in Amelia Island were sold out (who knew this was a big weekend tourist place?!?)
  • Finally found the Atlantic ocean and temperature dropped by 15 degrees
  • Taking band-aids off sore nipples might be worse than the sore nipples themselves

So our shortest day turned into our longest day yet.  Tomorrow our route follows A1A and includes a short ferry ride.  I’m interested to see how we will screw this one up.

ERIC

Time for the miestro of words to step into action..

Let me start by saying I am ECSTATIC we are out of Georgia. That state was like an oven! I knew it was bad when we hit the backroads where you wouldn’t see a car for miles, and the heat was beaming down on you, sweating like a sauna, pedaling around a bend hoping to see civilization, and you see shadows on the ground circling you.. I would look up and see vultures just licking their lips, like I was their next meal, just waiting for me to croak. So yes, as much as Florida sucks, I am happy to see the beach and get a change of scenery.
The ride went well for the most part, Detours that added extra miles and getting pulled over by the cops was just added bonuses.. Because why do 80 when you can do 90 miles!
I hit a stretch, around mile 60-70 where I hit the wall. I was just in zombie mode trying to put one foot in front of the other. Trying to get 10 miles done to the next town. I even unzipped my shirt to let in some air. I was actually worried my dad, who was 2 miles behind me, wasn’t going to make it. I got the the upcoming town first and stopped and pretty  much tried to regain my life. Once the old man pulled up, I expected him to say he was done and  felt that last 10 mile stretch just as I did. His exact words were, “I felt good on that one, probably my best one yet”. That took my youth and manhood down a few hundred pegs.. But momma didn’t raise no quitter haha, I fueled up on macaroni salad and turkey slices, and the next 20 were a piece of cake. I think getting across the boarder helped rejuvinate me because I was flying after that. Left billy bob in my dust.

Thoughts from today:

-Getting pulled over by the cops and immediately taking out your phone for a selfie, in retrospect, probably not the smartest idea, but how many times does one get pulled over on the freeway riding a bicycle? EXACTLY!
– It is inevitable, if you leave navigation up to a Shannon, you will get lost or take a very scenic detour a couple extra unnecessary miles. So far we are 3 for 3 on going extra miles because of navigational issues.
-Georgia SUCKS..

Mental Status Update

– Started off well(93%) Took a huge dive on mile 60-70( -63%) and once I left Georgia and got my stride back I felt back on track and ready to table the oceanic route. Current status (92.6%)

Physical Status update

– Woke up with sore legs. That is nothing I haven’t been through before with soccer. My best feature (backside) is pretty much numb at this point… I’m not sure if its getting worse, I can’t feel a thing. My hands are numb in one spot, literally have a tingly feeling 24/7 that won’t go away. and my neck has a perminant kink. I am going to need Helga to message that one out after the trip is over.

Excited for the trip tomorrow, especially the ferry, because, that’s the one part of the trip I don’t have to move and I still gain ground!

Day – 4 (5/14/16) – Amelia Island, FL to Flagler Beach, FL

The Stats

Today’s Mileage – 93.43

Trip Mileage – 359.04

Time – 10:00

Calories – 7,015

Elevation Gain – 144 ft

Max speed – 26.48 MPH

Avg speed (pedaling) – 13.1 MPH

 

 

 

 

Bill

Today was a good day…at first.  Getting back on the bike first thing in the morning is always interesting.  You never know where a new sore, ache, pain, etc will show up.  Today it was definitely in the “nether region”, so I was trying to pedal for the first 1/2 mile without sitting down (that doesn’t work very well).

We made the first 20 miles to the ferry pretty quickly and both of us showed up at the same place with no extra detours.  We loaded onto the ferry with all the other cars and motorcycles, they collected our dollars ($1 each), and then the Captain began making a very official announcement as we started moving.  By the time the Captain was done with his speech, we were at the other side.  I think the trip was about 300 yards and took 3 minutes.  I was actually hoping that the boat trip would have lasted longer so I could rest.

We hit our next challenge in Jacksonville…traffic lights.  In sharp contrast to Georgia (which has 1 stoplight), Florida seems to have them every 50 feet.  in addition to the traffic lights, there wastraffic.  It seems that there is a BIG golf tournament this weekend and we got to see everyone who was going.

Eric likes to ride faster than me, so we generally agree on a spot to meet up some 10-15 miles distant.  After we got off the ferry he looked at his map and saw that St. Augustine was 36 miles ahead and said, “I’ll just ride towards there and stop wherever I find a restaurant for lunch”.  I took that to mean that we would stop short of St. Augustine and eat lunch and then continue on.  Well I had to call Eric after not hearing from him for 40+ miles, he was actually sitting in a deli doing God knows what for 45 minutes.  I thought he was just going to keep on going until Miami.

After lunch, we crossed a draw bridge to leave St. Augustine and guess what happens to Bill???  Yep another flat tire.  That’s Bill-4/Eric-0 for those keeping score.  The next 25 miles were pretty brutal since we now had a wind directly in our faces and it seemed like we were riding uphill the whole way.  We passed a beautiful little party spot with pale blue water, sandbars, bikinis, boats, beer and even though we were miles apart, I found out later that Eric and I both cursed those people for having so much relaxing fun.

About 90 miles in I really started to question my life choices, but ended up making it despite myself.

Tomorrow on to Cocoa Beach.

ERIC

I have come to two different conclusions, that my dad’s tire tubes are made out of the weakest material known to man, or that the tires are just exhausted from carrying all the weight and intentionally pop themselves to try and get out of the bike ride. By the end of the trip the score will be 10-0. But the silver lining from all this, is that I get stuck changing every tire and now can change and fix a tire with my eyes closed. Life skill learned! Where is my boy scout badge for that? I am just going to keep my writing short today because I need my sleep tonight and writing essays and studying keeps me up long enough. While waiting 45 mins for my dad to get into town for lunch, I was using my time wisely with people watching and taking naps. Nothing new there. As we continued on our journey I pulled ahead like usual and had a great long phone call with my friend Jackie who kept me company on my ride. I was on the phone when I pulled up to this bridge, I looked to the left and saw a beautiful ocean, waves crashing and sun beaming down. Looked like a place I wanted to be with a margarita in my hand. Then I looked to my left and I thought it was an oasis. There was a body of water with a huge sand bar in the middle. The water was the same color as the arctic gatorade flavor. There were 50+ people walking around the sand bar or wading in the water. Boats anchored and people drinking and having a good time. Jackie can testify for me, as she was on the phone at the time. I almost cried, and I yelled at them as I passed by that they are up to no good and should be doing something more productive with their lives, as I was dying inside, because I wanted to jump off my bike and join them. That sand bar had the whole package, the 3 B’s.. Beer, babes, and boats. I almost gave up the biking all together and jumped in the water. But I carried on because…. yes you guessed it, momma didn’t raise no quitter. I got to the hotel and thats all she wrote.

Mental Update-

I think I’ve gone mental (64.2%)

Physical Update –

My body hates me. I will not be getting on a bike for at least 1 year after this trip. I might just ride all the way to key west and won’t stop until I ride into the ocean and retire my bike into the sea for good.

Day – 5 (5/15/16) – Flagler Beach, FL to Merritt Island, FL

The Stats

Today’s Mileage – 89.49

Trip Mileage – 448.53

Time – 9:05

Calories – 6,456

Elevation Gain – 154 ft

Max speed – 27.89 MPH

Avg. speed (pedaling) – 13.1 MPH

 

 

Bill

Since it’s Sunday, it seems appropriate to thank the Lord that Eric and I healthy enough and in a place in our individual lives where we can share this journey together and that we have been kept safe and out of serious harm.

OK, do you remember The “Tim the Tool Man” TV show?  Tim would go into his backyard and discuss matters with his neighbor over the fence.  Well I have a very wise and knowledgable neighbor named Brian that I speak with, except we speak over a massive white dog instead of a fence.  Thinking back now, I should have probably listened to his advice a couple months ago.  Now you have to know that Brian is a few years older than me, but in great shape.  We went skiing a few times this winter and he left me in the dust.  In fact at the end of the day, I would wait for him in the bar while he was getting in his last runs because I was just exhausted.  Well, when Eric and I dreamed up this ride, we were originally going to ride from Richmond, VA to Charleston, SC and Brian spends a good deal of time in richmond.  So I asked him if he was interested in joining us.  He replied that he didn’t think he was physically up to it.  Maybe I should have taken note that the man who skis circles around me all winter long didn’t think he was capable of making it.  I really should start listening to people…

Guess who got a flat today?!?  well, yes of course I did, but SO DID ERIC!!!!   That just made my day.  I’ll let Eric tell the story (but it’s good). Bill-5/Eric-1

I have a confession to make.  I tried to bribe my son today with a rental car and 2 days lounging in Miami instead of riding down there. I know, I know but hear me out… The motel we stayed at did not have breakfast and so we started out and planned to stop in about 10 miles to eat.  We made the 10 miles, but both of us were dragging like we were not going to make another mile.  So I floated the idea out there…What if I rented a car in Daytona (8 miles up ahead) and then we just drove to Miami and hung out there for 2 days and recovered.  We could still ride from Miami to Key West and I am sure nobody reading this could have cared less that we didn’t ride the whole way.  As I was fleshing out the idea, I really started to get excited about it.  I could taste the margaritas, smell the sunscreen, I was already there.  Eric listened politely, shook his head slightly and said, “Dad, you know me better than that”.  Damn kid turned me down and told me to go ahead and rent the car and meet him at the hotel each night.  I mean, come on, what was I supposed to say to that?  I put my tail between my legs and got back on my stupid bicycle and started pedaling.

Funny enough, when we finally did get to our hotel, I was pretty fresh.  I did laundry, which was WAY overdue, while Mr. “I have to ride the WHOLE thing” took a nap.

So we have passed the 1/2 point in both days and miles.  Tomorrow puts us in Stuart, FL with well over 500 miles behind us.

Time for Game of Thrones.

ERIC

Today’s ride started out rough. No energy, fatigued muscles, and mentally drained. A perfect combination for giving up. At breakfast I was offered a very tempting and mouth-watering bribe. To get in the rental car and soak up the sun (even-out my horrific tan lines) and drink margaritas by the beach for two days in Miami, before taking off to key west to finish the ride. But when I look back at this trip one day and tell my kids of grandkids about the time I rode my bike from Charleston, South Carolina to Key West, Florida, I don’t want to say I gave up half way through and took the easy route. I am not that kind of person. I’m a fighter. I will scrap my way to any finish line, just to prove to myself I can accomplish something. Sports has instilled this philisophy in me. I believe youth sports is great for building a man or woman, teaching valuable life lessons. Especially on how to set goals and achieve them through hard work and not slacking off. I grew into the person I am today from sports. As a kid, I set a big goal. I wanted to play professional soccer. I worked countless hours day in and day out. I busted my ass for a majority of my life to achieve this goal. Blood, sweat, and tears every day just to make my word good to my younger self. I sacrafised going to parties and getting drunk on the weekends or hanging out with friends sometimes.  I eventually made it to college and after that played two years professionally in two different countries. I am thankful for sports and my coaches along the way, including my dad.
So this is where  this bike trip ties into everything. Once I reached my childhood dream, I was content. I wrapped up my soccer career, because I didn’t really have the passion for it anymore and wanted to look into the future for a stable, well paying career to have a family one day and be able to provide. I wanted roots. So I hung up my cleats and set out into the real world. But what a lot of people do not see when athletes retire, is that they become lost.
** Soap Box moment ahead**
I went through depression. I felt lost. I didn’t want to leave my house. I didn’t want to interact with society. I turned into someone I have never seen before and I didn’t know how to fix it. I ruined a lot of good relationships. I distanced myself from everyone. My problem was, after I was done partying and having a care free time. I didn’t have any goals, passions, or desire. I didn’t set any standards for myself. I just went through life in a zombie like motion and I was lost. This was going on for about a year. I recently discovered all this and picked myself up with the help of my family and close friends, who I am forever grateful for. I knew they were there for me when I was on cloud nine and everything was going my way, but when everything went south, people ran away, but family and close friends never left me. So I decided to go back to school and work towards getting into a nursing program. That is why I am studying 2-3 hours every night on this trip trying to get a class done. And when this trip came along, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to show myself that I still have what it takes to set a goal and accomplish it with everything I have. When my dad said, no one would care if we skipped a few days, I thought to myself, yes, no one would care, but at the end of the day, I would care. I set a goal. I want to prove to myself that I can accomplish anything that is put in front of me, and that is the type of person that I am. When I set my mind to something, nothing will stop me from getting to my goal. So in full circle, I couldn’t let margaritas on the beach and a couple days of rest pursuade me into giving up. Because momma didn’t raise no quitter!!
**END Soap Box Moment**

As for the flat tire, 5 days and 450 miles later, my dad’s prayers have been answered. I got a flat tire!! Which turned out to be a good test of my willpower. I was on mile 79 and I just stopped at a gas station for some water and crack-head people watching. I was pulling out of the gas station when I felt my bike was not riding as smooth as it should. I looked down and what do you know.. a flat tire. The problem I had, was my dad was 20 minutes behind me and I was only 10 miles away from the finish line and I haven’t been beat to the finish line yet! He had all  the tire repair equipment and all I had was a measly pump. So I made a decision that I was going to pump up my tire and truck on until it got flat again and repeat the process until I got to the finish line. 10 mines isn’t that far right? Well that turned out to be one hell of a last stretch. I had to stop five times to pump up my tire along that 10 mile stretch and while I was riding I put all of my weight toward my front tire so the back tire would not deflate so fast. I was also riding in my highest gear so I could pedal harder but get to a higher speed. I was exhausted. I had one left turn and about a mile or so left. I pumped up my tire one last time and I made the left turn and what do you know… A nice tall bridge was waiting for me.. maybe the steepest one yet (it certainly felt like it). I was out of breath and going at the pace of a beached whale and when I got to the top of the bridge, the wind kicked in and it wasn’t a gentle wind. It was dead on against me, and strong enough for me to stop pedaling on that last mile and just start cursing into the wind. But I made it. I have made it half way so far. I have met plenty of road blocks and come across many reason to stop and give up. But that’s not who I am. I will fight until the end and find a way to accomplish any goal I set for myself.

Mental Update:
Re-energized and feeling like my old self again. Ready to tackle any obstacle put in my way (110%)

Physical Update:
tired and sore, nothing new. Plenty of time to sleep and drink margaritas when I’m done (75%)

Day – 6 (5/16/16) – Merritt Island, FL to Stuart, FL

The Stats

Today’s Mileage – 95.33

Trip Mileage – 542.86

Time – 12:52

Calories – 8,122

Elevation Gain – 549 ft

Max speed – not sure

Avg. speed (pedaling) – 12.8 MPH

 

 

 

Bill

Today is the first time that we REALLY had some problems.  It started out like normal where the first 10-12 miles are tough as our legs get warmed up.  We were supposed to meet up with an old school friend of Eric’s at the 17 mile mark in Satellite Beach.  Well Eric goes and gets a flat at about 13 miles and this flat refused to be patched.  We went through 3 different tubes (all previously patched) because we had used the last new one on Eric’s flat last night.  At least the location where he broke down had a beautiful view and we even saw a dolphin swim by just a few feet away.  We finally got the tire to hold air and headed off again…for about a mile and had to stop to pump it up again.  Eric decided he was going to do his “pump it up and ride real fast” routine until we hit a bike store which was about 3 miles away.  I lost sight of Eric around a bend and when I got up there, he was stuck waiting for a draw bridge, so much for that plan.  As I pulled up next to him, I felt something stab me in the back of my shoulder so I reached back and could feel something moving under my jersey.  I started slapping at my back and had Eric start punching the area trying to kill whatever it was, but it kept on moving.  I stripped off my shirt and there was a wasp the size of my thumb just sitting there.  Now there is not a lot of extra room in my jersey when I am in it so I really have NO idea how this guy got in there, but he sure bit the heck out of my shoulder.

OK, so now Eric’s tire is beyond flat so I ride ahead to the bike shop while he walks the bike.  I pick up all sorts of goodies and head back towards Eric (Dad to the rescue!!!) and we get his tire changed out.  We even added a Kevlar liner so hopefully this won’t happen again.  We continue to Eric’s friend’s (Brittany) place and proceed to have a very relaxing and enjoyable conversation over PB&J sandwiches and ice cold water.  After getting back on the road, we had tallied only 20 miles and it was already 11am.  7 miles later my rear tire decides that it’s had enough (naturally).  I take my time changing it and add the Kevlar liner there as well.  I got back on and travel (I swear) 100 yards when…PPPSSSHHHH it completely blows out again.  I said a few choice phrases and started to weigh my options.  Cut to the chase, I stripped my bike, called an Uber and had him drive me 3 bikes back to a bike shop where they fixed the tire and I restocked up on bike goodies, then had Mr. Uber drive me back to my bike.

So, now I am 27 miles into a 95 mile day and it is 1pm and 89 degrees.  I decide that I will just put my head down and ride until I can’t ride anymore.  This turned out to be about 20 miles more.  I stopped on the side of the road under a palm tree and did what any normal person would do at this point…I rubbed butter all over my back side.  Hang on…When I was in the bike store they had a product called Chamois Butt’r and one of Eric’s friends swears by it so I bought a bunch.  I was so tired and sore that I was ready to try anything.  I’m not sure it helped with the riding but it sure felt good to put it on.  I am surprised I didn’t get arrested standing on the side of the road with my hand down my pants and a big grin on my face (probably normal in Florida).

OK, so after the buttering, the ride went slowly but fairly uneventfully until I FINALLY got to the hotel at 8PM after 95+ miles.  Our longest day yet, but tomorrow is even longer at 101 miles and see us into Miami.

ERIC

Ask and you shall receive.. Apparently the big guy upstairs read my post yesterday and wanted to turn things up a notch. He turned up the heat and humidity and gave me a nice flat tire, bright and early in the morning that didn’t want to be fixed. Today can be summed up as probably the most physically and mentally exhausting day so far. But I kind of put that on myself. Once we got my tire fixed, we went over to see an old friend of mine I haven’t seen since high school. We were practically neighbors. It was fun catching up, and then we were off again. With the tire and the quick pitstop to visit Brittany, We were pretty behind schedule and I was up till 1 am last night studying, and I still have about 30 pages to read and study along with two quizzes and 1 test. So I gave it my best Lance Armstrong performance and pedaled away. The only problem was that the entire trip the wind was pushing against me. So my usual 40-45 minutes for 10 mile pace turned into an hour minimum. It really made life hard. We started around 7 am and I got into the hotel at 6pm. But I picked up some red bull and gummy bears  and ordered two pizzas, (Best part about burning 7000 calories a day is I can eat anything my heart desires), and started chipping away at the studying. I was pretty overwhelmed with the amount of work this week and didn’t think I was going to do well on the test but ended up getting a 90%. So after a long hard day, the satisfaction of being able to ride 95+ miles a day and study every night till 1 am and still pull off good results is satisfying. I am challenging myself and pulling through with hard work.

Funny Notes:

Dad was sleeping in the hotel just now, I pull out my laptop and read his daily blog. I got to the butt butter part and I couldn’t stop chuckling and laughing. To the point where he wakes up and asks why I am laughing. I can barely talk because Im just visualizing this scinerio and its making my cry of laughter. I finally tell him why and we both are just lying in our beds laughing uncontrollably.  Who slaps and smears butter down their pants in the middle of the street in broad daylight? and grins about it?? Just visualize that.. disturbing but way to funny.

Ok, it’s 1:11 am and we have 101 miles tomorrow. I need to get some sleep. Only 3 rides left before its margaritas and señoritas. Or more realistically, me sitting in the sand with an alcoholic beverage in my hand falling asleep.
THE GOOD LIFE 🙂
Blanchard-Cave wedding is right after that. Very excited and counting down the days! Ive been imagining/rehearsing  my wedding dance moves this whole trip!

Day – 7 (5/17/16) – Stuart, FL to Boca Raton, FL

The Stats

Today’s Mileage – 61.19

Trip Mileage – 604.05

Time – 9:00

Calories – 4.691

Elevation Gain – 103 ft

Max speed – 23.38

Avg. speed (pedaling) – 11.1 MPH

 

 

Bill

A bit of a disappointing day.  We started out as usual and did a 20 mile warm up but right from the start we had a pretty strong wind right in our faces.  I was lucky if I could crawl along at 10 mph.  We can normally travel at 14 mph and up to 18 mph at times.  We were barely moving forward (or so it felt).

We had a long day ahead of us and neither one felt 100%.  We went another 14 miles after our warm up and stopped for lunch at a subway.  Another 12 miles to a CVS for Water and Eric’s Gummie Bears.  We decided to stop in another 10 miles for “dinner “.  We chose a place called Poppies Deli in Del Ray Beach and they were very welcoming.  They kept coming by the table asking questions…made us feel a little like celebrities.  We do kinda draw attention when we walk into a place because of how we are dressed.

Earlier in the day we had ridden through a pretty good rain storm and got pretty soaked.  While we were eating the owner kept watching the weather channel and telling us there was a BIG storm coming and there were Tornado warnings to the north.  Well sure enough it started raining outside before we were finished.  We went outside to survey our situation and decided that we could just push through the last 40 miles in the rain.  So off we went into the rain and we were doing OK for about 3 miles when…BOOM…lightning struck just on the other side of the road.  We quickly decided riding metal bicycles in the open during a lightning storm probably wasn’t a great idea and ducked into the closest hotel.

OK so we have just passed the 600 mile mark with just 200 miles +/- left.  This is our plan at the moment; we will get to sleep early tonight and wake up at 3:30, hit the road by 4am and then go 101 miles to Key Largo.  If we can do that, then we will have about 101 miles left on Thursday to Key West.  So we can still possibly make it to out destination and get back to Charleston in time for the wedding (my Niece’s) on Friday night.  Our flight is scheduled out of Fort Lauderdale at 1:55pm on Friday and we plan on renting a car in Key West to get us back to FLL for the flight.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

ERIC

It’s the final stretch. We planed this trip on a whim and left very little room for error. Today’s ride was very frustrating. Body’s are torn apart and mind’s are being tested. Riding into 14 mph winds for 10 hours straight two days in a row can really break someone down. I feel like I am going nowhere, fast. At least I have my gummy Bears to brighten my spirits. They were on sale at Walgreens so I went in while waiting for my dad to show up, and I bought about 5 bags. After lunch  we wanted to brave the storm and ride through as far was we could. That didn’t last long. I saw a bolt touch down about 100 yards or less from me and I threw in the towel right away. I rather see another day and not end up on national news. “Bicyclist going from Charleston to Key West gets struck by lightning because he is not smart enough to find shelter during thunder storm”. So after losing 40 miles today, our already tight schedule, now has no room for error, if we want to make it to our ending point. So lets keep the fingers crossed for good weather, and will someone please pray for the wind to go away. Because 200 more miles into the wind, and I will end up throwing my bike into the ocean and run the rest of the way. I swear I can run faster then the speed at which I’m pedaling.
No school work tonight because I got most of the weeks work out of the way last night. But the constant 4-5 hours of sleep each night has caught up to me. I found myself sitting up against a wall at the gas station, waiting for my dad to arrive, just dozing off and sleeping. So for all this to come together I decided to treat my body properly. I got to the hotel tonight and took an Ice bath. The went to the gym and rolled out my muscles on the foam roller. I also plan on getting atlas 6 hours of sleep tonight. I am going to need to put up a fight to the finish line. So time for bed. Goodnight.

Day – 8 (5/18/16) – Boca Raton, FL to Key West, FL

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OK, well we got to our ultimate destination…maybe not exactly how we planned.  At least we are not in pain anymore.  Updates will follow.

 

Day – 9 (5/19/16) – Key West, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill

So we have spent the last day and a half here in key west resting, relaxing, and recuperating.  We explored the town a bit and ate at the tourist traps.  All in all it’s just another place on the map.  Turns out there is nothing magical here in Key West.  There was no one waiting with a scroll that had all of life’s answers on it when we arrived.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure not one person in town realized that we are here.  So what was it that made us push so hard to get here?  Well I think that the answers were found along the way and not at the finish line.  I learned many things about myself as well as Eric and I even slayed a few dragons along the way.  The fact that we didn’t “finish” the trip makes absolutely no difference to me.  I achieved every single goal I had in mind…and then some.

I am extremely grateful to my son for allowing me to spend this time with him (although most of it was staring at his rear while he rode ahead).  I don’t know of too many children who would spend the time that he has to indulge an old man’s crazy ambitions.  Maybe that is something we share, a drive to do something a bit more challenging and possibly a little crazy.  These are the stories that we will tell our grandchildren (although they won’t believe us) and the memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.

As for future adventures – we have already talked about finishing this ride in November.  We will be in West Palm Beach for an event over Thanksgiving weekend and that is only 40 miles from where we stopped riding.  If anyone is interested in doing 240+/- miles in 3 days in Nov just let one of us know.

We have a group of 6 of us who will be climbing Mt. Whiney (14,505 ft.) in September.  I have even convinced my wife, Kristina, to come along on this one as well as Eric, a co-worker James Wilson, my neighbor and friend Brian Kimsey, and my wife’s co-worker Felix Barajas.  That will be a short but epic 2-day adventure, but I am sure lessons will be learned and great memories made.

Keep pushing yourself

 


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