The day dawned early, though not quite as early as the rest of the week. We left our Airbnb at 6:15 and drove to Big Pine Key. I didn’t see any deer – they mostly stay off the main road, I suspect.
The first 16.5 miles were seamless. Just a touch of headwind and perfectly overcast, cooler than hoped for, (perfect) and an easy 15 miles that I pulled down in under 80 minutes. Five super-short miles later Dawn and my mom met me at mile 10. Then again at every mile marker they could find. We clipped the chain each link along the way until mile 1, when the GPS took me down side streets instead of the main road, but apparently the mile marker there is right in front of a strip club, so… yeah.
Mile marker Zero came and went in a blur. One minute I was almost done, and the next I was all done. Mom was telling a bike tour group what I’ve just done and the tour guide said, “I’ve been cycling a long time and that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Rode to Fort Zachary Taylor beach and took off my shoes and helmet, and Randy took all the electronics and gear off the bike. We took a bunch of pictures with the group, and then walked out to the beach, where we put the front tire in the water and took a bunch more pictures.
Then I felt a little superhuman, and “had to” lift the bike over my head.
Randy took the bike when I was done with that fun pose and headed to the car, as I ran into the ocean. Probably not too good for the cycling chamois, but it felt like it needed to be done.
So I’m done. Many people have asked, “what’s next?” First, as soon as we get back to the room I’m taking a nap. Randy gets first right of refusal on any wild ideas I get into my head. So stand by on that one.
Mom got me some original art for my birthday that is poignant. One piece is from the perspective of looking at one side of the road Mile Marker Zero, and one piece is from the perspective of the other side of the road. One says, “END”, and the other says, “BEGIN”. Today I relish in the accomplishment of a pretty big thing. Tomorrow I begin a new journey, and I don’t know what that will be. I have no doubt it will have its bumps, but I also have no doubts that for me, at least, it will be like riding a bike.