The keys are a mixed bag of heat, humidity, incredible beauty, weather devastation (look up hurricane Irma – they’re not recovered and might not be for some time still), and more bridges and incredible views than imaginable.
The Seven Mile bridge was amazing. I’d been nervous about it, but I had no panic or anything. I just rode and kept riding. Toward the top of the bridge there were a couple of other cyclists who passed me and they may have said something but the wind was coming from every direction and I couldn’t hear them. When I got fully across they were waiting at the end, clapping and cheering. The cycling community recognizes that while it’s every person’s individual ride, it’s also important to recognize each other for the battle we each have overcome that we know nothing about.
Entering Big Pine Key (the one with the tiny endangered deer) and with 33 miles to go, I hit something with my rear tire and almost immediately had a flat tire. I’ve been riding tubeless for two years, and had forgotten what this was even like. It has been TWO YEARS since I had a flat tire. So I started walking and texted Randy to come get me. I tried just pumping it back up, as often if there is a minor puncture the tire can just lose pressure and then reseal, but it was obvious with the sealant loss that wasn’t going to work. I called the nearest bike shop that came up when I googled it, but they are just a bike rental shop. The guy on the phone recommended Island Bikes on Key West, and I called and asked if they could fix it. Upon arrival they put my bike up on the stand and tried again to inflate it. Sealant sprayed everywhere, as the whole sidewall had a puncture that would not seal. I’d come 3,767 miles without incident, the finish line in sight, and they’d need to replace the tire. Which they did quickly and efficiently. I cannot be more appreciative of the service they provided. They also asked what precipitated this whole thing, and I told them the abbreviated story while they worked. They gave me an Island Bikes tank top and said to let them know if I need anything in the morning when I got to the island.
Picked mom up at the airport after her delayed flight, and met Dawn and the crew to discuss the morning itenerary. Not kidding you guys, they literally drove all night from Leesburg, Geoegia to get here, in two cars. I have the coolest friends.
32 miles to go. We leave early in the morning, and I should be finishing at roughly 10 AM Eastern Daylight Time.
Who knew that Someday, when you reach out and grab it, tastes like Mango Key Lime pie?