Posted by: robinson2000 | August 30, 2012

Counting Down The Miles

 

28th – 29th August

 

With the nightmares of the storm still fresh in our minds from the previous day, we woke to find a much clearer sky, without any rain, but still a strong headwind blowing up the coast. We left the comforts of our motel and began the arduous task of pedalling into the wind to find breakfast. It’s never a great feeling when your GPS is showing nothing ahead of you as your stomach grumbles away, but after 11 miles a nice little restaurant came into view and served up a big helping of pancakes and coffee. As we were about to leave, a man beckoned us over and began showing us Google maps on his smartphone of the route ahead, except he was useless at using the device and only served in delaying our day.

 

With fuel for the fire, we continued on Highway A1A, which basically runs the length of Florida. The wind was still causing havoc with our speeds as we put our heads down and grinded out the revolutions. At the 30 mile mark, Chris’s rear cassette was making some awful sounds, forcing us to find yet another bike shop. We pulled into a well-stocked shop and explained the situation to the old chap behind the counter. After running his expert eye over bike he declared that in 11 years he had never seen a chain in such bad condition. As he went about replacing the rear cassette and the chain, he made several damning remarks about the state of the bike and mocking the people at Halfords who had serviced it. Even with the new chain and the new rear cassette, the gear change still wasn’t right as the front cogs were also in such bad condition. He went about replacing the front cogs but since they hadn’t been removed in years, he couldn’t undo the bolt that attached them to the bike. This meant that Chris had just shelled out over £100 for parts and labour, but it hadn’t improved the bike as he couldn’t replace the front cogs. The upshot of all this meant that having gone from a bike with 27 gears, he now only had 8 working gears and was a £100 down.

 

With still 50 miles remaining and time ticking, we pulled onto US1 and started pedalling as fast as we could. Lady luck wasn’t anywhere to be found today as the instant we left the bike shop, the skies turned grey and we were treated to quick showers and gusts of strong headwind. Still though, we persevered in the poor conditions until I felt the familiar feeling of a flat rear tyre and to add salt into the wound, a rear spoke had snapped completely in half! Road side repairs are never fun as you’re hot and sweaty from the ride, tired from the pedalling, and stressed from having to fix your only mode of transportation, but it had to be done.

 

We continued at a slow pace until hunger got the best of us and we pulled into Billy’s Bar & Grille for a bite to eat. It was a mistake in the first place to even step foot in the joint as we couldn’t see through the shuttered windows from the outside. The place was an utter dive but once you’ve stepped in you can’t really turn and leave. The bar was actually split into two sections. At the far end was a neon lit bar frequented by a bunch of degenerates, and other half was decorated in pirate memorabilia. We chose to sit in the pirate section and were the only two there as we ordered 2 burgers, which came up looking raw.

 

It was now after 4pm and we still had 30 miles to complete before camp. Thankfully the winds had dropped slightly meaning we could cover the miles at a quicker pace but it was still a slog on tired legs. We made it to the 83 mile mark at just after 6.30pm and wearily erected the tent in the hard ground. We were both completely exhausted, both mentally and physically from the struggles of the day and just wanted rest and sleep. This was easier said than done as we were constantly attacked by flies whilst eating our pasta and soup, and when we went to sleep in the tent, it was so hot that we were both perspiring profusely.

 

It really was an awful night’s sleep trapped in our sweatbox of a tent and we were both pretty grumpy getting up. We packed up early and headed out to find breakfast. Again, we had to cycle nearly 9 miles in order to find a restaurant. Our aim for the day was be in touching distance of the finish line so we planned a 65 mile ride. The ride was much better, taking us through Fort Pierce, Jupiter and ending in Fort Lauderdale. It stuck on the coastal road for most of the day giving us spectacular views of the deep blue and of the stunning properties that were on either side of the road. As we were out of campsites, we finished at a motel only 35 miles from the finish point. Tomorrow we’ll be there and can finally relax.  

 

Total Mileage: 2375

 

Miles Remaining: 35

 

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Responses

  1. Well done Ben and Chris!! Not long to go now. You – and Chris’s bike – have both been through alot. Looking forward to meeting you at the airport on Monday – I trust you will have had a shower (or two) by then. Perhaps a nice quiet package holiday to Spain next year? I doubt it…. what’s the fun in that!! How could I go through the summer holidays without your blogs? Be safe. Love. Dad

  2. ¡Felicitaciones! You’re almost there and soon you can relax in Miami and sort those tan lines out! Have a well deserved yest and enjoy a mojito or two. x


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