Honestly I don’t know if I have enough to write about, but I’m going to split it into two posts anyway. After all, it is my blog 🙂 And just so you know, all images are clickable to larger sizes.
Anyone who has spent time with me knows I am not a morning person. Never have been and probably never will be. Mom is the same way. However, Mom and Dad had to be at Cypress Gardens by 5:45 AM at the latest to get the details of their volunteer assignment. So, John and I got our butts out of bed at the crack of dawn and headed with them. We were at Cypress Gardens by 5:30, and guess what?, it was still dark out.
After getting in, we roamed around until about 7am, that’s when everyone loosely lined up to head out on the actual ride. There was a rumored 1600 people registered to ride! That’s a lot of people! Keep that number in mind…
Send off was supposed to be at 7, but we didn’t get going until about 7:10, by that time the natives were all getting restless. John and I did snap pictures of each other while waiting. We were both VIB’s, that means we were able to raise the minimum $1000 needed for jerseys. Given all the hard work that went into getting the jerseys, we wore them proudly on Saturday.
After taking off I thought we were doing pretty well. We were averaging about 15 mph to start and things were going pretty well. However, I was surprised when I came up onto the first direction sign with the milage. The ride was split into the option of 50mph, 75 mph or on Saturday 100 mph. John and I had decided we’d do the 75 each day. Well, it really wasn’t 50, 75 or 100 miles. It was 53, 83 or 103. They lied to us! But oh well, we’re on the way, we’re doing good. And if you’re interested in the route, here ya go!
We got to the first rest stop pretty quickly, took a quick break and headed on to the next. Somewhere between the first and second or second and third rest stop (pretty sure second and third) I discovered someone else had lied. I’d really like to find the person (persons?) who said Florida is a flat state. I want to know where they went that it’s flat and why we couldn’t be there too! This is the first hill section that we encountered. The picture is from the top. The downhill that is seen in the distance, we went up the other side of that, down the hill and then I hauled my butt up the hill I’m standing at the top of. That was not fun, but it wasn’t as bad as to come.
Rest stop three was the last stop before lunch. At this time it’s around 11 or so, we’d gone roughly 30-something miles or so. So we head out to lunch and discover a ton more hills. Lots of hills. I felt like I was biking in Duluth! Except we did have some down portions, just not as much as I would have liked. Or maybe it just felt that way. I honestly don’t know at this point. The trip from rest stop 3 to 4 was the longest one we had, it was roughly 14 1/2 miles, all of it hills. Leaving rest stop 3 I actually walked my bike up a hill because I needed to work a different set of muscles for a while.
On our way to lunch Mom and Dad called twice. The first time they said we didn’t have too much farther to go (yeah, it goes quicker in a motor vehicle!) and that when we came around the bend a photographer would be there. We kept saying “oh, there’s a bend, this must be it.” The second time they called, Mom asked where we were. My very testy response was “On another damn hill!” And besides, we were in the middle of the flippin‘ state, how did I know where we were? We FINALLY got to lunch, about 12:30 I think. It meant a nice long trip down a hill (Oh thank god!). We were served pb&j’s or Bubba Burgers. The burgers smelled really good, but by this time I didn’t know if I was hungry or wanted to throw up (we’ve decided it was the gatorade doing that), so I stuck with the sandwiches.
Heading out of lunch I had a problem with my bike, my chain got jammed. A SAG driver had some lubricant, so we lubed up my chain and decided to SAG to the next rest stop looking for one of the bike mechanics. When we left in the truck I commented that “I finally get to pass people.” Remember the 1600 people that were registered? Yeah, about 1/2 probably passed me. I passed no one except John. When we went into lunch maybe a dozen tops came in after us.
The mechanic looked at my chain (since it was “stuttering” when I switched gears) and found out my cable was loose. After getting that tightened, John headed to the next rest stop on bike and I caught a ride. We hung out at the next stop before trying to head to the final rest stop. We made it 8 miles I’m sorry to say before catching a ride to the end.
Dinner would have been much more enjoyable if the sound system was turned down. When the singer started to sing Mom and I actually had to shout to hear each other, and we were sitting right next to each other. So we didn’t stay to listen to the speaker, which I was a bit disappointed at. But, it’s probably a good thing, what do you guys think?