62.24 Miles - 06/25/11 - an A1A metric.
Today was the first ride after 8 days out of the saddle, due to a few issues - last Friday I needed to rest for Saturday's Warrior Dash (a post I'll eventually get around to), Saturday was Warrior Dash, Sunday was recovery mode from Warrior Dash. Monday & Tuesday were packing and getting ready for our vacation, and Wednesday & Thursday were driving days. I would have loved to ride yesterday but just didn't have the energy after two nights of little sleep.
So yesterday we went on a drive to look out some areas for biking and when I got back last night I spent some time mapping out routes. Bicycling around where we are staying doesn't look too safe at all - no shoulders, narrow roads, etc. - and Florida is notorious for killing it's bicyclists, so I picked A1A, a 30ish mile drive, but well worth it. Designated bike lanes and not an abundance of vehicles.
I woke up at 5:15 thinking I'd ride by 6:15, but Florida doesn't have as wild of swings in sunrise/sunset times that I'm used to, and it was still dark. I parked at Sebastian Inlet State Park, which cost $4, but at least I didn't have to worry about being towed or anything. Plus, I don't mind paying for State Park usage, as it helps keep them open, especially in this shitty economy. I was riding by 7:15, south on A1A.
I love A1A - we drove it for 200 miles several years ago. It took 6 hours but I like driving it and like looking at the ridiculously lavish beach houses. The chance to ride it at a much slower pace than in a car was too good to pass up. Not a shock to anyone - Florida is as hilly as a pool table. There are NONE. The only elevation gain you're going to experience around here is going over a bridge.
My original goal was to do 31 miles south and then turn around. At mile 24 I needed to refill my water bottles and the sky was looking iffy. I decided to head back north and see how I was doing at mile 48 before committing to anything further. It is late June in Florida, after all, and it was going to really heat up soon. Along the way I stopped at a 7-Eleven to refill bottles and get some food (sugar!) in me.
About 5 miles from the car I turned into the Golden Sands beach parking lot to fill up my water bottles again and spotted a beach shower. I ran my head under it and that was the deciding factor - I was going for a metric. What the hell - it's not like I'll be able to ride this whenever I wanted - I could suffer a little. I'd have to ride past the car 7 miles and turn around to end up with 62 (100km). I went over the bridge for the first time and on the way down popped my chain - robbing me of a pedaling-free 20+mph free ride. I turned around at a BP (where I refilled the bottles again) and headed back the last 7 miles.
I'm not going to lie - with 2 to 3 miles left I was DONE. Had nothing left in the tank. I still had to make it back over the bridge, and I did, somehow. Thankfully my chain didn't pop and I coasted to the end. It was an exhausting ride but totally worth it. Just having the change in scenery and instead of smelling fertilizer for miles on end I was treated to ocean air and hibiscus. It was almost as if a train full of Glade tipped over and leaked out.
A pic I took at the first stop with my iPhone. I really like it:
Final tally: 10 22oz bottles of water, 6 of them with Nuun electrolyte tablets, peanut butter M&Ms, and a bottle of Vanilla Nesquik. Never peed. Sweat it all out.
I recorded the entire ride with my GoPro and will probably watch it while I'm pedaling away in the basement in January when it's snowing outside.