The 2010 MS 75 Mile Bike Tour
What happened to 150 miles? Read on…
Thank you for your sponsorship this year. With your help, I exceeded my goal and raised over $1,800.00 for the National MS Society.
What was the ride like this year?
About a week before the tour, I checked the weather forecast to plan for the weekend. For the past five years, the forecast has been sunny with some wind; this year was different. The forecast changed daily from fair weather to foul. By the time Friday rolled around, thunderstorms won the weekend and I was looking at a possible car ride home. But, let me digress a bit.
As soon as the prior year’s tour ends, I check the MS web site for the following year’s dates. When I get the date, I make a reservation in Key Largo for that weekend. Why? Buddy drives down to meet me and she doesn’t camp unless it’s at a hotel. For the past few years, we stayed at the Bayside Resort. For 2010, the room rate had increased to $200 for one night, a bit steep for today’s economy. I looked around and found a two bedroom, two bath condo at Ocean Points Resort for less than $200 and shared the condo with Mom and Rick. The resort is beautiful and we highly recommend it. There are docks you can rent for your boat and a ramp for those that trail their boat, but, I digress too much, back to the ride.
This year, I had the opportunity to ride the tour with Sigrid, one of our Pembroke Cycle riders. I like to get to the start area early so I picked up Sigrid at 4:45am for the drive down to Homestead race track; our starting point. At first, Sigrid questioned the early start, but I told her, better to be early than late. Well, the prophecy turned out correct. Traffic was held up because there was a bad accident on the turnpike and only one road leading to the parking lot at Homestead race track. Luckily, we arrived at the track before the accident and resulting traffic jam.
We unloaded our gear, ate a simple breakfast and used the potty one more time. We visited some friends and chatted until 6:30am when I prompted Sigrid to queue up for the ride around the track. We managed to start up at the front with the Zimmerman riding team when we traveled through the tunnel that takes riders out on the track. We circled around pit row and on to the track stopping at the start/finish line. After some ceremony, the green flag dropped and we were on our way. Sigrid and I rode the outside line on the track up to the top of the banks eventually leading to another tunnel and out onto the road for our ride to Key Largo.
A mass (2,500) of bike riders at Homestead Race Track
We rode strong with a stiff wind at our back for half the ride. In order to get in 75 miles, we rode north on the US-1 bus line to SW 216th street and then headed west. We traveled passing huge farms and homes. You could taste the earthly smell of fertilizer as we rode past the summer vegetable crops and plant nurseries which had thousands of blooms soaking up what sun they could find. Eventually we turned south onto Card Sound road, the wind blasting our face. I planned on stopping at the 50 mile mark for a quick lunch, Sigrid wanted to continue on so we split at that point.
Sigrid riding up Card Sound Bridge
She arrived at Pennekamp Park about 11:20am. At the lunch stop, I paused and ate a quick bite. The sky was dark with large water filled clouds moving at a rapid pace across from the southeast toward the northwest. I knew we were in for a stormy evening. After lunch, I continued toward Card Sound Bridge. It was tough riding up the bridge due to the wind coming from the south east at 20 mph, but I made it and did not stop for a breather this time!
Riding, not walking, up Card Sound Bridge
Card Sound road travels in an east-south-east direction for ten miles before turning south to meet up with US-1 on the Key Largo side. When I made the turn, the tree line blocked most of the wind and I was able to crank up to speed. I was cruising at 19 mph when I came across another rider stopped on the side of the road. His legs were shaking and the rider was suffering from dehydration. I had him drink about half a bottle of Gatorade and followed him to rest stop nine. After informing the volunteers about his condition, I continued on. I felt strong as I headed south.
I paused at rest stop ten for a quick hello to Devon, John’s number one bicycle mechanic; then continued on and arrived at Pennekamp Park at 12:20 pm, twenty minutes later than I wanted, but a great time for me.
After 75 miles, still standing 🙂
At Pennekamp, I decided to haul the bike to our hotel. The weather forecast called for rain throughout the evening and I didn’t want the bike getting soaked. Buddy came to the park and we drove Ocean Point Suites. We enjoyed some beer and mozzarella sticks while watching the ocean churn. The winds were picking up and the storms were on the way.
After staring at the weather channel for hours, I fell asleep about 8 pm while Buddy, Mom and Rick went out for dinner. The forecast called for a break in the showers between 5 am and early afternoon. I had hoped the weather window would allow for a ride back to Homestead track, but, it was not meant to be.
I awoke at 4 am and got ready for the drive to Pennakamp for the bike ride home. At 5 am, I heard a strange sound; it was the sound of rain hitting the metal roof of our building. I turned on the Weather Channel and focused on line after line of showers heading due north. That was it, ride cancelled.
Eventually, we packed up, checked out and stopped for a fantastic breakfast at the Key Largo Conch Café. After food and lots of coffee, Buddy and I headed back to the race track to pick up my truck; then, onto home.
It was a short but great ride. All the training I did this year paid off. My average speed was three mile per hour greater than last year; an almost twenty percent gain. Next year, I plan on doing the entire ride without stopping; I’ll see how the year goes.
I thank my wife, mother and Rick for joining me in the keys this year. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.
I thank all the sponsors that helped me exceed my goal this year. Without you, the ride would be just a bike ride with no meaning. The dollars you contributed may be the ones that find the cure for this dreaded disease.
I thank all my rider buddies (in no particular order) that pushed me to ride harder and farther this year: John, Louie, Tracy, Jose C., Jack, Blanca, Dennis, Sarah, Sigrid, Joel, Robert, Juan, Julio, Joanne, Vicki, Dan, Jessie, Andy, Jorge, James, Jay, Patrick, Efrain, Claudia, Charlie, Mandy, Jose G., Marie, Shaun, Angela, Genora and Tim.
Until next year,
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