Day 20 – 21: Hello Sunshine State (And Sunburn)

Ugh sorry again folks.  The past 2 days I did not have Wi-Fi so I could not catch up on this blog.  No fear though! I will catch up (eventually) and we can both reminiscence these days when I get back. Until then you will just have to deal with my past antics a few days ago.  Now, onto Florida.

Day 20: If only Florida was flat…

Just hanging around down south

Ok so here is the thing with cycling folks: Get rid of one element of nature, and another jumps in its place.  It was especially evident this day when we finally left Alabama and rode 87 miles to DeFuniak Springs, FL.  I left with Brad, Bri, and Erika to experience another adventure of a lifetime as we would finally make it to Florida after travelling 20 days.  Initially our ride was a bit hilly, but nothing that surprised us as we were still in ‘Bama and we had been dealing with the hills the past few days.  After only about 20 miles though, we started experiencing some really flat roads, however with flat lands come some terrible headwinds.  It’s like a back and forth, have hills and little wind, or no hills and it be windy.   It’s pretty tough doing either, but hey, this is what we signed up for and

This guy came out to visit us at our second water stop!

 

I love the challenge of both elements.  We actually experienced really flat roads until we hit Florida.  I always thought Florida was flat, but apparently it is not.  These are not normal hills that we had experienced earlier in the ride either, but tall, rolling, long hills with a nasty headwind to accompany it.  This happened within the last 17 miles and it was tough because you think you are going to get to the easiest part of the ride, but it was just the toughest.   It’s rough dealing with one challenging element, but pushing yourself to conquer two feels nearly impossible.  Nearly is the key word because we fought through the hills and headwinds like champions and made it to our host in a grand fashion.  It was a fun day overall and I am so happy that we can stop heading south and finally start making our trek out west.

 

Day 21: The boys are back in town

Photo: The boys are back in town #QuadSquad

Just a candidly posed photo of the Quad Squad

Ouch again.  We woke up early because we had to cycle 103 miles to Pensacola, FL it was going to be rough.  Like I mentioned early, you take away one element, and you get another just as worse.  Fortunately for the Quad Squad (From left to right in the picture above: Dan, Myself, Matt, and Brad), we have a great dynamic where we form pace line and switch off leading in the front for 2 miles then fall to the back so we equally share the work of pushing through the headwinds so those behind can rest a little following close behind.   Florida finally delivered its promise of flat lands for us so we were able to cruise along the roads pretty quickly.  Because we were able to go so quickly, we decided to go unsupported for the day so that we would not have to worry about waiting for the other groups to catch up to us.  The highway we were on is

Enjoying these lovely victory beers after a hard day of riding

pretty touristy and had plenty of places for us to refill our water bottles and take short breaks along our route.  It was a crazy day though because the whole time we basically stayed on 2 highways, and one of the them for about 70 miles.  It is hard to explain over writing, but nothing is worse then being on the same stretch of a road feeling like you are not going anywhere.  For the Quad Squad though, we were able to crush the route even with terrible headwinds (read: Absolutely awful where you are pedaling as hard as you can but can’t move any faster and it hurts so much trying to push through it).  We averaged about 18 mph the whole time with some peak speeds of around 21 mph which is really fast and allowed us to ride for 5.5 hours of ride time with a total time from start to finish of 7 hours.  Essentially, we crushed it and enjoyed the victory of riding another century with a round of beers and relaxing at the host.

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