Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last night of the ride - in Palatka

Today was our last long ride of the trip. It's hard to believe that it is pretty well over. Tomorrow's ride will be a "token" ride. I started the trip out west riding alone, and after the halfway point started riding more consistently with Patty. Most riders pair up with others who go at a similar pace and personality. We have 3 trios, four duos, and three singles who ride alone or occasionally with others. Today the "duos" all rode together -- Janet Bee and Marni, Mary Jo and Donna, Elisabeth and Peggy, and Patty and I. We had a pretty noticeable headwind, so took turns pulling at the front. We didn't have a real paceline, but having someone at the front helped make the ride easier. It was a nice change of pace riding with these ladies and they were lots of fun through the duller part of the ride!

Didn't stop to see the 13 foot gator. Had some rolling hills and pretty scenery for the first half of the ride. Once we got onto SR100, the traffic increased. Still had some hills, but it wasn't as enjoyable because of the truck traffic. In one town we were told that the beautiful bike path we saw went quite a ways to Palatka. It didn't. A local bicyclist told us the plan was to run a bike path to Palatka, but it just hasn't been finished. So, after that pleasant interlude we were stuck on the busy SR100 for 20 more miles. It at least had a shoulder which was in pretty good condition. Once we got into Palatka, the shoulder filled with road debris and eventually disappeared in the town proper. Went over one high bridge right before the hotel, and Patty didn't hesitate one bit. We sang "99 bottles of beer on the wall" starting at 42 bottles and working backward by 2's to make it harder since we were pretty hot and tired. I'm so proud of her overcoming her bridge phobia.

When we arrived (a little before 2 p.m.), there were some families and friends at the hotel cheering the riders. That was great. We can feel the excitement of the last day building. Had lunch at the restaurant next to the hotel. There really wasn't much of an option over the last half of the ride until we got to Palatka. The food was really good and reasonably priced. Hate eating lunch so late -- I'm not hungry for dinner.

Bike stats: 78.2 miles; 5 hrs. 54 minutes riding time; 1,967 total trip miles. Yahoo!!! I'll make 2,000 tomorrow. Most riders (non-sag drivers) are over 2,500 and some over 3,000 miles.

Food stats: Last night had a spoonful of curried broccoli and chicken over a spoonful of noodles. Had cereal and a banana for breakfast. A protein bar on the road. Had blackened shrimp, broccoli au gratin, a couple of hush puppies and fruit salad for lunch. Don't know what Linda is cooking for dinner.
Called Peter and he was still on the road to St. Augustine (near the South Carolina/Georgia border). He's a saint to drive all the way to pick me up. Can't wait to see him tomorrow!!


Thom said...

YEA NANCY!!!!!! I haven't heard if Kak has kept up with her commitment to this ride, hmmmm....
10% of 2,0000 miles - get going Kak!
You're going to have to be careful when you return to Vermont. If you keep eating this well you're going to rival the Blimp!
Lots of love. We'll all be thinking about you tomorrow. Give our aloha to Peter as well.

kak said...

I concur - YEA, Nancy. We all knew you could do the bike ride but having a riding buddy - didn't see that coming! Actually, I knew you would bond - it's what women do. So much has happened while you were gone but it's kinda nice to do something where you can let the world go for awhile (or just move to Hawaii). Know you're looking forward to Peter and then your puppy. Spanich has started hiding (along with Bill). We'll be waiting. Luv ya, Kak

Mel said...

Nancy -- thanks for sharing your journey with us. I've enjoyed every post and every picture! Enjoy your trip home. -- Mel

marty said...

Congratulations!!!! Wow! We really didn't believe you'd make it, but you showed us! Must be the Kelley stubborn-side. It will be an adjustment getting back to home, Peter, and home-cooking. Let us know how the transition goes.
Will you blog your trip home?