Team Lance-a-lot – Ride Day
As you might expect, the Florida morning was warm and humid. The skies were clear. I poised at the starting line with an extra bit of energy knowing that my sons Lance and Seth were there to give me a high five as I departed. The first leg of the journey had an auspicious start. Following a group of riders, including a coach, we make a wrong turn. A few miles later we are at the start again seeing the slower pack just departing. Oops. Start over. Our lead pack is now in the back. We slowly pass our way back to the front.
On the North loop we ride through the quaint beach town of Fernandina. I latch onto a group of Denmark riders that are making good time. I can’t understand a word of their cycling chatter but they are courteous group riders and impeccably dressed. One rider in front of me had calf-length socks and bright white cycling shoes. Before I know it I am 25 miles in and at the rest stop where Lance, Seth, and my brother are volunteering. I bid adieu to my Danish friends and pull in to the central rest stop. At this stage I am averaging just under 18 mph.
After a brief rest and hugs I depart for the southern loop. On this loop I am able to catch a draft from a group from Wisconsin. The southern loop rides over two bridges with views of the ocean (and wind from there too) and some straight-a ways lined with large pine and palm trees. I breeze past the south rest stop while my group slips in. I am now alone on the course. It is a nice ride north with the wind at my back. I hit the central rest stop again and peel in to see my kids once again. At this stage I am 60 miles in but I am not sure if it is Lance or myself who is more weary. I tell them that I will not be back at this rest stop again so they can take a break from the cheering/volunteering until the finish.
I am heading through the north loop again. A couple of riders pass me and I latch onto their wheel. It is a nice pull through the neighborhoods until they peel off for the rest stop. I keep going, this time alone, and into the wind. I wish some fast rider will pass me so I can duck behind them but none came. I do see all the slower riders in the opposite direction. We give each other a nod or salute when we pass to give each other encouragement to go on. When the south rest stop comes into focus I gladly stop for a break at 88 miles in.
The course is actually supposed to go a couple of miles farther south before you turn around. I did that earlier in the day and it was a steep overpass. I wasn’t interested in doing it again. Remember that wrong turn I made at the start? Well, I had already banked a few extra miles, so once I was rested I hooked up with a couple of other riders and a coach to head towards the finish. The coach was a female rider from Jersey. She led us at a comfortable pace and was very friendly. A rider on the opposite side of the road had a flat and she did her duty to help. Now I am leading the group home. No problem, I feel pretty good. That is until I hit the bridge again and the wind whips up. As I attempt to keep the pace I feel the twinge of a cramp in my left calf. Darn-it, this seems to always happen at the end. I have to back off just a bit and find myself alone in the stretch until the coach caught back up. I couldn’t believe she was able to bridge the gap. We rode together to the finish where she let me ride in solo. As I slip past the finish, Lance is there to hand me my medal as I pass by.
Another successful ride is in the books. Thanks to the flat terrain this was the fastest that I have ever completed a century. I was on the bike for just over 6 hours averaging 16.9 mph. This was also a record for my fundraising at just over $18.5k. That put me as the #6 highest fundraiser at Amelia Island. Thanks again to all of my supporters for making that possible. I really appreciate your continued support.
Go Team Lance-a-lot!