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- check out our Monday blog on www.bmxmania.com for exclusive details you won’t find here
I awoke around 6:30 am this morning after a semi-sleepless night. When I realized by 11:30 pm that I was wide awake, I set out to return email messages and confirm our travel route for the next day. As the Beast and Jim (oops, sorry, I mean “Frankenbutt”; why do I keep calling him Jim?) snoozed, I got back to a family in Maine who’s following us and may be moving to the same town I live in; filled them in on the local basics. I also emailed Bud in Virginia who is overseeing our arrival at two tracks: VMP in Petersburg and also Richmond BMX in Richmond. He gave us some camping options and one really intrigued me: staying overnight in a church! There’s something we haven’t done as a family; should be interesting.
We broke down camp and were out on the road about 8:30am, earlier than the day before by 15-20 minutes. That’s a good sign; our camp duties are becoming streamlined. We left LaBelle and headed out onto Route 80 East towards Clewiston. Just as we left the city limits, a concrete bike path ran about 15 feet off the side of the road and we hopped on it, enjoying the feeling of safety it gave us. After 3 miles, it ended and we had to get back onto the road which intermittently had a shoulder. Most of the time, we rode the white line which bordered a drop off to sand and grass. During one of our stops, I got an email from Kirk @ J&R Bicycles, letting us know that he had biked to work today! Although he’s been a BMX rider for years, he’s new to road riding. He said it took 30 minutes to recover after the 8 mile ride. Kirk, I remember how long it took me to recover when we started training. Hang in there. It will get better!
We continued on and saw three different construction crews as we rode into the headwinds and to each I hollered: “Put in a BIKE LANE!” They waved, uninterested in what I yelled. Interstate 80 east stretched on without gas stations, convenience stores, even houses for about 10 miles. We saw a little store and stopped to refill water bottles. Frakenbutt went in and convinced the clerk to fill our bottles with ice from a cooler she had in the back room; then he bought a tall water and filled our bottles. We all drank right away, emptying one bottle each, after rationing our intake through the hot asphalt ride. I went back in the store and bought another tall bottle and we refilled again. Coco also enjoyed a healthy dose of H2O.
As 80 east joined old highway 27 South, the shoulder became rough where a machine had created a small diamond pattern that bounced us and our stuff all around. That ran on for another 7 miles or so. A few miles into it, Frankenbutt seemed to be slowing and was complaining that it felt like his brakes were stuck. We pulled over, in formation: me in the lead, the Beast in “the cradle” between us and Frankenbutt in the rear. He got off his bike and checked it out while we waited. He found nothing wrong with his bike and decided that maybe he was just really sluggish himself. We rode on.
As we approached the 30 mile point in our ride, Frankenbutt pulled up alongside the Beast’s bike and asked her to look at his bike as he rode and see if anything was amiss. She flatly said, “You have a flat tire.” I was shocked! I had so much faith in the Schwalbe tires! Frankenbutt said “WHAT?” I checked my tires and they weren’t flat. The Beast said, “Yeah. But the trailer tire is flat.” We stopped and sure enough the only non-Schwalbe tire was flat. Luckily, we saw a Walmart, only about a mile ahead. We decided to ride on, Frankenbutt dragging his lead sled behind him.
Ahhh, chairs. After riding, I look forward to sitting back and getting a little back support. That reminds me. If any of you are headed to the races we are coming to AND if you have an extra camp chair, would you be kind enough to bring it and let us borrow it? I’d even rent it from you. Although our neighbors at the Sarasota race, Joe and Renee, lent us the ones they brought for their family, I felt like I was imposing. When we all converged on the tent and ez-up, there were more people than chairs and I didn’t want them put out, after they had also been at the race all day. However, I did put them to good use in the evening when Joe and his family took the Beast to their campground for a swim: I typed my blog on my laptop, sitting in one of Joe’s chairs, while I watched the sun slide down the sky. Thanks, Joe!
The Beast, Frankenbutt and I rode our bikes to the clubhouse and we all went swimming. It was an excellent way to cool down. Coco watched from the shaded deck, wishing she could join her mom in the pool. For now she settled for a nap on the deck after an ice cold bowl of water. After my swim, I called the press contacts and we hope to have some coverage not only of our ride but also the big national race at West Palm Beach.
As the dinner hour neared, Frankenbutt suggested we have something different tonight. Since the campground is close to town, he searched Google maps and found a Domino’s. We called and ordered their special: 2 large pizzas for $19.25. Having a pizza delivered to a tent would have seemed lame a few months ago; Today, it was heaven! We all had a relaxed dinner and there are a few pieces to spare for a late night snack.