New Smyrna Beach, FL to Titusville, FL
Last night after the days blog post I headed into town and had myself 3 tall IPA’s and the biggest, fattest bacon cheeseburger you can possibly imagine. It was a gluttonous monstrosity and I killed it in like 5 minutes. Once back at Kirk’s place I crawled into my tent feeling fat and happy, read for a while and then went to sleep. Kirk’s roommate had informed me earlier that the raccoons in the area were just as wily as those in the state parks so I had hung my food from a tree and brought my bags into the tent with me. No midnight visitors for me!
I got up this morning at 6 and started packing up my camp. Although I slept like a baby last night I was still feeling pretty sluggish and tired so I stopped in at the first 7-11 I saw and crushed a couple breakfast sandwiches and a mountain dew. During the 30 minutes I’m standing out front shoveling calories into my face I can literally see the wind transform from a slight, westerly breeze to a full force gale of hopeless misery. I put it off getting on my bike and pedaling into it as long as I could but it was either stand there in the sheltering bosom of 7-11 all day or just suck it up and move. Obviously I chose the latter, so I set off.
It was bad. I thought yesterday was miserable but at least I had the beginning of the day to knock out some serious mileage before the wind picked up. Today? No such luck. I was locked into a ferocious battle of will against the most tricksy and unyielding foe of all: mother nature herself. I’m pedaling along, pouring sweat and just barely keeping myself at 11 MPH. I limped my way to the 10 mile mark and had to take a snack break, today was just really kicking my ass already and it wasn’t even 9! I set off again, a bit more refreshed and feeling like I was finally getting into the rhythm but every time I seemed to gain some momentum a giant wave a atmospheric destruction would crash into me and throw me back again. Let me try to put it into perspective for you non cycling folks. You know those dreams you have where, no matter how hard you run or how much you try to pull yourself forward, you still feel like you’re moving through molasses? It’s similar to that. Except it’s not a dream. It’s real f!@#ing life and there’s no escaping it.
So by now you’re probably thinking something like: James! Why the hell are you putting yourself through this torment?! You know why? Because even days like today where it seems like all the forces of nature are moving against me, trying their damnedest to stop me moving forward I’m still having the time of my life. It takes days like today to make me appreciate the days that are nothing but pure boundless joy. Put that on a motivational poster and smoke it! But seriously, the only thing that kept me going today was knowing I had a short ride. I’d scoped out some things to do over the next few days and stumbled across an event of epic proportions happening tomorrow morning that I couldn’t miss for the world. No spoilers today but you’ll hear about it tomorrow.
So after all the days sweat, blood and tears I finally, FINALLY arrived at my destination. A measly 40 miles from where I started. I guarantee that I put as much work into that 40 miles as I did the last 140 and it was a sweet, sweet victory. I stopped in at a park to cool off and let the sweat dry and then headed to the local brewery for some ice cold beer. While i’m sitting there drinking my beer a woman gets up from her table, plops herself directly across from me at mine and says, “So where you headed?” We get to talking and she is just the nicest, most friendly woman ever (except for Ms. Blanche, nobody tops that old bird). Her name is Gina (Gyna when she’s drunk) and she gave me some great tips on getting good deals at the state parks in the area, the best beaches to tan topless, the coolest breweries from here to Miami and even offered me a room to sleep for the night should I need it. As much as I wanted to accept I had already lined up another room for the night with a cool guy I met through Couchsurfing, John. Traveling by bicycle is a whole different level of traveling and I’m loving it.
That’s all for now, friends. Time to finish my beer and go meet up with John. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!