ST. AUGUSTINE TO
April 22 to 25, 2018
313.7 Miles, Climbed 4,472Feet
After dipping our wheels in the Atlantic, with myriad photos taken, I was asked to lead the peloton out of St. Augustine for the start of our adventure. It was a pleasure to lead the cyclists, replete with our colorful new Bike the US for MS jerseys, up the Atlantic Coast along A1A. With a slight southeast tailwind, it was an easy pull which I held for over 5 miles before passing it off to the next cyclist in line.
Day 1. 61.7 miles. The first day was a breeze with flat terrain along the picturesque Atlantic Coast. Traffic was fairly light and we flew along as a group at 17 to 18 miles per hour. We reached our Amelia Island destination more than an hour and a half earlier than originally estimated.
The forecast was for heavy rain the first night so Sherry met me at the campground and drove myself and 4 friends to a Hampton Inn about 4 miles north with nice dry hotel rooms. Those who stayed behind, slept in the trailer and the 2 vans to escape the weather. Only one brave soul chose to sleep in her tent on the beach--but was awakened to rising water in her tent in the early hours. There was no sleep after that.
Day 2. 85.9 miles. Although the rain took a breather around the time we left the campground, it returned with a vengeance about 5 miles into the ride. Heavy rain continued for the next 10 miles and we were quite wet in very short order. I kept thinking that I could not be much wetter but then a large truck hit an adjacent deep puddle and drenched me royally!
Although the forecast called for rain throughout the day, it held off for the remainder. We are lucky that way! Once at our destination, we hit the local Laundromat and everything was dry and clean for the next day. The forecast for the next several days was for sun and moderate temperatures so that was icing on the cake!
Day 3. 82.8 miles. As ominous and treacherous as was the previous day, this one was totally opposite. Sunny and pleasantly cool! The only negative was the wind. Headwinds and crosswinds were light in the morning but intensified as the day wore on. I led for the first 8.3 miles which was 10% of the day's total and fortunately was able to get in my pull before the winds intensified.
Day 4. 83.3 miles. It was a perfect day! Sunny and pleasant with beneficial tailwinds most of the way. If we could have dialed in the weather, temperature and winds, we wouldn't have dared to touch the controls. Even at a rest stop, a nice lady bought us pizza. This good fortune will not last forever--but we will take it as long as possible.
You can't cross the sea by standing and staring at the water.