Today was a cool & casual 50 mile bike ride from Marathon to Key Largo. We woke up around 5:15 again and want through our usual packing up & getting dressed and ready for the day. It’s fun as an alum to see the new riders adjusting to waking up & getting their stuff together—there’s definitely a learning curve and though I try to give some tips to help them prep the night before, they still insist on waking up earlier than necessary to get ready for the day.
This morning we had cake for breakfast with a side of coffee with peanut butter creamer (again!). We had our route meeting and our hosts Sue & Tom got us fired up! Tom cheered “Bike! Bike! Build! Build! Riding North is the way we go!” It was great and we all loved it—we may have just found our team cheer! We also took a picture with them in front of the church and sang Happy Birthday to Annie while her fiancé FaceTimed in. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Sue and getting to know her a bit—fellow Jersey girls have to stick together!
Beth, Jess, & I were the first group
to roll out where we enjoyed a pleasant flat ride that was mostly made up of bike trails and bike lanes. There were a few bridges but the team handled them like a champ! Some of the bridges even had their own separate bike trail bridge which was amazing! So spoiled here in the Keys—not to mention the views over the bridges! 😍
We stopped at a Mobil for picnic snacks and potty before riding on the last 10 miles to lunch. The rest of the riders stopped to feed some large fish but our group actually forgot about it since we were so focused on getting to lunch. Lunch was at a Publix who was, conveniently celebrating their grand opening today! We scored some sweet free samples—such as steak, shrimp, pumpkin seeds, breakfast bread, and key lime pie! They also DM-ed us free lunch (turkey sandwich samplers & Gatorade) and yogurt drank. They even took a few photos of us with their reps (and so did the Mobil and Mike from our Marathon presentation last night).
After having a dance party with myself to get jazzed for the last 15 miles, I sattled up with Jess, Jana,
& the birthday girl Annie! Annie is a HUGE fan of Publix (she even tried to get them to cater her wedding this October!) and loved having her “lunch Birthday party” at her favorite place! We enjoyed a causal 15 miles ride to the host where we were the first to arrive. Too exhausted & outnumbered to unpack the trailer by ourselves, we just enjoyed removing our jerseys and sitting in the AC on the couch at the EMS center we’re staying out tonight.
Eventually more riders rode in and we unpacked the trailer and started taking showers. There was only 1 shower for 20 of us (17 riders plus 3 from the home office) so we starting a “shoe line” so we could get our showers in order of when we arrived—obviously letting the birthday girl go first!
After showering, a few of us went to pick up from DM-ed dinner, thanks to our MVP Carly who managed to score us free pizza, fries, & mozz sticks (a big hit!)! We also got a key lime pie and cookie cake for Annie and had her “blow out” her unlit candles.
While eating, we heard from Capt.
Keith about the affordable housing need in Islamorda and how some of the local people are advocating for it, while others are pushing back due to not wanting it “in their backyard.” However, this is a huge crisis here in the Keys as the population is decreasing, especially after the storm. Some people just didn’t even come back! And affordable housing was a huge cause for that—especially those in the service industry. However, it’s so bad now that there’s shortages in other fields and the advocates are trying to make that clear—who is going to drive the ambulance to help you when you need it? Who is going to put out the fires? What nurses are going to take care of you? It’s wild and I can see both perspectives but creating affordable or “acheivable” housing seems like the only hope to keep local people in the Keys and the population from dewindling.
Keith had a few nuggets of life advice for us, which included “Take risks! Even if you fail, you tried, and I learned more from when I failed than when I succeeded. Succeeding helped build connections needed that lead to other doors...” “Find something you’re passionate
about and do it! Don’t lose your enthusiasm & passion!” Keith was very impressed and interested in what we are doing and hopes to see the group come through next year! It’s been great being on a new route and seeing people’s reactions who haven’t heard of us before and being more than welcoming & accommodating & desiring for us to come back! I hope this is just the beginning for K2C...!
After dinner, clean up, and ice cream, most of us walked down the bike path to a local restaurant/bar where we sat outside and enjoyed a few drinks to celebrate Annie’s Birthday! It was a good time with the team and it seems crazy that this is only just the beginning...!
Tot: 0.486s; Tpl: 0.046s; cc: 12; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0162s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb