Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 2, 2009: Stuart to Boca Raton

Early start (6:30), no mechanical issues, hot, some headwind, plenty of traffic.
Today was pretty much about getting from one place to another. We arrived at our hotel in Boca at 12:15. We spent 4 hours and 13 minutes on our bikes, covering 64.6 miles at an average speed of 15.3. In spite of the early start, the temperature was a very humid 74 degrees. Moving through the damp early-morning air quickly left us dripping, even though we weren’t working hard enough to produce that much sweat. In fact, for the first 15 minutes or so, we hit red light after red light. Finally out of the commercial area, we cranked up the speed, cruising easily at about 19 mph. I thought we must have caught a bit of tailwind, but the flags we passed were all slack. Both of us are experiencing some leg soreness, but clearly we are picking up condition as well. We covered over 17 miles in the first hour, in spite of the start and stop in the first quarter-hour.

The honeymoon ended around 9 when the southeast wind woke and got about its business of inflicting hardship on cyclists headed south. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that I utter a silent prayer of thanks to Al Gore for inventing aero-bars. The difference they make when riding in a head or side wind is near-miraculous. Nobody will ever convince me that they are not worth the extra 500 grams. I go about 2 mph faster, with less effort, than riding with my hands on the brake hoods. Down in the drops you can get maybe half the speed advantage, but not the comfort of aeros. In spite of the fact that Fred is riding bare-bar, he took the lead quite a few times over the course of the day, but with my aero-bars, it was much easier for me, so I was content to do most of the time at the front.

Today’s ride stats:
Total elapsed time: approximately 5 hrs, 45 mins
Moving time: 4 hrs, 13 mins
Distance: 64.6 miles
Average Speed: 15.3
Temperature: low-74; high-95; average 84.

Miles to date: 350.5
(red track in image shows today’s ride)


Except for a few miles we spent riding through the Palm Beach area, with the Intra-coastal to our left and the old-money “shacks” to our right, there was not much scenery to admire on our route. We repeatedly opted for the efficiency of US1’s more direct path and faster pavement. Fred did snap this Bird of Paradise at one of our rest stops, though:


Fred Adds: Some of the old moneyed houses in the Palm Beaches were amazing. I did notice when we rode through those neighborhoods and along the waterways, we kind of dilly-dallied. And we rode along a series of majestic Royal palms, at least 40 feet high or more. Ah, scenic old Florida. But I agree with Seth: mostly we just cranked. 

At about 50+ miles and a short break during which Seth took some Aleve, he started moving about 17+ mph. Ah, I said to him, "I hate it when your aspirin kicks in this late in the day." 

Seth said, “Am I going too fast?” 

"No", I said, "I am just teasing." That’s again when I appreciated being in such good shape. I would have preferred going at 15  mph, but I still had the resources to kick it. And we did. This was an easy 65 miles! As per my tradition, I went in the hotel pool, and then for a neighborhood walk. We’re about 2 blocks from the waterway, and I spied about a 5 pound barracuda hanging out under some docks. They always seem so menacing. But I could not find a public place to fish. That would have completely destroyed my little fishing pole anyway, and barracuda require heavy metal leaders. Ah, but for five-prong gig (when I was younger). Now, it’s live and let live. Ahimsa!

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