This past Memorial Day weekend, I visited my family in Florida and decided to ride to the beach with my parents. It’s just under 50 miles from door to door, that is to say, door to dunes. I was a little concerned at first because I haven’t done a ride of that length in at least a month and I had flown into town, so I didn’t have my bike. But my parents are friends with another couple that rides and quickly got me sorted out on a steel Bianchi with full Campy components; a first for me on both counts.
So we prepped in the morning, loading out bottles with water and mix, rolling Cliff Bar quarters into little balls, and topping off the tires. I had spend and hour the previous night getting the bike fitted to my typical riding position (and marking the bike so I could put it back how I found it). We rolled out around 6:30am and quickly settled into a 3 person paceline, switching places every five minutes or so. The first hour rolled by quickly. The second hour found me suffering a bike from riding a bit I wasn’t used to. Being that far out, there was nothing to do but put my head down and keep my pulls at a steady speed. After the second rest stop, I found a renewed energy. Okay, maybe it was the iced coffee drink my mom made me finish off, but the third hour seemed to fly by. At the last rest stop both of my parents got something to drink while stopped as well as a sports drink for the road. My mom was worried when she saw that I hadn’t finished either of my bottles. Though as I pointed out, we had climbed a total of 300′ in about 30 miles. 300′ is what I climb in about 3 miles here in Atlanta, so I was still feeling fresh.
I had told my parents about bridge sprints, but with the holiday traffic building as the ride went on, whoever was pulling the paceline won the sprint without contest. I managed to luck out and combine a bridge sprint with a county line sprint. As we neared the coast, my parents warned me about the steepness of the causeways we had to cross, but I was unafraid. Despite starting up the tallest bridge, a whopping 65′ of vertical elevation, in third position, I managed to gain the lead and hit almost 40mph on the descent. My mom, on the other hand, is still developing her descending skills, so she topped out at around 30mph with my dad somewhere in between the two of us.
About 4 or 5 miles out from the beach, the rest of my family, who thought the three of us were crazy, passed us just as the traffic started building up on the roadways. By the time we hit the A1A Coastal Highway they had secured a spot on the beach. We stowed our bikes in the car and hit the surf, glad that the trip was only one way.