2016 Cross Florida Ride...

...In which a liberal application of Rule #5 takes place. 

The start, Cocoa Beach, FL.

The start, Cocoa Beach, FL.

This week I took part in the 2016 Cross Florida, a 170 mile endurance event put on by the Space Coast Freewheelers. 5 years ago I completed the ride when there was just a 1-day option. This year I tried the 2-day option, laboring under the assumption that breaking 170 miles into 2 days would be less painful.

That assumption would prove to be false.

Cocoa Beach had heavy rain Friday night, and Saturday saw us ride out of Cocoa under cloudy skies with threat of rain. Along the way I fell in with a group of riders from PPR Talent Management, and they were kind enough to let me join their slipstream. We finished about 4:45 later in pouring rain with occasional lightning. I was much relieved to get to the hotel, and escape the weather. 

Apps and beer - Italian food for dinner day 1

Apps and beer - Italian food for dinner day 1

Day 2 dawned bright and clear. The PPR team had invited me to keep on with them, but they were starting early, and I got delayed loading up my luggage and pumping up the tires so I started off on my own around 7:20. A bit after 8 I heard hooting and hollering behind me, I turned, and it was the PPR team catching up after a later than expected start. They appear in my time-lapse of the morning. 

I should mention my wheel troubles. The Wednesday prior to the ride I hopped on the bike for a spin and realized my back wheel was out of true. I swung by Orange Cycle, and when the mechanic checked my relatively new wheel, he found significant damage to the rim. Orange Cycle was kind enough to give me a loaner wheel so I could actually make the ride - file that under have a good relationship with your local bike shop kids - so my heartfelt thanks to Orange Cycles. 

After SAG 4 on day 2, with a mere 25 miles left it the ride, I started down the first hill, got to 25 mph, and heard an eruption of clacking from the rear wheel. I managed to slow it down and when I got off the bike and checked the wheel, I found a broken spoke. Apparently I'm tough on back wheels. A broken spoke 145 miles in was a crushing blow. I hiked back up the hill with the bike and put a call into the SAG truck. None of the folks that stopped by while I was waiting had any spare spokes, and neither did the SAG vehicle. But the SAG mechanic thought the wheel would hold up, so he tucked and zip tied the spoke for me, and I gingerly returned to the road. 

Spoke tucked. Rule #5 bike!

Spoke tucked. Rule #5 bike!

I spent the last 25 miles hoping and praying that wheel would hold up. It did! Of course this is where the legs got really painful. I borrowed a line from Jens Voigt, "Shut up legs!" 10:45 of ride time after I started, I rolled into Bayport Park to finish my second ride across the state.
 

The Finish!

The Finish!

Many thanks to the Spacecoast Freewheelers, Dave's World Cycles SAG, the many volunteers that made the ride possible, the PPR team for letting me tag along, and my girlfriend for transporting me to the start and home from the finish! What a great adventure.