Different team members take turns writing journals for each day’s events. Below is my journal entry for Day 4. Days 1-3 was when orientation was going on in Miami. More trip updates to come!
May 15, 2008
Written by Tom Gertin
Rise and shine, today began out first official bike ride of Gear Up Florida 2008 and our departure from Miami. In order to escape the worst of the Florida heat we woke up at 5:30am. After working out a few kinks in the route plan we departed at 7am. Interestingly enough, several flat tires occurred to team members within the first 10 miles. Our preparation came into play. We were in pace lines of 3 or 4 so that if something went wrong the team could easily move to the side of the road and fix the problem. Our first encounter with the Florida wild fires was 12 miles into the ride. The smoke still lingering from the fires greatly reduced visibility. We had to rack our bikes for the next 20 miles. While driving past we gazed at the bare charred trees that lined the sides of the road.
With improved conditions we un-racked the bikes and churned along towards Clewiston, FL. We had high spirits and fresh legs. We were making good time blazing through the Florida Everglades. About every 7 miles there was a pit stop where we could rest, fill our water bottles, or eat snacks.
During the last leg of the trip, the road started wearing us down. We were faced with uneven pavement and strong headwinds. Unfortunately, closer to our destination, we ended up being racked with a few miles left so we could check-in in time at Clewiston High School. After settling in most people took advantage of our down time by taking a nap. That evening we visited the Clewiston super Wal-mart to pick up any items we needed (ex. aloe, sunscreen) and to grab something to eat.
The last order of business for the day was washing the vans. Two of the vans had a race to finish first. After getting the vans spick and span clean, we headed back to call it a night and rest up for tomorrow’s early ride.