May 21, 2008
Written by Brian Kirsch
Michigan State University
The team enjoyed its first really relaxing and enjoyable ride with plenty of time allotted for our arrival in Clearwater. At 5:30am, the team awoke after a very entertaining stay at the Sarasota YMCA to a breakfast of cereal, bananas, and bagels curbside before departing for our ride.
Following the first 30 miles of the trip, the team enjoyed a nice 14 mile break at the Skyway Bridge. The most beautiful and scenic portion of our entire trip was viewed at this point and none of the cyclists or crew hesitated to snap a picture. The final portion of our ride saw a lot of scenic stops for the cyclists to take a few more pictures within the bike friendly small beach communities before arriving at lodging.
Our lodging for the night was hosted at Clearwater Sailability, located directly on the water. The staff graciously allowed the team to relax on sailboats and a few of the guys even got to kayak. The Sailability center proudly offers wheelchair accessible boats, including one sailboat that has a capacity of 6,000 pounds and can hold up to six wheelchairs.
Our delicious dinner was sponsored at Shell’s later in the evening following some much needed downtime spent on the beach. Having a great seafood meal right on the beach really hit the spot, and the team even got a glance of Hulk Hogan’s wife Linda on the way out! Our shortest ride is tomorrow, and the team is anticipating the easier ride after a bit of relaxation and anticipation for our first day off!
I would personally like to thank my family – for their support and love, my chapter brothers back at Michigan State – I miss all of you guys and wish you were here with myself and John Edwards on this trip, my sponsors and friends at home – thank you for believing in me and the Push America organization, and lastly to all my newfound brothers from the trip – this trip has been the ultimate experience already and it has been an honor and privilege to have grown closer to you all. God bless Pi Kappa Phi.