This past Saturday... January 10, I decided to go up to Satellite Beach (near Melbourne FL actually closer to Cocoa Beach/NASA).

My reason for going was to check out the 200k Brevet this Sunday. My original plan was to drive up Saturday and ride Sunday and drive back. Then a frind in the Motorola Club Alain Abbate thought about going by biking up there and catching a ride back with me... Later he had to bail on that idea which gave me the idea to bike up there, do the ride Sunday and rent a car one-way on the return.

Saturday's ride from Ft Lauderdale to Satellite Beach was 168 miles where the first 60 miles were cool with cross-winds. After the first 60 miles it turned into an endurence test.

First I encountered 15-20mph heads winds slowing me from 19-20mph to 15-16mph. I managed to battle them over through Jupiter and up CR707 to Hobe Sound. After that it was 18-19mph into 20mph winds all the way to Ft Pierce. I probably shoulda taken things a bit slower as I was only 80 miles into the ride when I neared Stuart Fl.

On the way past Stuart the temperature dropped from 68 down to 51 as the front took hold. I stopped for lunch on the way to Ft Pierce to hide from the cold a bit as well. I took more cold-weather gear from my frame pack, ate lunch and started out again. The closer I got to Ft Pierce the stronger the gusts became. Several gusts at 30mph slowed me to 15mph and I decided to taper down my cruzing speed to a paultry 17mph to Ft Pierce.

After I left Ft pierce and got onto the wide open A1A of Hutchenson Is. North, I struggled to maintain a speed of 14mph. It was 13 miles to Viro Beach and it would be a long slow hour to climb to Viro. (Yes this is just like climbing)...

I planned to stop in Viro but once I got there I decided to keep going. I made it quite far past before stopping for a stretch. I realized that I must not stop or take long breaks if I were going to make the hotel by night fall.

Coming up to sebastian inlet bridge I got a renewed hope as I've crossed this bridge before on a previous trip to Cocoa Beach. The winds were gusting strong at 30mph and I was trying all I could to keep the speed above 13mph. It took like 3 hours to cover the last 35 miles!

When I got to the hotel the Big Brothers Big Sisters crew putting on the Brevet immediatly recognized me as the guy who biked all the way from Ft Lauderdale.

After a bit of rest and story telling one of them, RitaAnn, offered to take me to the designated restaurant for dinner. At dinner I was plesantly surprised to run into a gaggle of SBW (South Broward Wheelers club) folks up to ride the brevet. Light converstation and various stories from each carried on the evening as I devoured as much of a chicken parm and spagetti that I could.

Sunday's ride started at 8AM with a tem of 41F. However with my three jerseys (two long sleeve) and a set of arm warmers and a quick start got me warm in a hurry. Around 15 miles into the ride several small breaks were made of which I reeled in all of them... On the last one a faster break was made and when I tried to get the peleton stired to catch, they did not want to so I took off and joined the four bikes in the break.

After a few miles and introductions they discovered my escapades the day before and they decided that I was to do only needed work in the group. This worked well for me :) Even so at 88 miles I began to fade and was not sure I could stay with them. I used "mental energy" as I told them later... to stay with them. They did drop me one time over one of the large intercostal bridges but actually we were all scattered a bit so they musta just decided to regroup...

At one point we were flying along when two boys on those darn gas-powered scooters decided to cross in front of us. We went in front and behind them... I locked my rear wheel.. Slid to the side of the road to avoid the bike in front of me... Bunny hopped onto the grass as there was a drop off... I then rode across a gravel then dirt drive and into some soft sand and couldn't get enough speed to bunny hop back to the pave. I stopped, shouted and put my bike back on the road. Again they politely waited as I rejoined them.

At 90 miles we headed south on A1A with the wind where we hit and maintained speeds of 28 and 29mph... at 17 miles we hit the final checkpoint (not the finish) and had to turn back into the wind. Our strong efforts only were able to maintain a 16mph speed (in the same conditions the day before I was only able to peek at 14mph and sustain 13mph!)

The rest of the ride was uneventful but friendly as we talked about various things...

This group of 5 I found myself in were the first to arrive at the final checkpoint... A full 40 minutes ahead of the 6th place. We rode 126.6 miles in 6:45 hours! A group of 5 ppl riding in 20mph winds with 30mph gusts! Average actual speed is 18.2mph... Slow for a non-wind ride but probably pretty good given the conditions...

Oh... And I didn't rent a car for the return as it turns out Jose G (a member of SBW) offered me a ride back. Shary Bernhart (of SBW) was riding back with Jose also and we talked about various stuff on the way back. Thanks guys! That was the best way to cap off a fun weekend! (Actually it was when Jose stopped at Chillis and I devoured a 12 ounce steak, salad, potatoes veggies and two beers!)

Now I'm waiting for my official certificat and trophy...