Staying at First Baptist Church
81 miles today, average pace 16.5 mph
The route was flat again, just like my rear tire that exploded about 10 miles from the finish.
Just two days ago, while Emmalilly and I were changing one of her 4 flat tires, she asked me how to tell when a tire is bad. I looked at her tires, telling her that when they get flat on top, they should be changed. Then after looking at both of my tires, I showed her a good example (my rear tire) of a tire that’s flat on top and, yep, should be changed. Then of course I forgot about my tire, probably thinking subconsciously that I only have a couple days left, and would be able to change it at home.
Well, most tires just go flat, but I’ve now had three tires explode, like somebody shooting a gun, so I was looking for the blood. No blood, nobody down, just the rear tire that I should have changed, now totally blown. A rear tire that had literally come apart about a fourth of the circumference, and me with no spare tire. Plenty of tubes, but no spare tire. The sweeps carry a spare tire, but we were a long way ahead of the sweeps, as they had been dealing with their own flats.
So we had 4 riders waiting for the van. I tried to get Alyssa, Emmalilly, and Christian to just keep going, but since we had been riding together all day, they decided to hang out with me. We climbed over the barricade to get some shade, while we waited for the van. Next thing I knew Alyssa had her feet in the water, and she was soon followed by Emmalilly. As Alyssa step by step inched her way farther into the water, followed by Emmalilly, they were soon both immersed in the ocean, in all their riding clothes (except for socks and shoes). Alyssa quickly realized she could float in the salt water, and started singing, "I'm floating in the ocean," over and over. I had had enough trouble navigating the rocks to just get to the shade and sit down, let alone getting down into the water. And Christian was not going in. However, after at least 30 minutes, I decided it just looked too good to not get in. And, as soon as I started taking off my shoes, Christian did the same, and of course beat me into the water. Soon they were all thanking me for not changing my flat, which allowed them time to take a dip in the ocean. Life is just so good as we bike, enjoying our time together, but yet in doing so, helping in our small way to give some dignity to families in need.
Allen got a phone call from a reporter during rest stop yesterday, who said she wanted to interview me. So I had a nice interview with a reporter from Marathon, FL. I guess I’m up for interviews and/or whatever it takes to get Fuller Center’s name out in front of people.
Scott and Heidi took us all to dinner tonight at a nice place on the water (terrific and thoughtful surprise from them), and they had a small dessert brought out as a "cake.” And, they all again sang that ol’ birthday song to me. Typical acts of kindness from the people one meets on the Bike Adventure -- just great folks, and such fun to be around.
Now I gotta start....stopping....eating so much....and soon!