This afternoon’s ride

Wheel full 70px I’ll be riding my last miles in North Carolina this afternoon.  I’m currently just west of Southport after taking the ferry across the mouth of the Cape Fear River and plan to spend the night in North Myrtle Beach.

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Wheel full 70px It’s a beautiful sunny day, much cooler than yesterday.  There’s a little headwind, but it’s about the only thing affecting an otherwise perfect day.

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20 Days

Wheel full 70px That’s what’s left.

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Wheel full 70px Yesterday when I arrived in Jacksonville, North Carolina I had completed nine full weeks of my Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida bicycle ride.  When I started out this morning I had three full weeks left before I would reach Key West on November 10th.

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Wheel full 70px Now it’s just 20 days.  That seems like such a short time.  At some point during the day’s ride tomorrow I will go below 1,000 miles/ 1,600 km remaining.  I won’t kid you there- that still seems like a ways.  But I can do that.

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Not all bike maintenance…

…takes place on the bike.

Wheel full 70px I was knocking sand off my shoes the other day when I was getting ready to leave Oregon Inlet campground.  This caught my eye.

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Wheel full 70px I called a bike shop: Island Cycles, down the Outer Banks in Avon, North Carolina.  John, the proprietor, said he was closing early to clean up damage at home left by the recent hurricane, but would leave a replacement screw on his porch if he wasn’t going to be there.

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Wheel full 70px He hadn’t left by the time I arrived, and so I bought three of these.

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Wheel full 70px He installed the screw, made sure all the others were tight, and I was on my way.

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Wheel full 70px I’m heading for Wilmington, North Carolina today. It’ll be my last full day in this great state.

Twelve Hundred Miles to Go

Wheel full 70px I figured up the remaining mileage tonight from atop my picnic table sleeping platform at the Ocracoke National Park Service campground.  I’m 500 miles/800 kilometers south of New York City and about 2,400 miles/3,850 km from my start point in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Mathematically, that means two-thirds of the trip’s mileage is behind me.

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Wheel full 70px I’ve been riding for 61 days- just short of nine weeks- and have thus averaged just under 40 miles/65 km a day.  I plan to arrive in Key West on November 10th, so that leaves 23 days to go.  I’ll need to average a little over 50 miles every remaining day in order to make it.  That’s probably a little less daunting than it looks, though, as pretty much all the trip’s elevation gain- something over 90,000 feet/27,450 meters- is in my rear view mirror.  The tallest hills left on this trip are various coastal bridges. The rest of the ride will average somewhere around 10 feet/three meters above sea level.

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Wheel full 70px After tomorrow’s 20 or so mile/32 km ride from Ocracoke village to Cedar Island, only one short ferry crossing will remain- over the Cape Fear River just south of Wilmington, North Carolina. These ferry rides have been welcome breaks along the way, and I count each of them among the high points of the places I’ve traveled.  They’ve added a whole further connection to the Atlantic Coast for me, and I can not envision this trip without having made them.

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Wheel full 70px Three states remain to be crossed after I leave North Carolina in a couple of days: South Caroline, Georgia and the length of Florida including heading far out into the Gulf of Mexico on the Ocean Highway across the Florida Keys.  Even though the time left- just over three weeks- seems relatively short in light of the months I’ve been on the road already, it is clearly no afterthought or mere winding up.  It remains an epic ride all in itself, and I’m looking forward to accomplishing it.

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Weigh-in #16 – I don’t weigh 300+ pounds any more

Wheel full 70px When I started preparing for this trip in June in earnest I was referred by my dietitian to a local place where, for $30, you can be weighed on a scale that calculates body mass index and other information that provides better insight into weight issues than does the old scale at home.

Wheel full 70px It was the first weight info about myself that I posted in this blog.  On June 24th of this year it says I weighed 367.3 pounds/167 kg.  As far as the rest of the report goes, I could have saved the thirty bucks.  What that piece of paper told me was that I was fat.  The same thing my pants told me.  And my belt.  And my lungs.  And my knees and feet.  You get the picture.

Wheel full 70px Fast forward almost four months and, most important, through 2,400 miles/3,840 kilometers ridden on a bicycle over 60 days.  I told you I would weigh myself every Monday and post the results whatever they were.  Oh sure, I snuck a few Tuesdays in there- two, I think.   And I didn’t always lose weight.  A couple of times I went up from the week before or stayed the same.  But mostly the pounds came off.

Wheel full 70px Today’s weigh-in practically left me in tears.

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Wheel full 70px I have lost since June 24th 75.9 pounds/34.5 kilograms.  No fat shaming here, though.  At 291.4 pounds/132.5 kg I’m still fat.  Probably per the criteria I’m still morbidly obese.  But I have lost a hell of a lot of weight over a relatively brief time sticking to advice I ignored for far too long.

Wheel full 70px “Diet and exercise.”  No simple little tricks.  No gimmicks.  No personal trainer.  No gym membership.  No surgery.  Just diet and exercise.

Wheel full 70px And if I can do it, anyone can. Now, back to my ride, which is in progress.

Cape Hatteras

Wheel full 70px I just couldn’t help it.

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Wheel full 70px I saw the lighthouse and I just had to stop for the night.  I have the NPS campground here almost all to myself, and I can sit at my picnic table in the dark, watch the light wink as it turns around and around, and recall past visits to this amazing place dating back 35 years.  Is this the last time I will ever be here?  So many important memories to call to mind, so many days that were about as perfect as days can get.

Wheel full 70px I’ll get up in the morning, pack the bike, say goodbye to the lighthouse as I ride by (just in case), stop to eat breakfast (biscuits with sausage gravy) at the Diamond Shoals restaurant, and head for the ferry landing at Hatteras and the village of Ocracoke.

I’m sleeping…

…on top of a picnic table under the stars tonight.  Not because it’s really warm- it cooled off rapidly when the sun went down- or bug free- the mosquitoes are out in force tonight for the first time on my trip.  But here I am, because

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Wheel full 70px Sandspurs!  I’m not setting up my tent or risking my Thermarest in those, and this campground- otherwise very nice- is loaded with them.