Weigh-in #19 and 3/7 – And the answer is…

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Wheel full 70px I took a couple of days off from blogging after reaching Key West, so we’ll resume by my keeping not one but two promises.  I said here [linkie] that I would do one final trip weigh-in on the 10th in KW to give me a close the record number.  I did that, stopping at a handy Publix on the way back to the hotel from Mallory Square.  Ready?

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I missed catching my feet, but you can see their reflection on the scale, to include the hole my right foot big toe wore in my bike sock.

Wheel full 70px Two eighty-five (~129 kilograms) on the nose!  As my first official weight of this whole undertaking, noted here [linkie], was 367 pounds and change/166 kg, I have lost somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 pounds/~37 kg over the past four months.  Now, I’ve learned that scales along the trip have not been exactly measuring atomic weight to six digits after the decimal point, but hey, I’ll take “the mid-280s” as a solid start point from which to defend The Battle of the Bulge.  Maybe I can even stay on the offensive.  Stranger things- anyone up for a 3,500 mile/5,600 kilometer bike ride?- have been known to happen.  Oh, and I think my friend Fred won the “Guess My End Weight” contest.

Wheel full 70px The second promise is a little harder to keep.  OK, OK, it’s a lot harder to keep.  But I said I’d do it here, so here goes.

Wheel full 70px You’ll remember that this trip was originally going to start in Jacksonville, Florida.  On the first day just before leaving I walked myself into a bathroom and took a selfie of my stomach flab.  I cautioned folks then that it wasn’t pretty.  I said that I would take a comparable pic at the end of the ride, and we’d see what happened [linkie].  Once again, you’ve been warned.

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Wheel full 70px So, for the not-faint-of-heart, here’s what my abdominal area looked like in late July

before [linkie]

and what the same area looks like now

after [linkie].

Wheel full 70px Belly fat is not pretty.  I don’t know if what mine looks like will ever improve beyond this point, or if I’m just condemned to look like Jabba the Hutt’s third cousin down there for the rest of my life.  But my waist size in pants has gone from 56″/142 cm to 46″/117 cm.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll take that.

The last day – Key West!

Wheel full 70px I will always remember November 10, 2016.  It was the day I completed riding a bicycle from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Key West, Florida, but that’s not why.  It was the day Leonard Cohen died.

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“I came so far for beauty
I left so much behind”

Wheel full 70px My wife Heather told me when we talked by phone that evening.  I had ridden back from Mallory Square to the hotel where I would spend the first night in 84 days that I didn’t have to leave from in the morning and ride a bicycle 40 miles/65 kilometers or so.  I’ve felt pretty sad and subdued every since, but that is now changing into a sense of wonder and appreciation for the amazing body of music he left us.  I won’t dwell on this further, except to say how lucky I am to have lived during his time among us.

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Wheel full 70px I have now travelled by bike, more or less, the length of the line between the start and end point on this map.  The distance, which I will look at more closely once I am back to a desktop computer, is a little over 3,600 miles/5,800 kilometers, but that includes a number of ferry rides and the van ride across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  I plan to publish detailed information about the ride, to include what I believe to be the exact final mileage, in a couple of future blog posts.  It’s just too hard to do from an iPhone, even a 6 Plus, which is what I’ve carried with me.

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Wheel full 70px I rode through two Canadian provinces and 14 states along as much of their coastline as I felt I could reasonable do without having to backtrack  from places where there was no outlet except for the way I rode in.  I compromised in just a few places, mainly to avoid unpaved stretches or roads that looked “iffy” for some reason once I reached them.  I can pretty much say with confidence, though, that more than 98% of the time I was riding on the through road in each province and state that was the closest to the shore.

Wheel full 70px Here’s the ride across Florida- 600 miles/960 kilometers, which I did in 12 days.

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Wheel full 70px Here’s a close-up of the Florida Keys, which from Card Sound bridge to Key West was a 125 mile/200 kilometer stretch.  This took two and a half days to complete.

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Wheel full 70px When I reached Key West my sister Sue and her daughter Sarah were there to meet me.

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Wheel full 70px What a lift seeing them provided!  They had driven down from Sue’s home north of Tampa/St. Petersburg and will take me back up that way so that I can fly home to Alaska from Tampa next week.  When I passed them at the Key West sign, though, I still had a few more miles to go.

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Wheel full 70px I rode on through Key West past the “Southernmost Point” monument (it really isn’t, but I’ll post about that later),

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past the end of US Highway 1, which I first saw back in Maine shortly after crossing the border from Canada,

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and finally to the seawall at Mallory Square.

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Wheel full 70px My ride was finally over.

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Wheel full 70px The Surly is now reduced to parts and stuffed in the trunk of Sarah’s car.  I am headed north for the first time in three months.

Wheel full 70px I can do did this.

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Last day, 35 miles to go

Wheel full 70px On August 18th when I started this trip in Halifax, Nova Scotia I had absolutely no sense of any connection to a “last day” of what has turned out to be a 3,600 mile/5,700 kilometer 84 day bicycle ride.  Key West, of course, was my destination then as it is today, but it existed back then only as a remote point on a map.  For all that it figured in my consciousness when I set out I could have just as easily been riding to Tierra del Fuego or, for that matter, the moon.

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Wheel full 70px And now I’m here on the cusp of the end.  The connection has been formed, one rotation of my bike’s pedals at a time.  For whatever it is worth, I now have a string of memories that carry me at 10 miles/16 kilometers an hour down the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, past beaches and capes and rocky headlands, through farms and forests and  small towns and great cities, and punctuated by ferry rides, tent and table-top camping, and a variety of motels and other lodging, some nice, some not.  Those memories also include visits with friends and family and phone calls with my wife, as well as a lot of time just being alone with my thoughts.  It has been a great trip, and I can be satisfied that, within the context of my life to date, to the extent that I wanted to do something epic I have done just that.  I have nothing to complain about and no regrets.

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Wheel full 70px So I’m the blue dot, and in a few hours will ride the last one percent of my total mileage on the road.  That distance is a little more than five percent of my Florida miles

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and puts me about two-thirds of the way along the Florida Keys.

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Wheel full 70px My last night on the road was spent at Bahia Honda State Park, where I braved the bugs and raccoons and slept once again on a picnic table-top.

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Wheel full 70px I had ridden almost 68 miles/110 km to get here yesterday from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.  That ride included crossing the Seven Mile Bridge on the Overseas Highway.

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Wheel full 70px The bridge is, in fact, seven miles/11 km from one end to the other.  How about that?  Another amazing thing on a ride that’s been full of amazing things.  And today I’ll be in Key West.

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Two days, 100 miles to go

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Wheel full 70px I’ve been on the Keys for about 15 miles/25 km now.  I have almost exactly 100 miles/160 km to go to reach Key West, and I’ll ride something more than half that in order to make it to Bahia Honda State Park, where I have a campsite reserved for the night.

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Wheel full 70px I started at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the view from my picnic table-top bed this morning was very nice.

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Wheel full 70px Strava, after a couple of weeks of behaving, was generating garbage yesterday, so no Relive track.  I’ll try again today, but it’s hard to look past the fact that RidewithGPS has generated 82 straight days of reliable ride tracking.  Just sayin’.

Wheel full 70px Tonight’s my last night on the road. I can do this!

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Three days, 150 miles to go

Wheel full 70px After riding yesterday to the very tip of Florida’s Atlantic Coast beaches at the north entrance to Biscayne Bay

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today I will make my way onto the Florida Keys! Here’s a couple of postcards from yesterday’s ride, which somehow managed to include a leaky gas main and a little less than two hours of riding across the Miami metro area at night.

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-oOo-

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Wheel full 70px I’m starting the day in Cutler Bay, a completely unremarkable portion of Miami’s urban sprawl north of the old Homestead Air Force Base, which has been decommissioned and closed.   I’ll head south on minor roads until I run into Card Sound Road, which crosses onto the Keys east of US Highway 1 over the toll bridge shown on the map.   From there I’ll ride to John Pennekamp State Park just outside Key Largo and camp there for the night.

Wheel full 70px Here’s where I am right now in the context of the entire trip

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and of Florida

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and of the Keys.

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Wheel full 70px Margaritaville, here I come!

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Weigh-in #19 – In the 280s

Wheel full 70px In the last Monday weigh-in I’ll do during my trip all I could think about was, “What in God’s name am I going to do to keep from gaining back what I’ve had a once in a lifetime opportunity to lose?”

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Wheel full 70px I never, ever want to weigh more than 300 pounds/~120 kilograms again.  Again, no fat shaming intended, but I am ashamed of myself for acting for so many years like there was nothing I could do about weighing more than than and, at times, close to 400 pounds/~180 kg.  Being overweight was a good indication of disarray and dysfunction in my life, and poor choices.

Wheel full 70px So I’m at my next “I can do this” moment.  Because if I can ride a bicycle 3,500+ miles from Nova Scotia to Florida, I can maintain my weight at a healthy (or at least far healthier than it had been) level.