I’m half way to a century, over the hill, an old fart…scary thought right? Not really. This is supposed to be the milestone age where we enter a new chapter of life, where we are older, wiser, more seasoned…the golden age. Well screw that. I never really liked gold anyways, and frankly I feel no different today, than when I hit 40, or even 30.
Sure I may have a few more gray hairs….OK probably more than a few, but after a quick self inventory I am happy to report that all systems are within normal operational parameters. Many are actually better than before! I have my health, thanks to great genes from Mom and Dad, a loving wife, and a wonderful son. In fact, physically, I’m probably in better shape than when I was in my 40’s and perhaps even when I was in my 30’s…and I owe a lot of it to my cycling addiction.
I’m less than 20 lbs away from my college weight. I’ve kept Goodwill busy the last year donating not one, but two wardrobes as I’ve lost over 4″ in my waist and dropped two complete sizes. I’ve even had to retire my cycling kits from when I started this cycling odyssee.
In my eyes…and bones, I’m not hitting the big Five-Oh, instead I’m hitting the 20th anniversary of my 30th birthday. So a little celebration is in order. Something extra special to commemorate the milestone. No I’m not talking about a lavish over the hill party, or even an exotic getaway to a far off land. I want to mark this occasion with a challenge, something that will really make me explore both my physical and mental boundaries. Something that will push not only a 50 year old, but also a 40, 30 and even 20-something.
What is this “something” you ask? My plan, no lets call it goal, is to mark this occasion by cycling across the state of Florida, and go as far south as possible…all the way down to the Conch Republic. Cycle from sea, to sea, to sea (Gulf, Atlantic, Caribbean), 277 miles through the great river of grass known as the everglades, and then across 42 bridges to the most southern part of Key West. I’m calling it “The Isle of Bones Tour” in honor of Key West’s real name, as well as the beating my own bones will take on this adventure.
My first window of opportunity will be coming up quickly in April. Weather permitting, I’ll stage the crossing over three days with stops in Everglade City, Homestead or Florida City, and the final long push across the overseas highway to Key West. The adventure is still in the initial planing stage. I’ll be sharing the details here as I finalize them. My buddy Señor J is up for the crossing if he can make the time. If anyone else out there in the interwebs is interested and crazy enough to take on this challenge, just drop me a line. After all, the more the merrier.
In the mean time, I’ll be shifting my riding to longer, more touring style routes as well as increasing my overall weekly mileage. Today, for example, I really switched it up and headed out to the Gulf on a relaxed 65 mile island hopping ride across Fort Myers to Sanibel and Captiva. It was almost a mini Isle of Bones Tour with some nice “overseas cycling” across the causeway bridges to the islands.
By the way, to all my friends who are also hitting the big five-oh, we’re in good company as many Hollywood royalty from Brat Pack-ers to Red Hot Chili Peppers, are hitting the half-century mark this year, including… Jim Carrey, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Axl Rose, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crowe, Lou Diamond Philips, Jon Bon Jovi, Jasmin Guy, Matthew Broderick, Gina Gershon, Ally Sheedy, Paula Abdul, Flea, Tom Cruise, Steve Carell, Nia Vardalos, Joan Cusack, Kelly Preston, Daphne Zuniga, Jodie Foster, John Stewart, Andrew McCarthy, Felicity Huffman, and Ralph Fiennes…who knows, perhaps one of them would like to tag along on the ride!
Route: Island Tour
Ride Time: 4:09:26
Stopped Time: 2:02:17
Distance: 65.05 miles
Average: 15.65 mph
Fastest Speed: 35.03 mph
Ascent: 747 feet
Descent: 869 feet