72 Hours to Key West: The Isle of Bones Tour

My Isle of Bones Tour is booked and less than a week away. What better way to finally celebrate turning the big five-oh than doing a cross state cycling tour with some of my best friends. As I mentioned in a previous post, my celebratory tour has changed a bit from the original plan of a solo coast-to-coast-to coast tour (Gulf, Atlantic and Caribbean), to a self contained cycling tour with the Caloosa gang, to it’s final version, a fully supported and organized cycling tour benefitting the Tiny Hands Foundation.

The reason behind all the changes were mainly logistical. The first iteration was delayed on many occasions due to holidays and other scheduling conflicts. When I told my friends at the Caloosa riders about my ride, they immediately suggested I join them on their yearly ride to the keys. I was all gung-ho about this version of the tour, until I changed my bike…”The Mistress” does not carry bags (there are no hard points to mount paniers or racks), and there is no way I’m schlepping a backpack three hundred miles across the state. Had I observed rule #12 of the Velominati…The correct number of bikes to own is n+1 where n is the number of bikes currently owned…and not sold my previous bike, I could have easily converted it into a long distance touring bike and participate in the ride, but, that option was now off the table.

Fortunately my friends and I happened across Kevin & Joanna’s, “72 hours to Key West” cycling tour, a three day event starting from Fort Myers Beach and ending in Key West. Unlike my previously planed self contained tour with the Caloosa Riders, this even was fully SAG supported, and they carried all our gear…a perfect fit for The Mistress and me.

The tour, scheduled for November 1st through the 3rd is billed as an “extremely arduous three-day journey” where only very experience riders are encouraged to participate…arduous? Sounds like a great time to me!

The first day wil be a long 120 miles starting at Fort Myers Beach and ending at the Miccosukee Resort  on the corner of US 41 and Krome Ave…basically a full cross country ride across the state in a day. Day two has us leaving mainland Florida an onto the overseas highway for an 80 mile ride down to the beautiful key of Islamorada. We’ll make the final 80 mile push from there to Key West an North America’s southermost point on day three as well as some well earned libations…I mean recovery drinks. No one but me seems crazy enough to want to ride back, so we’ll be returning via the Key West Ferry, a high speed cat that runs between Key West and Fort Myers Beach.

Presently there are 23 riders participating in the tour. We have nearly a 50/50 split between males and females (13 M/10 F) ranging between 25 and 60 years of age. The participants have created teams…by the way this is not a competition, it’s a tour ride…which includes team names like Iron Ladies, Team Poisson, Team T, Sarasota Chicks, Riding for Beer in Key West, and our own, very appropriately named team, The Fort Myers NutBags. We will be lead by Kevin and Joanna from My Race Ragz, a custom sports clothing designer. Both are avid runners and triathletes. Jeff in particular completed an 1,100 mile cycling tour from Florida to Washington DC last year, so I’m sure we will be in good hands.

So time to stock up on supplies and get in a few more rides to keep the legs loose. Set the official countdown to T minus 6 days and counting…the Isle of Bones Tour is a go!

Route: Coconut-40
Ride Time: 2:39:38
Stopped Time: 2:26:04
Distance: 38.96 miles
Average: 14.64 mph
Fastest Speed: 26.09 mph
Ascent: 2790 feet
Descent: 2786 feet
Calories: 2173


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