I emerged from my tent and could feel the wind ripping away. I crossed my fingers with the hopes that maybe it would be blowing from the north. There’s only so much luck one can have on an excursion like this. Today was not my lucky day. So I begrudgingly biked against the wind. Today was definitely one of those ‘why me’ days. People never ask ‘why me’ when positive things are happening to them. Funny how that works.
Not only was today incredibly humid, but it was incredibly hot. I tried my best to stay hydrated, but ran out of water about 10 miles from Okeechobee. Then a couple of red flags started waving for me. One was that I stopped sweating. Not a good sign. The other was an abundance of white crystals forming on my arms. That was salt escaping my body. A man warned me about this in Iowa. I experienced it only two other times on this trip. One was in the middle of nowhere Iowa and the other was when Yaris and I ran out of water in the desert of Utah. I literally had to lick my arms to keep the escaping salt in my body. I forgot I put sunscreen on too. This wasn’t shaping up to be a very good day. I toughed it out though and finally reached town. There I gulped down about a half-gallon of Sweet Tea. It’s getting hot out there folks, make sure you stay hydrated. Salty arms are no fun.
After some rest I arrived to the lake. Conveniently there was a bike path that ran on a levy between a river and the lake. There wasn’t another soul on it but mine. Not even the awful headwinds could deter the smile from my face. Until I noticed something a couple yards ahead on the path. From a distance it looked like a shredded tire. Upon further review I noticed scales, teeth, arms, and eyes. A tire this was not. A gator it was. So I had two options. I could either bike back the other way and tell people the story about how I saw an alligator. Or I could bike past it and tell people the story about how I rode inches from an alligator. I chose the latter. I prepared myself and a part of me thought he would passively let me by. That wasn’t the case. As I passed the alligator, he turned and snapped at me. Maybe I’ll just let this video paint the scene. Now mind you, the camera gets a little wobbly on a count of me almost being bitten. I was a little more concerned for my safety than getting the shot.
I was lucky that half its tail was missing too. Otherwise I don’t know how I would have passed it. I guess I could have just walked in the grass, but it’s a bike path, not an alligator path. Once man successfully conquered beast yet again, I stood and stared at the creature. Every day we face an obstacle some are a little more apparent than others. Today mine was a prehistoric beast. I face it and completed the task at hand. Did you conquer your obstacle today?
For there on it was smooth sailing. Well until the sun went down. Then it became stressful. Originally I had just planned to sleep somewhere off the levy. That was before my run in with my aggressive reptile friend. So I had to keep biking through the night until a found a nice little rec center in off the side of the road. It’s going to be a tough night’s sleep. There are way too many critters about in this state. And I thought the rednecks were bad…
I played this song for the majority of the day. It helped me fight off unforgiving headwinds and unforgiving gators. I implore you to listen to it and allow it to ignite fear into your foes. Get some shit done. And sweep the leg.
Total Ascent: 305 ft.