Sunday, April 03, 2005

14 miles, I almost ran over an alligator and my butt hurts

Ow.

Today I finally did something I wanted to for years, but never got around to it. Perfect day. Temp. 74, cloudless sky, low humidity. I coaxed DH into taking the bikes down to Shark Valley and riding the 14-mile loop road. Shark Valley is a slough in the Everglades. Every winter I love going there to glimpse the bird activity. Summers are brutally hot.

14 miles and DUH! I forgot a hat. Brought one bottle of water. The first seven miles had me pedaling like the Tour de France. Me, overweight, out of shape, cruising along. We're laughing, joking, stopping once in a while to snap pictures of the gators. I counted how many we spotted. 55 in total.

We got to the viewing tower, the halfway point. Climbed up, took more pictures. Got back on our bikes to complete the rest of the circuit. Seven more miles.

Against a headwind that suddenly kicked up. I suddenly realized my head is sunburnt. The water we took is dwindling fast. My butt is killing me. I'm pedaling and trying to keep an even pace and here I am...

ME: I think I can, I think I can, pant pant pant, gasp gasp gasp

Suddenly... ZZZZZZZZZZZOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!

A speed bicyclist flashes by, like a pulsar. DH and I are struggling along and this guy is doing 90 mph. What really made me wince was that this was the second time on this 14-mile circuit we had seen him.

I'm tired. My head hurts. My thighs are burning. But I'm determined I am going to make it. I'm so determined, I'm staring straight ahead. I don't see the wide, grassy river, the hardwood hammocks or the anhingas sunning themselves.

I didn't almost see the alligator I nearly ran over.

I'm on the left, puffing away and HOLY GATOR! He's right at the road's edge, sunning himself. I swerved, missing him by a nose. My heart, which is already galloping a mile a minute, is in my throat.

I kept pedaling. And when we finally made it, I felt like Rocky. Not Rocky in the movie.

Rocky Road. Damn, doesn't a girl deserve ice cream after 14 miles and a sore ass?

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