Day Six

What, if anything, about today’s 90 mile ride from Daytona to Mayport, Florida, just east of Jacksonville, will I remember years from now?

It’s not likely to be that with the help of another strong tailwind Ken and I rode even faster than we had yesterday, fun though that was. (Before moving on from that bit of information, though, allow me to make the observation that distance bicycle riding is as much about the preservation of energy – husbanding it, managing it carefully, saving it for later – as it is about the exertion of strength. Riding fast, even if only on a relative basis, hour after hour, is not about brute strength; it involves a lot of finesse, especially when done in cooperation with another rider, whose body will naturally have its own rhythms and stresses, no doubt different from your own. It’s exhilarating, even somewhat memorable, when it all comes together, irrespective of the posted speed.)

Maybe I’ll remember some scenes from the quietly beautiful park Ken and I passed through this morning, like this one:

Or maybe when we stopped by the gate honoring Ponce de Leon’s landing in his search for the Fountain of Youth:

Or the opposite: when I got news at lunch that an old friend is very ill.

I may remember with an amused smile that today’s Strava heat-map-generated route led us almost inexplicably from the main road through some twists and turns into a housing development before taking us back to the main road. We later concluded that either a hyperactive cyclist lives there or, more likely, it’s the meeting place for local group rides.

Most likely, the settled areas we passed through today, other than St Augustine’s historic center and Atlantic Beach’s charming downtown, will blur with all the other waterfront homes and hotels we’ve been seeing over the last three or four days. We’ve also seen an awful lot of ocean and a near-endless stream of people who look happy to be spending their time in a resort community that extends for hundreds of miles north/south, but is mostly only a few hundred yards wide.

Perhaps I’ll remember my daylong anticipation of dramatic change tomorrow, when we will pass from Resortland, populated by (prosperous) Americans from everywhere and anywhere into what I expect will be a starkly different cultural environment: the rural South. In a very real sense, we have now spent six days heading north toward the South. I’m looking forward to getting a sense of the place.

We’ll begin the day with a quick ferry ride across Chicopit Bay – the body of water that leads westward from the Atlantic toward Jacksonville – then head north, eventually into Georgia around mid day. This route – heading all the way north on Florida’s barrier islands, then taking secondary roads from the ferry – was Ken’s elegant solution to the unattractive alternative prospect of fighting our way through Jacksonville, now a bustling metropolis.

In summary: except for the bad news about my friend’s health, another lovely day, another part of an adventure that on the whole, if not in all its parts, is feeling entirely memorable. I am truly blessed.

M.H. Johnston

Today’s stats: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/6694950484

P.S. Sorry about the photo distortions. The pictures look fine in the draft I see.

5 comments to Day Six

  • Anonymous  says:

    Resort land. Hundreds of miles long and a few hundred yards wide. Nice.

  • Dennis Paine  says:

    Mark,

    Enjoying the journey, vicariously.

    Looking for a solution to the ‘skinny’ pix, I found this:
    https://wordpress.org/support/topic/wrong-aspect-ratio-when-upload-to-justified-gallery/

    Cheers,
    Dennis

    • M Johnston  says:

      Thanks. All pictures now fixed.

      • Dennis Paine  says:

        They look great!

        Thanks!

  • Anonymous  says:

    Love the updates.

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