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On Casey Key, a sunset bike ride turns into a foggy wonder

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foggybikerideMy sister-in-law was visiting Florida last weekend, so I wanted to play outdoor host, which can be tricky.
If I get somebody hurt on a hike, or take them out on some nightmare paddle, I’ll be hearing about that over Christmas holidays for the rest of my life. It might even affect family production of those mini pecan pies that I eat by the dozen each December. Perish the thought.
What I’m saying is that there was a lot at stake for this outing. Care had to be taken. Anne is adventurous — she’s been to places like Machu Picchu — but not really fit or outdoorsy. I considered a bunch of easygoing things, then finally decided on a sunset bike ride down Casey Key.

This barrier island has been a cycling favorite for decades. There’s very little traffic on a narrow and winding beach road. It’s fun to look at all the mansions, and there are curves that offer beautiful glimpses of the Gulf of Mexico.
That was my plan for Sunday. In my head, I was already taking a glorious snapshot of her silhouette at sunset.

Maybe a brushfire?
The sun was just starting to set when we turned off I-75 in Venice. As we drove west, though, the sky turned gray and misty.
I thought it might be a brushfire or something, but then we realized it was the fog we had heard about in the weather forecast.

Weird, wasn’t it?
We went biking anyway, which turned out to be a great decision.
There was even less traffic than usual, so we got to ride side by side most of the way. We talked and listened to the waves crashing on a beach that we could barely see, even though it was just a few feet away. Halfway down the key, I took off my glasses, because they were all misty, anyway.
I told Anne that we were lucky and this was a one-of-a-kind Florida bike ride. She told me that she loved the quiet of our short ride down the shore.
So I think we’re looking good for those pecan pies at Christmas.

jacquieschlittermirrorUltra-Update
While we’re talking about cycling, here’s a late report on Jacquie Schlitter, an ultra-cyclist I wrote about a few weeks ago.
I think I jinxed her.
In my feature story, I wrote about how Schlitter is always smiling, even after riding for hundreds in miles in super-endurance races. The next day, she started a 24-hour race at Bike Sebring, only to get sick and start vomiting.
In the end, she rode “only” 325 miles.
“I was a pathetic, whining weeny,” Schlitter said in an e-mail. “Not my usual smiling self at all. So, it was a good lesson for RAAM.”
This summer, Schlitter will compete in the 3,000-mile Ride Across America. For more information, jacquieschlitter.wordpress.com/.

Last modified: February 27, 2014
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