Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

08 April 2015

Portrait Of A Chance Encounter On My Way To Painters Hill

Yesterday I did a shorter ride (about 50 km) than I did the other day (Daytona Beach) or Saturday (St. Augustine).  But I planned it that way so I could linger along one of my favorite stretches of Route A1A, in the very aptly named Painters Hill:

Well, all right, the Painters part is apt.  The hill, not so much.  But it's a feast for the senses.  And, oh yeah, I went swimming.  You could tell I--and the other swimmers--aren't from around here.  Natives wondered how we could "stand" water that's "so cold".  I'd guess that the temperature was somewhere around 13 to 15 C (55 to 60F).  At Rockaway Beach or Coney Island, it's probably not much higher than 5C (40F) right now.

Perhaps the best part of the ride is that I might have made a new friend and riding partner for future trips down here (or perhaps even for later this week!)  I met her at a convenience store-gas station just west of the bridge from Palm Coast Parkway to Route A-1A.  The bichon frise in the front basket of her Diamond Back cruiser gave that ever-so-friendly look bichon frises give and, of course, I stroked his head.  If dogs are a reflection of their owners, that bichon frise perfectly mirrored her personality.  

Before I crossed the bridge into A1A, we rode trails that crossed ponds, cut through swamps and rimmed the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.  She apologized--though she had no reason to--for her riding:  It was her first time out this year, she said.  I didn't feel that she was slowing me down, as she feared.  I must say, though, that I astounded her when I said that I rode the borrowed clunker to and from St. Augustine and Daytona Beach.  "Just thinking about it gets me tired," she exclaimed.

After about two hours, she had to go back to her house to meet a client.  I thanked her:  Even if I hadn't continued down to Painters Hill and Flagler Beach, I would have felt I'd had a good ride.  After all, encounters like that remind me of some of the reasons I ride.

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