Day 12. Branford FL.
| End: Tallahassee FL. | Milage 631

Starting like any other day, the back and legs are sore from a long restless night. My eyes tracked a wild dog that was in the area throughout the night, the snapping of a stick alarming me to it’s whereabouts. Nothing else bothered me as I lay on the mat staring up toward the ceiling. The loud crickets that snuck closer as the night grew old rang a repetitive tune, waking me up like a chirping alarm clock. In the morning we packed and tied the wet clothes to the bikes, a scene missing dialog.
As we made the trek northwest, I slipped in and out of daydreams. Dirk put his bike into the soft shoulder, myself suffering the same symptoms hours earlier. The seventeen-mile stretch from Branford to Mayo was an endless maze. Not because the road was winding or hard to navigate, yet it was the mind that would lose focus, making it a struggle to remain on the road. The gloomy morning seemed to blanket us with its emotion as we followed the white continuous line. The clouds moved faster than normal, almost as if they were rushing, looking to make it to town as we did. Mayo is one disappointing little town off highway 27. We hauled ass for nothing I thought, though we made due with a honeybun and a gallon of water, strapping it to the bikes.
The next town is 28 miles away. In a car going 65mph, it may seem like four songs on the radio worth of time. To a cyclist, it is a good haul, a considerable chunk of the day. Many thoughts ran through my mind, a fight with realities as we continued down 3the road, watching cows in the fields as we passed by. Perry was better. We ate, slept and took shelter from the sun. Waking up from the ants, we got on the bikes and prepared for the next 30miles. There was nothing until Lament and we just put our heads down and accepted it.
The hills were starting to become part of the ride. In the distance you can make out the next couple of hurdles. Some small, some long and steep. All I can think is…. how are we going to make the mountain passes. I was not feeling too bad either. Early in the morning my knee did start up but I didn’t think much of it, just slapped the knee brace on and continued.
For some time we seemed to be followed. We kept a steady pace at 18mph with a cross wind from the southwest. Looking up, the sun seemed to only peek from behind the clouds long enough to dry the rain that fell in spurts of only 10 drops. Our pursuer was a dark mass dripping with delay. We kept on the front of the storm for a good hour. After getting wet, we let the pace slip, delaying our next mark. We celebrated when we put a few miles between the storm and us… not long after… yet another storm approached from the north. As the road was moving northwest and the storm was moving at a steady pace south, I knew we were not going to out run this one. We found ourselves under our tarp, waiting for the mass to drift. We threw on the jackets and continued… it wouldn’t be until the last 4.1 miles were the rain gets us again. At last the 111-mile day is finished… Tallahassee.

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