November 27, 2006

Florida Ride, Part I

My weekend plans to visit friends in the Midwest were cancelled at the last minute due to an acute case of nonparatusitis; luckily, it looks like eventually there will be a full recovery and, I suspect, all effected will be a stronger group than ever before.

So I was left on Thanksgiving Day with the prospect of a weekend with no kid responsibilities and no work responsibilities. Wow, a weekend for myself!

Now what. Hmm. I thought for awhile... Nothing... A little later... Still nothing...

And then it hit me, like numchuck to the nads. Ok, maybe it didn't hurt all that bad.

I was registering for the Florida Half Ironman when I had an epiphany - I'll drive to Florida and ride the Ironman bike course!

112 miles of biking... The longest I had ever ridden was 43 miles a couple of months ago... I have a marathon in a week... Hmmm. Ok, let's go!

I called my friend Mark, the only other guy I know crazy enough to drive 6 hours on 1 day notice to ride untrained for 112 miles. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for him, he was tethered by pager to work for the weekend.

So, Friday I set off for Panama City Beach. I knew the trip would rock when I saw this old, lonely tree 30 minutes into the journey. Now I'm a sucker for trees. I like climbing them, occasionally falling out of them, but especially looking at them. My favorite ones are the old, dying trees with no leaves... I call them the horror movie trees...

So I knew I was in for a wicked good time when I saw this tree.

I made it to PCB, found a hotel on the beach, and then made it to the ocean just in time to watch an amazing sunset over the Gulf of Mexico.

I went for a short run on the beach, then laid in the sand and watched the stars appear.

Later that night I went across the street to the theatre and saw Casino Royale, the new James Bond flick. I was entranced the entire show, and I don't usually enjoy Bond that much. Must admit, I was thoroughly impressed that Bond was poisoned with digitalis while playing poker, walked to his car, hooked an AED up to himself, shocked his pulseless heart back to a sinus rhythm, administered digibind into his IJ, then was back at the poker table within 5 minutes. Now that, my friend is a man... Take that Macgyver...

The next morning, I was about to start my ride when I had an intruder. Yes, an intruder! Someone, believe it or not, actually walked into my hotel room through my balcony door! Still I have no idea how he got on my balcony, or from where he came. There were no trees anywhere nearby that he could have climbed; and I was on the 11th floor!

When I glanced up and saw him, he froze. Our eyes met for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes, although I'm certain it wasn't actually longer than a second or 2 at the most. I had no idea what he wanted, and quite frankly I was a little frightened. Definitely shocked...

Slowly I stood up off the bed and started creeping toward the dresser, where all of my valuables were sitting. He stood motionless for another second, then dashed for the door through which he had entered.

I jumped toward the dresser and grabbed my camera, thinking that at the minimum I wanted a photo of this guy for proof that he had broken into my room.

He got out the door, and I gave chase right behind... He was cornered on the balcony... I had him now, and he had nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

Still incredulous, I snapped a photo. And then he turned and jumped over the rail. From the 11th floor!

Now I don't know for sure what happened to him. I looked down, but saw no signs of any carnal damage on the ground 11 floors below. And before I went for my ride a few minutes later, I walked down and studied the ground below my balcony. Nothing... He had vanished...

Was this all just a dream? I pinched myself... Definitely for real...

I checked my camera, and there was the proof. I wasn't crazy after all...

And so I started my ride...

1 comment:

stronger said...

I'm reading this a month later and no one commented? You had me. I burst out laughing thinking it must have been some kind of David Blaine stunt...by a squirrel...of course.