Stats: 95.33 miles, 15.7 avg, 6 hours
This was the home stretch. I had ~100 miles to get home and surprise my mom.
My South African friends, Scott and Ross, wanted to meet me in Plant City to bike with me the rest of the way home. I started from Haines City where my CouchSurfing host, Bekah, dropped me off. I hauled ass ~30 miles – I remember I was really killing it that morning!
It was awesome meeting up with Ross and Scott. And their dad took my gear in his van so my bike would be a little lighter on the ride. The pedestrian bridge across the Tampa Bay was closed so we had to take the Gandy. The speed limit is pretty high, but the shoulder was wide, so it wasn’t a problem.
We made it to Scott’s house without many problems. I picked up my gear and then the three of us rode down the Pinellas Trail towards my mom’s house.
It was strange biking on those really familiar roads, returning home. It felt only half-real. I pulled up into my mom’s driveway, a few minutes before she would probably be home. I got a key from the neighbor — he was shocked to see me — and opened up the garage. Just after I took this photo (using a ladder as a tripod), I saw my mom’s car coming around the corner. I ran inside and tried to hide to surprise her, but she was too quick. I saw her face as the car pulled in. She was amazed. She couldn’t believe I was home. It was a great moment for both of us.
My mom and I celebrated by going out for a humble pizza party. It was great to be back, and not have to think about biking any more.
My sister, Eleanor, knew when I was coming home, and she kept the secret from my mom. But Eleanor wanted to surprise her too. Eleanor arrived the next day. I picked her up from the airport and then we drove over to pick up mom from work. Eleanor hid in the trunk …