It should I suppose become tiresome to repeat the same thing day after day but it does not. I am too much like an old dog for that to bother me. Besides there is an element of healthfulness to the routine which saves it. No matter how long we linger over coffee, breakfast and our computers every morning, by noon or slightly later we’re eager to get on our bicycles for fresh air and exercise.
Our latest drill takes us just up the road from our digs, to Tower Beach, where we enter the beach at one of the widest points on the southern portion of the Island.
There are customarily few people on this area of the beach, certainly more later in the afternoon than earlier. Because this beach is where the land rounds the lower tip of the Island and curves into Braddock Point (and eventually into Calibogue Cay), the beach sand is often wet and therefore unsuitable for cycling except on the ribbon of land immediately adjoining the Ocean. If however the tide is far enough out then it is possible with only minor and temporary inconvenience to connect to the flat, dry beach. This is also one of the few areas on the beach where the geography has the appearance of rising towards the north. Considering we’re at sea level it may only be an optical illusion or it may be the result of the tides dumping larger collections of sand at this junction. In any event it makes for some very appealing views especially on a windy day when the fine sand is swept about like specters on the face of the beach.
Tower Beach is located at Marker 13 (1.3 miles from the starting point at the most southern point of the Island). If, as today, there’s headwind from the north, then cycling is a struggle. Any headwind over 10 km/hr makes the going difficult. Initially the wind is refreshing and the battle it against has its Stoic reward. But by the time we’ve reached Beach Club (around Marker 39) the fun and honour has begun to dwindle. If however we’re feeling especially enthusiastic, we’ll continue to Coligny Park (around Marker 53). Since the outside destination is usually Singleton Beach at Marker 97, Coligny Park thus marks the half-way point. Today we hadn’t the energy to go beyond Coligny Park so we turned back along the beach with the wind at our backs. Other times we continue. The subsequent stop northward is Sonesta Beach (around Marker 72). This is another popular, more public, area of the beach where people set up umbrellas and beach chairs. Often there are children playing as well. As one proceeds northward towards Singleton Beach the frequency of people begins to thin once again as it does when approaching the southern end of the Island. The two extremities of the Island are the more residential areas and there are therefore fewer tourists though at this time of year there are never many people anywhere on the beach.
When the north wind is strong we often cycle on the paths from the south end to Singleton Beach where we join the beach for the easy ride back with the wind at our backs.
It is of course always a relief to fly home with the wind, but it is still a long way (about ten miles). The ride is inevitably into the sun. On a warm day it can be daunting.
The exercise always takes its toll no matter how casually one pedals. Twenty miles of sustained cycling is not something you ignore. By the time I reach the condo it is the work of a moment to get to the lounge chairs by the pool where I collapse and instantly fall asleep in the late afternoon sunshine.
When the sun becomes blocked by the palmetto ferns I awake and gather my things to stumble along the green lawn to the steps of the condo balcony. Then it is usually a pot of black coffee to animate myself. It isn’t long afterwards that my hunger sets in and reminds me I haven’t eaten a thing since breakfast.
We seldom dine much after 6:00 o’clock. And we never go to bed hungry. The largest portion on our plate is a fresh green salad. The protein complement is normally chicken, pork loin or salmon. Dessert can sometimes be a real sweet, but often is yoghurt and granola.