September 21, 2014
“They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.”
-Cake- “Going the Distance”
September is traditionally one of the slowest months in Key
West. The summer is mostly over and the busy tourist season that kicks off with
Fantasy Fest in October is still weeks away. With schools back in session and tourists
at a minimum, there generally is not a lot going on. Some restaurants and
businesses still follow the practice of closing down during the month and
others offer steep discounts to get locals in and help keep up some semblance of
There are a few events that try and take advantage of the
down period and are scheduled in September each year, one of these is the
annual Peterson’s Key West Poker Run, which is known to locals as simply “Bike
Week”. The event is basically a
motorcycle ride from Miami to Key West with five stops along the way where
participants are given a playing card with winners determined by the random
drawing of a poker hand.
Over 10,000 riders and bikes descend on Key West and by
Friday night, much of the length of Duval Street is closed to all but
motorcycle traffic and the town is packed with the riders and those such as
myself who like to come out and check out the bikes, many of which are quite
unique and spectacular.
Some locals complain about the noise, but the biker crowd
spends a ton of money in town, tip well and are much less of a problem than
many other targeted groups of tourists that come at certain times. The noise
can be loud, but deal with it for a weekend for the sake of our island tourist
I went down for a quick tour of Duval Street on Friday night
after attending the Key West High Football game and it was a nice night of
checking out the bikes and mingling with the crowd of bikers and locals who
were out to check it all out. I did not stay out too late as I had to be up
early, before sunrise to head out to Florida Keys Community College to take photos
of the annual Sprint Triathlon/ Biathalon.
I was out at FKCC just as the sun was rising and watched the
preparations for the Sprint Triathlon which featured a swim through the lagoon,
followed by a bike ride and finally running. It was a shorter distance than the
full tri or worse the ironman triathlons which are for the truly rugged, but
for the athletes participating it was still a good workout.
Close to a hundred hearty souls were entered in the race and
they were pretty impressive as they competed with each other and against the
clock to complete the race. It was shocking how quickly some of them completed
the event and probably even more impressive for those who simply struggled to
finish, because it is a pretty cool accomplishment. Kathy has competed in a
number of these races, but did not compete this time.
It was a fun way to kick off the weekend, as Kathy & I
were off to West Palm Beach shortly after the completion of the race to attend
a Tom Petty/ Steve Winwood concert, driving up the Keys just after the awards
ceremony was completed.