Dan Hutton needs ice for his knees and an icy hot rub for his calves after completing what may be the most epic trip in SmartRide history.
He began his journey toward Key West when most riders were still doing final practice rides and prep.
While the annual ride was officially Nov. 18-19, Hutton started on Nov. 15 north of Jacksonville.
“I wanted to start at the northernmost point of Florida and ride to the Southernmost Point.”
Even for someone on their fifth ride, training for the event takes months. More than doubling the 165-mile ride meant Hutton had to give a singular focus.
“I stopped running and got on the bike every day, with no breaks.”
He rides for Team Equality Florida, and his fiancé, Wally Ericks, is part of the crew, and crewed the extended trip. After arriving at lots of cheers in Key West, Hutton says he was ready for a break.
“The ride was amazing, perfect conditions. My feet still hurt!”
But there was to be no rest for Hutton, Ericks, or their friends on the trip. Once they finished the ride, they started the rest of their lives. After 10 years together, they got married in Key West after the SmartRide.
“He is my partner in everything I do,” Hutton said.
They live in the Jacksonville area and are working to develop a memorial in a park that remembers and honors the more than 6,000 people from North Florida that died during the darkest days of the AIDS/HIV crisis. Prior to this year his top fundraising total was $4,000. This year he set the goal at $6,000 and blew past it, raising more than $7,000.
Hutton plans to ride again next year because he has fun, and helps a cause he believes in.
“The importance of this event cannot be downplayed.”