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Showing posts from March, 2015

50 Miles on a Singlespeed Fat Bike

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The word Epic gets overused a lot these days. Much like the word Awesome, we tend to label things as Epic that don't even come close to the definition or even the spirit from whence it came. Epic refers to that which is heroic, grand or monumental. It usually involves a gripping adventure, a powerful expression of willpower and an unforgettable outcome. With this firmly in mind I think it is safe to say that the Tour de Picayune has become one of Florida's Epic races.
The Tour takes place in Picayune Strand State Forrest, an area made up of 78,000 acres of former swampland. The history of this area is fascinating. Starting in the 1940's it was logged for cypress trees. When the trees were gone they filled in the land to make pastures. In the 1960's the Gulf American Land Corporation purchased 57,000 acres to build "Golden Gate Estates," which was to be the largest subdivision in America. Here is where it all went sour. Golden Gate Estates turned out to be no…

A MTB Race for those who Don't Race

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There is nothing that a mountain biker likes more than a proper sufferfest, except maybe drinking beer, or that could just be me. On March 22nd, 2015 Gone Riding, Florida's premiere mountain bike racing organization, put on the first event of the South Eastern Regional Championship series or SERC. It was held at Hailes Trails in Newberry, Florida and as promised it was worthy of sweat and tears.
What is SERC? This regional cross country race series appears to center around the state of Georgia which is odd because Georgia already has their own race series. However, SERC casts a wider net reaching into the states of North & South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. It's a perfect in-between for those who can't afford the longer travel of the U.S. Cup series. It also closely matches the typical start of the racing season. No matter the reason you latch onto SERC, more racing means more options for everyone.

This year the SERC season started in Newberry, Florida so…

The End of Unknown Trails

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The world often changes without us noticing right away. Hindsight is the lens through which we identify when something new had started. Only then do we appreciate its significance. Many years ago in New England I was exploring the woods in an area that was somewhat off the grid. I heard a rumor that people used to ride mountain bikes there so I wanted to look for signs of old trails.
After several trips I finally stumbled upon what can only be described as an illegally built freeride park. It was full of high jumps, wild rollers, daredevil skinnies and a ten foot high wooden berm. It had long since been abandoned with no sign as to who the builders were or if they would ever come back. The nails had rusted, the wood had grayed and cracked. The story of how it all came into being might be lost forever. That was the world before Strava.

The internet has changed the way we shop, date and do business. It has also changed the way we ride. Or more specifically, it has changed where we ride…

The 2015 Santos Fat Tire Festival

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All year long I have been reading posts on social media from Ray Petro, the man who created Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Parks. Apparently Ray likes to spend a lot of time in Florida and his recent expeditions down here had nothing to do with beaches and martinis. Ray was working with the Ocala Mountain Bike Association (OMBA), building ride elements in the Santos bike park. From what I saw, they have been really busy.
This was my first trip to Santos. Friends have been telling me to visit for a while. They said I'd love the place and their recommendations were right on the money. If Alafia is a MTB playground, Santos is an amusement park. Add to that a special event, the Fat Tire Festival and you've got an amusement park with a field full of vendors and a monster crowd that flocks to fun. When they said 500+ people fill the trails, they were not exaggerating.

First off, the park is super easy to find. If you start from Interstate 75, it's two turns off Exit 341. Second…

The Benefits of Small Events

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Often times I'll come home from an event and comment that while it was fun, it wasn't worthy of an article. However, after a good night's sleep the meaningfulness of that day would slowly sneak up on my consciousness and tap me on the shoulder. The truth is that there is always something to write about. There is always a story. You just have to look for it.
On March 1st, 2015 there was a unique event held at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve in Venice, Florida. As many of my regular readers know, this is the park where I have worked with the Sarasota County Off Road Riders (SCORR) to build mountain bike trails over the last few years. Previous to this day, there had only been one race event held at the Carlton. Piggy's Revenge is our annual ride/race which raises money for SCORR and introduces people to the park. This year we had our biggest turnout with 160 riders. The elevated level of publicity sparked the desire for yet another event to be held on those same trails. Th…