Inspired to Divide Part 2: CFiTTHuRaCaNDeAtHLooP Training Ride
When I prepare for an event, I want to do ODD things. Like starting a 100 mile ride at 4pm in the afternoon.
The purpose was to chase the heat of the day, I wanted to prepare for the potential condtions of the desert that we will eventually encounter when we cross parts of Wyoming, Colorado and eventually New Mexico.
Before I get TOO DEEP into my stories I should say that for the first time in a long time, I have full intention of traveling with a friend. NICK is new to Bikepacking, but in a short year he has put in the work to become seasoned. AND although he doesnt have a decade of experience under his belt, he has had a decade of my experience to help guide him. ON TOP OF THAT he has completed the Tally Tango, the majority of the TNGA, the HuRaCaN, the Florida Divide and tons of training rides. HE IS a stellar rider with a TON of Grit, and determination, so there was zero hesitation for him to come along.
My philosophy is simple. Anyone can do what I do, as long as you, Number one, believe you can do it, and Number two, you invest in preparing yourself. HE has done both.
I put out an internet shout out inviting everyone and anyone. After my last divide, I ride a more moderate pace with fewer stops and it turns to work out as a great way to cover distances fast. Turns out the key to speed on any Ultra is to stop very little, not really about all out speed.
Nick, My friend Bryan and I met at the shop and we rolled out about an hour late. The nature of the beast. BUT instead of heat, the day was overcast and cool throughout. We took the the Cross Florida route south. I really wanted to stop at Central 28 for a reward beer, but we left late and they closed early. With 13 miles of challenging terrain to go, I didnt think we would make it. On top of that, I had not loaded any route, I had to follow everything by memory.
When we cleared The Twin lakes area, I noticed we had four miles to go and 15 minutes till closing. I did the math and if we kept the pedals hot, we could make it.
So I tucked into my bars and hammered for 15 minutes straight, making it just two minutes before closing and earning our beer reward. The funny part was, that neither Bryan nor Nick understood why I had turned up the heat, but alas, they hung on with no issue.
Once clear of Central 28 I discovered that the county had built a protected bike path over the bridge. The only dangerous part of the ride left was the ride on State Road 46. It was as bad as I thought it would be, but we kept the pedals hot and got into Seminole Forest without issue. Nick fired up his drone and got some great video before we stopped for a break by Blackwater Creek.
Soon after when we reached State Road 44 Bryan broke off to head home early and Nick and I continued north on the Huracan/FD route onto Royal Trails and Maggie Jones. At First I thought Maggie was gonna play nice, but NAH, She turned into a real bitch. But we stayed on task and still reached the Paisley trailhead.
Soon we rolled on the yellow trail taking the right trail, knowing full well that I would be able to see the dot for the Shockley Cemetery
and be able to take my friend Nick on a little side trip. Navigating to the cemetery was easy enough, but storms had put a huge pine tree right on top of the graves. Although the graves were intact, you couldnt reach them no matter what you tried. Nothing like the last time I was there, which was at least three years ago.
We got back on the trail, pushed on, eventually joining the death loop and fighting muddy roads with high resistance. I kept reminding myself that this is something that can happen and totally possible on the divide. We stopped at the Astor Store for food, and then continued onto the CFiTT, eventually hititing the road and finishing without incident at 2am.
The night was cool. The air chill. The sights and sounds mesmorizing. It was a wonderfully scenic ride and experience, but hardly HOT and hardly torturous. O well. What can you do.
Lots of folks have asked how can they contribute to my trip. Although I am not formally asking for donations if anyone is feeling generous and wants to buy me a cup, a meal or rent me a room, follow this link, and thanks ahead of time.