Familiarize yourself. Everglades Edge
is a Human Powered Eco-Tour business located within Picayune Strand
State forest, offering pre-race guided course rides (free) the following
dates and times.
Saturday Apr. 9, 2016 - 9:30 am Lap 1
Sunday Apr. 17, 2016 - 2 pm Lap 2
Meet at Everglades Edge on Snake Rd 1/2 hr. prior for Sat 2/20 ride.
Meet at Trailwalker Trailhead 1/2 hr. prior for Sunday 2/28 tour.
Please call Wes at least 1 day ahead at 239 280-8837 or 239 353-1648 to sign up
and talk about details. Also please call anytime for directions and
specifics and any general questions you may have anytime. e-mails
Also come out on your own and practice as the course is there to use at
your liesure everyday. We will assist in any way we can. - Wes W.
*All profits are donated 100%. Picayune Nature
Club (picayunenatureclub.org) will administer all costs and give
all profits and volunteer efforts to programs for the benefit of Picayune
Strand State Forest and outdoor conservation practices and how they interact restoratively in
the Southwest Florida urban and natural environments of which Picayune
Strand State Forest is an integral part of. The PNC is a 501.3.c corporation
and not politically involved.
The "Durrwalker" cup is a tribute in the local vernacular to a person
who was an important part of the original makers of Picayune Strand
State Forest. Forestor Durrwachter played several major roles on
the ground for the Forest Service during that time and a main part of the
mapping and naming of trails and boundaries while working through the
difficult details and politics of the land acquisition phase required
for eventual preservation and the restoration of Picayune Strand.
Senior Forester Sonja Durrwachter was her official title, and one most
appropriate for a true forester opening the door to the future for the
newly defined state forest. The petite blonde had her work cut out for
her, often in the field alone, courageously working in a place plagued
by raging fires and deemed by many as the last frontier. Poachers, dumpers, hunters, squatters,
suspicious residents, fugitives and recreationists of all kinds knew
Sonja and her tireless work in getting Picayune Forest off the ground
and making it an equal among giants of special places managed by the
State of Florida.
It's people like her and many others in the Florida Forest Service that make the world
a better place, especially for the future.
NEWS FROM THE TRAILS OF PICAYUNE STRAND
From: Race Director - Wes
The trails of Picayune are not drying down. Alot of unseasonable rain.
Standing muddy water is still around, too high to ride around other than
the northeast part of the course. There are big puddles that are still
part of a lake of sheet flow to the east side and south part of the
Belle Meade. Not a bad thing but we figured it was time to
delay the race date until April,23. The birds are numerous
as they fly in from all over to feed on the not-so-much diminshing pools
of fish. Wood storks, herons, egrets, everything you can name is out in
the woods of Picayune Strand. The water table has not dropped as much
as usual and humidity is up and rainfall has been at least double the norm
the last couple of months. Mornings still begin often with some foggy
overcast here and there often and fog but generally clears for some
afternoon sunshine. There have been several fronts of heavy rain that
don't allow for much to dry yet this dry season. Cooler temps have arrived but the moist
conditions remain. The trail sand is packed where not inundated
and still very sticky at other spots and the plants thick and full and there's
still alot of grass and weeds on the trail. Definitely backwoods riding.
Good riding and unique. But it's wide open as we begin to ride on
the trail course a little and mark. Which means we do nothing much at
all other than make a wheel way in the natural landscape. Little impact
and gone after a wet season. It's an old time freeride in a generally
dry Florida swamp and many trails have been there many decades . This
year it's been wet and wild and now January is basically like
December. Majority of water remains to the south
side and the dry spots are to the north, which is typical since the
water flows south/southeast to the Gulf.
Every year one can expect the trails to go dormant in late
summer/early fall due to the flooding of sheet flow water. This is good
for stabilizing and smoothing out the land and allowing the plants to
take over. It occurs most every season and that's good as this region
is within the Big Cypress water basin which is essentially a rain driven system and therefore very
seasonal and subject to extreme drought as well as high water. Best time to ride here is in
May, June and July and soon after the rains around late October,
November, December and often beyond, but who knows when the deep water
will actually begin and end and how much will accumulate in August and
September and just how hot and dry and worked up the roads and trails
The riding at this time (January 26, 2016) is damp but easy going and
fast many spots. Be prepared for wet feet in the south and lube your
bike well for wet conditions. But there's many places to ride in higher
locations where there's no water at all or it can be easily avoided. See the maps or just come and discover for
yourself. The correct tires and gearing become another point to adjust
and the riding can be a good as ever, nobody around hardly, lots of
birds, plants thick, bugs not so bad...
At this time the once very deep but now partially receded water from
a fairly wet summer have left trails renewed. It's always exciting to go out just
after wet times to experience the peaked summer plant growth. Picayune's
swamp flora has grown in with a vengence but a bike can slip discreetly
between and through all of it- but that will change as the winter season
progresses and things go totally brown and whither back for the dry
season when we've always had the TdP so far.
After the rainy season the ground remains a sponge well after the
water subsides and makes for some interesting combinations of sand
consistency. Watch out for suction in low spots. Wide softer tires don't
push the sand but ride above. Letting out alot of air is quite
helpful. Narrower harder tires can sink in ruts and lose control
especially as the dry season progresses and everything changes into
barren and sandy stretches that require the right tires, acceleration
and momentum to efficiently traverse. Knobby tires can slow and create
a glue like traction espeically in wetter sand. Knobs on a rear wheel is
great for traction, especially in those mushy, underwater holes. But can
be a significant trade off at areas described as suction sand..
Check back for updates! - Wes
50 MILE RACE COURSE - SOUTH BELLE MEADE 28 and 50 mile (2 laps - 28 &22 miles) marked
Route may change anytime due to Forestry preferences,
other factors unknown, so trail layout can change. Stay tuned.
4 Aid stations. Drinks and snacks provided during and
after race. Camping is available. Bike rentals available. See
sponsor links for other available amenities. See also separate
backroad tour map attached via this link.
Tour de Picayune is a
cross country bicycle race over the old trails
and lands through the backwoods and swamps of Picayune Strand State Forest
in Southwest Florida.
Dry sand, wet sand, rocks, soft gravel, hard gravel, grass, vines,
brush, logs and even some rough asphalt describe the range of riding
surfaces; Generally variations of soft, sandy trails that can change
significantly in accordance to recent past as well as current weather,
traffic, humidity, plant growth, water
levels, and it's sometimes hard to predict the right tires or even the best
bike for overall performance. But the main point of this
race is the tour, and again this year's course is a 50 mile odyssey of two
laps (1 - 22 & 1-28 miles plus 16 mile intro) in South Belle Meade that will be the course determining the 2016
champion. The winner of the Fifth annual Tour de Picayune will have
his/her name, hometown and year of victory placed on championship series
cup winners roll for historical record and public display. We will also
award a great prize for the winner. Last year it was an outstanding
bicycle travel case for the winner and sets of LED lights for second and
There are 3 distances to ride- 16, 28 and 50 miles. However there
are several turn backs over easy tracks back to parking, snake pit, etc. See
maps. Each lap is substantially different. -
All riders must be over 12 and have signed liability waiver and wear a helmet.
- 1 champion only - 50 mile course winner.
- First, second and third place recognitions for 50 mile class and First
rider to Snake Pit. - Race packet pick-up and sign-in begins
9:00 am. - Race/tour starts at 7:15 am and ends at 3pm.
- Registration begins
at 6:15 am. Course pick up and shuttle wagon starts at 3:45 pm. - Post
begin at 1:30pm. Winner and finishers collect prizes and accolades. -
Post race party at Snake pit camp.
Entry Fees 50/28 mile entrant- $40prior($50 race day). 16 miler -$30
prior($40 race day). Kids age 12-16 and PNC Members: $25
prior ($30 race day).
Contact Wes Wilkins - Race director or Andy Holland - Volunteer coord. e-mail: wes@tourdepicayune
or call 239-280-8837 anytime. * ONLINE EARLY REGISTRATION LINK
On soft sand, the wider the tire the easier the roll with a lightweight
bike. Thinner tires need more speed to plane and often cut deep ruts through
the surface, thus basically becoming a plow . A power
consumer. The object is a balance between terraine and tire. Larger around
tires are better for general ground clearance such as a 29er's
better ability to cross rough country. Less psi but enough rear tire
traction to keep going is also a key to this balance. Fatter tires work in
other ways in terms of traction and comfort. A tire with a flatter ground to
surface profile is better, too. What's best on pavement is most likely bad
in the dirt. Air pressure is important not to have too
much. A softer tire adapts to
the surface and it's significant. Each sand condition varies so it's best to start high and work
it out lower to a comfortable level as the ride continues.
The sand can vary like the weather and other traffic has its effects as well.
Riding ruts has advantages and puffy sand would seem the worst but with a morning
dew, it is a great surface to ride with the right settings.
Don't come with a pavement mindset and you'll love it just fine.
Watch for wildlife at all times and yield, as this is their home above all.
Happy Pippy says everyone is welcome
to come for the fun!
2014 & 2015 Champion Bill Quinsey
Bill Quinsey held true to his intention of last year and has become
our first back to back champion.
There's no sense in asking him about this year as I know he is humbly
intending a third victory. And why shouldn't he? He is definitely the
man to beat and if anybody really expects to challenge him, then they
better put in plenty of additional riding time here in Picayune Strand
But as sure as Bill will be very tough to beat, he will have to do even
better this time to win a third.
Last year's race had perfect weather. A stong rain and cold front moved
in the night before and flattened the course and cooled the air.
Everything drained perfectly in the dry sand and the start was fast in
the dirt but the grass was thick and heavy in the early going. But the
sun and low humidity did it's thing in the afternoon and things dried
out including the sand around midday which went powder dry. Too tough
for a second round for many as the ground became the enemy, and in the
Southwest part of the course, this meant seriously tough consequences. It
became a two man race as Bill Q. and Andy Holland pulled away from the
other riders, about 3/4 through the first lap. Jareld Brownell and Pieter Van
their respective 3rd and 4th spots throughout too. Jareld captured third
on his own and Pietr placed 4th his second year in a row, also coming in
solo. Andy, Jareld, Pieter and others fought a hard and consistent
battle from start to finish, but Bill prevailed over his chief competitor Andy Holland as he took control
late on the second lapabout 6 or 7 miles out in the painfully deep ruts
of the "Sand Traps" region and separated himself enough to win by about
a couple minutes or so. Andy was second followed by a
relativley distant 3rd and fourth.
2015 Finish Line at Snake Pit: Left to Rt: Andy Holland, Bill Quinsey,
and Jareld Brownell.
Rough freeriding trails and paths.
Meandering single track through palmettos.
Typical log obstacle.
Grassy and sandy flatwoods trails.
Sticky tram. Trail through oak hammock.
Jungle path to Snake pit.
Sabal Palm/Triple G road rock pits.
Snake Pit Camp. Rutty road late in the dry season day.
Expressway returns. Wetland Hammock enter at own risk.
This road is usually fast but can be sticky and slick both whenever it
sideways slipping can be expected.