2013 Race report and Summary

 2013 Champion Joe Rose with his winning bike
at the Edge bike barn off Snake Rd.
(Speciaized S works stumpjumper 29 carbon)

Last year's Tour was another one man domination. Outstanding rider Joe Rose built an early lead of about 20 minutes after the first lap on his carbon 29er and held off 3 other tough competitors throughout the second lap and maintained his entire lead to the end for the win. The 2013 race was very tough indeed with much less hard road and much more single track than the 2012 version. The 2014 will feature 3 new miles of remote backwoods single track in lieu of 3 miles of old 2 track forestry road. More cypress knees for '14.
 The weather was florida perfect. Typical breezy spring day (Mid 80's and not too humid.) and the trail conditions in 2013 were dryer than 2012 but decent considering how soft some places were. The sand was semi- loose for a good part of the course but as the afternoon sun wore on the ground loosened alot to deep sugar in many spots.
Especially a three mile portion near the end- very diffcult rough riding surface as recent fire management work on that portion rendered it interesting yet extreme. An example of the many changing conditions  this extreme southern forest endures. However, most of that part
will not be on the 2014 route but don't be disappointed as there's more than enough to challege any rider.
Here's are the words of 2013 Champ Joe Rose the following day upon reflecting on his victory-

"I wanted to again thank you ( Wes & T de P Supporters) for putting on the wild tour/race yesterday.  By far, that was the hardest 50 miles that I have ridden.  I greatly appreicate the hospitatly of you, your wife (Janneke) and all of the riders.  It was a a awesome experience and I look forward to doing the ride again next year."  - Joe

Everglades Edge is a Human Powered Eco-Tour business located within Picayune Strand State forest, offering free guided course rides the following weekends.

Sunday Feb. 16, 2014 - 9:30 am
Saturday Feb. 22, 2014 - 9:30 am
Sunday Mar. 1, 2014 - 1:30 pm

Meet at Everglades Edge on Snake Rd 1/2 hour before.
Meet at Trailwalker Trailhead for Mar 1 tour.
Please call 1 day ahead at 239 280-8837 to sign up.
*All profits are donated 100%.  Picayune Nature Club (picayunenatureclub.org) will administer all costs and donate all profits to programs dedicated to raising awareness to local residents, especially students and youth; Outdoor conservation practices and how they interface for living practically and restoratively in the Southwest Florida urban and natural environments.
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. In particular, she was a integral 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 the eventual preservation and the restoration project now underway to the east.
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, working in a place deemed by many as Florida's 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 in the Florida Forest Service that make the world a better place, especially for the future.
Logo rider to be featured on the Tour de Picayune race T-shirts. "Skillet" has again
pulled himself out of the sand to ride the course.            


         From:  Race Director - Wes Wilkins

Currently, the trails of Picayune are clear and dry and perfect to ride.  The water table has dropped considerable but humidity is up and maybe some foggy overcast here and there early but clears up for typical winter time weather here in Southwest Florida. It's very warm now too, and the trail sand is loosening up with some beachy dry spots but there's still alot of grass and weeds on the trail to give some leeway for avoiding the really loose stuff. 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 course and allowing the plants to take over. It occurs almost every season and that's good as this region is within the Big Cypress water basin and essentially a rain driven system and therefore very seasonal and subject to extreme drought. 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 become.
   The course is now still great to ride and just come in from your favorite access point. See the maps or just come and discover for yourself.
At this time the once deep and now receded water from a fairly wet summer have left the trails renewed and firm and very ridable with most any trail bike. 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.
   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 tractiion but a significant trade off if not needed.
  But in the end it's all up to each rider's legs and lungs and heart of course.

                                Check back for updates! - Wes

10, 28 and 50 mile (2 laps - 28 &22 miles) marked woodland trails.
Route may change in the coming weeks due to Forestry preferences, construction and other factors unknown, so trail layout can change. Stay tuned.
3 Aid stations. Drinks and snacks provided during and after race. Camping is available. Bike rentals available.  See sponsor links for other available amenities.

    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) in South Belle Meade that will be the course determining the 2014 champion. The winner of the third 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 a Surly "Karate Monkey" frame w/fork, black. An all purpose interchangable basic primo frame. One of the best to have for basic cross country biking fun and adventure rides.

- There are 3 distance classes to ride- 10, 28 and 50 miles.
- All riders must be over 12 and sign a liability waiver and wear a helmet.
- 1 champion only - 50 mile course winner.
- First, second and third place recognitions for each distance class.
- Race packet pick-up and sign-in begins 8:00 am.
- Race starts at 10:00 am and ends at 5pm
- Registration begins at 8 am. Course pick up wagon starts at 3 pm.
- Post race ceremonies and BBQ begins at 5pm. Winner collects prizes and accolades.
- Post race party at Snake pit camp.                                                                             
                                             *Entry Fees
                   Single entrant-    $25.
                   Kids 15 & under - free

 Contact Wes Wilkins - Race director or Al frere, for more information and registration.
       e-mail:  wes@tourdepicayune.com or call 239-280-8837 anytime.


 Saturday, March 8, 2014

                   FOREST LOCATION


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 and thus becoming basically 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
 Just don't come with a pavement mindset.
 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!