is a Human Powered Eco-Tour business located within Picayune Strand
State forest, offering free guided race course rides the following weekends.
2012 Race report and Summary
2012 Champion Brian Hill nearing the halfway
Snake Road. - Photo by Todd
ast year's Tour was a one man show. Champion Brian Hill led from
start to finish on his Scott 29er. Although he made it look easy,
the difficult course was even a challenge for him and we're very
glad the bar has been set at a level everyone can aspire to achieve,
such as simply finishing the 50 miles. But the 2013 race will most likely prove to be a
different story and we really hope the champ returns to defend his
The trail wasn't too bad at all, (Relatively speaking, that is.
as the sand was fairly compacted and a good part of the course was
hard gravel or rough asphalt which allowed for a wider range of
tires. The only other finisher rode a fat bike, although 10 miles
behind. He said the contents of a cooler carried on his rack made
the ride a little more enjoyable and the stops less intense and the
extra weight was definitely worth it.
The weather was a bit warm for some on this February day (mid
and a few of the riders were a little surprised at the degree of heat and
humidity. South Florida in winter seldom disappoints those looking
for relatively warm weather and that day was certainly no exception.
Expect the 2013 race to be just as warm but the course will be a
Here's a synopsis direct from Brian, read the words of our champion-
"Coming from the mountains in northern
South Carolina I anticipated a flat easy 50 miles on the mtb, what I
got was far from easy. Waist deep sand, alligators, snakes, and
scary eyes in the trees. Now I didn't actually see any of these but
the difficulty level of this event had my mind searching for them
around every corner. Only the strong willed ones can survive this
" - Brian Hill
We're hoping for a greater turnout this
year, a much better organized race and most importantly, a grander
after race party and celebration!
Sunday, Feb. 14, 2013 - 9:30 am
Saturday Mar. 9, 2013 - 9:30 am
Sunday Mar. 17, 2013 - 1:30 pm
Meet at Everglades Edge on Snake Rd 1/2 hour before.
Please call ahead at 239 280-8837.
*All profits are donated 100%. Picayune
Nature Club (picayunenatureclub.org) will administer all costs and donate
all profits to programs dedicated to teaching and showing 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 makes the world
a better place, especially for the future.
Logo rider to be featured on the
2013 Tour de Picayune race participant T-shirts. "Skillet" has pulled
himself out of the sand to ride this year.
NEWS FROM THE TRAILS OF PICAYUNE STRAND 10-25-2012
From: Race Director - Wes
the trails of Picayune are about 2% underwater. Some places
places there are thick muddy ruts. Sort of fun actually with a big
tread. January is rather late for saturated sand as the trails quite
usually dry by now, but certainly not
unprecedented. We've had some torrential rains in our area this last
fall and a couple of other rains beyond. Perhaps this bodes well for a higher moisture content in
the sand by the time March 2013 rolls around.
It's fairly dry but the humidity is up and maybe some very light
overcast here and there early. But clears up beatifully for typical
winter time weather here in Southwest
Florida. It's warm and the trail sand is a packed sponge with alot of
grass and weeds. Use a smooth tire whenever but tread on the edges will
be needed. Either way, the extra humidity and clouds have created a
longer drying time. Every year one can expect the trails to go dormant
in late summer/early fall due to the sheet flow of water and this is
good for stabilizing and smoothing out the course. It occurs almost
every season and that's good. 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.
But in a couple more weeks - if the drier weather
continues- the receding water will reveal some rideable and renewed
trails. After the rainy season the ground remains a sponge well after
the water subsides and makes for some interesting combinations of sand
I personally prefer to ride a single speed ( two speeds actually-
sitting and standing) in the Florida backwoods and the experience of
riding this country is very similar to that of a Florida form of cross
Check back for updates! - Wes
RACE COURSE - SOUTH BELLE MEADE
12, 25 and 50 miles. (2 - 25 mile laps) Marked
Route may change in the coming weeks due to Forestry preferences and
trail maximization and creation. Stay tuned.
Aid stations every 10-12 miles, 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, 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 and 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 this year it's a 50 mile odyssey ride (2 - 25 mile
laps) in South Belle Meade that will be the course determining
place finisher and the 2013 champion. The winner of the second 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 "Pugsly" frame, white and like the fat bike shown below. We
don't know yet exactly, but this year's prize will be just as good and most
likely even better. We thank the
for their contribution of the frame and support of our race. They are a
phenomenal bicycle and bike products company headquartered near Minneapolis,
There are 3 distance classes to ride- 12.5, 25 and 50 miles.
All riders must be over 14 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
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.
Single entrant- $40.
Student entrant- $30.
entrant- $40 + $20 ea. add'l. family member.
Contact Wes Wilkins - Race director, for more information and registration.
or call 239-353-1648 anytime.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
50 MILE OFF ROAD BICYCLE RACE.
LOCATION OF COLLIER COUNTY
Typical fat bike leaning along a trail. The often wider
the tires the easier the roll and an increased feasibility of a 50 mile
finish but not necessarily the fastest. There is a very limited amount of fat bikes
and other susupension bikes available for rent ($40
for race) so contact Wes Wilkins - Race Director (239-280-8837) early
to reserve your ride and come early to set it up to preferences and test and
day in advance.
But bring your best ride and see where that goes. Tire read pattern, depth and crossection tire shape play
important roles in terms of what applies best for trail conditions. The
"large Marge" style tire, usually works best as far as we know and sometimes
a rear wheel with a little more tread like the "Larry" tire, which helps traction
especially when standing up- Nuances that only an experienced rider can
master and understand. We haven't seen many other fat bikes out here other
than these, but we sure would like to compare. Of course all types bikes are
welcome and respected and a Scott 29er was the winner's choice last year.
2012's only other finisher of the 50 miles rode a Pugsly Fat bike and
attributes his finish to his ride more than anything else. Plus the
additional carbs carried in his cooler.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF EVENT AND
PURPOSE OF RACE
The basic premise of the Tour de Picayune is fun in the sun
and riding through the woods. It's a tour. Picayune Strand State
Forest is a dynamic and unique place for public use as well as for
animal habitat and water flows and everything else that goes with
all good things in the swamps of Southwest Florida.
We do however respect and honor the bicycle here, at the Tour de
Picayune to the utmost. Great machines indeed, 29ers, fat bikes,
full supension cross country bikes, they all lend themselves for a
great experience for any rider. What bike is best is up to the rider
in the end, 'a bike is a bike' really, and just that alone.
There will be a winner and a part of this tour is for celebrating
and honoring the winner of the race. Part of the honor will be
a new bike frame plus an inscription on the cup's wall of fame with
the other winners.
All other finshers behind are just an equal part of the rest who
and just like in the early ancient Greek olympics, only one winner.
We have free camping and some toilets, a shower and a couple of
sinks and running water at the Edge campsite and pump water and port
a john at Snake Pit camp. The Forestry also offers some very fine
campsites over near the office off 52nd and very accessible for
larger vehicles and the public.
There is a sign up and registration at the race entry as shown on
the itinerary (above) and maps issued for the course which will be
well marked but not too much so riders must pay attention. We
recommend coming out earlier and riding some and call and stop on
over to the Edge and we can help if anyone would like. The trail
won't be marked hardly at all until about 2 weeks prior some,
and then marked again with some signs the day before the event. Cell
phones should work everywhere on the course. We will have some
decent aid stations around the course with water and iced tea and
gatorade as well a health muffins and fruit and some people around
too. It's a two lap conquest with the second lap varying slightly
from the first. We do have a 1pm cutoff but anybody can ride what
ever and there's a bunch of bailouts along the way. We will have a
marked 6 mile ride and a marked 12 mile ride for those wishing a
This is a non-profit event, meaning, all profit after the direct
cost of the event, (Permit, T-shirts, Port a John, bike frame) will
go to the Picayune Nature Club, Inc. a Florida Corporation dedicated
to making the man and nature environment a better place to be.
And this year, specifically, exotic plants in the South Belle Meade
area. This year we intend to make a dent in a few spots starting to
explode and intend to help the Forestry anyway we can in a hands on
and grass roots manner.