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, set for Saturday, March 23, 2013. A wonderfully remote area, the race is in its second year and offers various distances.
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 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 (two 25-mile laps) in South Belle Meade. The winner of the second annual Tour de Picayune will receive an award and have his/her name, hometown and year of victory placed on the championship series cup for historical record and public display.
Last year, the winner's award was a Surly "Pugsly" bike frame. Surly is a bicycle and bike products company headquartered near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The winner was Brian Hill, and he had this to say, according to the Tour de Picayune website (www.tourdepicayune.org):
"Coming from the mountains in northern South Carolina I anticipated a flat easy 50 miles on the mtb [mountain bike]; 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 one."
Here's more about the race:
- There are 3 distance classes: 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 8 a.m.
- Race starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m.
- Registration begins at 8 a.m. Course pick-up wagon starts at 3 p.m.
- Post race ceremonies and BBQ offers prizes and accolades.
- Post race party at Snake pit camp.
Entry Fees are: Single entrant- $40, Student entrant- $30, Family entrant- $40 + $20 each additional family member.
According to Race Director Wes Wilkins, "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."
Contact Wilkins for more information and registration at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-353-1648.