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  1. #1
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Withlacoochee Trail Ride ????s

    The 15th annual Rails to Trails Bike Ride is scheduled for Saturday, October 4, on the Withlacoochee Trail. My daughter and I plan to attend this ride and either do the 60 mile or 100 mile ride. I have looked at the photos of the 2008 ride and although most of the photos were taken at rest stops and vendor stops it looks very crowded. We have ridden the trail from Ridge Manor to Inverness and really enjoyed the ride so this will give us a chance to ride the northern most section. RoMad and Boatdesign I am pretty sure you guys live in the area so your input will be greatly appreciated.
    My questions are:
    Have any of you done this event before?
    Is the event well organized?
    With 1200+ attendees is the trail crowded even though it is 48 miles long?
    What are your positives about this ride?
    What are your negatives about this ride?

    Thanks for your valuable input and I hope to see many of you their

    SloSpoke Jim

  2. #2
    Fueled by Scoobie Snacks! Boatdesigner's Avatar
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    Jim, I live a mile from the trail and ride it pretty much every day. I haven't ridden the Rails to Trails Ride as an official participant, but I was out there a couple years back during the ride. Frankly, it was a bit too crazy for my tastes. There was a mixture of people riding slow on cruisers and then groups of gung ho guys in pace lines as if they were in a team time trial at the Tour. The gung ho guys were completely out of place and downright dangerous. I was nearly run off the trail a couple times in 20 miles, a friend was run off the trail by someone not paying enough attention. Luckily he has been riding for many years and was able to stay upright. I would have hated to see his immaculate old Paramount damaged!

    Since that experience, I avoid the trail on that Saturday. I imagine some areas are more crowded than others, I ride the far northern end as I am only a couple miles from the northern end of the trail. Down around Inverness it is probably really crowded, I'd be surprised if it was very crowded south of Istachatta (sp?) as there isn't much down that way. If you are careful and used to riding with a large number of people around, it is probably a lot of fun. I am used to having the trail almost to myself (we saw maybe 10 people today in 13.5 miles) so I am a little spoiled. I really should sign up for the ride, even if I don't go, just to help support the trail.
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  3. #3
    Pat
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    I have done the century twice or three times. They allow you to start anywhere as long as you stop off and register in Inverness. We had preregistered. We started just west of Ridge Manor on SR 50. We went south and finished off the little bit down that way and then went north. The ride was always very well supported. Many FL centuries are terribly supported. They seem to get retired people to support things on this one and they seem to stay out a long time at the stops. Many centuries, if you don't do it in under 5 hours, you are not supported. We did not have trouble with too many people. But our unorthodox start may have had something to do with it. However, 1200 riders is still 1200 riders.

  4. #4
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    I have done many organized rides of this type back in the late 80s when I lived in Pinellas county, but never with this large of a crowd and this will be the first organized ride for my daughter and she is use to just normal trail traffic. I am glad to hear that you can start at most any location as I was thinking of starting at Ictachatta and riding north to Crystal Springs and back plus a couple of additional miles to make it a metric century. From the web site and info/registration sheet this looks like a well organized ride. I was going to start at the registration point but that would mean riding past the car on the return trip and might be to tempting to cut things short. The photos of the event do indicate that a large portion of the volunteers do seem to be retires and that is great as I am one myself. As for speed we fall some where in between the cruiser bikes and the rockets. Our average speed will fall some where around 15 - 15.5 on that trail and that is perfect for us.

    Boatdesigner and Pat thanks for your input. If anyone else has any suggestions or recommendations please feel free to offer them up.

    SloSpoke Jim

  5. #5
    Daily Commuter-Tampa, FL drew55's Avatar
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    This is still usually a fairly good ride with great, well staffed and stocked rest stops. Checking with a few others on how far they plan on going and where they'd like to start. Used the flexible start option last year, starting at the south end of the trail at 301 and just went north to Inverness, completed the registration and had no problems. The trail was somewhat crowded, but not excessively.
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  6. #6
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drew55 View Post
    This is still usually a fairly good ride with great, well staffed and stocked rest stops. Checking with a few others on how far they plan on going and where they'd like to start. Used the flexible start option last year, starting at the south end of the trail at 301 and just went north to Inverness, completed the registration and had no problems. The trail was somewhat crowded, but not excessively.
    I like the flexible start option. My daughter and I plan to start at Lake Towsand park and ride North to Inverness, register then continue on to Citrus Springs and then return.

    SloSpoke Jim

  7. #7
    Daily Commuter-Tampa, FL drew55's Avatar
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    The Horse Farm Hundred 25 Oct up near Gainesville offers a similar option. As long as pre-registered you can start at either the Gainesville start location at the Loften High School or in Flemington at the County Park where the 25, 30, and 45 mile routes of the Horse Farm Tours start at and just stay on the loop. Makes it a lot more convenient for those of us coming from further south. Just have to accept the risk that some of the last rest stops may be closed if you ride sloe and go that way.
    It's always windy - just get out and ride

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  8. #8
    Slo Spoke Jim kjc9640's Avatar
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    My daughter and I have this ride on our radar and we are looking forward to it. I have not seen any registration form as of yet. Have you?


    Ooops... just found out that registration does not open until early August. (per Gainesville cycling club web site)
    Last edited by kjc9640; 07-03-09 at 06:44 PM.
    SloSpoke Jim

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