I wasn't completely honest when I said I started bikepacking because I wanted adventure.
Well that part is true, but what really happened was this...
I was tired of the same ol' routine; driving to a trail, riding some singletrack, and driving back home. I really did want to have some adventures, and the road bike sorta did it for me for a while because I could ride all over the place and check out the scenery, all while getting some miles. I tried to do some of that on my mountain bikes on the way to the local trails too, and then I remembered an event I'd heard about the last few years.
So instead of just stumbling into bikepacking, I intentionally decided to become a bikepacker/amateur homeless person just so I could do this:
Yes folks, without any prior bikepacking experience I decided to go all out and set a goal of riding across my former home state in an event called the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial, or C.F.I.T.T. for short.
Here's some information from the Singletrack Samurai website:
The Cross Florida Individual Time Trial is Florida’s Premier Off road Ultra Endurance Event. It is a one of a kind coast to coast bikepacking/Ultra Running challenge, the only one of its kind in the United States.
The route is 250 miles of mixed terrain: Singletrack, forest road, paved roads, bike trails, double track and grassy abandoned easements. Typically the event includes the use of the Fort Gates Ferry in Welaka, Florida. In the event the Ferry is not running, riders can expect a detour north Thru Palatka. The ride takes place on the Coast to Coast Northern Cross Florida route and can be ridden at anytime. The Second Saturday in December, Riders from all around gather for a grand depart and go at the route at the same time.
Now for the important stuff, the rules...
1. You must complete the route under your own power. Once you set foot in a motored power vehicle you are voluntarily withdrawing from the challenge. THERE are exceptions made to this rule in cases of medical emergencies.. If you are injured and need help, get healthy and you can rejoin the course at your convenience.
2. There is a no drafting rule in effect.
3. You must be able to safely carry yourself the length of the route. You can only obtain supplies from commercial establishments along or near the route. You cannot pre arrange any kind of support or supplies and there are no SAG vehicles allowed. NO TRAIL MAGIC ALLOWED. THIS MEANS ANYONE OFFERS YOU ANYTHING YOU SAY NO.
4. There will be 3 checkpoints that you are required to provide photographic evidence for. Some checkpoints may require video documentation. In an effort to prove that you passed these areas you can either email your pics and videos or you can post them on your facebook wall for me to see and verify.
5. You can take as long as you need to complete the challenge, there is no time limit and no cut offs. Every rider/RUNNER will start participate in a mass start in they start with the group the day of the event.
Most of this stuff is common to ultra endurance type events. This will be my race/ride, and I am not to receive help from anyone. That's fine. The key rule up there for me is number five...
Take as long as you need.
I know a few folks that have done this in just one day. My goal is three days. That's still a lofty one considering that I've never ridden this far on any kind of bike. And that's why I've been spending so much of my time riding with a fully loaded bike. I'm trying to get ready for this dumb idea that just randomly popped into my head.
On the surface, this looks like it could be a real hoot. Riding a not so direct path across the state where I spent most of my life won't be easy, but I'll get to spend some time back in the Florida that I actually miss...
The parts without too many people.
Can I do it? I have no idea. With a little less than two months to go, I'm still preparing myself for the sufferfest. Now that you know why I've been posting about bikepacking, prepare to see my progress in future posts as I ramp up to do something that may very well kill me.
Okay, not really, but I guess there is a chance of that.
Tune in for my not so precise training plan, including longer rides and gear testing. In the meantime, check out this little video that does a pretty good job explaining what my dumb ass is attempting to do.
It's old, but you get the point. See y'all back here soon.