December 12, 2015
We may be in December and residing in Gainesville, Florida, but the cooler temperatures we typically see this time of year simply aren’t appearing – not that the temperatures we experience here ever prevent us from riding outdoors. However, we’re not alone in this less-than-cold winter; states like Vermont are seeing temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit – a veritable heat wave! Whoever reckons the climate isn’t a bit dodgy right now may want to take a walk outside.
No matter where you live in the US of A, this means we gravel cyclist types can continue riding outdoors until the true cold sets in.
Coming to North Central Florida on February 21, 2016 is the 6th Annual Doc Hollywood Invitational – originally conceived by Mr Tim Hayes – a former Gainesvillian who has moved onto bigger and better things with his career at Endura Sport, Tim was kind enough to give JOM of Gravel Cyclist his blessing to keep this fun ride rolling in 2016 and beyond.
Retaining the original course post rest stop, JOM, the Gravel Cyclist crew and friends thought it would be a good idea to scout out some new roads during the “mellow” phase of the ride, namely some additional dirt and gravel road options. Special guest on the ride was long-time friend Brian Jones from Asheville, North Carolina, or “Jonesy” as he is referred to by JOM.
Utilizing tips and tricks from JOM’s article about Online Mapping Resources, JOM assembled a what-looked-to-be marvellous route that traversed some all-new dirty roads. As is the nature of scouting, one can expect a few dodgy roads to appear and this ride was no exception.
Roads that appear legitimate on-screen in satellite view, are in reality a quagmire of sand that would sink one’s bike to the bottom worse than a scuttled battleship. Consequently, these roads were less than friendly aboard a road bike with 23mm, 25mm or 28mm tires (tyres). Thankfully, JOM had a contingency plan with his “Plan B” route, and the group pressed onward.
Despite there being three punctures (or flats if you’re Americano) and a clip-out fail – the fail you experience when you fail to clip out in time and fall over into soft sand – all ten riders had a marvellous time. Great weather, great company, socializ(s)ation and roads with virtually zero vehicular traffic.
A future ride is on the cards to lock down the “mellow” section of the 2016 Doc Hollywood Invitational route, and we will surely post about that. The underlying story of this post is:
- Scouting? Make a Plan B. Avoid being Scroogled.
- Scout with fun people. Nobody likes complainers.
- Planning an event? – definitely do a bit of scouting.
- Winter is not here yet – get out and ride!
Thanks for reading!