Monday, December 5, 2016

Piggy's Revenge 2017. The 20 mile loop preview.

My friend Steve, a  SCORR board  member and co-designer of the routes for the 2017 version of Piggy's Revenge; joins me today in the recon for the 20 mile loop.
The weapons of choice for this course.
We start at the pavilion on a overcast, humid and windy day. The first section is designed to spread out the riders before the tight single track sections. The combination of a short section of the Red Trail followed by a segment of the Green Trail creates this loop. 
Shortly after the start.

The red trail/green trail combo.
Boldlygo single track.
 After a short gravel section we dive into Boldlygo, a 9 mile trail built and maintained by SCORR over the last 5 years.The terrain is pretty flat so the trail has many curves to add some thrill to the route. We also try to take advantage of any change in elevation no matter how small. 
We usually ride this trail on our regular Tuesday night rides, so riding it in the middle of the day is a welcome change.  
Boldlygo is very curvy.

Some of the prairie sections of Boldlygo.

Can you see the trail inside the pig ruts?

The Pines.
Near the end of Boldlygo.
 Soon we got into the rhythm of the trail, pushing a bigger gear and accelerating out of the turns and on the straighter sections. Boldlygo is not a technical trail, but you do get challenged when you increase your speed. Although the trail does get a little more technical in the last mile as the trail get tighter and has more roots. As we leave the single track, we ride a short section of the Red trail and soon we are on the Power line trail, at mile 10 we are where our sag stop AKA:Tom's Oasis will be. This notorious stop has been a favorite place to hang out and catch one's breath over the years.

Then we take a turn down the Venice Arcadia grade for a grassy section connecting us to Border Road. We noticed that we will have to mow a line in the near future, the grass is mowed but still quite long.
Venice Arcadia grade is going to need a little mowing.

Gator is a shrinking mud hole.

After we bypass a gate on the right side, we are soon on Border Road; a 2 mile section of gravel. We get into a good pace and work our way down this scenic path, while several gators were keeping an eye on us as we traveled into a head wind. This section crosses 3 gates, all with bypasses, and an active pasture. Riders will have to make sure the gates remain closed.
Border road  gravel.
Doe Hammock trail.
 After the last gate, we ride Doe Hammock in a Northerly direction. We realized that we might have to do some mowing here too.
Nice fat gator.

South Power Line trail.
 We turn left onto the South Power line. The route up to this point will be shared by the 40 mile riders and the last 4 miles by the 60 mile riders. All of the riders will end up at this intersection only to take different turns depending on their route. The 20's will go West and the 40 and 60's will go East. At mile 16 we pass Tom's Oasis' location again, then we are on the red trail riding toward the finish line.
Red Trail.

More Red Trail.
The loop ends up being right around 20 miles, and it should be a great experience for all involved.The following link will connect you to a Garmin route.
Piggy's Revenge 2017 20 mile loop


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Piggy's Revenge Loop Preview

After the annual sausage making party (100 lbs this year) and a lot of laughs; I decided to ride the 20 mile loop that is integrated into the 60-mile challenge. The course for the 60 miler's is two loops,with the first being around 40 miles long, and then returning to the start area where it continues to a second 20 mile loop.
I  pumped up the 1.8 tubeless tires on my old Vassago to 30 pounds, and then headed out of the parking lot at the Carlton Reserve. After a short asphalt section and a wrong turn down the power line, I was finally on the right track for a great ride on the beautiful sunny and windy day.
Old trusty Vassago. 

The first section of gravel is short but is a hard and fast surface, and just what I needed to clear my head and warm up my legs. After this comes a short grassy section.
Gravel after short road section.
 We like to call this SCORR grass: short grass covering a hard trail, and it feels almost like riding on carpet.
Short grassy connector.

As soon as I jump onto the South Power Line Trail, I know that I will be riding on gravel for the next 10 or so miles. After this section comes the Venice Arcadia grade, then Well field rd. This will be a section that allows riders to make up some lost time or take a break into a steady pace. 

As usual it is a great area to spot deer and pigs. And as I ride through this area, I begin to get into the pace of things, and I feel like I am moving along quite well. Of course, the tail wind didn't hurt either.
Venice Arcadia grade gravel.

Wellfield road.

Around mile 11 I take the right turn onto Stockade trail that is a mix of gravel,  grass carpeting, and short sandy sections. This area is driven frequently by the Pig trapper so if you follow the same path as his tires you will find it to be easy going.

I manage to follow the truck's path most of the time, having to change lanes a few times. This road starts out nice, but eventually gets much more challenging. 

"Am I supposed to sweat so much?  It's not even that hot out."
Stockade grass and gravel mix.

End of Stockade.

At the top of Stockade I stop for some replenishment; something sweet and a few sips of water. As I was standing there, I looked around for a few minutes to enjoy the isolation of this particular spot. This really is on of the best parts of riding at the Carlton, you can be completely alone and far from everything in just a few miles. 

As I go back into the saddle for another push, I take a left turn at mile 13 onto the River Trail. Now it is time to pay attention again, as this section has taller grass and few hidden bumps here and there. I find it is easier to push a bigger gear at a slower pace to keep my body loose so it is ready to respond to the sudden bumps. The terrain changes constantly from smooth to bumpy or sometimes soft. Patience my friend, and you are almost done. The rough stuff ends around mile 17.
River trail grassy section.

River trail shade.

Thanks Piggy! Typical pig damage.

As the River trail crosses the South Power Line Trail it becomes the Wild Turkey Trail. Time for a celebration, as the rough stuff is behind me and now I just have to cover the last few miles back to the parking lot. 

This 20+ mile loop is a great way to experience some of the best mixed terrain riding of the Carlton Reserve, it will be a fitting finish for the 60 mile riders. I recommend you load up the route on your GPS or mark it on a map.

Pump up your tires, and go to experience the loop for yourself before Piggy's Revenge!

Reserve your spot, Sign up today! Follow the link below for the route map. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Register today for Piggy's Revenge 2017 if you want a T-shirt

The clock is ticking!

We are approaching the less than 2 months mark for the start of Piggy's Revenge 2017. Sign up now so you will be guaranteed to get a T-Shirt in your size. After December 20th no more tshirts orders will be taken. The weather has been cooperative this year with the last few months of dry and windy days to dry up all the trails. 

use this link:

Last year was exceptionally wet, the conditions this year will be to the opposite. We are expecting a completely dry event.

We have over 100 miles of roads and trails to choose from. We have been riding all over the 50 square miles of conservation land available to us in order to select the best places to ride on. Several trails still need to be mowed at this time but we are working on getting them cleared. 

Attached are some picture from one of our rides where we encountered tall grass, shandy trails, many deer and a few lazy alligators. The Pigs help us work the trails as we get to follow the piggy highways. They follow the same trails daily and the hooves hammer the ground giving riders a hard path to follow through the grass.

This years event will be different from last years event with some new single tracks for the 40 milers and the 60 mile course will be marked, so no GPS needed. We wont leave the Carlton Preserve and will cover a mix of gravel roads, grass trails, dirt double track, and very very little asphalt. 

Fat point will be serving up some frosty beverages, the "Tom Oasis " sag stop will be again the highlight for most riders and don't forget the fresh homemade Bratwurst hot off the grill at the finish. 

All the profits from the funds raised by the event are spent on creating new trails and maintaining the existing ones. In the last 5 years SCORR has built and maintained over 17 miles of single track in three properties and we have several new sections in the planning phase. Your support will help SCORR invest in our trail system and make south Sarasota County a great area for off-road riding.   

Follow the Piggy highway...
 River trail is dry and ready to be mowed
New single track the 40 milers will experience

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This years is going to be great!

 The Carlton Reserve is drying out faster than previous years. The last few weeks of windy and dry weather have dramatically changed the property. Most of the roads are dry and SCORR has been able to do their annual trail maintenance earlier than usual.

This year, Piggy's Revenge promises to be a different experience than last year, no more mud or water. New for this year are some brand new single-track sections on the 40 mile loop and the 60 mile gravel/mixed terrain loop will be inside the Carlton. So expect two separate loops without much repetition. We are thinking of bringing the riders back to the start between the two loops. This will give the crowd a chance to see how the race is progressing and the riders can resupply, get psyched up to continue or quit (this is not a easy ride). I know you wouldn't quit in the middle of your ride, but the smell of the fresh homemade brats on the grill and the beer from Fat Point might change your mind.

In preparation for the January event, I have started the sauerkraut making process. Fermentation is involved and takes some time so get just right. The kraut is getting ready are you? Sign up now so you will get a T-shirt reserved in your size. Eric

                                           One of the long gravel sections on the property
                                          Yeah it's bubbly and stinky!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Yeah! We will have beer.

We can't thank Fat Point Brewery enough, they will be our sponsors again this year! Piggy's will have a beer tent at the finish line and some of their canned products at the sag stop.

Somehow, off-road riding and beer are a match made in heaven. Not to mention, they go well with hot homemade brats and sauerkraut, add a bun and some mustard and you could ride forever.

The trails are drying up fast thanks to the steady winds and cool weather. Soon we will begin to trim the trails and plan the routes. Get signed up early this year we are setting a limit at 300 riders.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Getting geared up for Piggy's 2017

 The next Piggy's Revenge to be held on January 8th. Last years race was a great time, the overall vibe of the day was so positive and fun that I can't wait to do it again. I am never disappointed by the dirt riding community. When we get together for some riding and hanging out, it is always a fun and rewarding experience. 

Piggy's allows all levels of riders to meet similar types of challenges. We each do the best we can and then we get to compare our experiences over a beer and homemade brat. I can't think of a better way to spend a day. I hope you all have circled your calendar for January 8th.

We are looking into keeping all the loops in the Carlton Reserve, which means the 60 will probably be a double loop with some repeat sections. We are trying to reduce the chances of having stranded riders miles away from the start. Every year we end up having to go and pick up some lost soul late in the day when we are all tired. 

The routes will be just as challenging as the previous years but don't worry, it looks like we might have them all marked reducing the need for GPS tracks.
Some of the other things we are working on include a beer stop at the sag, brand new sections of trail, more sausages and beer at the finish. The timing might end up being set up as a Strava Challenge for the event, maybe with Primes for certain sections; we still have to figure that out.

The trails are drying up slowly but should be in great shape by the day of the event. We have a lot of trail maintenance to do in the next few months, if you want to get involved drop me a line. We can always use more hands.Spending a morning cutting a new section of trail with some liked minded lunatics should be part of your riding calendar. It takes a little muscle work before you can pedal that trail.

So, follow the link and get yourself signed up!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We are going to do it again on January 8th 2017 !

We have started the planning process for the latest edition of Piggy's Revenge.The club (SCORR) is in the process of getting approval to build some new single track.The race course will obviously take advantage of these new gems.So don't expect the same ride as last year, provided we have the time to build the trails.If you might be interested in helping build the new sections keep a eye on the SCORR Riders Facebook page for updates on trail days etc...