Monday, December 31, 2012

What to expect on January 6th

It is looking like the weather is forecasted to be near perfect for the ride.  We might even get a little rain earlier in the week which will help firm up the trails. The gates to the preserve open at 7:30 AM. The parking lot has about 30 spots so when it gets full, you will have to park on the right side of the shell road. Please allow enough room for others to get by you. There could be some horse trailers using that road as well. The park will be open to the public, hikers and equestrians so please show them respect on and off the trail since you are ambassadors for the cycling community. I will collect your names and phone numbers before the start so I can keep track of who’s checked back in at the end of the ride. Depending on how fast all this goes we should have the start around 8:30 am and I will have a quick riders meeting at that time. Don’t get there 5 minutes before and expect everyone to wait for you.
I will lead out a neutralized mass start for the first mile (blue trail) then all bets are off when we hit the red trail. All three rides do the same route for the first 17 miles. I will have signs at the critical turns so make sure you look up and read the signs. The rest of the trails will be marked with spray paint before and after each turn but it’s real easy to get disoriented at the Carlton. A few common sense rules: if you get to an intersection without any paint , a wire fence, a locked gate, a river or a highway you made a wrong turn go back to the last known turn. You will cross through several gates and most have a bypass along the side of them or they will be held shut with a chain so please close the gates behind you. On the 60 mile loop, you might meet some cattle in a pasture so make sure all gates remain closed.
The idea of this ride is to challenge yourself and there will be difficult parts that will take you out of your comfort zone so press on regardless and enjoy the sights. You can’t let the pigs have their revenge. If you yell at the pigs they will run away (I like to bark at them). If you’re lucky enough to experience it, the deer like to run along with you. Look out for gators along the side of the trail especially along the power line sections. BIG Al, a very large gator, likes to hang out near the bridge you cross on the 60 loop.
At mile 29, you have to decide between doing the 40 or 60 mile loop so know your limitations. The hardest part of the ride will be behind you, the rest of the loop will be faster and smoother. Another bail out point will be at mile 44 where you can cut out 5 miles at that point if you find yourself moving really slowly and want to cut your ride short.
The park gates close at 6:00 pm and your car will be locked in. You should have a fully charged cell phone with you. Maybe turn it off for most of the ride. I will not go and look for you. You are on your own. But I might call you if I don’t have you checked off at the end of the day. I will give you my cell number the morning of the ride.
You must be self reliant. Look at the maps posted earlier and get familiar with them. Bring enough tools etc. to make it home. It could be a long walk.
We will provide some water around the 29 mile mark. Keep in mind its heavy and we will have to bike it in, so supplies will be limited. Bring enough water to ride 50 miles. Bring all necessary food with you. We made some homemade bratwurst (Pigs contribution to the fun) that I will be grilling at the finish. I should also have some foamy beverages on hand. If you have something you want to throw on the grill or have a special drink, please bring it.  No glass containers or pets are allowed in the park, sorry. I hope you can hang out a while after the ride, I want to hear all the tall tales from your experience.
Remember we put on this free event for the fun of it and constructive criticism might be accepted.
We hope you come back next year and bring a friend.
We’ll see you Sunday… have a great time.
Eric and The Crew

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sorry Had to change the routes !

We have to modify the routes .After riding the course I have had to make some changes .The routes are shorter but we avoid the really rough or disked areas .The new design will be easier to ride .
 Please delete the old files and replace them with the new improved routes.
The new links for the GPX files are :
The 20 mile loop:
the 40 mile loop:
the 60 miler:

If you just want to look at the new routes in Connect Garmin here are the links to the pages:
20 miles:
40 miles:
60 miles:

Hopefully this will be the last of the changes .The forestry service is planning control burns near parts of the loop.We might still have to change things as we get closer to January 6th.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The routes are here !

Here are the links to the GPX files for the 3 loops. If you use a GPS you know what to do.
First the 20 mile loop:

The 40 mile loop:

and finally the 60 miler:

If you don't have a GPS and are curious about the routes you can view them on Garmin Connect at the following links:

the 20 :
the 40 :
the 60 :

In Garmin connect, you can switch to satellite view (upper left corner), zoom in and out with the + -, add the mile markers to figure out the direction of travel, click and drag to move it around.

The loops will be marked with spray paint at the turns. You will get a copy of the route on a map. You are responsible for yourself, so bring a compass, gps & extra maps if necessary. You are on your own.
Make sure your phone has enough battery for whole ride.You must have enough tools and parts to get out of trouble. Plan on enough water for at least 40 miles (you may be out there for 4-5 hours or more depending on your speed). There will be some water available around mile 36.
The 20 is a good introductory loop it's mostly hard packed trails, shell roads with a few challenging spots. The other two loops will be a mix of fast smooth shell roads, dirt double tracks, some grassy trails and naturally some pig damage. The hardest part will be between mile 17 and 36. I have avoided the really sandy or bumpy areas.Warning: the pigs do their own thing so they will get their revenge....
If you use a cross bike you will be very fast on the smooth areas but challenged on rough sections. If you ride a mountain bike you will feel slow in smooth sections (hard to push those big tires) but happier on the rough sections. Pick you weapon wisely.
Either way, you will experience Florida at it's best: riding in beautiful areas and mixing it up with the wildlife.
Remember you are on your own!

PS: Big Al says Hi

Monday, December 3, 2012

Are rare sighting. It's COW PIG!!!
I barely had the the time to get my camera .He is so elusive.There will be a reward for any picture of COW PIG taken during the ride.Happy hunting.

This was fast and smooth section of trail .As you can see the loop will be very remote .I will plan on having a water drop around the 36th mile.There will be no other resupply options .Plan your water and food accordingly.the ride is now associated with SCORR (Sarasota County Of Road Riders) a newly formed club .Look for the event on their Facebook page @ SCORR RIDER.
If you are going to do the ride .Please sign up by sending me a e-mail .I need a head count for planning purposes .
Thanks .Eric 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Guess what we saw on our last recon ride? How would you deal with this?

The piggy loop is starting to take shape. I am seeing a big loop with mostly gravel roads, some single track and very little asphalt. The windy days have dramatically dried up most of the trails. I think I might have to provide a water stop somewhere around the halfway point. You will be in the middle of nowhere most of the time so you will have to rely on yourself and maybe the help of others if the need should arise.  

It should be a lot of fun; a true wilderness experience. You and your bike versus the trails, the weather, the pigs, the deer and the alligators. Mostly you versus your desire to quit. So if you think you have what it takes, send me an e-mail. Forget endurance, work on your mental game.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We are riding the trails again !

These last two week-ends, I have begun riding the trails around the Carlton Tract. There is still a lot of standing water. The recent rains from the two tropical storms have flooded a large part of the wilderness area. The deer are out in great numbers, however, fewer pigs were seen. This year, I will try and pick the best trails to form the loops. The goal is to avoid the very sandy or plowed trails we rode last year. Right now, I think I have a rough idea on how to connect the hardest trails, including some single track and some road and the majority will be gravel (80% or more). A cyclocross bike would work great on the gravel but would be a little bit of a challenge to ride on the single track section. I might include several creek crossings and some fence jumping though still to be determined.Watch out for the jumping deer .More to come soon .

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Piggy's Revenge 2013

We are planning next years Piggy's revenge .The date will be January 6Th .A Sunday .By doing the even earlier in the year , The sand should be less of a factor.The Forestry guys won't be plowing yet.A new route is on the works ,we want to include more gravel and some single track.We are thinking of one big loop in the 60 mile range as well as some shorter options .We also want to find a alternative to marking the whole trail with the use of a GPS or maps ...EJC

Monday, February 27, 2012

Thanks for participating

Twenty three riders decided to try their luck at Piggy's Revenge .
I was perfect weather ,the trail were a little dry so the sand became a factor.
Also the Forestry department decided to plow up sections of the trail .
This made the first 8 miles challenging.Only two finished the whole distance .
Steve a Over the hill old fart and Donna Open female .I was very impressed .Congratulations !!The other riders tried their best but Piggy's got the best of them .
Maybe next year......
Eric .

Monday, February 20, 2012

Last minute details

The big event is this Saturday .I just want to give you some helpfull info.
The Exit off 75 is #193 Jacaranda BLvd or Venice-Englewood. As you get off the exit
you want to turn away from the gas stations or North .Follow Jacaranda Blvd to Border road.
Take a right and go to the end of Border Road .There you'll take a left into Carlton Preserve.
Follow the signs to the park entrance.
We will park in the Horse trailer parking .Try and keep the cars close to one side so we don't take too much space away from the horse people.
There are restrooms neaby ,the water there is not the greatest tasting stuff.
Bring some as you'll need a refill.The park has a no glass bottle policy.
The 42 miles loop has water and food available at mile 15.
Next stop is your car .Then the 20 miler doesn't really have anything available .
I might have some water at the start.You are on your own!I will not go out and bail you out.
So bring anything you might need to get out of trouble (tubes,pump tools etc..).
Some parts of the trail are very remote.Help one another if needed .
At the finish I will have homemade Piggy's Revenge Sausage on the grill
and some fixin's.
Maybe a cold one or two.
There are some hotels at exit #193, #205 I think the cheapest is probably the Motel 6 in
Venice Florida on hwy 41.I will be at the start at 700 am ,sign in at 715 am
a rider meeting will be at 800 am then we start the 62 miler .
The start for the 20 will follow.
OH did I forget ?We also have a theme song thanks to Tom.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Getting close !! Trails to be marked!!

After some debate, I've decided that I will mark the whole loop (I know what I will be doing on Friday the 24th ). Riders will have a directional marker at the intersections, a set of paper directions and most likely a map. This magical combination should keep most of you on track, although there is always that direction challenged rider. Remember you are on your own and responsible for your own hide. I will not be out there looking for you. The trails are getting a little dry but rain is in the forecast and more rain = better trails. The pigs are as active as ever and you will get to meet some of them on the ride. I am thinking of making some homemade Piggy's Revenge sausage for the finishers. If you are thinking of participating, send me an e-mail so I can plan this better. Right now the head count is approaching 30. I am not counting all of you that mentioned to me personally that you were coming. A lot of wildlife, some very remote areas, meat in tube form and a bunch of like minded people. It's going to be GREAT fun and hard to beat.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January updates

The route has been finalized.I am working on a few loose ends but the main scope of the route has been identified.The directions will be available on paper only .
The format will fit a sandwich size Ziploc baggie.Here is a link to a map holder that would be very helpful:

A cut off will be enforced between the two loops.If you can't get to the check in area by 2:00 pm you will not get the second set of directions.You will have to take a picture at a certain landmark (specified the day of the event)to prove that you did go to the farthest point(phone fine).The start will be right after the riders meeting at 8:00 AM .We will have sign in starting at 7:15 AM.
The start will be at the Carlton reserve:1800 Mabry Carlton Pkwy, Venice, FL 34292-1837.
The only variable now is the weather . the best case scenario is some rain in the day preceding the event.This would create fast trails.
Spread the word .