Saturday, July 8th was the second running of the Tour de Flagler. The 30+ mile Tour entails two of Central Florida’s premier MTB trails with a bit of road, sidewalk, multi-use trail, and dirt doubletrack connecting the two. Also in the route are two bridge climbs in the blazing sun which everyone genuinely looks forward to as the highlights of the day. As if the near-saturation point humidity wasn’t enough, the ascension in a scalding solar blast just makes it that much better.
For a rather lengthy retelling of the debauchery that occurred at the the inaugural running, find a cozy spot & hit the ride report below:
The Tour de Flagler, first and foremost, is about having fun. We like fun, fun is good. So many of the local rides are all about crushing the souls of your friends, which is also fun, just a different fun. This ride is about goofing off, taking it easy, trash talking and enjoying time on our bikes while deftly dodging responsible behavior. Barhop blurriness aside, Damon Jorris is doing it right. Shadowing the Matanzas River, this multi-use path is one of my favorite parts of the Tour. Flagler County has done more than most (here in Central Florida) to ensure safety and enjoyment to outdoor enthusiasts. Cool breezes, stunning shoreline and questionable stunting maneuvers were aplenty.
The Tour also visits one of Flagler’s most prestigious trail systems, Mala Compra. With an expansive trail network accommodating riders of all abilities, “Mala” offers everything from paved trails, to smooth doubletrack through an incredible beachside hammock, to gnarly singletrack with spiky, rooty climbs and proper rock gardens. Seven footer, Carl Runchka, makin’ short work of a rather intimidating rocky coquina drop.
Bike check, check. This Vassago steel singlespeed had my eye all day. Adorned in Thomson, Enve, Brooks and ti, this was the belle of the ball fo’ sho’.
OG BMX Legend and Graham Swamp local, Pat Romero didn’t make it the Tour, but I wish he had. Serious. The jumps at Graham Swamp can simply be rolled over if flying through the air is not your thing. The trail crew there works extremely hard to make their trail fun, challenging and safe to riders of all abilities.
Mike Grishen, launch down the roll-in, to G-out, to boost…. and changing shirts.
By mutual consensus, the ride was cut short due to the scalding fireball in the sky, we bailed out of Graham Swamp, over the bridge and headed back beachside to home base via the blue trail at Mala Compra MTB trail. Most of the group was still together, some had charged ahead. The rest of us just cruised and commenced to trash talking and flammable liquids. Some of the group partook in the freakin’ fantastic BBQ at Captain’s which is right in the parking lot and placed bets on the arrival of the looming, ominous thunderstorm.
I took full advantage of the beach being so close and enjoyed a late afternoon run (cuz’ #crossiscoming!) and swim before heading home.
The Tour de Flagler is perfect for riders of all abilities to familiarize themselves with the Florida coastal MTB scene. Bring the whole family as historic St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, Washington Oaks park and great local shopping are all nearby.
Partial Link to route in Google maps- https://goo.gl/maps/axAwo5zCKRr