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Tour De Flagler redux, We Ride For Pete

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Friendship and camaraderie are strong in these parts. Local hero and darn cool guy, Pete Rose decided to get all busted up, go for a helicopter ride to the hospital and really tried to have multiple spleens (much to his his spleen’s distress). 

The local crowd of ruffians, troublemakers and also some genuinely nice folks got together for a benefit ride to help Pete out with his insane medical bills and general lack of excitement since he’s been laid up at his folk’s place. 

This “Tour de Flagler” has happened before, but not with a mission like this. Never before have we seen such an outpouring of generosity, friendship and support. Pete fought back some tears when he saw the incredible turnout early Saturday morning at one of our beachside trails, Mala Compra. 

This is Pete, back when we raced the notorious Graham Swamp 360 six hour race (read about it here ). So yeah, Pete’s the awesomest of the coastal crew and got himself into a spot of trouble with this spleen smashing and all. 

Ian Kelbert, making short work of the rather sharp coquina rock gardens at Mala Compra. As Pete says, "This kid rips!"

The Tour de Flagler is 35ish mile haphhazard journey through two of Florida’s best beachside trails.  Do a full lap at Mala Compra, a lil’ sidewalk sprint to the soul-sucking causeway bridge, into Linear Park for fluid fillup, then onward to the legendary Graham Swamp then back to the beach for beers, BBQ and smack talkin’.

Folks tend to think that Florida is dead flat, well, it is, but due to decades of wetlands dredging and residential restructuring, some areas have a surprising amount of rather steep elevation change. Throw in some damn sharp basketball rocks and it’s on…. or you’re on …your head.

A few of the solid folks who came out to help Pete. He'd never ask for help, that's why we did it.

One of the event organizers and general issue rad plaid lad, Josh Frankenberry leads a group into the ‘Swamp”. Josh is a pillar here in our mountain bike community and we owe him much thanks and respect for taking on a ton of the daunting challenges we face as an organization. Make no mistake, any jokes about his name or that scraggley beard and he will crush you on the bike.

A few more of the cool cats who rallied together. The top left and top center each run their own badass trails here in Central Florida. Jim from Spruce Creek and Mickey G. The Godfather of Graham Swamp. The young lady in the middle is the new powerhouse in our local Sorba chapter, Flagler Area Biking Sorba (FABS) she’s taking charge and making positive headway, much thanks Kristen, you rock. Bonus Josh Hennessey guns out sighting!

If the Jacksonville posse rolls up, it’s gonna get rowdy. Jonathan Powell and the rest show up for every ride , always crush it, and always bring the party. They constantly remind us that the most important thing is to have fun. Another is Kyle Long, check out his dialed vessel waaaaay down at the bottom. Mad support from the Jax crew, respect y’all. 

Jeff McNaughton blasted cheesy 80’s tunes all day, we’ll let it slide tho’ cuz he’s a rad tattoo shop owner (Shamrock rocks!) who sponsors most of the local races, blatantly lofts off the road gap and sends it for Pete. Take note, this was over three hours into the ride, this dude is diesel, all frickin’ day.

I rode with Florida Legend Mark Dye for part of the day. He’s one of the few who rode the entire route, finished strong and he had a blast doin’ it. From wheelies for miles on the sidewalk to blastin’ the road gap to keepin’ the pace just beyond the comfort level to dishing out salty comments, he proves that age is no barrier and if you get knocked down, just come back stronger. Much respect to this dude. We could all take a lesson from Mr. Dye.

It was amazing how far some people drove to help out Mr. Pete. A couple of all night voyages for a few of ’em. Respect y’all.

Mr. Dye at Ludicrous Speed
Ian Kelbert's parents rode with us for the entire route, darn cool folks right here.

These rides cater to everyone, from all-business rigid rippers like Jim Enslin, to Troy Mayhew, who brought the widest tires and the best attitude.

The entire community is coming together for Pete, from a fund drive (here) , to eBay auctions, to benefit rides like the Tour de Flagler.

The Tour De Flagler, Pete Edition, was nothing but positive on so many levels, people had a challenging ride through two of Florida’s best MTB trails, brilliant BBQ by Brian (thanks btw!), an extensive afterparty with flammable beverages and perfect beach waves just a few steps away and Pete got some help with the financial insanity that is modern health care. Endless thanks and love to all that have helped out. Pete summed up himself that day “I want to thank you all so much for the overwhelming support! I was truly blown away. I can’t express how much I appreciate it and how much it means to me See y’all on the trails soon!”

We will see you out there soon bud.

At the end of the day, everyone had a blast. ‘Cept maybe for the guy who took a header and trashed a wheel for the cause. Helmets are good, kids.

Bonus Track! On most rides, there’s one bike that stands out from all the cookie cutter carbon queens, this time was no exception with Jax’s own Kyle Long bringing the Pink Ugly Single Speed. Starting life as a 26er he said he built it up 27.5″ using “parts he had laying around”. Yeah, cuz we all have I9 hubs and King BBs/ headsets “laying around”.  Kyle recently finished the infamous ORAMM 20th Annual Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell on this rig and def has some stories to tell. The Jax crew never disappoints when it comes to sweet vessels of versimillitude (thinking back to Joe’s amazing Vassago a few years ago)  and this ride solidifies their dominance in building  eclectic and creative steeds that will also smoke right on by you on the trail. Scroll through the gallery below to see what he had “layin’ around”. 

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