The Spindle Gravel team took it down to Monticello, FL on March 8, 2016 for the Dirt-y Pecan 60/100/150 mile unsupported ride. The team party paced through 60 miles of plantations, oak canopies, and of course, pecan orchards.
Monticello is a cool little town right over the GA/FL state line, we arrived late Friday evening, set up camp, and a couple of beers and whiskey shots later, it was time to rest up. Rising up at 6 am to cook breakfast for the team was little rough, but Spindlero Ezz heeded the call for some tacos to get the gears moving, slowly after 7am you started to see cars and trucks with beautiful bikes strapped on and ready to get filthy!
The organizers rolled through and greeted everyone with a fierce battle cry, at the start of the race at 8, there was an estimated 250 riders ready to get going. Although the Spindle team lagged a little, due to Sharif’s inevitable mechanical failure, which we were just happy to get out of the way. Out by 8:30 on a gorgeous soon-to-be 75 degree day, we embarked on our fantastic voyage.
The route was less than 20% paved, so dirt and gravel were going to be abundant. Pedaling through the farmlands between South Georgia and the panhandle of Florida was packed with stunning views and mixed terrain of which none of us have ever seen. The route was mostly exposed but portions of the trail was marbled with shade from the enormous tree limbs draped with Spanish Moss, lingering overhead. Excavated forest roads dug 4 feet deep through the wood exposed deep, red-orange GA clay that has been eroded over decades of sun and heavy machinery rolling through each groomed passage. The walls on these roads were enveloped with rich moss of bright greens and yellow shades. What we also found was a hybrid texture, a combination ofsand, GA red clay and water that could only be described as peanut butter.
Most of us rode CX bikes and rolled through fine. Even Sharif and Ivan Ravioli (aka David Baker), had little trouble on the route with their All-City fixed CX bikes. Though Spindlero Andy's thoughts on choosing a 650b MTB deemed to be a bit of a sluggish decision. Being an unsupported ride everyone was well-prepared with their Spindle packs and frame bags loaded with snacks, fruit, and water. Helping immensely as the temperature rose throughout the day.
As we approached the finish, we scouted out a little farmers market that served up a sundry of local fruits, veggies and boiled peanuts which Spindlera Molly Russell and Atlanta Beltline Bicycle team rider, Zach Holmes, took back to camp.
With beautiful views and good people surrounding us, overall it was a beautiful ride. We drank the juice and are already looking forward to dirtying up our pecans for next year’s ride! For more info on the ride please visit the Dirt-y Pecan facebook page: