Oh I know, I said I was done racing back in August for the year after having a stellar season. However, I had a wild-hair to line up one more time this year after hearing that a buddy was doing the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial (CFITT). So, I made the trip down to Florida and stayed with my buddy, Jeff Tomasetti. I must give thanks to a few folks first, because without their help I wouldn’t have been able to pull this off at the last-minute. Thanks to Jeff for housing me at his place before and after the race, driving to the start and letting me hotel with him before the race. Thanks to Jonathan Tomasetti for picking up my carcass at the finish and transporting it back across Florida. Literally, I decided to do this on the Monday before the race started and this isn’t the type of race you just decide to do last-minute. Plus, I haven’t been training for racing since August. I didn’t have winning expectations and I figured my base would get me through to the finish, but when I line up it tends to spark a little something special within me . The CFITT is a 240 mile cross state sprint that starts on the Atlantic Coast and finishes on the Gulf Coast. You navigate via GPS using tracks formulated by the diabolical Karlos Rodriguez. A big thanks to all of the work and passion for the sport that Karlos puts into it. The course consisted roughly of a 100 miles of sandy dirt and gravel roads, 40+ miles of ripping single track and 100 miles of pavement. It was full tilt from the 6am launch pad off of New Smyrna Beach until 3am at the finish on the Gulf of Mexico. I started out from the staggered start and caught everyone in front of me and held that pace for the first 70 or so miles off and on with Jeff. I had more than a few moments of getting off track and having to back track. Being a local sure has advantages in regards to the route. Luckily, I was with Jeff for a while who knows the course like the back of his hand. I ended up doing 12 extra miles during the course due to back tracking and doing a single track portion twice. The Chuck Lennon Mountain Bike Trails were sweet, so sweet that I did them twice just for good measure. Jeff moved into the lead due to my lapse of attention. I stopped at a Subway to get some calories. I stayed hungry the entire race and consumed an incredible amount of calories. At this point Shey Lindner joined up with me. Shey is an incredibly strong and accomplished rider. We ended up staying together the rest of the race. We pushed each other and it was a pleasure to ride with him. I hope to do some races with him down the road in some 24 hour race formats. There was a cutoff to catch a ferry across a river halfway through the course.
Easily making this cutoff, Shey and I started to track down the few riders in front of us. After battling with wash-boarded roads and sand pits laced throughout the entire course we caught Jeff in the Santos Mountain Bike Trails about 40 miles from the finish. Shey and I drove an incredibly fast pace through Santos. We ripped those trails up and down, which was incredible after having raced for 200 miles as midnight was looming through our tired and wearied bodies. Shey and I decided to finish together after having pushed each other for most of the race in an epic battle. However, due to a time advantage I had starting behind him, I technically won on time. That being said, I share this victory with Shey. We ended up finishing in 21 hours. Not bad for a very tough course across the state of Florida on mountain bikes. The Sette Serum 26 inch once again put me on top. I ran a rigid fork this time and was very pleased with it. I congratulate all of the riders for lining up for this challenge. It isn’t one to take lightly. You will be pushed, but you will also be rewarded with amazing views and a sense that you have done something very few people can do. It has been an amazing year for sure.