After weeks of [not]preparing and a remarkably underwhelming stay at the Shangri-la hotel in Ocala, the ToeCutter crew woke up and rolled out to the 6am start of the race at the Santos trailhead. Temps were going to be comfortable at the start. The same could probably not be said for the digestive tracks of the guys who decided to get the Deluxe Seafood Delight at the oyster bar the night before.
True to form, we were late for the start and rolled out about 5 minutes after everyone else. As luck would have it, the rest of the crew from ATL had also been late risers and we rolled out nearly a dozen deep into the fresh morning singletrack.
I was towards the front of the group and got into a good rhythm. Despite a couple small issues with stowage, I hung out at a good pace and the miles started melting away. Soon the sun came up and we were really knocking back the course. After a brief 18 mile stretch on a paved greenway trail we were back into the woods through the Citrus WMA. The forest was scarred in places and there were a number of small active fires going, but nothing that would hinder the ride, just something to add to the scenery (and heat).