I completed my first "real" test of the CLEMENTE fixed gear MTB which was to ride the "Levee" at Markham Park, a 35 mile Everglades Odyssey. This levee is in the middle of the everglades so I decided to have one of my teammates accompany me. Rudy, Master Mechanic http://www.rudysmobilebikerepair.com/ , my wheel builder and ex-army guy (I felt safe to say the least). As we start out, the trail wasn't bad, just a limestone jeep trail following the Sawgrass Expressway. We soon come across our first glimpse into the everglades wildlife, a fox which let us pass without incident. We soon made a left turn away from civilization and deep into the everglades. As we approach the half way point of our ride, we see Mr. Otter which seemed to be guarding "Vulture Central" and quickly runs into the saw grass. "Vulture Central" seemed to be home base for about 50 vultures, several of them lining the trail which quickly flew away as we approached. We forge ahead to the 1st sign of civilization we've seen in awhile, Air boat rentals on US 27. We quickly roll onto the 2nd to last leg of the levee which runs parallel to US27. As we leave the safety of the Air boat rentals we are faced with some really high grass, which we later found out it, was taller than us when we were standing out of the saddle! The trail quickly deteriorated, but we forged ahead, after scaring the third alligator into the canal we started to get worried, but we could see the next turn in the distance (Hind sight showed, the high grass was due to the lack of traffic). We finally rode up to what seemed a dead end but luckily I saw a steel dam, it was old, 1 ft wide and rusted but it was either carry our bikes over the dam or face the gators. We chose the dam! Finally, we rode the last portion of the levee back to Markham Park. Total trip time was 3:08 hrs on a fixed gear MTB with 47/16 gearing and Hutchinson Cross Comp 1.3's (thanks for the good advice on the tires)! I had a fantastic time, no brakes, no gears, no cars JUST MUSCLE!
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