I got picked up by two riders at Hannah Park in Jacksonville yesterday, because they are nicer guys than the degenerates I ride with at home. They gave me the proper tour and for the first time I put that place together in a proper ride. Hannah Park is the original silk purse from the sow’s ear, as there is no good reason to have a bike trail through terrain that is sandy when it isn’t swampy and has a net elevation gain of 7 feet. The biting flies complained about the mosquitoes and the raccoons stole food from my pack while I was riding. The trail is woven through a salt marsh along the Atlantic coastline which just means it is hot and hazy, the air sticky with salt. You break a sweat immediately when you exit your car and that first sheen never leaves you, as the air can’t accommodate another drop. The trail is tight and winding, brutish and ugly, and interrupted by logs and mud, which is a shame because that means it is too technical for Tallahassee riders. We prefer our trails groomed, with valets stationed at intervals to powder our bottoms and tell us what good boys and girls we are (yes we are!)
Jacksonville riders I salute you. Like a surf town with one break, riders pile into Hannah Park, otherwise known as the only game in town. This smallish park supports a hardcore ecosystem of sightseers, weekend warriors, and fat-tire aficionados.
To finish a trail ride and cool off in the ocean is an exotic novelty, so I pulled the rental Impala to the last beach access point and flip flopped down to the water in my chamois. Angry waves piled up right at the shoreline, a rip tide sucking sand and shells out to sea like a straw at the bottom of a milkshake. I saw no one in the water as far as I could see in either direction. That ocean wanted to drag out everything it could get.
I waded in enough to tease it, and in her petulance she filled my shorts with gravel and silt. I retreated to the beach and watched cruise ships positioned far offshore like pink pencil erasers.