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Old March 15th, 2007, 12:57 AM   #1
DamnChucker
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Default Skating Conditions on the Pinellas Trail in Florida

I could use some advice. I'm visting Indian Rocks Beach for family vacation and I could use some info on the Trail. I checked the website. Its nice and detailed, but lacking in some details.

I noticed that some intersections are over/under pass varities, but what about the lesser intersections. It seems like about the time you hit a good stride that you would need to immediately begin braking.

Also what are trail conditions like - maintenance, etc.? What are the best times to avoid traffic?

Thanks a bunch.

C
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Old March 15th, 2007, 01:40 AM   #2
mikeyb
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I was on the Pinellas trail once, last fall. If you're in the thick of a town, you might have to stop every few blocks. Other stretches go on for quite some time. At the interesections, drivers seem to make way for the skater/bikers. Of course, I wouldn't bet my life on that. I thought it was a great suburban trail. It's very flat, but the overpasses have some nice quick downhills. It goes thru some nice towns and if you check your map, you can visit either towns or beaches. It's a fun skate but you won't find an uninterrupted 10 mile straight away.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 01:41 PM   #3
chad
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What Mike said!

The overpasses, over major roads, are pretty steep but fairly wide.

At most road crossings you'll have Stop sign...some are 4-way stops, some are 2-way with you stopping...occassionally, you'll have the right-of-way -- but I wouldn't bet my life on it.

The trail in generally in good condition...some edges are a bit rough and the occassional tree root will buckle the surface.

I'm more familiar with the trail from Clearwater-north. But have walked the trail between Seminole and Clearwater quite a few times...since you are on Indian Rocks Beach consider Gulf Blvd -- the main drag along the beach...depending on time of day it's a good skate (again, I've walked it pretty often). I say I've walked these areas since I do fitness and Nordic Walking and have done the Gulf Beaches Marathon (I walked it!)....I've just started skating again so I haven't spent much time on the trail with my inlines.

Check out Google Earth for some mapping or http://www.mapmyrun.com/index.php?s=4&d=walkingguide& for checking mileage for the other surface roads in the area.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #4
Jon B.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnChucker View Post
I could use some advice. I'm visting Indian Rocks Beach for family vacation and I could use some info on the Trail. I checked the website. Its nice and detailed, but lacking in some details.

I noticed that some intersections are over/under pass varities, but what about the lesser intersections. It seems like about the time you hit a good stride that you would need to immediately begin braking.

Also what are trail conditions like - maintenance, etc.? What are the best times to avoid traffic?

Thanks a bunch. C
When Jessica sees this I'm sure she'll be able to tighten you up on the minor details, otherwise it all is as spoken previously. Compared to our local trail (the Withlacoochee) it appears that the drivers along the Pinellas route are far more considerate of the "self" powered vehicles instead of treating us like competition. The whole trail is definitely skatable, we do it every year with Bill Jackson, some areas better than others - none I would call horrible, none smooth as Flatwoods. One note of caution concerning the overpasses is that if you're not accustomed to moderate downhill speeds (probably up to 23mph) the expansion joints in the concrete ramp can be a little unnerving. You have to keep the weight off your toes and don't get skitzed out by that "lofting" sensation you get. If need be, when you come to the first one only skate 1/3 or 1/4 of the way up and then turn around and go back down. Add progressively more climb each time until you feel confident enough to take the plunge. You could avoid the ramps and cross the streets, but that is more perilous than the ramps. You would seriously enjoy a skate (or bike ride, or stroll) on the Flatwoods trail on the eastside of Tampa if time allows. There are also a few parks accessible from the Pinnellas Trail to break things up if you carry a pair of sandles or aqua socks with you, plus their are several small shops and cafes you could stop at. Everybody needs ice cream halfway through a 39 mile skate! Try www.skatetampa.com for more local insight, and maybe a companion hook-up. Enjoy thyself. JB
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Old March 15th, 2007, 07:13 PM   #5
Jessica
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Ditto on what everyone said. There are definitely a lot of places where you have to slow down, but the trail's long and continuous enough that it isn't really that bothersome. Most of the "stops" are four way, which means as long as there are no cars sitting there you can just breeze through (even though you do have stop signs at every crossing). I've seen people just fly right across without a glance - very trusting. I slow down for them but I definitely don't stop at the four ways.

The pavement is iffy for me so I don't make any special trips out there, but that's because I'm spoiled by Flatwoods
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Old March 17th, 2007, 11:17 PM   #6
DamnChucker
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OK then.

Jess, I'd really like some good advice on were to train in the area. I'm blessed in Atlanta with the Silver Comet - I crank out as many miles as the daylight will allow. I usually go out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for 90 - 120 miles in the early season. 150 -180+ towards the A2A.

My family's native to Tampa and wanted a destination close for relatives flying in. I pushed for something near the Pinellas Trail based on all the posts about the Squiggy. Now I'm doubtful.

I would appreciate any help.

Thanks,

Chuck
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Old March 18th, 2007, 04:12 AM   #7
mikeyb
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As an aside, the Withlacoochie, which Jon B. mentioned may not be that far from the Pinellas. Of course, I'm from Philly and my Florida geography is weak. The Withlacoochie is drop dead georgeous and goes thru some beautiful forests. There are stretches where you may not see another person for miles. It can get surprisingly rural for western Florida. Compared to our northeast trails, this is really smooth.
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Old March 19th, 2007, 06:30 PM   #8
Jessica
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamnChucker View Post
My family's native to Tampa and wanted a destination close for relatives flying in. I pushed for something near the Pinellas Trail based on all the posts about the Squiggy. Now I'm doubtful.
The Squiggy race was at Flatwoods, which is quite a trek from Pinellas county. The Wilderness Park (Flatwoods) area is in northeast Tampa. If you can get to Flatwoods, that's the best place to go. You won't find smoother pavement anywhere. Your other choices in order of closeness to Pinellas county are:

The Suncoast Trail- This is where we train for A2A, although I've never been on the southern section. Pavement is decent but there's absolutely no tree cover and it's kind of boring (except for the hill section where we train of course )


The Friendship Trailbridge
- This trail is a couple of minutes away from my house. It's only 2 and a half miles long, but it's straight, no traffic, and there's a nice hill. It's very pretty, but it can get very, very windy since it goes right over the bay.

Bayshore Boulevard - This is also right by my house. It's the longest continuous sidewalk in the U.S., but I don't skate there because it's overcrowded and not very wide. It's very beautiful - I run there a lot - but it's not worth getting closelined to skate on. They've recently done some repair work so it's not as dangerous as it used to be.

The Upper Tampa Bay trail (warning, this is a pdf) - I skate here at least once a week. This isn't really the best trail for all out speed but man is it pretty. It's 7ish miles long with lots of twists and turns, bridges, couple of small inclines..

Then of course, there's Flatwoods - don't have a site for it though. It's kind of low key and in the middle of nowhere and we like it like that

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
As an aside, the Withlacoochie, which Jon B. mentioned may not be that far from the Pinellas. Of course, I'm from Philly and my Florida geography is weak. The Withlacoochie is drop dead georgeous and goes thru some beautiful forests. There are stretches where you may not see another person for miles. It can get surprisingly rural for western Florida. Compared to our northeast trails, this is really smooth.
The Withlacoochee is where I broke my wrist. It's my least favorite of all, for that reason of course but also because it's the roughest trail in the area. Don't plan on going back there because I have plenty of other choices

Last edited by Jessica; March 19th, 2007 at 07:55 PM.
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Old March 20th, 2007, 07:14 PM   #9
DamnChucker
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Thanks for all the great choices and insight. I'll start checking links.

Chuck
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