This ride is a North Florida Bicycle Club annual classic. For over 20 years during azalea blooming season, groups have been riding to the Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka. Bring $2 for entrance fee to park and $ for lunch. We will also tour the highways and byways of Clay and Putnam counties looking for azaleas in bloom.
The Century riders will depart at 7:30 AM from Cove Plaza in Green Cove Springs (on west side of US 17, just south of SR 16 east). After that we will cross many hills (total ride elevation 1,700 feet). Next will be a flat section along the Palatka-to-Lake Butler State Trail. We will then buy some sandwiches and eat a picnic lunch at the Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka. Have you ever biked around a ravine in Florida?
2021 Azalea Ride articles & pictures
Finally we will head back north from Palatka to Green Cove Springs. after getting off of 17 and onto West Tocoi Road we will pass farms with horses, Shetland ponies and there are usually many cute baby cows at this time of year.
GPS Map TCX
Azalea Century Ride 2021 TCX map
Ride with GPS map link
2021 Azalea Century Ride with GPS
(1) REST STOPS;
REST STOP #1 is at a convenience store at 14 miles. The next available food & restrooms is at REST STOP #2 at mile 57. We can stop between the official rest stops and there are plenty of trees. There is also over 1,000 feet of elevation between Rest Stops #1 and #2. It is best to top of water bottles at Rest Stop 1.
(2) LUNCH OPTIONS:
We will eat at the picnic section at the Ravine Gardens State Park (see picture below). Option 1:
Bring you lunch with you from home. Option 2
: Buy your lunch at the Subway sandwich shop at Rest Stop #2 at mile 57 and bring it to the park at mile 76. Be prepared to carry a 12 or 6 inch sandwich for 20 miles. It may not fit in your back pocket.
(3) DIRT ROAD:
At about mile 92, West Tocoi Road (CR 209) enters Clay County and it is unpaved for one mile. Usually, it is smooth dirt with no ruts. After rain it is hard packed. When it has been dry, it can be sandy. The Ride Leader crossed it on 2/21/21 with 25mm tires. It had rained recently. (see picture below) There is an optional detour. instead of getting on West Tocoi Road at Bostwick, continue north on 17 for another 6 miles and then go east on 214 back to West Tocoi Road (CR 209). The detour adds 2 miles to the route. Even if you have to walk on the dirt road, the ride leader thinks it is better than an extra 6 miles on 17.
Along the trail
Ravine Gardens State Park
THIS RIDE WILL COUNT FOR POINTS AND MILEAGE.