The HuRaCan 300 started this morning, Saturday, March 14th at 6:00am. The race took off from Greenway Cycles in Ocala Florida. The Huracan is said to be the ultimate off-road endurance race in the state of Florida. The race is fully self supported, meaning no support, no outside help, just you, your bike, and the trail. The HuRaCan 300 is in its 4th year with route changes each year. As far as records go, Shey Lindner (2012) has a time of 23 hours and 59 minutes and for the Females, Cricket Butler holds the record at 1 day, 6 hours and 36 minutes. These records are likely to be broken this year with a super strong field. Below, the “Naked Indian” interviews the “Singletrack Samurai” about the upcoming HuRaCaN300… Today I, the “Naked Indian” will be interviewing The Founder and Grandfather of Florida Bikepacking and Ultra Endurance, Karlos A. Rodriguez Bernart aka “The Singletrack Samurai.” He has been organizing ultra off-road events now in the state of Florida for half a decade and we took a little bit of time to sit him down and ask him some questions. NI: How did you come up with this Huracan 300 Route ? SS: Well at one point, I got tired of the dichotomy of riding your road bike on pavement out your front door, and riding your off road bike on trails after you drove to the trailhead. Eventually I found that I had the desire to get road like miles on dirt. Slowly but surely I created my first mostly off road route called the Naked Indian ride. Just like any long distance bikepacking route, it was a mix of dirt roads, double track, overgrown pavement, singletrack, bike path, pavement and ATV trails. So sometime 7 years ago after a bikepacking trip, I got this crazy idea to link the Ocala National Forest to the Croom Forest and created a route called the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial (CFITT) which eventually morphed into the Coast to Coast race that it is now. The course was originally half stuff that I put together and half stuff that Rob Roberts helped map out. In the process of doing that, Rob started mapping stuff in Clermont and the green swamp and we both noticed that loop could be made. After a lot of work and a lot of miles we created the Huracan 300 loop. NI: So when was the first event held and how many racers showed up? SS: In 2010 I invited everyone to come race this loop. Only two people came to race the loop, which at the time started at Croom parking lot near Tucker Hill. It was Rob Roberts and myself and I did not finish after battling below freezing temps and rain for a full day. Rob won the event with a time of 36 hours or something… pretty impressive. Each year the route gets modified for continuity. I always try to add more dirt or make things better. The following year, in 2011, we had even more people show up, but Rob still won the event with a time of 29 hours with a group of riders chasing the finish about two hours later. The event had really started gaining ground at that point as some of the riders talked about it on their blogs and wrote articles for XXC Mag and the like. NI: So tell us about the route now, 4 years later? SS: Well, Rob Roberts moved to So Cal. It kind of sucks to not have him around cause I would map stuff and tell him lets go ride and he would be all for it. Without his help it might have taken a lot longer for me to figure out all that I did. The reality is that the route is a lot different since him and I worked on it together. It has morphed yearly into what I perceive is the best combination of dirt VS pavement VS singletrack. This year I added more limestone, more singletrack, and more elevation, in hopes of finally hitting a magic bullet on the ideal route. The long climbs, technical singletrack, limestone roads, and even a river crossing and bushwhacking to boot. When I made this route, my vision was of riders parking at Santos Campground and touring an epic route that would lead them back to their car. Luckily, the office of Greenways and Trails has always been very accommodating and have done a lot to make sure that the event gets a little special treatment. This is grassroots after all and I do it all for the love and passion for riding a bike a long way and taking the very scenic route to get there. NI: Final question, what are your predictions regarding fastest times on the route this year? Give us your top three or any general observations? SS: I definitely think that Eddie O’Dea and Jason Murrell are the favorites as they are record holders, but I don’t discount for a second that there are a lot of out of towners with serious talent that could disrupt that. The fastest Floridians I predict will be A. Jeffrey Tomassetti (who is also the masters record holder) and Bryan Frantz, former CFITT record holder who has the chance to really put in a solid effort in his backyard. I am pretty sure when the event is over, we will have a new single speed record as well, as I see that Mark Sackett is coming down from North Carolina and he is a seriously fast single speeder. Its going to be really hard to figure out who will come up the fastest, but that is my best guess. On the female front, I don’t know if a new record will be set, but Ruth Cunningham is definitely the favorite to win. There is another female racing, but with this being her first Ultra, it is hard to determine how she will do. Josselyn Guitierrez is a champion level cross country racer, but sometimes its hard to immediately tell how those skills will transfer to Ultra endurance. NI: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us today, any parting words? SS: Thanks a lot, I just want everyone to know that when it comes to bikepacking, Florida has it all. Come down, ride, tour, race or whatever you like, you won’t be disappointed. Check out our Facebook Page at Singletrack Samurai productions and singletracksamurai.com To follow the LIVE progress check out the Trackleaders link, enjoy following the blue dots! Also check out MTBCast call in page to listen to Karlos and others as they get ready for the race. Also check out Episode 1 of Bikepackers Radio on Moutnain Bike Radio which mentions the Huracan 300 among other things.