Relatively new to the Ultra scene, Kim Murrell is an accidental speed demon on the routes. I had a chance to spend a few days this week hanging out and talking to her and getting to know more about Kim. She had just finished the Huracan Route so it was good for me to get her fresh off the trail feedback. She originally planned to merge the CFITT and the Huracan so she could knock out the remaining two routes for the Florida Triple Crown in one shot. Her intent was to start the route on the Eastern end of the CFITT and and work her way to the Huracan route, looping it counterclockwise, and coming out to finish the Western side of the CFITT to the coast. Unfortunately, due to never ending thunderstorms and a last minute shuttle issue, she decided to just do a fun scouting mission on the Huracan and save the combination for the fall. Hanging out with Kim was an adventure in itself. It’s rare to experience such an abstract story telling style. If you hang in there, she will tell you 7 stories, at the same time, and finish them all, in a very fluid and concise manner (like watching a story telling version of pulp fiction). But the best part about the time I got to spend talking to Kim was that I got a chance to see how her mind functions and get an insight into her success in the Florida bikepacking scene. Kim is no stranger to adventure. Listening to her stories from her days as a river guide, whitewater kayaker, and various other globe trotting trips, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that she is a professional. Her being ever humble, you can ask her if she thinks she is a pro, but things like that, are not important to her. In her mind, she is a total noob… She is the one still learning the ropes. In my mind, I see beyond that. I see a person with YEARS of adventure experience under her belt. Years of backcountry skills and talents. Now she is just channeling all that into a bike. 6 days 12 hours and 20 minutes is all it took her to finish the North South Cross Florida mountain bike route, also known as the Florida Divide. 800+ miles of singletrack, swamp and windblown levee roads. I wonder if she knows she is second fastest on the route and officially the women’s record holder. The beauty was abound on the route as you hear her tell it. Thousands of stories of the good in people. Her faith in humanity restored daily. But there were many challenges on the route as well. Her biggest challenges being navigational, because frankly she has not had much use for a GPS. Back home, it’s forest roads and real maps no electronic breadcrumbs to follow on GPS units. On one particular night, she pushed on late. As she made her way to Yeehaw Junction, she ran over a piece of exhaust pipe that sent her over the bars and into the busy road. If another truck out of the 100’s that passed her that night, had been in that spot, at that time, it would have been much worst. But she came away unscathed aside from a wobbly front wheel, that lasted the rest of the 400 miles she had to go. Being a consummate adventurer, she is not interested in route study. She is not too worried about where the next restock is, she prefers to follow the girl scout motto, and resolves to be prepared, and sees what the route tells her and teaches her along the way. She is literally a seat of the pants bikepacker, the less she knows the better. She says she experiences fear, but in Big Cypress, she could see a group of folks milling about ahead, and instead of stopping and waiting, she pushed on, choosing instead to hide her ponytail, and puff up her jacket like a blowfish. If there is fear, she does a good job of letting her years of experience dictate how she will handle the situation. Her next challenge on the horizon is the Colorado Trail. Her attitude is to ride forever, right below threshold. I look forward to seeing her tackle the route. Gonna be a good one to watch as I expect her to finish it faster than she anticipates. Then I am sure she will be back in Florida tackling more routes, and chasing the Florida Triple Crown aka The Samurai Cross. Kudos Kim, you’re an inspiration!