At about 250 miles, the Cross Florida Individual Time Trial is the shortest of the three routes that make up the Samurai Cross (the other two being the Florida Divide and the HuRaCaN). Traversing the central Peninsula from Atlantic Coast to Gulf Coast, the route takes a less-than-direct path, favoring bike trails (both paved and unpaved), forest roads, and even a ferry crossing. Hidden gems along the course include an abandoned (never completed) monorail line, and a Roadhouse-style bar for some backcountry goodtimes. Ocala National Forest’s Florida Trail and the Santos trails are truly some not-to-be-missed riding in central Florida and feature prominently on this ride.
Other than the logistical hurdle of being a point-to-point route (rather than a loop like the HuRaCaN), and limited hours of ferry availability, this is an excellent route to cut your bikepacking teeth on. While it can be finished in under 24hours, the ferry crossing offers an excellent natural break in the middle of the ride to make it an overnighter. If you’re not completely into long days in the saddle though, a three or even four day pace is possible, although the eastern half of the route is more ‘developed’ than the west, so trailside sleeping arrangements may not be as readily available.
There are ample hotels and accommodations on the Atlantic end of the route but next to nothing on the gulf side so if you’d like to take a shower upon completion, you might consider riding west-to-east.