Rain forced the cancellation of most of the Rails to Trails celebration Saturday morning _ except for the torch relay, which started about 7 a.m. at Seminole City Park and ended some 20 miles later in Crystal Beach.
Carrying the torch for the first leg of the relay was Karen Jacobs of Tampa General Hospital, who left behind her usual wheelchair to ride a three-wheeled bicycle she cranked by hand.
"I always liked the rain as a kid, so it was like being a kid playing in the rain," Ms. Jacobs said. "But it was pretty nasty out there."
The hand-cranked trike worked better in the rain than a wheelchair would have, Ms. Jacobs said.
"When it's wet we don't get much traction," she said.
The trike is made by Top End, a Pinellas Park company, she said, and the company let her borrow it just for this relay.
"It was fun cranking it up and getting up some speed," she said. But the rain left everything "pretty soggy," she said.
Ms. Jacobs was far from the only traveler on the recreational trail that eventually will stretch from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs and wrap around to East Lake. County officials said that despite the bad weather, the relay drew walkers, joggers, skaters and bicyclists, all of whom may have felt like swimmers by the end of the trail.
"We haven't had rain in so long," said the county's Pat Brown, "and then this has to happen."
The double-ring wedding scheduled on the trail was moved indoors to Hamlin's Landing. But to carry on the spirit of the outdoor ceremony, county officials have promised to let the two happy couples hold their receptions on the trail next Saturday _ and they will pray for better weather next week.