Hey guys, I rode Alafia for the first time today, and like I did with the singlespeed post I thought I'd put together another stream of consciousness ramble...
I know a lot of you have ridden Alafia many times so a lot of this won't be anything new.
I should preface this by saying that I'd probably categorize myself as an upper-intermediate level rider who mainly focuses on XC style riding and equipment (with the recently-acquired SS being a new wrinkle in the program). I ride an XC race-type bike (Cannondale scalpel), and am not into much armor and/or protective gear. Anyway, just wanted to get that out of the way so you have an idea of the lenses I'm looking at Alafia through.
I'll post in the order I rode the trails:
- started with North Creek. This turned out to be my 2nd favorite trail-O-the-day. Perfectly suited to my skill level, and a trail that forces you to pay attention with a lot of elevation change and funkytown stuff.
- Took the 2-track north-east and picked up the lower Bridges trail west back near the trailhead (forgot cell phone in the car, so needed to double-back and get it). Nothing particularly memorable about this trail, although it has its moments if you're daydreaming.
- Picked up the phone and rode the same stretch of Bridges back eastward to Gatorback.
- Gatorback: This is a big-time trail. Probably the hardest trail I've seen so far in Florida. I ended up walking probably about 30%, which kind of dissapointed (or should I say humbled?) me. Not sure how the rest of you feel about it, but IMHO this is a trail for highly-skilled mountain bikers who are on top of their game. Mistakes here, have the potential to be extremely costly.
- Next came the entire length of Rock Garden. This was an enjoyable ride, more difficult in the early sections, that was mostly I'd say at an intermediate level with a few tricky sections thrown in early on.
- Sandpine was next. A lot of twisty, fairly easy riding through palmetto's and so forth. A good stretch to take the family through for those of you who have kids who ride.
- Next I did the first (furthest east) of the Rabbit Ear trails. I must say, this one caught me by surprise and was a lot more tricky than I expected and I ended up having to touch and reset a couple times. Some sharp descents followed by immediate inclines you need to rocket up and make a sharp turn and immediately begin another descent..etc...rinse lather repeat. I'll do much better on this one next time as I now know what to expect. Tough little trail for sure, and deserves the black diamond.
- Skipped the next 2 Rabbit Ears, and headed west to Rollercoaster. This was my favorite trail of the day. A lot of tricky terrain with a lot of upper-mid-range stuff that I found to be just the right mix. Excellent, fun trail that still requires a good amount of skill (particularly if you take some of the hard branches when presented with the "harder/easier" option).
- After Rollercoaster, I was starting to run out of gas (fighting a cold all week) so called it a day. Wanted to give Moonscape a run, but just didn't have anything left so will have to hit that one next time.
Really enjoyed this park, and was impressed by the diversity of the riding -- there's something for all skill levels here. Anyway, I hope this info was of some value -- next comes the choice between Boyette or Santos as my next trip out of the Spring Hill area (suggestions and preferences welcome!).