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Author Topic: Alafia impressions  (Read 5485 times)

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Offline StonePony

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Alafia impressions
« on: February 22, 2009, 09:40:33 PM »
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!).

Offline KRUNNCHERO

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2009, 09:53:15 PM »
Give it some time and practice and you will be doing that 30% of Gatorback like it is Sandpine. All in all, glad you liked it and I hope to see you out there so we can go riding. It is always fun for me when I run into a group of guys (gals?) to go riding with. It spices the day up. All else fails, you will probably get free mechanic work out of it (Gregg, Morrison sp?)  :P
 
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« Last Edit: February 22, 2009, 09:56:21 PM by KRUNNCH »
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Offline $irWattZZZZ

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2009, 10:00:01 PM »
Great review Stoney, Alafia really is a gem. If XC is your thing, I think you will fall in love with Boyette. While not as technically challenging as Alafia, I think you will find the flow of the trails there about as good as it gets locally for semi technical XC riding. I like the Knar stuff but truely enjoy a great flowing XC ride and would recommend you add San Felasco to your list of must rides, located just North of Gainseville, this trail system has great flowing sustained climbs and drops. Santos, Florida MTB Mecca :) has something for everyone. Santos is a huge series of trails ranging from flat and flowy to total Knar with lots of rock gardens :o

Offline catman

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2009, 11:04:10 PM »
Santos is awesome but if Gatorback sketched you out maybe you should try Boyette first. The new Ridgeline trail is great!
 
By the way, while Gatorback is the hardest trail Alafia has to offer it isn't reserved for the pros. You just need to take your time and feel it out like Krunnch says. My buddy who started mtb'ing about a year ago just cleaned all of Gatorbacks climbs the other day.
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Offline StonePony

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2009, 11:30:55 PM »
Give it some time and practice and you will be doing that 30% of Gatorback like it is Sandpine. All in all, glad you liked it and I hope to see you out there so we can go riding. It is always fun for me when I run into a group of guys (gals?) to go riding with. It spices the day up. All else fails, you will probably get free mechanic work out of it (Gregg, Morrison sp?)  :P
 
Kris  ;D
Thanks Krunnch.  I don't know about it seeming as easy as Sandpine, but next time I'm out there I'll certainly spend some time working on cleaning more of Gatorback.  Rabbit Ears will also be on the list.   :)

Offline StonePony

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2009, 11:43:20 PM »
Great review Stoney, Alafia really is a gem. If XC is your thing, I think you will fall in love with Boyette. While not as technically challenging as Alafia, I think you will find the flow of the trails there about as good as it gets locally for semi technical XC riding. I like the Knar stuff but truely enjoy a great flowing XC ride and would recommend you add San Felasco to your list of must rides, located just North of Gainseville, this trail system has great flowing sustained climbs and drops. Santos, Florida MTB Mecca :) has something for everyone. Santos is a huge series of trails ranging from flat and flowy to total Knar with lots of rock gardens :o
Hey Scott - yah, I'm leaning toward Boyette as well, although Santos is probably 20 minutes closer to me and has the 'epic' factor to consider.   8)

If you like the knarly stuff, I've got a recommendation for you:  Lynn Woods Reservation in Massachusetts.  Fly up there in July and bring all your armor -- the place is unbelievable.  The *beginner* trails are on par with Rollercoaster in terms of difficulty except they also have a lot of rocks (big, small, medium, you name it) to contend with...lol...I had sweat pouring off within about 2 minutes of hitting the trails.  Out of the saddle constantly working up/down climbs with rocks the size of pumpkins everywhere.  And that was on the easy trails.  The *hard* trails are just ridiculous.

Offline StonePony

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2009, 12:07:11 AM »
Santos is awesome but if Gatorback sketched you out maybe you should try Boyette first. The new Ridgeline trail is great!
 
By the way, while Gatorback is the hardest trail Alafia has to offer it isn't reserved for the pros. You just need to take your time and feel it out like Krunnch says. My buddy who started mtb'ing about a year ago just cleaned all of Gatorbacks climbs the other day.
Thanks catman -- I'm leaning toward Boyette but from what I'm reading Santos also has a lot of single-diamond stuff I could probably handle as well.  And your buddy definitely deserves a tip of the cap if he was able to clean all of Gatorback after only a year on a mountain bike... very impressive IMHO.

Another comment on this subject, and I'm not sure how many of you look at things this way -- I kind of measure my riding skills based on how well I ride on a difficult trail that is completely new and unfamiliar to me.  Things like how decisive I am, and how well I'm concentrating and picking the proper lines along with keeping the bike under control to handle all the new/unexpected surprises you get when riding something for the first time.  I think this category is really where I determine whether the various skills/techniques I've practiced over & over on other trails I'm familiar with are paying off or not.  This is where I got dissapointed today on Gatorback -- for some reason, whether it was the cold I had this week or whatever -- I just wasn't aggressive and attacking enough on that trail.  Although I'm sure the severe drop-offs on either side of the trail may have had something to do with that as well.   ;)

Offline RiskEverything

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2009, 09:25:55 AM »
Although I'm sure the severe drop-offs on either side of the trail may have had something to do with that as well.   ;)

I'd recommend Carter Road if you want to face your fears of severe drop offs on both sides of the trail. It's a park maintained by "The Ridgeriders", which should give an idea of what to expect.

In my opinion, the other two Rabbit Ears (the original two) are the hardest ones.

Also, if you didn't think there was anything memorable about Bridges, you may have missed part (most) of it. Especially if you rode all of Rock Garden, which starts 1/3 of the way through of Bridges.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2009, 09:28:46 AM by RiskEverything »
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Offline StonePony

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2009, 09:45:34 AM »
I'd recommend Carter Road if you want to face your fears of severe drop offs on both sides of the trail. It's a park maintained by "The Ridgeriders", which should give an idea of what to expect.
  Lol, I was actually looking at some reviews of that place last night.

Also, if you didn't think there was anything memorable about Bridges, you may have missed part (most) of it. Especially if you rode all of Rock Garden, which starts 1/3 of the way through of Bridges.
I think you're right -- I just checked the map, and it looks like I only did the southern part of it west of the 2-track.

Offline Birdlegs

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2009, 07:47:51 PM »
Carter road is fine, but it has becoming a race track. The only thing that is worthy of being called a hard trail is the fingers. Don't take me the wrong way here I ride it every week. But it is nothing like it was a year or two ago. It has been neutered!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Offline Reese

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2009, 02:40:53 PM »
Carter road is fine, but it has becoming a race track. The only thing that is worthy of being called a hard trail is the fingers. Don't take me the wrong way here I ride it every week. But it is nothing like it was a year or two ago. It has been neutered!!!

Even the fingers are getting pretty blue, with the exception of the 3rd one.

Offline Birdlegs

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2009, 02:57:37 PM »
You are correct.

Offline BillT

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2009, 03:00:06 PM »
Carter road is fine, but it has becoming a race track. The only thing that is worthy of being called a hard trail is the fingers. Don't take me the wrong way here I ride it every week. But it is nothing like it was a year or two ago. It has been neutered!!!

Even the fingers are getting pretty blue, with the exception of the 3rd one.

Are the fingers getting blue or are we just getting better?
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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2009, 03:15:23 PM »
Carter road is fine, but it has becoming a race track. The only thing that is worthy of being called a hard trail is the fingers. Don't take me the wrong way here I ride it every week. But it is nothing like it was a year or two ago. It has been neutered!!!

Even the fingers are getting pretty blue, with the exception of the 3rd one.

Are the fingers getting blue or are we just getting better?

excellent point....could be...

Offline StonePony

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Re: Alafia impressions
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2009, 04:21:20 PM »
Hey NI -- question for ye:  are you able to clean everything on Gatorback on your 32x17 SS?

 

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