Thursday, January 30, 2014

6 and 12 hours of Santos

As I sit here in Florida, in what feels like the New Jersey winter weather I most despised, 32 to 50 degrees, damp and rainy, I may have caught a bug and not that flu that my wife and everyone else seems to have. No I am talking about the Racing Bug. I was thinking about doing either the 6 hours on a geared bike or the 12 on a Single Speed. I didn't see a 6 hour class for SS class listed on the website, but both the online registration and the downloadable form has a SS class listed for the 6 hour event.

Conversely, the website listed a 12 hour SS class.

That is fine by me. I really wanted to race my SS, but not for 12 hours.

In order to use Vortex, the split it in two. From the Strava files I have seen, it looks like one part is ran in reverse order. As Vortex is a one way only trail, that presents problems for pre riding. As it turned out, it was quite empty before noon on Tuesday. So I snuck in 3 laps, of my best guess of the reverse portion was, before riders started to hit the trail.

I rode with Jim Matthews at Tussey ridge, near State College, PA last May. On Facebook he asked me about SS gear selection after my Santos Post. Here they are: "The 34x22 was crazy low. My log must have been wrong. 20t is good in the Vortex pit and tolerable on the yellow and just fine on Twister." and "The 19 seemed heavy on Twister and the outer green was not faster today realy, than with the 20t. The first lap was 19 seconds faster on the 19t, than the 20. But the 20t had a couple Vortex laps first. Laps 2, 3 and 4 were very similar to the 20t lap"

I like to gear lighter than heavier on a ride of this length, I think the 34x20t will be my gear, if I do this race.

Here are those two Strava Files:

34x22t and 34x20t


Santos Map

12 hour 2014 Flyer

OMBA Trailheads


Monday, January 27, 2014

Darn Tough Socks

I am particularly hard on socks, I mean really, really hard on socks.

I used to have socks with Kevlar toes and heels even, I thought I needed bulletproof socks. The cuffs wore out, but I still kept wearing them. I took some ribbing for that, for sure.

I found that the Pearl Izumi socks were padded well enough, You see I am a masher. I used the black socks, cause I am a mountain biker and mountain biking is dirty.

I would were the heels out on the Pearls and a few toe holes. Pearl Discontinued them and I snatched up some remaining white ones.

I became aware of Darn Tough socks last year in South Dakota after the Tatanka 100.

The Life Time Guarantee particularly interested me, you can understand why.

I am on a very restricted budget and the last of my Pearls were wearing thin. So I picked up a pair of made in Vermont USA, Darn Tough socks in Duluth Minnesota, back in July, to see if they would hold up.  They did not have cycling socks, so I got a pair of cushioned 1/4 hiking socks in black of course.  I used them for just about every hard ride. 3 to 4 rides a week 2 to 12 hours each. Leaving the Pearls for recovery rides, or if the the Darn Tough socks were in the wash. Which was not often, my kit would go in the washer in the RV as I got in the shower. Three months of hard riding and they they were holding up great. So good I got a warmer pair, when the stay in Brevard NC, got extended  into chillier end of November. I was really feelin the Darn Tough love, so I reached out to them, to see if they were into doing the partnership thing and they said yes.

The cycling socks have a more breathable top. I got them with the cushion as well. Masher remember.

Still Looks great after months of intensive use.
Darn Tough,
Great Stuff,
No Guff! 

 Made In Vermont USA

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santos Kwik Stats

After feeling off for a few days,  Touch of the flu maybe. I rechristened the Ferrous as a Single Speed again. Still had the 22 on the back, from when I entertained SSing Pisgah. So, I wanted to keep it between one and two hours today. Tammy has the flu for sure and I didn't want to be wrecked. What to do all the Black Diamonds near the main trail head, hit twister to get er over an hour, but skipped Vortex for now. Cow Bone to warm up, Magic Mt into Rattlesnake around to Anthill to John Brown. Then out Bunny to get to Twister, Canopy to Speedway to my favorite( in this direction) Sinkhole. Then a all of Dr Ruth to do John Brown, Magic Mt and Cow Bone the other way.
Up Coming event 12 Hours of Santos
I original post on Santos

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alafia River State Park IMBA Epic Revisited

ARSP was the not the first IMBA epic that I have ever done, but it was the first one since this blog and quest started, almost a year ago. Maybe that is why I compare so many of the IMBA Epics that I have done since to Alafia!  Or maybe Alafia has been really put together really well.

I have many more IMBA Epics under my belt now, so how does Alafia stack up now? The facilities are top notch, super nice restroom, a big pavilion, a bike wash and some shaded parking in a decent sized parking lot, and a big overflow parking lot.  One could easily get spoiled! Many IMBA Epics are in the middle of no where and many riders think that is how it should be. It seems that IMBA as updated their definition on an Epic again. "The 2013 class of Epics celebrates true backcountry riding experiences that are technically and physically challenging, more than 80 percent singletrack and at least 20 miles in length."
That leaves out ARSP. To give it's due is now considered one of the
"Hall of Fame Epics Rides
"We have also created an IMBA Epics Hall of Fame to recognize the rides we have honored in the past but no longer meet the new criteria"
IMBA has yet another category called "Model Trails", no trails are listed yet, but I think that is where Alafia would fit in best. There is no "Shuttle" option, but add a pump track and it could be a Ride Center as well! I personally do not think shuttling should be a necessity, but a "Ride Center" is supposed to have it all. But I digress. Alafia has really well marked and maintained trails. A beginner can ride part (many bail out points) or all of the several miles of the Easy Green trails, plus fire roads.  An Intermediate rider can get a 10 mile ride in, on mostly Intermediate Blue trails.  An advanced rider can add some great Difficult Black diamond or Double Black Diamond trails into that Intermediate ride for a challenge or do them all for a good 15 mile, 1.5 to 2 hour ride.

You can easily stack loops on loops or loop back to do a trails, that you really like, over and over again.

So what am I trying to say? Well I agree that ARSP is a few miles shy of an epic and does not have that back country feeling. On any given day there are a number of riders in the parking lot and on weekends the overflow parking is put to good use. Hardly backcountry. But go in very off times and you will feel more isolated and may even see an alligator, wild hogs, turtles and armadillos.

Anyway you slice it ARSP is a must ride if you are anywhere in central Florida. It is a Model of how a trail system should be set up and maintained. I really like the One way trails, this really reduces those head on OH SHIT moments. During high traffic times, you still get wrong wayers and hikers on the MTB trails, so keep that in mind. Also to mix things up, the North Creek trails is ran in reverse direction on Wednesdays.

For a more backcountry feel, just several minutes away is Balm/Boyette, more mileage, smaller parking lot and just one composting restroom (albeit large)

We docked the motorhome at Hidden River in Riverview. All the amenities that you need and just on the edge of the city congestion to the north and west, gets rural quick to the southeast. Closer that Brandon and less traffic.

Here is a nice write up on blog at

For directions and other great info click here

Saturday, January 18, 2014

More ARSP Kwik Stats

Good way to say goodbye to the area. Cool and dry, just like I like it. Started at 64 and ended just below 50 degrees. I made two loops almost the same. Both pretty much continuos with as little duplication and crossing as possible, while getting in most of the trails and all the Black and Blue trails. I'll link the Strava files later. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Alafia River State Park Kwik Stats

Just green and blue today. Better than black and blue. The Keys were nice, but I slacked way to much in southern Florida. Very humid today. I am soaked. But no frostbite at least.