Thursday, December 29, 2005


Ridin' with JB

So it was my last day in F-L-A,
Where was I to go and play?

To the southwest of Orlando is a classic MTB trail system at Alafia River State Park. I'd read and heard of it often. It even was awarded "EPIC" stature by the IMBA. A description from the SWAMP club site :

"Gatorback and Rabbit Ears are very difficult shorter loops off Bridges and Sand Pine, respectively. These sections all include steep roller coaster dips, technical rocky sections and very difficult climbs and drops. Many of these have a steep, straight line descents followed by a short valley before the trail climbs rapidly up the opposite side. It is a roller coaster sensation that takes your breath away and gives extra "G" forces as your swoop suddenly transitions from a dive into a climb. Not all of these are a straight line down and up. Some drops have relatively sudden turns."

Let's reread that last sentence:

"Some drops have relatively sudden turns. "

OK then. Made it to the trailhead just after 8AM. Only 1 other car there. NICE. Off to warmup on the intermediate Bridges trail and I see a familiar Trek kit in the distance, man that looked like Jeremiah Bishop. Could it be? What would JB be doing down here? Winter training camp maybe? I know Nick is down here. Maybe he'll show up too?

Of course as hard as I tried there was NO hope of getting close enough to be sure.

It was really a nice Florida day. 61 degrees at 7AM and getting warmer all the time. The trails displayed some really slick building skills with uphill switchbacks, narrow man-made wooden paths, and really nice bench cuts.

A ride through the double black diamond Gatorback was classic Florida MTB to the extreme. 20-30 foot near vertical drops, followed by quick G-out transitions into vertical wall climbs.

Wait, there he was again........................ This time on a low line he slips right by me. Hmmm, didn't look like a Trek he was riding. I was close enough this time to see the red hair, and he was rail thin, lean, and fast. Dam.

Everytime I'd get close, he'd just snap a few power strokes and disappear into the Florida jungle.

Off to the other side of the trail system to ride Rollercoaster and Moonscape. A sign at the entry offered a valid disclaimer. The trails were pristine. Nice flowing bermed turns punctuated by those sheer vertical drops that'll take your breath away.
HEY!!.........there he goes again....... Man I've just gotta know for sure.

So I waited patiently off to the side of the trail just past the bottom of a nice 25 foot drop.
Yep, here he comes..............then goes flying by at blinding speed.

Wait a minute.......that's not Jeremiah, its just a clean shaven K-Dogg!
It was HIS day to go ridin' with JB!
We definately got our Florida

How sweet is that? Love the pics.
Nice pix!
John, thanx again for picking me up and dropping me off at Disney! I'm glad we were able to get a ride on. That place is scary fun!
Thanx also for letting me use your bike. You failed to mention that the one you were using somehow didnt have front brakes, which were much needed. And in the last quarter mile of the ride, a friendly little stick getting caught up in the derailier and ripping that bad boy and hanger right off the frame! Oh the sounds that thing made...
see you on the road
Glad you could make it. Mentioning all that stuff would've ruined the story. lol. And you DID look like the (younger, much faster) JB.

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