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Keith Legg pulls a holeshot at Ocala final

2014 Specialized Bicycles Florida State Championship series #9 - Santos Trails - Ocala, FL 12-14-14

Another picture perfect weekend for the final FSC race in Ocala at the famous Santos Trails.  The series started in the heat of Tallahassee and ended in the cool (some would say cold) of Ocala.  When the sun came up the thermometer read a chilling 29 degrees but by the time the sun warmed things up it was comfortable 63 and great for racing.  The 7.7 mile course was on the long side and full of technical challenges with sections like John Brown, Rattle Snake and Sink hole included in the loop, always a popular trail but for some reason this day proved to be hard on tires as many riders suffered flats throughout.

Many thanks to Ocala Mountain Bike Association club who as always have the trails in great shape and continue to build and maintain the largest trail system in the state.  The round sponsor was Santos Trailhead Bike shop and they pumped out over $2,000 in prizes and also hosted the Jeff Lenosky stunt / freestyle show at there shop on Saturday drawing thier biggest crowds yet.

In the Elite series leaders jersey race we saw a new face take the win as Allison Anjos won a narrow one over Tim Zimmerman.  Shelly Allen won the women's expert class and also took home another FSC title.  In the team championships battle the two top teams Super Cool Bike shop and the Brick City Bombers came in tied but it would be Brick City's day and championship as they not only performed strongly on their home course but Super Cool had no less than three mechanical failures during the race.

Tim Zimmerman claimed the $50  First Place Racing Fast Lap Fifty award in the 40-49 expert class.

At the FSC banquet which was held at the Ocala Hilton later that night a packed house of over 200 racers and supporters dined and celebrated the acomplishments of the racers and were presented with thousands of dollars of prizes and cash.  Special awards were given to the following...

MIR (Most Improved Rider): Doug Deweese

ESPO (Sportsmanship award named after the late Jeff Esposito): Emily House

MIJ (Most Improved Junior): Nicholas Tabares

MIF (Most Improved Female): Madison Mcdaniel

BSC (Best Supporting Cast): Elizabeth Rodrigez

ROY male (Rider of the Year): Robert McCarty

ROY female (Rider of the Year): Shelly Allen

EC (Elite Champion #1 plate holder): Robert McCarty

Congratulations to all!

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* New this year Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

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Coconut Cup Amelia by Tom Pike

2014-2015 Coconut Cup South Florida series #3 - Amelia Earhart Park - Hialiah, FL 11-30-14

Story by Tom Pike.

One of the advantages of living in South Florida is that we can have a yummy Thanksgiving Day feast then three days later have a mountain bike race with temperatures in the upper 70s while the rest of the country is trying to stay warm huddled up around the TV watching holiday specials.

And so goes the intro to the Coconut Cup South Florida Championship series race number three held at Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah, Florida. As I mentioned before the weather was gorgeous and the trail conditions were just perfect. Amelia can have some sandy parts but the morning moisture kept trail conditions grippy and fast.

The brothers LaRue and their crew of very dedicated volunteers always have the trails well groomed. That includes the landscaping around the trails. Gone are the days of Amelia with thickets of long cane grass , branches hanging into the trail and the fear of ants biting you.

Just riding leisurely around these trails you can see the passion this group has for their trail system by the landscaping that they put in along with the trails. There is a conscious effort to get rid of invasive species of plants and let natural South Florida vegetation flourish. And this didn't happen overnight. This has been part of the long-range plan over the past several years and Stephen LaRue says there's more coming in the future.

The trails at Amelia seem to be organic. Besides having a fast flow to them, the volunteers are constantly adding, rerouting and generally increasing the fun factor of this park. For those who don't ride here frequently there were a couple new additions.

The entry to "Coffee Break" (the trail that enters near the pump track) now has a serpentine beginning with three banked corners and a mini table top before joining the old trail. I must admit I miss the one fast sweeping bank from before, but the new entry doesn't disappoint me with its quick changes.

The second addition to the trails is out in the "Little Razorback" area. Running the course in the "normal" direction it happens after exiting the trailer and heading into the Razorback hills. It's a short step climb with a 90 degree right hander to a downhill with a 180 degree banked switchback to a bank then up to the Razorbacks. If you did the pre-ride and had figured the gearing right, this was a quick little fun boost to your technical ego.

Amelia is smooth, flowy, carpeted in many places... I always recommend it to beginning mountain bikers as a place to start cutting their chops. Which is fine if your riding for fun. But if you're here to race it's a while different story. The sultry spell of Amelia is the misconception of smooth, flowy "piece of cake" just go fast.

Any of you who race Amelia know, and forget every year, that at speed you're constantly turning, carving and pedaling. There are no rest spots.   Especially this race where the "Paintball" trail was taken out. Amelia in race mode is non-stop attack with your bike whether you're in a pack or alone. And to top it off the last 1/4 mile to the timing trailer was into the wind... Which seemed to get stiffer each lap.

I talked to several experienced riders who were just whooped after this race. While my wife Mickey was photographing the Yelo wave out in the "Little Razorback" area she saw a rider on his last lap walking his bike.   She asked if he was ok. He said " ya, I ride here all the time, I thought 2 laps would be too easy so I entered Sport". She convinced him to get back on his bike and finish... Which he did.

Today's lesson...
Don't underestimate the demands of a smiling mountain bike trail.

And with that my friends we move onto the last race of the Specialized Florida State Championship at the ever popular Trails at Santos Trailhead.

Ride Hard! Ride Safe!
Peace, Pike!

 

Tom Pike is an Ellsworth Team Rider. Tom has won a Silver Medal at the USAC National Mountain Bike Championships and is a two time Florida State Mountain Bike Champion. In his “spare time” he works teaching Film Production at Design and Architecture Senior High in Miami, Florida.

 

 

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* New this year Gone Riding is now offering an optional membership for $30 and includes a t-shirt, sticker and a $5 discount off regular entry prices. This membership can be purchased at any Gone Riding event, the Gone Riding store or online at First Place Racing.com. Also USAC licenses will also be honored at all cross country events and receive the same $5 discount.

*Also new is the Gone Riding Store including our new Gone Riding Jersey

 

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