2013 -14 Cannondale Coconut Cup #7 - Halpatiokee Park - Stuart, FL 2-23-14. Well we got away with great trail conditions all season and almost got through the weekend with another until an untimely rain storm came on Saturday night and turned many of the trails into a mess. Thanks to the Airbourne Bike club and other volunteers the course was adjusted and made as bearable as possible and the bottom line was there were lots of smiles at the end of the race. The race course was set at 7.5 miles and many of the classes elected to cut their laps due to the conditions. The top male racer was Ricardo Giraldo and Kathy Russell won the women's expert class. Many thanks to the round sponsor Bike Street USA which handed out over $2000 in gift certificates to the medalists. The series awards were held immediately following the race and in addition to all of the champions and top three places there were special awards given to the MIR (Most Improved Rider) which went to Victor Nelson and the Sportsmanship award was honored to Tania Johnson. Congrats to all and many thanks to all of the sponsors, volunteers, and racer families for making the series a sucess!
Next Gone Riding race will be in Ocala for the SERC opener on 3-9-14.
More on the Blog
* The first round of the Georgia State Championship series has been moved to the Thomson Trails near Macon, GA due to the harsh winter effects on the Arrowhead trail system.
* The fourth round of the SERC series on 4-27-2014 in Winder, GA will be a USAC sanctioned national qualifier (a top 15 will automatically qualify a rider to the nationals in PA in July and an AMBC (double ranking points). If you plan to make it to the nationals this is your chance.
* 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 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.
mountain bike racing
Mountain bike racing
Story by Tom Pike
Photo by Michelle Pike
Coconut cup number six Virginia key Mention that you're going to race a mountain bike race and you get responses like "oh cool" . Then you mention that it's a mountain bike race with beautiful scenery and you get responses of "sweet"! Now try adding that it's a mountain bike race two minutes from downtown Miami ... The response, "yeah right, where are the mountains in Miami". Okay I'll give you that one, we now call it cross country. That aside, enter the mountain bike trails at Virginia Key just across Biscayne Bay from downtown Miami and the sixth round of the Cannondale Coconut Cup series. This is the second year that the Coconut Cup series has visited the trails and scenic vistas of Virginia Key. Okay before I start, full disclosure, I was part of the group from the inception that built these trails and still help maintain them. Built at the north end of the key these trails are about 6 miles in length. With a rock 'n roll theme for the trail names the creative use of this parcel of land is attributed to dedicated group of Virginia Key Bicycle Club volunteers lead by Bernard Riviere, who many of you know as Frenchy. He and many of these volunteers got their start creating and maintaining the trails at Oleta Park several years ago. Anyway these trails were designed to create as much fun as possible using the eclectic terrain in this parcel of land and also take full advantage of views of Miami, Fisher Island(where the ultra rich own homes)and Biscayne Bay. Not that there is really time to take in the sites when you're racing but as a bike park or in the background of photographs this part gets high marks for scenery. Like the trails at Oleta, the single track was designed to be challenging and fun with something for every skill of rider. Like all the other parks we've raced recently, the unseasonable winter rains left the trails in really great condition. Once again we were blessed with "hero dirt". The traction was near perfect. The most technical trail in the park, "Highway to Hell" was not included for obvious reasons. But I would encourage any expert or upper intermediate level rider who came to the park for the first time for the race to come back and ride this very technical but put a big smile on your face trail. Likewise ride the full extension of the "Wild Thing" trail where there is an 8 foot high wooden flyover over the trail with stairs down into a gravel pit of fast BMX corners. The tradition at Virginia Key trails during any race event whether it's for kids or grown-ups is to have thumping rock 'n roll music playing in the center of the park for all to hear, and this race was no exception. It's kind of fun to sing along with a song as you go by or hear it out in the woods while you're cranking away on the trails. It's a tradition that gives you a little bit more insight into the fun and enthusiasm that the Virginia Key Bike Club has about this park. Speaking of which on March 8th the Virginia Key Bike Club will celebrate the third anniversary of completing the trails. This is always a fun event with a barbecue,raffles, great rides with fellow mountain bikers and of course thumping rock n roll!! If you're within driving range you don't want to miss it. Now onto Stuart, FL and the final race of the Cannondale Coconut Cup series. 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.
Gone Riding is supporting the brand new expansion of cell phone text lists, bringing ride information to you quickly and conveniently.