2013 Specialized Florida State Championship Series #9 - Santos Trails - Ocala, FL 12-8-13. What a great ending for a perfect season, the trail conditions were blazing fast and the temperatures were mild and sunny. This race was also a make up race for the Coconut Cup series and this always brings up a few more riders from South Florida to duke it out on one of Central Floridia's most popular trail systems. The 7.5 mile loop was a mix of tight rocky sections mixed with fast flowy single track and oh yes I almost forgot, it also had the "magic mountain climb" in it just to spice things up. Magic mountain is one of the steepest and skill sapping climbs on the circuit and each time a rider actually "cleans" the section it makes for a very special feeling of accomplishment. Many thanks to all of the series sponsors and special thanks to Santos Trailhead bike shop for pumping out over $2000 in prizes and also for bringing back Jeff Lenosky for his freestyle bike stunt show at their shop on Saturday. Also many thanks to the OMBA (Ocala Mountain Bike Association) for prepping the course and keeping the Greenways trails maintained and growing. Bob McCarty topped the men's field and the state championship while Caroyln VanVurst did the same in the women's expert/pro field, Carolyn also took home the $100 Quibble fast lap award.
The FSC series banquet was held at the Ocala Hilton to a packed room and the attendees were entertained with a fantastic video essay of the series thanks to Bobby Fishbough. In addition to all of the thank you's and class champions and court there were special awards given to the following...
ROY (Rider of the Year) male: Bob McCarty
ROY (Rider of the Year) female: Carolyn VanVurst
ESPO (Sportsmanship in memory of Jeff Esposito): Michele Timmermans
Best Supporting Cast: Stephanie Karras
MIR (Most Improved Rider) Juniors: Sam Connell
MIR (Most Improved Rider) Women: Kathy Russell
MIR (Most Improved Rider) overall: Samual Mejia
Congrats to all!
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Specialized race FSC#8 Calasahoochie Park alva
Photo by Christy Burnett For the eighth round of the Specialized Florida State Championship we headed to a little park just outside Fort Myers in Alva FL. called Caloosahatchee Regional Park. My first introduction to this park was about six years ago. It was open field trails combined with sketchy trails along swamp water and in amongst low hanging trees. I like technical but these trails were technical because they were really unrefined. That all changed the few years ago when the Mudcutters Club, the local bike club, really put their backs, shoulders, equipment and a lot of fill dirt into making these trails what they are today... A well groomed set of trails that are a lot of fun to ride. The Florida weather had been kind to us again and it rained two days before the weekend so the course was in the best shape I've ever ridden it. I heard someone in the pits describe this course as "Up down up down field, up down up down field"... I would add "and lots of cornering". It was like a cornering carnival, a cornering clinic... And because the trails were so tacky my tires were really biting in on the corners. I was climbing all over my bike like those guys that race café motorcycles, what a riot! Especially the section where we raced through overhanging trees and shrubbery. Now if you've never been to Alva this is the part where you feel like you're riding through the Enchanted Forest, hunkered down low, speeding through arching trees almost like tunnels. Plus if you get to the pre-ride a half hour before dark( who me?) this section really feels like the Enchanted Forest with "lions and tigers and bears oh my" hiding in the bushes... It was definitely something bigger than a squirrel. The laps were long around 10.4 miles and if you weren't careful it was easy to blowup. The balance became going all out in the fields and the anaerobic part of up and down the climbs near the water. I thought it was a good mix of terrain that really none of the other trails we've raced at have. Thanks again to all the sponsors! Looking forward to the wrapup of the Specialized Florida State Championship up 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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