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Mountain Biking Photos at Santos Vortex Mountain Bike Park

posted Nov 22, 2013
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January 11, 2011 / Steve Z

On Sunday I headed up to Santos for my last mountain bike ride of the Florida leg of my annual winter road trip with Buddy, AKA Harry. The funny thing about a lot of these mountain bike places around here is that they have changed their names over the years. This place was Belleview, Barge Canal, now it’s Santos. It’s funny because I thought I was going somewhere that I’ve never been before, only to find out that it was just a name change!

I had one more day with my Nikon D200 Infrared camera that I had on load from Mitchell. It was an overcast grey day, so I didn’t get any pictures with the high contrast and striking light foliage on the trees.  I did get a picture of Buddy with his “look like you’re going fast” face on.

 

2013-11-22 17;11;29.PNG

 

 

I did find out why this trail used to be called the Barge Canal.  Back in the 30′s the government thought it would be a really cool idea to build a barge canal across Florida, because it’s oh so far to go all the way around the bottom. Eventually they realized that it would be an environmental disaster, and the plan was shelved. The bonus, is now there is a government owned Cross Florida Greenbelt with multi-use trails, and one particularly good mountain biking area.

 

2013-11-22 17;11;37.PNG

 

 

So as you can imagine, there aren’t really any hills in Florida mountain biking unless they are man-made.  Santos sit on an old (limestone?) quarry, which means it actually has some rocky, technical up and down areas.  The trail designers did a very good job in making sure that there isn’t a stretch of straightaway!  It’s another great place to practice your cornering in drifty pine needle sweepers.

In addition to some great trail riding, there is some great man made features.  Along the trails you will find some bridges and rails.  But in the big quarry, the have built some huge features!  There is a pump track and a huge dirt jump series on a long downhill.  There is also a 20 foot drop that has a chain and a padlock across it.  You can see riders going big there in a 2008 Santos Vortex Freeride Competition Video. Not too shabby, but nothing like the Boulder Valmont Park is going to be!  Here is a shot of me dropping one of the smaller jumps.  Yeah, it’s blurry.  I wasn’t shooting it so cut me some slack!

 

2013-11-22 17;11;45.PNG

 


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