Alafia River State Park / 3 Dec. 2014

For my first ride of the year, I headed southwest to Alafia River State Park to finally check out what many consider some of the best riding in Central Florida and/or the state, and it was definitely a fun day out. One of my riding compatriots, Christian, was headin’ to the Tampa area with his family, dog included I might add, to visit his sister’s family. On the way he was meeting up with his brother-in-law, Steven, for a ride at Alafia. I was planning a ride somewhere outside my normal routine and jumped on the idea and followed them out.

Click the image for a larger view. We rode just about the whole system. Rollercoaster to Moonscape was the funnest and most challenging section. It would be a good combo to do repeats. Easy to access the car for supplies.

Click the image for a larger view. We rode just about the whole system. Rollercoaster to Moonscape was the funnest and most challenging section. It would be a good combo to do repeats. Easy to access the car for supplies.

We pretty much rode the whole park, aside from the connector trails over to the campground. Though it was quite cold, especially for an afternoon ride, the conditions were really good. The trails were packed and dry, but I did hit a few sticky places. After a short break, we rode several trails a second time. I’m not in my best shape right now, and the constant sharp but short elevation changes were definitely burning up my legs. And, of course, since it was a group ride, the pace was being pushed just about the whole time. By our second run through Rollercoaster and Moonscape, I was tapped and finished in the spin zone.

Left to Right: Eric, Christian, and Steven.

Left to Right: Eric, Christian, and Steven.

Left to Right: Christian, Steven and Mr. "F"-the-injury. Post ride "Cheers!.

Left to Right: Christian, Steven and Mr. “F”-the-injury. Post ride “Cheers!. Photo: Thanks Eric.

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My impressions of the trail are all positive, except one particular thing: the drive sucks. It really isn’t that long in mileage, but I have to pass through Orlando both ways, which just plain sucks ass. On the way over, it wasn’t too bad. There was some clustering, but we didn’t have to stop on the Interstate (did I mention this is on I-4). On the way back, I got punished and will definitely plan my timing better next time I head to Alafia. It took more than three hours to get home (it should have taken a bit over two). Even with the traffic issues, the park is definitely worth the time, and next time, I’ll have to make my way to Boyette State Park, which is right nearby and supposed to have some great riding as well. I think the combination and more time on trail will justify the drive. 

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About Jim Newell

Associate Professor of English, Daytona State College / Thinker / Ponce Inlet Surfer / Improviser / Dad
This entry was posted in Mountain biking, Trail Report, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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