Santos is great. I rode it about 6 months after they built the freeride park back in 2006. All of my family is in Ocala, Orlando and Tampa, so it's fairly convenient. I rented a bike right there at the Santos Trailhead bike shop which was cheaper and easier than flying down with my own, and rode it like it was a rental.
Dirt jumps were sweet. Drops were fun, although they're pretty much all one-hit wonders with a pedal or hike back up. Nice technical trail that rings the vortex freeride area. They make up for the lack of good natural features by building their own cool ones.
Thanks alot, I am looking forward to getting down there.
Hey, BTW, how are the conditions at Highbridge? I havent been there since the pre-opening maintenance day. I am really looking forward to a visit. I am jealous of my friends......they've been braggin about how good the dj's are!!
The progressive rollers are actually on the trail that rings the freeride area. I liked 'em, but anyone who rides DH/FR up here will not find anything there very challenging. For Florida riders who aren't used to steep natural terrain, they're a bit scary. It was funny- I ran into a couple guys there and rode with them. These guys hit the dirt jumps no problem, but the steep dirt side of the dj start ramp scared em, and neither of them would follow me off the steepest of the progressive rollers.
All in all, it was definitely worth the 1:15 drive from Orlando to ride there, and a 6" trail bike is ideal- not too heavy to pedal around on the flat XC trails, but enough bike to handle the jumps and drops.
Highbridge jumps are going off. Last weekend sucked, but two weekends ago there must have been 20-25 guys up there riding on a Sunday morning despite the 30-something degree temps and mushy jumps. We've got folks doing ongoing maintenance in rebuilding the end of the jump line, so that's coming along nicely. As Lenosky said in his MBA article, they're in better condition now than when we opened them.
I wish it would stay below freezing long enough to get some good trail rides in. The freeze/thaw thing has made conditions on the XC and freeride trails rather poor for the last few months.
Check out freeridesouth.com for some more pics of Santos and other FL area riding. I've ridden Markham Park, Ocala, and Quiet Waters (when it was running). Each place had at least a drop or jump or 2. Quiest Waters had a real fun DJ zone. Those places are in Miami so not sure how far it is from your sisters place. It was crazy thinking of how good the riding in FL is and I heard Santos is a lot better than the 3 spots I've been too.
I went scuba diving at Pompan Beach and saw a freeride bike at the pizza joint. I was eyeballing the rig for 5 minutes when the bikes ower came out. We got to talking and he gave me directions to 3 places to ride. One was near Miami that was a lot like Allaire, but had a lot more wood features. Well worth the 25 dollar rental! Didn't make the other 2 places, but one of them was like Ray's indoor park in regards to wood structures. I'll try to find my old journals,...try goneriding.com Florida does have a XC race series, so I'm sure they have places to ride.