Santos/San Felasco 2016 Scouting Trip
This past weekend, we made our way out to San Felasco and Santos to prepare a route for our tour guests in March. The weather was brisk, but sunny and dry. Our plan on Friday was to make our way out to the eastern edge of the San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park and turn back to catch all of the best trails. There are upwards of 35 miles of trails to ride and we wanted to make sure that we explored as many trails as possible in the Park without going overboard. We needed to bare in mind that Andrew and Kate had just finished their Hurracan 300 ride, so we didn't want to push it.
San Felasco did not disappoint. It is quite different from most other trails in Florida. The rolling ridge formations help keep the landscape inviting and varied. The land was once for grazing as evidenced by the ruins of a feed shed and even now some of the trails cut thru farms, but now woods have again covered the area and are home to deer, hawks, and other wild life.
It is hard to point to one specific element that makes San Felasco special. There are some creek crossings and trails that snake along ravines and hollows. The trails flow well and can be taken at speed for an exciting turn in the woods. It is really the combination of well maintained bike trails that traverse thru a beautiful landscape that just makes you happy to be alive.
Santos/Vortex, on the other hand, is very different. Although they are only an hour apart, the area is known for having some of the best technical elements in the state and some wicked trails. Old quarries and large rocks make the toughest trails in Santos/Vortex a challenge for even the most experienced rider and each year, more man-made trail elements are added. Most of the new work I have seen has been around a new pump track in Vortex. The most difficult parts of the trails can be avoided if a rider feels uncomfortable. I certainly still can be hesitant at times.
Our objective is to show off the best trails in Florida, whether they are long and flowing, or intense and challenging. Santos/Vortex and San Felasco are trails that are worth the visit. Oh, and by the way, the weather was sunny in low sixties, a bit chilly for Florida, but much warmer than everywhere else!