Santos Florida / MTBTandems / Demo Rides
This past weekend myself and Jeanne along with Chris and Monica attended the Santos Fat Tire Fest in central Florida.
Alex and his family made the trek along with the demo fleet of tandems.
The Festival was good, the riding was typical Santos trail system with a non typical slippery element from fallen dry leaves. Yes Jeanne and I tried to save it but had one suuuuppppperrrr sssllllooowww motion lose the front tire grip low side at around 20 mph on Sunday. After the 15 or more feet of understeer, we finally came to rest in some thorns with both left side grips well buried in the sandy soil. The trail was slippery all weekend with rear of ours and Chris and Monicas Fandango get loose a lot.
Saturday was a great ride day even with less grip.
Other than AORTA last May, I have never seen so many tandems on the trail. It seemed like they were heading in and out of the trailhead almost constantly. Sunday, which was the final day, had many local friends try out a tandem. One pair in particular we followed and got helmet camera video of. The screams of fear from these two very good single riders had Jeanne and I laughing to point of pulling off the trail and rolling in laughter. I'll try and post the video link after the upload. They never crashed, but to hear them was like listening to a an older hard core hubby / wifey argument at a supermarket over which corn flakes to buy.
Chris and Monica pushed the pace for all we had on Saturday, just under 40 miles of technical singletrack with the typical Santos front section of always curving swoopy trails. These two are fast and will tear your lungs from your chest. Our previous weekend was a road rally event where they gave the "A Team" road riders a tough time.
Granted this place is not the mountains, but as Alex's wife Kim commented, you never stop pedaling, there are no hills to coast down or stand up and stretch. Alex after their ride here had said to me he was surprised there is really no straights, always curving left or right. (FWIW, the rear facing video we posted from our ECDM was shot here). In addition to some cool xc riding, there are plenty of "red" trails to work you over.
So for us a great weekend, with good people, a lot of tandems, and good weather.
Hopefully, others might consider attending next year, or if you come to visit your parents at "The Villages", bring your tandem, the trailhead is 20 minutes away.
Video later I hope.
Sorry this isn't a technical topic, just an infomercial about a good tandem friendly place to ride.
It was great that Alex and MTB Tandems had all the demo bikes available. The wife and I tried the Ellsworth and had an excellent time. It definitely got us thinking about the next bike. Instead of the full suspension I wanted, it may be a full suspension for both of us. It was also nice meeting Chris and Monica and chatting with them about their tandem experience.
Originally Posted by ASpot13
I assume you rode the Ellsworth, which day?.
Chris and Monica are true tandem ambassadors.
While we talk about the tandem experience to others, I guess in the overall end, I still remain a clown that just wants to play and never get too serious.
We rode the Ellsworth on Sunday morning. We hit some of the yellows and the bottom half of Cow Bone from Blue Highway to Shorty. I wasn't ready to try the rock garden in the first half of Cow Bone on our first outing. I saw your bike at the rack on Saturday w/ the paragraph about the CFITT. Knowing of the Naked Indian Chronicles and Karlos' crazy exploits, I was very impressed to see that you two actually completed the ride. Kudos on such an accomplishment. I went back and read some of your older posts on MTBR describing the adventure and I still find it inspiring to actually think of competing during the CFITT.
Paul, you are very generous with your comments about our team. It was all that we could do to try to keep up with you guys in the technical sections. You'll have to post the video of us washing out our front wheel. Monica's knee has recovered just fine, so that is good. The Fandango does so well at Santos. Both teams had a very nice pace the entire epic ride.
ASpot13, it was good meeting you as well. I like your comment: "Instead of the full suspension I wanted, it may be a full suspension for both of us.".
Originally Posted by ASpot13
Thanks for the kind words. As far as inspiring, I believe Chris used the words "that's just crazy" when we talked about CFITT while at Santos. I keep pushing for us to try Leadville, but have pretty much realized I would need to fill the frame with breathing oxygen and locate some airliner O2 masks for Jeanne, probably me too.
Hopefully we will CFITT 2011, but there was mention of running it opposite direction which for us either means go faster or see the bears in ONF in the middle of the night.
Again, thanks for the kind words.
BTW, that test ride is just that, once you get your own tandem, assuming you do, like a single it will begin to get easier.
Possibly the best quotes from Jeanne are where she is so excited to have ridden a technical section that she never would have done on her own. As a pointer, stokers sometimes complain a lot about uncertainty of a trail, often saying no. Then you sit and wait a few minutes and ask again, hopefully they OK. Release those brakes and have fun, but never forget something very important is on the back counting on you. After our low side Sunday, knowing Jeanne was ok, I helped her out of the thorn bush, kind of dusted her off, and off we went. I explained why we went down...she repeated back that earlier I explained that if we lost front grip because of the leaves we were groundbound.
The FTF weekend was not prime dirt for Santos, the leaves were really slippery. When we got back from lunch and a friend on a single mentioned our speed through Spider Kingdom, I was happily surprised.
Santos on good dirt is a hoot to blast through on a tandem, when you get your bike, hopefully we could get Chris and Monica, Jamie and Jennifer, Rich and Claudia, Jeanne and I plus any other off road tandems to spend a day or two at Santos. Boyette would be good also being a mix of open xc and some sketchy stuff for those that like that too.
Last edited by PMK; 03-21-2011 at 06:03 PM.
Originally Posted by clj2289
Thanks Chris, my cunning old age made my tactics work by keeping it less wide open and more technical. Honestly we had a blast, but have realized the day may have awoken a giant. Our rears will be proudly displayed as you hand them to us next time.
Did I mention the next Santos tandem weekend for the 4 of us is all the reds, no blues with Vortex tossed in for good measure. It's our only chance.
Seriously, we had a blast. Glad her knee is ok. Sorry about the confusion yesterday.
BTW, don't forget about the manhole covers and white lines...it works.
Last edited by PMK; 03-21-2011 at 06:18 PM.
MTB Tandem Nut
We had a great time at Santos! Lots of test-riders and lots of interest in the tandems. I enjoyed the trails there (the 10 miles or so that I saw of them).
Would like to go back on a non-working weekend and experience the whole trail system.
The leaves were a bit spooky; we felt the rear tire step out a few times, and I even stopped to check for a rear flat a couple of times until we figured out it was the leaves. We didn't go fast enough to wash out the front, but Trace did!
Anyway, glad to see P&J and C&M there; they are, as always, great off-road tandem ambassadors!
Paul, we/re looking forward to the video.
We plan to return next year. Maybe Alafia too.