The Sunshine State is not the “technical trail desert” you thought it was
I started traveling to Florida several winters ago in search of warm weather, and I keep returning for the surprisingly fun riding. Alafia River State Park, in particular, is pretty legit. It’s a mountain biking gem in a state that’s more famous for its swamps, gators, and retirement villas.
When chatting with other riders about the trails there, one trail is consistently elevated: Gravitron. As the park’s trickiest trail, many riders say the biggest challenge is stringing together the jumps, drops, and occasional rock gardens while still maintaining momentum for the subsequent, very abrupt, climbs. To me, it sounded like a perfect Trail Boss episode!
Here are some tips to help you clean the trail from end-to-end:
- Gravitron is a fairly short loop. Get to know it on a warm up lap or two. It will do wonders for your ability to clean the uphills.
- Be prepared for take-offs and landings to change slightly from lap to lap. That’s the nature of this sandy soil.
- Pump the rollers and corners along the way, just as you would at a pump track, to maintain speed without pedaling. Skills guru Lee McCormack has some solid advice on that topic (check the videos in tip #4).
- To get up the punchy–albeit short–climbs, carry as much speed as possible through the super tight turns that often follow jumps. I found that dropping gears a couple at a time, versus one big dump, helped me keep the power on and avoid a momentum-sucking spinout.
Once you’ve had your fill on Gravitron, be sure to check out the park’s other trails. This loop hits most of the highlights:
This is the third episode in our video series “Trail Boss,” where trials champion Jeff Lenosky shows you how to clean some of the country’s most technically demanding trails.