Published Somedays

Santos Trails ~ A new video by SBA

(updated: Mar 28, 2010)

A few weeks ago I traveled to Ocala, FL to meet my cousin and his wife who, being couped up all winter in Pittsburgh and unable to ride since November, decided they could not stand it any longer and headed down south to Florida. They did a pretty smart thing which was to take the auto train from D.C. to Orlando. It was less expensive than flying or driving and a lot better because it was just enjoyable.

Since they had asked me where to take a late winter vacation where it was warm and I suggested Santos although I'd never been there, I felt obligated to join them down there for a few days. Ride trails? What a tough decision.

The trails are really called the OMBA Bike Trails. There are horse trails and hiking trails here as well. Lots of trails. There is also a 40 mile IMBA Epic designated ride.

OMBA is Ocala Mountain Bike Association ( This is a very active organization of volunteers that works with the Office of Greenways and Trails to maintain all the bike trails. They do an amazing job. We were very impressed with the quality of the trails, signage, and got to see some of the trail work first hand in the Vortex freeride area.

There is something for everyone here...families, kids, XC riders, dirt jumpers, freeriders. You can ride the more technical red trails like Vortex, Ant Hill, Rattlesnake and John Brown...hit the dirt jumps, work on drops all day...or just ride flowy trails until dark.

With the exception of the quarry and other mining areas, the trails are relatively flat. However, they are rarely straight. Instead they constantly curve and flow and you can just ride and ride uninterrupted. Sometimes this is really just the thing you need. And if you get tired you can just hang out on a bench or trailhead. These trails give you a good vibe...there's good karma here.

Despite the first class trail system, it is currently under attack. The FL Senate General Government Appropriations Committee has proposed the elimination of the Office of Greenways and Trails, by merging the OGT into the State Park system. This could be really bad for the trail system, so if you like these trails please go to for more information on how to contact FL Senators and urge them to reconsider. I am going to tell them what I spent and how I contributed to the local economy, and if these trails did not exist, I'd have no reason to ever go to this part of FL.

Link to more info: Trail Info

Now onto the video... I had a lot of trouble getting good footage because it was so bright and sunny and in the woods the light and dark shadows practically made the trail invisible. Filming on cloudy days works much better but I don't have a choice. I ride when I can and film it. Oh yeah, and my cousin got food poisoning the day before so his riding suffered but somehow he managed to hang in there.

Santos Trails from Sir Bikes on Vimeo.

Some photos:

Vortex Area

Two bigger drops in the Vortex freeride area. This is after they refaced the landers. The day before they brought in a dump truck load of clay and then they worked on the landers all day Saturday. Too bad I don't have a freeride bike anymore...I sold it after you-know-what at BC.

This is the mac daddy of all the drops in the freeride area. 25ft drop off of a barely 8" wide exit, with a huge gap on the other side. They keep this one chained and locked off.

View from bottom before they refaced the landers and gap jumps.

Drops opposite larger ones. I hit the one on the right. The one on the left they fixed the lander the next day. This is all my 29er, or I, could handle.

These are three practice or warm-up drops. Nice to have progressive stuff.

Dirt jump area. Somewhat progressive. The line on the right was my line. This was my favorite area. Glad I brought my dirt jumper. I would be here every day after work if I could, practicing. The kids here are good. Watch the video -- this clip is straight out of it.


Filed Under: Ride Reports > Florida > Ocala


1. goofy said...

looks like u had fun man i love my home trails

Mar 29, 2010 @ 10:15 AM

2. goblin said...

super video, keep up the good work!!!!

Mar 29, 2010 @ 12:21 PM

3. mark said...

Jimmy and I did the 12 hour race there in February. A lot of the race was on the Vorex trail, none of the big freeride stuff, but a lot of the red trails, it was a blast. Next time you come to Florida, let me know I'll meet you there and I'm sure Ed will come along. Pictures look great, but everythings looks so much bigger in real life.

Apr 4, 2010 @ 9:16 PM


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