Event Report: 12 Hours of Santos
By Carol Clemens
12 Hours of Santos is the new name for the former 12 Hours of Razorback. The 12 Hours of Razorback was held at Razorback MTB Park in Reddick Florida, but late last year the land owner closed the park and the location of the race had to be moved. The race organizers decided to hold the race at the Santos trails in Ocala, FL. For more information on the closing of Razorback MTB Park, click here.
I didn't know anything about the Reddick trails, Santos trails or any trials in Florida for that matter. The imagination always does a good job of developing a vague idea of what is to be expected. I went into the event thinking, smooth and flat. Right? And going deep into The South, I was counting on warm, sunny weather to make me and my muscles smile.
Most of my predictions were correct. The weather was, with out a doubt, hot. 70-80 degrees and sunny. That is a nice change to the cloudy and snowing weather that we left behind in Pittsburgh, the typical winter weather for the northern parts of the country. As far as the smooth flat trails, that was almost accurate. Florida does a great job keeping the mountain biking scene alive, and the 75 miles of trail in the Santos area provides lots of room for variety. Variety there was, everything from dirt jumps and 10-20 foot drops to nice rolling beginner sections.
That variety provided the race organizers with plenty to choose from. The course was a well thought out 9-mile loop. The lap started out on "double diamond" trails that required full-on attention—tight singletrack with rocks, roots and steep short ups. The 2.5-mile-long double diamond section provided a good warm up, and it was followed by a 4.5 mile beginner section that consisted of flat, twisting, mostly smooth singletrack. This was a great area to re-fuel and shave some minutes off of your lap time. The final section of the lap started up and over a boulder, and then sent riders into the technical double diamond area of the park for the final two miles. The home stretch was a hot cruise into the finish, with the option of launching off of one of the man made jumps for some extra style points on the way to the line. Fun.
The camping area for this event was in an open field adjacent to the course. There was also the option of taking it down the road a bit to an RV area that provided all the essential hook ups, and then driving into the race site the morning of the event. The only downside to the on-site camping was that there was no access to water, and the race organizers did not provide a water buffalo. A dry camp is never a good thing, especially when it is 80 degrees and sunny. The lack of water was the number one complaint in my book.
The race went smoothly, as far as weather and course conditions go. But if you don't have any support and you are flying solo, be prepared. I got four laps in and wanted to know how I was doing, so I stopped to check. They were not prepared for that and did not have the up to date positions posted. That was frustrating and left me with one option, go faster. Thankfully Turk was nice enough to look into that for me and without him I would have had no idea until the end. That would be complaint number two. But it all worked out with a win for me, and the biggest trophy I have ever won.
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