South Florida Mountain Biking

So, with the Xterra Miami Triathlon coming up, I figured I’d check out the course before considering registration.

Sunday morning, we loaded up the bikes, and headed to Oleta State Park.

I had found (and forgotten to bring) this trail map: Xterra Miami Bike Course (2008)

That’s a lot of trails! Anyway, we just decided to head out and see what it was like. It’s marked like ski trails – green circles, blue squares, black diamonds.  Let me tell you, some of those blue squares were pretty intense! My crappy, free, second-hand $40 Wal-Mart Sierra Quest bike handled it all pretty well. Patrick’s free, second-hand $150 Wal-Mart Mongoose XR-100 seemed to fare a bit better, saving his hands from the impact. Yes, my palms still hurt two days later, and so does my butt!

So, with our lack of map, we just started exploring. has some sweet shots of Oleta.

Me? Well, I was too busy not dying on the rougher parts of the trails to take any photos of the death-defying sections.

Nice section of trail

To supplement the roots, trees, rocks and hills (yes hills! In Floirda! Ok, so they were insanely steep and short, but they were there!) they had a few man-made obstacles.

Patrick on a bridge

Pallets and grill grates

We were having a blast. After 40 minutes, I was tired, but we decided to press on. There were just so many trails! Around the hour mark, I stopped trying. I was walking up and down big hills and avoiding obstacles. There were tons of skinny trail sections where the edge was close to mangroves and the Oleta River.

I did NOT want to go swimming.

I was thinking it was time to go home, when I caught up to Patrick, whose back was covered in dirt! He had just taken a header over his handlebars when he came down a hill and turned right into a tree! Aside from some bruises and scrapes, he was just fine. We decided to call it a day.

You're jealous of my child sized helmet.

It was an absolute blast. I’m hoping to go again next weekend!

My first time Mountain Biker tips:

1. Wear a helmet.

2. Wear something to protect your eyes.

3. Don’t go alone.

4. Know where you can get medical help. Oleta had occasional makers where you could call in and identify your location easily.

5. Have fun – but don’t be stupid!

6. Leave before you take a header off the bike.

So, am I signing up for the Xterra Tri?

Not yet. I want to ride the full course and see how it goes.

In other news, my Tri bike got a brand new chain and cassette! I’m starting my running plan for the Gasparilla Festival, so I’m going to put off the test ride until Thursday when I have planned cross-training. Meanwhile, I’m going to get the thing lubed up and ready to go.

Oh, and I ordered a pair of these:

Terra Plana Evo

I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a minimalist, no-socks-needed shoe that’s easier to put on than my Vibram Five Fingers. I caught a deal on The Clymb and decided to just go for it. So, when is my first tri of the season?


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