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Rode Soldiers Creek for the first time in almost a year.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

One of the many bridges over Soldiers Creek. My camera phone was fogging up from the high humidity.

One of the many bridges over Soldiers Creek. My camera phone was fogging up from the high humidity.

The last time I rode at Soldiers Creek was October of last year, and the trails were in terrible shape at the time. There had been considerable rain that month, and many of the bridges were partially, or even completely, washed out. Sugar sand, mud, standing water… no fun at all.

Yesterday I was in the mood for something a little different, and so I decided to head over to Soldiers to see how the trails were running. A few people had mentioned to me that the trails were being maintained again, and that they were in excellent shape.

For my first lap I decided to just sort of ride at a moderate pace so I could check out the trail. I’m happy to report that the trail is indeed in phenomenal condition–perhaps the best I’ve seen it over the past three years! Whoever is maintaining the trails (it’s not officially maintained by any organization) is doing a terrific job. The bridges have all been repaired or rebuilt, several new features have been added, carpet has been brought in to cover the really sandy sections and the overall flow of the trail has been improved.

Lots of improvements to Soldiers Creek have been made since I last rode there!

Lots of improvements to Soldiers Creek have been made since I last rode there!

The new bridge pictured to the left was added as a bypass to a section of trail that often floods out after heavy rains. This is just one of several improvements that I noticed. There are also a few new elevated skinnies, several new bridges and a couple of new kickers. I had a blast riding out there, and I am very happy that Soldiers is back and better than ever.

I pushed the pace a little more on my second lap, but there are so many alternate little bypasses along the trail that I’m sure didn’t select the fastest route on half of them. My time on the second lap was 6m30s, which almost put me in the top 10 on Strava (I’m 12th out of 32 riders). Not a great showing, but as I re-learn the trail my time will improve considerably. I’m 100% sure I can shave at least another 30 second off my time just by picking the correct/fastest route, and even more as I become better acquainted with the trail. That should get me into the top 5.

Top 12 - Soldiers Creek Leaderboard.

Top 12 – Soldiers Creek Leaderboard.


JSF Member Andrew Ward pointed out that the first place time of 4m50s was turned in by professional rider David Wood. That time is absolutely insane–probably beatable by a handful of elite XC riders. I’m also familiar with (by reputation) all of the local riders in the top 5: Ted, Dale, Tommy and Wesley are well known around here as formidable riders. Dale Serge mentioned that he saw David’s incredible 4m50s run, commenting: “I was there to witness what flawless perfect riding looks like…“. Indeed.

The top three times are probably outside my grasp (for now), but I believe cracking the top 5 is possible.

As an aside, I’ve been riding the trails at Mt. Dora so much that I forgot how comparatively flat Soldiers is! From a cardio standpoint I felt like I was on a recovery ride.

Here’s the complete ride from yesterday on Strava and Garmin Connect.

John Stone Fitness Comments

3 Responses to “Rode Soldiers Creek for the first time in almost a year.”
  1. If you want a real shocker, check out second place holder Ted Hollander’s profile. He’s an old geezer! Older than me by a long shot. It’s amazing that these geriatrics are even allowed to ride bicycles, let alone set records. LOL

    Unfortunately I’ve never witnessed any of the fast boyz doing the loop at SC, but I did have the honor of riding with pro racer Miles Mattheus at Chuck Lennon. Flex is normally the fastest rider out there, but Miles’ abilities can best be described as ‘supernatural’. If anyone can beat David Wood’s time at SC, my money would be on Miles.

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    • Anyone even approaching Woods’ record would be quite an accomplishment. Having ridden the trail many times, I can’t even get my head around a sub-5 minute time.

      I’m looking forward to getting some private lessons with Flex when the weather cools down a bit. We’ll probably meet at Santos.

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  2. You have to see Miles ride to believe it. You might meet him while you’re up at Santos. He rents the apartment above Greenway Bicycles, so he’s never far away. I think Ben mentioned to me that he holds the lap record up there, which wouldn’t surprise me.

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