Again with Travis to Santos for a little 42 mile off road ride. See the attached map for the route. This park is an amazing place, not just compared to Florida trails, but for the east coast as a whole. The blue labeled trails out toward the halfway point, in an area near 'Shangri La' kicked my single speed butt. First time I've felt like I needed gears in Florida in a long time. There were very few folks out on the trails taking advantage of the full 42 miles. Wonderful!
BUT...on the way back out to the trail head, maybe the last quarter mile, we pulled in behind a group of guys that were standing around shooting the shinola until they saw us coming. Before we could pass them they hopped on their hydro-form FSers and jumped in front of us, then poked along with their droopy guts wagging over their waste bands, the elastic screaming in agony. They were going slow enough, and they were insistent enough that they had to be in front of us, that I knew the conversation (for out benefit) was coming, and it did, explicative laden talk about who in their group wasn't there because he was either cheap, wife-whipped, or fat. Then they gabbed about Mavic wheel sets and how the one guy got a smoking deal on his at only 900 bucks for the pair. Then something about a guy they ride with who is a 46 year old virgin. All in the maybe 5 minutes I was behind them! I just couldn't stand it, so I began to sing Faith No More's "Midlife Crisis" while riding behind their group. Dirty looks ensued. I am a prick. Funny how on a trail system that allows for 42 miles of unrepeated trail work, you only find these guys within 3 miles of the parking lot....
Then, in the parking lot, another not so wonderful Florida Trail-head moment. We finished our 42 miler, and at the car, a 300 pound fat man rides up with a shop-jersey barely stretched over his gut, and proceeds to drop the stereotyped wanna-be industry drivel that permeates Florida off-road cycling. I won't get too far into the hows and whys, but the line was "That's an interesting frame." directed toward my EWR, (in a way that suggested I was supposed to check out his bike and comment on the cool factor) so I said, yeah, not too bad for 14 years old, and then just looked at the guy. He said nothing, but stood proudly over his full suspension something or other...Giant I think, again it had a hydro-formed down tube, but I guess all the cookie cutters are making those Nomad clones now. Anyway, after a few uncomfortable and quiet seconds, he rode off and I wished him a good ride. He came up pretty quick and struck up the conversation, but then didn't go anywhere with it so I'm not sure what the point was. I'm also not sure what I was supposed to say, but I'm fairly certain that somewhere in my response there was supposed to be some outpouring of adulation for his hydro-formed mass produced POS.
I know there are some folks who would point out that maybe I'm reading a little too much into these scenarios, and that maybe the first group was just shooting the &#$@ among friends, and the second guy just wanted to say howdy, but I tell you... I've been riding in Florida for nearly 20 years, and these guys flock around the trail heads, with thousands of dollars of undertilized equipment, all peacock strutting and posing like a magazine ad. Rarely you find them on the trails, but the parking lots sure are full of them.
Call me an arrogant prick, but I'd much rather talk about the ride than the bikes. Why not ask about the trail conditions, or how far we had ridden or what difficulty of trails we did? Did we see any animals? How early did we start? Why does trail-head talk around here always have to be self indulgent equipment bragging veiled with a thin veneer of admiration and interest in others? Seems like way too much ego masturbation, and not enough exercise. I just don't get it, I mean are there really that many people in the world spending some serious coin just to belong to a herd?