Sunday, December 28, 2008

Winter Ride

Damn, it felt good to be back on the bike! Over 2 weeks since I rode. Weather had been in the pits. Today dawned clear, light winds, and promise for moderate temperatures.

The ride will be the first one for the winter riding season. The thermometer in the car was reading 37, plenty warm enough. Parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead headed toward Manawa and the Trail Center. A little wind from the SW, but not enough to stop me.

What DID stop me was the ice on the paved trail. Everything was fine until I got to the road to mountain bike trails. Just past there, the trail was ice-covered (see photo). I was not ready to tackle the ice, to rode around the lake.

On the way back to the trailhead, I decided to ride on over the Xtreme Wheels. Added a couple more miles and short visit with Bill.

Forecast looks good for most of the week. I'm planning to end the year with a bike ride on Wednesday. Who's up for a New Year Day ride -- start the year off right? (FYI, as of today, the Lake Manawa Singletrack is ICE)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

New Mileage Record

While I may have not blogged recently, I have been riding my bikes. Last night was the Xtreme Wheels Full Moon Ride.

Andrew, Blaine, Brandon, and I took off from the shop, heading to Lake Manawa. We had a little head wind on the way (the wind was biting with the temperature being near freezing). Great ride in the woods. Made a full lap at Manawa and headed back to the shop.

The 16.8 mile ride took me over the top on my record annual mileage. My log now shows 2167.85 miles. Still a couple weeks for riding. Will I end up with over 2200 miles?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Double Track Ride

Damn, it felt good to get back on the bike and in the woods! About 40 deg, sunny, some wind - a day to ride. Headed out from my mom's place and went to Richard Bong State Recreation Area (Wisconsin).

This was my first time riding here. Was hoping to get in some singletrack riding. I was a little disappointed when on got on the trail and found it is double track. Oh well, and day on the bike is a good day.

Interesting trail. It is multi-use trail - bicycles, hikers, and cross country ski. Rolling hills, in the woods, crossing a wetland, open prairie. Surface was mostly grass, some leave covered and patches of snow. With the snow, hills, and grass, I got a workout, that's for sure.

Heading home tomorrow.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let It Snow

Yesterday, the weather reports were forecasting snow for this morning. I took my queue that it was time to get to Belgium, WI (the next stop on my travels). Got settle in before the snow hit over night.

First of the measurable snow that I had seen this season. Headed out for a couple photos.

Supposed to be into the mid/upper 30s later today so the snow will melt. Clearing for the next couple days - hoping to get out to singletrack in Kettle Moraine State Park Wednesday.

BTW, for the "hard core" riders here, I found this web site: IceBike

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Green Bay

It took me 2 days to drive from Little Rock to Green Bay. Stopped overnight in Bloomington, IL. Was thinking of riding there. But, was late when I got to the motel, not sure how to get to the trailhead, and still had a good drive the next day.

Yesterday the weather was not conducive to riding. Today was a little cool (28-30 deg), but mostly sunny, light wind, and I needed to ride.

Headed South on the Fox River State Trail from downtown Green Bay, past downtown DePere. When the trail surface changed from asphalt to crushed stone, it was time to turn back.

Anyway, I knew my feet would be getting cold. Time to be back. Got in my 15+ mile ride.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Symposium Closing

Yesterday was the last day of the National Trials Symposium. For some housekeeping, the name I have been using for the symposium was a little wrong. What I attended as the 2008 National Trails Symposium presented by American Trails

OK, that's corrected. Was a short day. No coffee Trail Talk, just 2 sessions and the closing luncheon.

Creating Trails the Users Want So You Don't Get the Trails You Don't Want was the first session I attended. Two of the 3 presenters are ATV riders - but most of the information presented is applicable to most all trails. The third present is from Minnesota DNR and presented 3 case studies.

The final session I attended was Volunteer Stewardship Planning and Integrating Youth and Trails. This was probably the least interested for me.

The Symposium ended with a luncheon address by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods".

Now, I have been assembling my notes to forward to interested parties.

On to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Symposium Day 3 and CARP Ride

My day started with a bike ride downtown to the Convention Center. A beautiful morning.

Like yesterday, there were rolls and coffee for Trail Talk. I sat in on "The Impact of Trail Events". The talk centered around trail fundraising events.

All attendees gathered for a general session to discuss the future of trails. Four well versed trail advocates presented to "living room" talk of the history of the National Trails. Then participants got their "mike time". Comments were recorded and plans are to have the comments on the American Trails web site.

Broke into smaller groups for Concurrent sessions. I attended one titled: Improving the Built Environment: How urban trail systems and Complete Streets Provide Connections Within Cities.

In the afternoon was Mobile Workshop time. For me, it was mountain biking at Camp Robinson - lead by CARP (Central Arkansas Recreational Pedalers. OH it was a great afternoon to be in the woods, on my bike!

The day ended with the American Trails 19th National Trails Banquet.

OH, by the way, my trail bike (Trek Fuel EX7), topped 1100 miles today.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Symposium - Day 2

Today, I had to take a photo of what I could use as a bike rack inside of the Convention Center. OH well.

The day started with coffee & rolls in a session called "Trail Talk". I sat at the table where the topic was "Trail Maintenance - You Built, They Came, Now What".

After coffee, it was off to the meeting rooms. There were 2 session in the morning that I was interested in: "Inviting the Community Back into the Woods - Nature Trails in Urban Landscapes" and "Biking Toward a Sustainable Future". Both of these were lead by IMBA.

We broke for lunch where the SHORT business meeting was held (elect the board and adjourn). Keynote Addess was made by Dr. Richard Jacksin, UCLA School of Public Health.

In the afternoon, I attended presentations titled "Buy, Sell, Beg, or Borrow: Creative Funding Ideas from American Trails" presented by Friends of the Katy Trail (the Dallas, Katy Trail) and "Understanding Sustainablity and Boulding Better Trails" presented by IMBA and Elakah Expeditions.

The day closed with the "Trails Rock" Party at the Clinton Library.

Symposium - Day 1

The American Trails Symposium opened yesterday afternoon. Rode my bike to the afternoon session.

The afternoon was visiting at the exhibitor booths. Several booths had not been set up yet. A couple were not manned. Anyway, checked out the exhibit hall. Picked up some information.

In the evening there was the Opening reception. Thanks to Lewis & Clark Outfitters for the food!

During this session, I talked with Scott Linnenburger of IMBA. I had met Scott in Rapid City for Black Hill Fat Tire Festival. We talked about THOR plans, and desires. Later, I met Mary Hanson from National Parks (out of Omaha) Did some networking there.

Ended the evening with a drive to the Big Dam Bridge to take photos. Got some good shots. (Sure was raw out up on the bridge.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Partial Redemption

Made it to the Convention Center for registration this morning. There, I commented about the "bike rack" out front. Someone was there that pointed to signs in the hall that one room includes for "bike parking".

The room is a unused section of the large hall. So, there is a inside space for bike parking, just no rack to stand up the bike and lock to a rack. Guess just locked parts of the bike together and lean on the wall or lay on the floor. (That's why I call it a "partial" redemption.

In other news from the Symposium, I perused the the Conference Program. I have selected sessions to attend.

The Immense Benefits of Trails: More Than Just Exercise

Biking Toward a Sustainable Future

Buy, Sell, Beg, or Borrow: Creative Funding Ideas from American Trails

Improving the Built Environment: How Urban Trail Systems and Complete Streets Provide Connections within Cities

Training and Resources for Building Better Trails

Camp Robinson Mountain Bike Ride

Friday, November 14, 2008

This Is A Bike Rack???

During my preparations for attending the American Trails Symposium,I contacted the group to inquire about a secure bicycle rack during the symposium. I am visiting friends in Little Rock and planned to bike the 2 miles from their home to the convention center.

The first response was: "No one has ever asked for that - we'll get back with you". A week or so later they told me they will have bike racks.

Today, a day before registration starts, I rode over to the State House Convention Center to check out the bike rack. What they showed me was not a bike rack, but crowd control fence sections - see photo. The person with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau told me that's their bike racks (or what the use as bike racks).

Now, I can understand the real bike rack may not important for many conventions like the VFW, or garden show, or an auto show but this is the American Trail Symposium. There are bicycle rides during the function.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bicycle Advocacy Luncheon

Yesterday I attended a luncheon meeting at the UNO Alumni Center. Feature speakers were John Burke, CEO of Trek Bicycles and Andy Clarke, Executive Director of the League of American Bicyclists.

John Burke addressed the importance of the bicycle in the solution of the community problems. Big emphasis was on the obesity/health issue and concerns for the environment.

Director Andy Clarke talked about the League's Bicycle Friendly City program and what makes a city bicycle friendly.

The luncheon was sold out. Those that did not have a reservation were able to participate in the meeting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election of '08

Now I have tried to keep my politics off of my blog. Today, (and the quick one last night) I felt that I have to write about my feelings regarding the election of Barack Obama.

First, some history. I grew up on a Wisconsin farm. High school, I was a supporter of Goldwater. In the late 60s, I wanted a draft-deferred job out of college. That went by the wayside when I was drafted and served a tour in Viet Nam.

I was a Reagan-Republican. While not happy with the social issue view of Reagan, I thought it was easier to work for social change than it is to change fiscal change. The first big change for me was during the Clinton campaign and presidency – I sat out by voting for Perot.

When the Evangelical Right took over the Republican Party, I started looking for a political party home. I was looking at McCain (back in the 2000 campaign). Bush’s invasion of Iraq was the last straw. I started working for Democrats and changed my registration.

I wanted to work to defeat George W. Bush. Not that I want a Gore or Kerry Presidency – I wanted to defeat Bush.

Over the last 4 years, I have watched John Edwards and decided to support his candidacy. I had heard of Obama, but liked Edwards’ platform (did not know much about Obama). And, I thought enough of the Clintons. But, my basic motivation for working with the campaign was to defeat the Republicans and ideals of Bush.
I was an Us v. Them person. Bush and the Republicans were the enemy.

When Edwards dropped out of the race – I changed to supporting Obama. By now, I could see that he is where I wanted our country to go from here. As I heard more and worked more for the Obama candidacy, I felt a transformation.

His acceptance speech at the Convention was inspiring. The first time in many years that a political speech brought tears to my eyes.

Contemplating last night on my way home from the local Obama Victory Party, I realized that I, too, have changed. My view of the political landscape has changed. I was not working to defeat the policies of Bush – I was working for the “change we need”.

I hope those that try to divide us, learned their lessons – the vicious attacks did not work. The Rovian tactics do not work. Enough of blue states and red states.

Yes, there is lots of work to heal our country. But, as the chant started at the Grant Park Rally – YES WE CAN.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes We Can

I just got home from my local Obama Victory Celebration. All I can say is the "Yes We Can".

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Awesome Day, Sweet Ride

What a beautiful day. When I decided to head out to ride, it was about 65 deg, sunny, and no wind. The 4300 needed to be checked out after derailleur repairs, so brought it to the bike shop, switch pedals to the full (no flat side) clipless. Rode out from the shop.

Was not sure how far I would ride, see how I felt. Stopped at the Trail Center (10 miles). Feeling great to went on to the pedestrian bridge, rode over to Omaha, and took several photos. Went up to Millers Landing (first time there) and down to Lewis & Clark Landing. Finally, headed back across the bridge.

I have to comment. When I was a kid, I learned to look to watch for others around me. These days, just walk on the sidewalk, go to the the store. People do NOT look were they are going, do not watch for others near. I have many times when people would walk right into me, had I not stopped and back up. Well, the same thing is happening on the pedestrian bridge. They walk like they own the bridge. Hell, they don't even pay attention to on-coming traffic (walking or cycling). When I come behind them and call out "On your left!" they keep on walking like they never heard me. Today, I was coming behind 2 on the right, and 4 abreast coming my way. I called out to try to get through. NO ONE stepped over to make room. They kept walking, passing 6 abreast. WAKE UP, PEOPLE. There are more folks out here than you and your group.

OK, I will get off my soapbox.

Great ride on the way back to the shop. Much of the way, I was riding at 15-17 mph. Sweet ride. Ridden 30+ miles, gone for 2 hours and 40 minutes, 20 minutes stopped. Logging, I calculated the ride at 12.9 mph over the length of the ride, pretty good with the traffic on the bridge!

Friday, October 31, 2008

2000 and 2000

Today I made a milestone for the year, and one of my bikes made one. I topped over 2000 miles for the year. That's the second year (of 3 years) to reach that threshold. From the log, I estimate 20% or more of those miles are on singletrack.

Not riding my hybrid very much recently. Today, I decided to get a couple pavement miles on the hybrid. That took the bike over 2000 miles. That's riding over 3 years. In contrast, my hardtail has over 3200 miles since Apr 06, and my new full suspension bike has over 1000 miles since this April!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bicycle Trails Calendar

I have published my first calendar. The calendar features photos I have taken while riding my bicycles around the country. Contact me if you are interested in ordering one.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Manawa Ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride in the woods mid 70s, sunny, a bit windy. There were several others riders at Manawa. I stopped two to chat. They are new mountain bikers - starting this season. Talked them about THOR membership.

Anyway, I continued making my laps. The trail conditions are pretty good, except for 2 dead falls on East Sidewinder. One had been there some time, the other is new. Both were trees damaged in the June wind storm, just decided to come down in October.

One reason for riding at Manawa yesterday was to check out the fork re-build of my trail bike. No problem with the fork on this ride. I had a leisurely ride - 7.7 mph. Just what I was looking for. Even had a good conversation with 2 potential THOR members.

Hoping to ride again today, before the weather turns colder and wet over the next couple days.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bike Bash 08

Last evening the road racers and mountain bike racers got together for their annual banquet. Bike Bash 08 was held in the Mallet Lodge at Platte River State Park.

The turn-out was lower than last year. The kitchen crew did an outstanding job with Spaghetti, sauce, garlic rolls, salad, cookies, & brownies.

After dinner, awards were presented to "roadies" for the Rider of the Year. Next came the mountain bike racers. Awards were presented to State Championship winners. Then came the Pyscowpath Series winners (places 3,2,1). Doug Larson is the recipient of the Psycowpath Spirit Award.

The awards were followed by a photo montage created by Tim Weiland (featuring photos by John Peterson and yours truly). Capping the evening were comments by THOR Co-Chair Kent McNeill.

If you missed it, it was a great time - good weather, good food, good program, great friends.

Update-20th. Here's the photo montage.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Omaha Bike Summit

It was a short night - got home from Full Moon Ride about 11pm. Was after midnight when I finally got to bed, up at 5am to get ready for the Bike Summit. The summit was done by Bikeable Communities.

I was not sure about attending because the agenda looks like all geared to Omaha. Decided to go anyway - to get known more in the area.

There was some good information - for Omaha. Lots of Omaha officials, staff, etc. I did not recognize anyone from Council Bluffs (other than me). At one time, I wondered if I belonged there at all - but the logo of Bikeable Communities shows a map of Dodge, Douglas, & Sarpy counties in Nebraska and Pottawattamie and Mills Counties in Iowa.

My feeling - as usual, Council Bluffs is "step-child" to Omaha.

Anyway, like I said, there was good information. Speakers were:
Martin Shukert - City of Omaha Progress and Status Report
Robert Johnson - Ped Net (GetAbout Columbia)
Deputy Chief Mark Sundermeier - Bicycles & Policing in Omaha
Connie Spellman - Green Streets Master Plan
Mike LaViolette - Missouri River Pedestrian Bridge
Mark Wyatt - Bike Parking Opportunities & Alternatives

After lunch, we took a walk over the bridge.

I am thinking of starting a page of my web site with notes, photos, and impressions of Bikeable Communities. That would give me a place to put future information.

Oh. and one more thing, by attending the Bike Summit, I became a member of Bikeable Communities. And you know how I am, I volunteered to serve on a Communications Committee.

Full Moon Ride

A quick report on last night's Full Moon Ride.

Three of us (Tom, Andrew, and Blaine) head out from the shop just after 7pm. Now, I had charged the battery on my headlight, but it died before I got to dinner (and I was conserving battery). Guess its time to buy a new battery.

After a dinner at the Riverside Grill, we rode up to the top of the bridge, then headed back to the shop. Over 50 miles in the last 2 days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

1900 and Counting

My trail bike is repaired! Still waiting parts for the hardtail. :(

Yesterday was a gorgeous day - 60 degrees, nearly calm winds, not a cloud in the sky. Had to head out on the bike.

The dirt trails are too wet from the rains over the week. Decided to ride around Council Bluffs. Started from the Xtreme Wheels, stopping at the Western Heritage Trails Center. Rode the Iowa Riverfront Trail to the end at Big Lake, down N 8th St, and stopped at campaign headquarters. Finished back at the bike shop after over 25 miles, 2+ hour ride.

So far, the rebuilt fork is functioning fine.

Great ride and took my riding log to over 1900 miles for the year.

Full Moon ride this evening, Omaha Bike Summit Saturday, Bike Bash (banquet) Saturday evening.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Busted Bikes

This week has been rough on my bikes. It started Monday with a noise in the fork of my Fuel EX7 (2008 model, 900+ miles). Seemed that the fork was bottoming out. I brought the bike to the shop. They confirmed a problem with the fork.

But, they could not find any failure in the fork. With reassembly, the fork performed well. We got some rain so the next time to ride was Thursday. After riding only 3.5 miles, I heard the same noise. It seemed that things were OK as I rode more. About at 7+ miles, the fork started bottoming out. Dropped the bike back at the shop.

So, the word is that the fork needs some kind of fork kit. The fork is a Rock Shock Recon 351. Rock Shock could not tell the shop what cause the failure. That does not give me a warm, fuzzy feeling.

Yesterday (Friday) I grabbed the hardtail (Trek 4300) and headed off to Manawa. I was just getting used to riding back on the older bike (3200+ miles). Sure noticed the hardtail is not as comfortable to ride!

Anyway, after about 5 miles, it felt like I had caught a stick in the rear wheel. When I stopped to look, the derailleur and hanger were hanging from the chain. Not good. Luckily, I was not on the far end of the trail system. But I DID have to "hike-a-bike" to get it back to the car.

I still have the hybrid to ride. If that goes down, I may have to learn how to ride my unicycle!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Cyclocross Photos

Velo Veloce Cycling Club and Xtreme Wheels Bike & Sport sponsored the Omaha Cyclocross weekend October 4th & 5th. The race was held at Swanson Park.

Weather was not typical cyclocross weather. The afternoon was in the 70s and sunny. The course was dry.

I only attended the Saturday race - I had another function on Sunday - a ham radio flea market.

Here's the link.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

An Awesome Ride

Awesome ride this afternoon! I was not sure how well I would ride today. Attended a Ham Radio Flea Market in the morning. Was thinking of dropping by Swanson Park for the last cyclo-cross race.

Instead I headed home, changed clothes, put the trail bike on the car rack, grabbed my gear, and headed over to the Manawa singletrack. After the warm-up on Sidewinders, I felt that I would have a good ride.

Headed into Woodchopper for a lap or two. As nearing the end of lap one, I looked at my computer and saw my speed in E Sidewinders was over 12 mph! I decided to ride the warm-up and 2 full laps to see what my average speed. That has been my new benchmark ride.

Over the last couple weeks, my ride of 10-12.5 miles were at 7.9 - 8.5 mph. The last ride was over 14 miles. I felt that today's ride will clock much faster. That was verified several times when I looked at the computer to see my speed. I am really getting to love riding my Fuel EX7.

All said and done, 14 miles at 9.0 mph, beating my previous speed by .5 mph!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bridging Communities

This afternoon, I made one of my "Tour de Bluffs" rides. I stopped at the entrance to the new Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.

Lots of folks using the bridge. One couple came off the bridge riding their bikes, trying to decide where to go from there. I explained the trails North and South from the bridge. It was their first time riding on the Iowa side of the river.

Adding to my ride, crossed the bridge to explore the Nebraska side of the river. I rode to the Heartland of America Park - first time I had been there.

At Lewis & Clark Landing, a couple on their bikes obviously playing "tourist". It was the first time the Iowa couple had been on the Omaha riverfront.

While finishing my ride, I thought about what I had experienced. What does the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge mean to Council Bluffs and Omaha? There sure has been "nay-sayers".

Since I moved to the area in 1986, Iowa folks go to Omaha when needed - shopping, work, etc. Many Nebraskas would only drive though Council Bluffs en route to Chicago, KC, or other destinations. The only way across the river was driving the Interstate or across old, open grating bridges. The Missouri River has divided our community.

Now, me and my friends are looking forward to riding BICYCLES across the river for dinner. I am seeing more riders on the Council Bluffs trails - there has to be more traffic through businesses on the Iowa side of the River.

The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is much more than a bridge across the Missouri River. It is a bridge connecting peoples, cities, and states.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Bridge is Open!

It was a beautiful day for the bridge opening - Sunny, clear, light breeze and in the 70s. Starting at 9am, wrist bands were distributed as a lottery to see who gets to be the first person to cross the bridge. The crowd started arriving just after 11am. The opening festival started at noon.

You can see my photos of the festival here:

Bridge Opens!

Watch for helmet-cam video of my first ride over the bridge. (It was a crowded crossing).

Manawa MTB Mayhem

The weather was gorgeous for the last race of the 2008 Psycowpath Season. The result was a big turn-out.

Some words about the photos of this race... I got the shots into the computer to process the photos. I am not happy with the results. Looks like I forgot all (of much) of what I learned over the last 2 years. I did NOT follow well with the camera (like not at all), resulting in blurred riders and clear backgrounds.

Here's the link to the photos:

Manawa Mayhem

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Capital City MTB Challenge

My photos of Capital City MTB Challenge are on my web site.

Here's the link...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cross the Bridge

Celebrate the grand opening of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. The festivities will take place on Sunday, September 28th.

Here are the details, per the Council Bluffs Parks & Recreation web site:

Free Event! Everyone Welcome!

  • 12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

  • Playland Park in Council Bluffs (2 N. 40th Street)

  • Free children's activities, with inflatables, face painters, magicians, and more!

  • Performances by Monticello's Regiment from Thomas Jefferson High School and Omaha Central Eagles Marching Band

  • Ribbon cutting with Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan and Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey

  • Food and beverage concessions available.

  • Free parking!

  • From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. free wristbands will be placed on the wrists of interested participants in the park. A drawing will be held just prior to the ribbon cutting to determine who will get to be the first person on the Bridge!

I understand there will also be information booth(s) for local cycling, walking, and running clubs.

See you there...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge

Last night was the illumination gala for the new (recently named) Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. The bridge links trails between Council Bluffs, IA and Omaha, NE.

After several days of rain, the evening ended up clear and pleasant. As the sun was setting, the nearly full moon rose behind the bridge.

The bridge lighting ceremony was held at Lewis & Clark Landing (Omaha side of the river). The evening started with a free blues concert. Bridge illumination and fireworks capped the night.

I had not seen the bridge from the Omaha side until last evening. The bridge, lighting - and of course the fireworks, was impressive.

You cannot walk or ride your bike over the bridge yet. The opening of the bridge takes place on Sunday, September 28th. Those festivities will be held on the Council Bluffs side of the river - at Playland Park.

Opening festival starts noon. The bridge opens at 1pm. Now, who gets to be the first rider/walker across the bridge?

NEW (9/18): Check out my web site page - photos of construction and lighting of the bridge.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Race Photos Posted

I really am still out and about. Busy with other stuff - riding, working on photos, creating a calendar, doing trail work, etc.

Anyway, at Tranquility Tire Tantrum, I took over 500 shots. They are posted on my web site.


Trail work -- Friday evening 8/22 5:45pm. Saturday morning 8/23 8:30am.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Checking Out the Trails

Feeling really good yesterday morning, I headed out for a ride checking out damage to the trails caused by the recent storms.

The from the Wabash Trace Trailhead, I rode about 3 miles down the trail. I rode that same section Sunday. This time, I took time to photograph some of the damage. Today - Tuesday the 1st, trail work is scheduled. Meet at the Trailhead at 4:30. Should end up in Mineola about 9pm.

From there, it was over to Lake Manawa Mountain Bike trails. Lots of branches down on the trail. A big tree down across the trail close to the kiosk. Trail Work scheduled to Thursday, July 3rd - 6-8 pm. See the THOR-Trails blog for more information.

Still feeling good - on to the Trail Center. Lots of signs from the storm - broken trees, limbs/branches down, corn ripped from the wind. On the way back, I saw how the flood waters of the Mosquito Creek has damaged the paved trail.

Rode over to Xtreme Wheels to see what's happening. By the time I got back to the car, I logged just short of 29 miles. That made it over 1100 miles for the first 6 months of the year.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Busy Week

I got a little behind in my blog this week, and it has been a busy week.

Sunday Morning Ride was back. Made our Tour de Bluffs. The first problem we encountered was mud under the railroad bridge on the Manawa Trail. A reroute was well used. Stopped at the Lake Manawa mountain bike trails - areas are still underwater. Nice morning, threatening to get hot. Rest stops at Indain Creek bridge, Riverside Grill, and Hy-Vee. Rode a different course from Hy-Vee to S 16th - I did not like it. Taking down N 8th, Dennis would ride sometimes on the street, sometimes sidewalks and ride the crosswalk, other times riding the wrong side of the street.

Monday I headed out to check the readjustments made to the rear shifter on my trail bike. While riding, I logged my 1000 miles so far for the year. That's over 200 miles over last year at this time. That's great, considering the lousy weather this Winder and Spring. Now if the trails will only dry out so i can ride some dirt...

Tuesday was a recovery day - and more rain. URGH

Wednesday Morning Ride - it was Wabash Trace or Pavement. Suggested to Blaine (no one else riding) the do the Tour de Bluffs, showing him the route downtown. Bike shifted great. Pretty good pace, good ride.

Over Thursday, I read about burning fat - sprints with a higher gear. Friday, I thought I would ride the FX and put the hammer down. URGH, there was a problem with my heart monitor - so could not push it riding. After getting back at the shop, I rode over to the mall, to buy replacement battery, still the same problem - receiver no getting the signal. For some reason, the Nike receiver is now was only working with the Nike chest strap. Previously, I could use interchangeably between the Nike and Sigma monitors.

Saturday was trail work at Wilderness Park in Lincoln. I grabbed the directions from the THOR web site, and could not find the trail crew. Checking at the various trailheads that I knew, I gave up and decided to ride at the Pioneer Blvd end. Quickly blocked by a big dead fall. One final attempt and I heard a weed wacker along Old Cheney Rd. Changed back to my jeans, grabbed my bike, and headed to the trail. Did a little work, a lot of visiting with the folks from Lincoln

Ended the week with another Sunday Morning Ride. No one else was riding, so I headed over to Rich (ZQG) QTH to check out SWIARC Field Day. The ride means about 3 miles on the Wabash Trace. LOTS of clean-up needed there. Greg has work time planned for Tuesday, about 4:30pm from the CB trailhead. Thanks to those whom have made the trail "passable" in the mean time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Ponca's Revenge

After an all to short night's sleep, Saturday morning I headed to Ponca State Park to shoot the mountain bike race. The weather was clear and pleasant - 70s in race time.

The field for the Beginner and Junior races was pretty small. There was only one wave to start. With that and the short (1-2 laps) races, I did nor get very many photos of that race.

Since the Revenge this year was not a marathon, the Kid's Race was run.

Pretty good turn-out for the Sport and Expert/Semi-Pro category. I found a couple spots to shoot the race. I am not pleased with the overall quality of the race photos. Some is the unfamiliarity of the race course. Other is I was just not on top form.

I am still working on the photos - when done they will be posted on my web site. (I also have the photos from my Army Reunion that need to be processed and posted).

June Full Moon Ride

Well, I have been getting behind in blogging. Made it home from my trip last Thursday. Started recovering (yes recovering from vacation - that's the way it is when retired).

Friday was the June Xtreme Wheels Full Moon Ride. We headed up the Trace to Margaritaville. It took 2 "bob"s to carry the food and refreshments. Burgers, dogs, and brats were grilled. Also had some potato salad and cole slaw.

Some of us had to get up early, so headed home - getting back to the shop about midnight.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More Dirt

This morning I HAD to go back the the Reforestation Camp and ride some more dirt. Today, I bypassed the first part (more difficult). I was looking for a relaxing ride (yesterday I ending up with a headache from taxing my brain).

I was riding better today - even remembered some of the sections of the trail. Took a couple more photos. Eventually, they will end up on my web site.

Happy to be back in the woods. Another "Grade A" ride.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Weather is good and heard the trails are open. So, today I headed to the Reforestation Camp near Green Bay. Yesterday I picked up a trail map - some 10+ miles of singletrack/doubletrack.

Now, it has been over 3 weeks since I have been able to ride some dirt. Getting very frustrated and bad case of withdrawals.

Had a GREAT ride today. The trail difficulty level is just right for me. As I started out, I found some sections challenging.

Later during the ride, I found myself riding better, even anticipating the trail. My speed came up. Feeling good, considering I had never ridden the trail.

The early section of the trail is more difficult. Thinking of riding the trail again tomorrow - with all that I have learned about the trail today.

I need to comment about the trail system signage - its great. I did not get lost once. There were signs for the singletrack loop with direction arrow. When trails converge, there were mini kiosks on posts with trail maps. Today, I gave the trail an "A". Damned, it was great to be in the woods, on dirt!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Big Mac Shoreline Tour - Saturday

Since I was in Mackinaw City, I had signed up for the Spring Big Mac Shoreline Tour. The ride has 25, 50, 75, and 100 miles routes. I opted for the 25 miler. Great morning, sunny, about 70, light breeze.

My goal was to ride at 11 - 12 mph. I wanted to ride at my pace, not try to keep up with a pack. Ended up passing many riders, was passed by a couple (the speedy riders had left the hour earlier). Heart rate was mostly at about 110 bpm, up to 125 on the short hills. Even with the extra post ride, I averaged 11.3 mph.

After the ride, I rode with a couple women to show them where they will meet for the ride over the bridge on Sunday. Ended up with over 27 miles with the ride (short "25" miles, in town, and from/to hotel". Really pumped up after the tour ride.

I decided no way I wanted to ride over the bridge (yes, I COULD have ridden over the bridge). I am not fond of open heights and open grating on bridges.

Catch-up Info

A week ago, I rode with friend's neighbor before driving to Mackinaw City. We rode to Harrington State Park. Jim gave me a tour of the park roads. Good ride - great start for the drive.

When I made it to Mackinaw City, I decided I wanted to drive the car as little as possible - preferring to ride my bike. Spent some time riding around the city to acquaint myself. I did have to drive the car to rake photos at the golf tournament.

Wednesday we toured Mackinac Island. After lunch, I grabbed my bike and rode around the island. The ride around the Island is 8 miles. Would have liked to ride more - explore some of the interior of the Island. Just not time that day, and did not have another day to ride there.

Thursday I was going to ride some dirt at Wilderness State Park. I wanted to check out the trails, buy any needed pass(es). Well, the park HQ was closed - and it was after 10am! What is it with DNR (Wisconsin and Michigan). Is there a conspiracy again me riding in the dirt?

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I was able to get out in the dirt. Last week, it was rainy most of the week. Trails were just about drying out when I headed to Wisconsin.

Here, it was been raining every day. Thursday I was able to get on the County North Shore Trail - Kenosha & Racine. Rode from my Mom's apartment to Racine (about 7 miles). The trail is crushed limestone. Trail surface was soft and standing water in spots. It is still a pretty good trail - once you get out of the cities.

Wanted to ride some singletrack - Petrifying Springs Park was closed for flooding, and threatening weather before I could drive to Bong State Park.

So, I headed on to Belgium Wisc. This morning I made a short rode ride with my hosts - 5.3 miles. That ride just made me want some DIRT!

Planned to ride in the Kettle Moriane State Park - about 30 miles away. Checked the web site. That said the trails are open - but the last update of trail conditions was on May 13th - 3 weeks old! The web site DID say trails in the area should dry out in 4-6 hours after rain.

Called the state park inquiring as to trail conditions at the Greenbush Trail area. When I called at 8:55, they had no idea, nor could they tell me when they could report on the conditions. They said they should be ridable, but was not sure.

When I got to the Long Lake entrance, they had no idea if the trails are open. She did call, and advised me that the trails were not ridable from the rains. Back 30 miles.

What was the problem with the Office at Mauthe Lake (which I had called). They should have been able to call the Ranger (or tell me to wait until after 9am when the Ranger comes on duty), saving the the gas and time to driver over, just to find the trails are closed. I will be sending in a Guest Comment Card to Wisconsin DNR.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Saturday Ride

I felt to good from the ride yesterday, decided to bring the FX along for breakfast. After breakfast I headed from Hy-Vee (N 16th), down the river trail.

Had to check out the progress on the new bridge. Railings being installed.

Stopped at the Trail Center, then over to Indian Creek. Did not want to ride a full lap of CB, I rode North to S 16th.

Had to ride and check out the new diagonal link to South Expressway. The trail is done pretty well. The one thing I do not like, way too many street crossings. There are crosswalks painted on the street - no "bicycle crossing" sign nor bike stop signs.

Back up to S 16th, over the the new trail along the south side of the railroad yard. Finally, about a reverse of our Sunday Morning Ride route. Good ride - little over 15 miles.

Trails Under Water

Yesterday, I took a ride from XW shop, to Manawa, Trail Center, and return. Besides riding my bike, wanted to see how bad the trails are.

As you can see - sections of the trails are under water. When I got back to the Shop, I learned that the race had been postponed to a later weekend. The river was also way up and lots of garbage floating on the river.

Rode the new trail bike - since I had to pick it up at the shop (adjustment). Weather good, light wind, feeling good (but not the energy I had Wednesday!).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lake Manawa Tail Work

The delayed trail work at Lake Manawa took place last evening. Over a dozen of the Trail Crew attended. Under guidance of our Trail Leader, we made quick work of trail clean-up.

Goal was clear dead falls from the recent storms, weed-wack the trail, and lopped branches to trim the trail canopy. Steve manned the mower, giving the trail a hair-cut.

Thanks to everyone than helped.

Damp Wednesday Morning Ride

Not sure if we were going to ride yesterday. When I got up, it was raining, and kept raining until about 6am.

At 7am at the shop, it was just overcast, cool, and damp. Randy was waiting when I arrived. Blaine & Zach showed shortly. But, Zach is not planning to ride (wuss).

I lead out the ride towards Manawa. Must be the altitude riding over the weekend because I was riding strong.

Stopped at Manawa to checkout the mountain bike trails - they were a mess (mud, standing water, etc.) Sure hope the trail dries out for the race Saturday!

On the way over to the Trail Center, we encountered some mist/drizzle. Explored West of the Trail Center, finding a dirt trail to the river. Time to head back to the shop. Good ride, in spite of the weather. Thanks for the good ride, guys.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

BHFTF Wrap-up

The 2008 edition of the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival is history. I rode on the Mickelson, completed a singletrack ride, and survived the Beer-Muda Triangle.

Sunday afternoon, we made it back from the ride just in time for the raffle and hot food available. Here's a photo of me with some of my swag.

Sunday was completed with the BHFTF Film Fest. Good films, good food, good beer, and great people.

I was thinking of riding Monday morning - the same trail from Sunday. When I stuck my head out of the hotel room door, it was cold, drizzling, and breezing. Besides, my legs were a little sore. So, I decided to pack up the car and head to home. Stopped at Founder's Park and left a DVD of my photos.

Will I be back next year? Most likely. The group (locals, staff, and participants) are great. Everyone seemed to rolled with the punches. Schedules were altered to facilitate racing, tours, and BBQ.

We had some pretty nasty weather for riding, but we survived, even had fun. Something about mountain bikers - we feed on each other's enthusiasm. When you are down, feeling bad about your riding, somebody seems to sense it and says something that gives you that little emotional lift.

It was great to see my friends from last year. Also great to meet so many new friends. Safe riding - see you down the trail.

Oh yeh, my photos and report of BHFTF are posted on my web site:

Sunday, May 25, 2008

1 Year Old

A year ago today I posted my first blog entry -- right here from the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival.

I hope it has been interesting for others. I have been enjoying writing the sporadic missives.

"Short Climb"

The folks in the Black Hills have a demented sense of what is a "short climb".

Today I rode the Centennial Trail in the area of Pactola Reservoir. There were 8 of us Festival riders and 3 guides. When I was discussing a potential singletrack ride, everyone told me that this one ride for beginners was a good ride, mostly downhill with a couple of short climbs.

As I was riding, and then walking, my bike up the climb, I took this photo. now, it looks like the climb ends just up the hill. WRONG- when you turn the corner, it keeps climbing.

Yes, there were some nice downhill sections. On the first downhill, I seemed to have forgotten about watching up the trail, not my front tire. After a break, I got myself back on track. With that, I started riding better and enjoying the ride.

Then came the next climb. Once again, it was "hike-a-bike" time. I was getting frustrated with the climb. When I got back to a downhill section, I had problems ride any kind of line. I was losing my confidence. Worst, I was getting frustrated with myself - to the tune of thinking singletrack in the Black Hills is something I should give up on - stay on the River Trail or the Mickelson.

Then, one of the other riders told me that he felt I was doing very well - handling the bike well. Don't give up. That encouragement helped me.

Now I have to decide if I want to just pack up to head home, or train this trail one more time tomorrow.