Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ride to Malvern

I was not planning to ride today. But after breakfast, it was nearly 50, hazy sunshine, no wind. Just had to get out and ride. Decided to ride the Wabash Trace from Silver City to Malvern.

The first thing I noticed when riding, most of the dead falls have been cleared from the trail. The piles of chain saw debris were still evident. There will be some work still needed on the trail day. Some needs to be moved further off of the trail for mowing. Also a couple new branches need to be cut (forgot to bring my folding saw).

Bridges in pretty good shape. Couple spots could use some new broads in the future.

Stopped at Latte de Da in Malvern for coffee and a visit. The coffee shoppe is undergoing a name change - in about a month.

Between Silver Creek bridge and Silver City there is a farm and junkyard. It is has been eyesore. Now I see and old corn picker has been deposited inside the Trace fence.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't Ride Wet/Soft Trails

Friday, I rode up the Wabash Trace to Margaritaville. Slow going compared the last ride of last year. Trail is not in its summer hard-pack condition. That, and the first ride up this year, I only made 8mph up the hill.

Speaking of trail condition, Tuesday Greg (maintainer of the Trace from CB to Silver City) graded the trail surface. Even after running the grader off the trail, there are still ruts from riding when the surface is wet.

Now I know we all have gotten cabin fever this winter. But, when you ride on the wet trail, you are doing damage to the trail surface. That 1 ride you just couldn't make without, causes untold others riders misery with a rough trail surface.

The photo above is bicycle tracks in the crushed limestone surface when inconsiderate riders ride a wet trail.

After a rest stop, I headed down the hill and then over to Lake Manawa to check out the mountain bike trail. The last week we had lots of drying wind - hoping the trails are rideable.

I rode W Sidewinder, which was dry. Headed over to E Sidewinder. When I got into the wooded part, I saw that the trail is very soft, with deep ruts. It was time to stop, turn around, and ride someplace else. The second photo is of the ruts in the trail tread.

At the parking lot, I met a couple other riders. When I mentioned that the trail was too soft, one said it was good -- just soft spots and wet spots to ride around. URGH. I told him doing that damages the trail.

In this part of the country, riding on wet trails does great damage. Its not like places were the trails are on rock. I think the magazines do a disservice when they publish photos of riders plowing down muddy trails. Photos of mud encased bikes and riders enforces this image of the mountain bike rider.

Next time you ride soft/wet trails, think about who has to repair that trail. They do not heal themselves - it takes hours of dedicated volunteers to repair your hour of "fun".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Trail Work - Wabash Trace

It was a warm but windy yesterday. Really wanted to ride, but not ready to buck the wind. Greg was assembling a crew to work on the Wabash Trace. I decide to fore go the ride and help get the Trace in ready for the riding season.

We divided up on 3 crews: 1) grading the trail surface 2) rack out tracks from the grader 3) tree/dead fall clearing.

Wish there was a way to stop damage of the trace caused by inconsiderate people - be they be bike riders, equestrians, or motorized (illegal) vehicles. Some sections need a lot of grading because of travel on the Trace when the surface is soft.

Monday, March 24, 2008

3 Years and Counting

Three years ago, I was in the hospital. I had suffered a stroke. As my doctors planned tests, my health made a nose dive. Instead of tests, I found out they rushed me into surgery. I had a deteriorated heart valve.

A week in the hospital (including a mechanical heart valve), 5 weeks of home care (Thanks to VNA of Pottawattamie County), hours of speech therapy, and cardiac rehab put me on the road to recovery. It was time for me to find a way to continue improve my health. Thanks to Bill (Xtreme Wheels), I found cycling.

As they say, the rest is "history".

I have found places to ride - city bike trails, the Wabash Trace. Rode charity rides (local and regional). Started working with SWINT. Joined IMBA and T.H.O.R. Became very involved into the local cycling community.

You, my friends in the cycling community, are great. You give me the strength to keep pedaling through life. Mountain biking has made me feel younger and healthier.

Thank you all, for indulging me with my passion. Cycling, particularly singletrack, is my passion. See you on the trail and at the races. Bring on year 4.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Full Moon Ride

Little breezy and cool for last night's Full Moon Ride. World-herald was there to take pictures. We headed out from the shop to Manawa. Fast pace to Manawa (wind to our back). Stopped for a condition check - all ready to continue on.

The pace slowed down into the wind on Indian Creek. Stopped at the Trail Center - as little rest and break out of the saddle. Then to Ameristar for some food.

Zack "parked" our bikes while we ate. Been a long time since I had eatten there. Was not impressed then - this evening had a very good patty melt. Will eat there again.

My (and other's) lights started dieing in the way home. Six of us on the ride. Good ride.

Here you go, most if the time I am taking the photos. Here's one of me on the ride - Thank's Bill.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Trifecta?

The weather started cooperating again this week. Little windy for Tuesday Ride - I was the only one for the slower ride. I rode Valley View trail up to IWCC.

Yesterday was a little better. Went to Trail Center to ride (not sure if Indian Creek trail would be open). Rode Riverfrom trail to Northway and back. Would have ridden more, but it was cloudy and getting cool.

Today, was a really nice day. By noon, it was light wind and 55 degrees. My mountain bike was not shifting right, so stopped by Xtreme Wheels to have it checked out. From the shop, I rode over to Lake Manawa on the paved bike trail. There, I wanted to look at the condition of the mountain bike trail.

Out from the parking lot, the trail looked good to ride. Rode West Sidewinder, frequently the driest trail. Most of the trail was dry, with a couple of slightly soft spots. Coming out of the trail, I hit something that bent the de-railer. Did some work to getting the bike ridable to get back to the shop.

After the second repairs of the day, the wind had been picking up. Decided to ride over the the Wabash Trace. Rode about 2 miles up the Trace to check out the trail conditions. The trail is mostly dry and firm. Some places are a little soft. As usual, the surface has been damaged by earlier riding under wet conditions. There appears to be some horse hoofprints - not as bad as last year. Also, damage from motorized vehicle spinning wheels under wet conditions.

As Zack called it - a Trifecta -- riding on pavement, in the dirt, and on crushed limestone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years

Five years ago, March 19, 2003, George W. Bush sent the USA military into Iraq. An invasion into a sovereign country that has cost 3990 American lives (and counting).

We were told that it was because Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction”. There were none.

We have been told that we, and the world, are safer because of the invasion of Iraq. We are not.

We were told “Mission Accomplished”. It was not.

We were told that Iraq was involved in the attacks of 9-11. It was not.

Were we told Iraq (under Saddam) was supporting Al Quida. It was not.

The administration has mislead the American people at very turn.

In 1994 interview, Cheney outline why President Bush (41) did NOT oust Saddam. Cheney was right, (see the video - How did they get is SO WRONG in 2003?

Last night, “Dubbya” once again said he was right regarding Iraq. I can not tolerate people that cannot or will not admit they are wrong. Mr. Bush – fess up – YOU WERE WRONG.

I had some hope for John McCain. But, he is now sounding like he would be a 3rd term for Bush. Our country cannot afford that.

Friday, March 14, 2008


This week has been on of the warmest so far this year. Wednesday (into the 60s) I headed out from the Wabash Trace Trailhead, going to the riverfront. Everything went well until I got to the Highway 92 bridge. The trail was blocked. Seems they are setting girders for the second 2 lanes.

My plan was to ride 20-25+ miles. Time for plan "B". I turned around back the Indian Creek trail to Manawa Trail then rode started riding around Lake Manawa. I even went to the South part of the park - had not been there. Great riding since the wind was with me on the West (open) side of the lake. Wind was not a problem on the East side of the lake with all of the houses and buildings.

Still not enough miles, to another loop around the lake. On the way back to the trailhead, the wind was kicking up. Planned to ride over the Xtreme Wheels to finish, but the wind got just too bad.

Thought that my legs would the tired and sore after the 50 miles in 3 weeks, but wanted to ride some anyway Thursday. It turned out that the weather was better that day - same temperature but almost no wind. Warm-up ride from Western Heritage Trail Center to N 24th. On the way back, saw Dennis driving to the trail center. Tried to catch him along the trail but to no avail. He stopped at the N16th Hy-Vee - chatted with him and we rode together to Big Lake. The road along the lake is closed - building a bridge there.

From Big Lake, it was down to the new trail bridge across the Missouri. They are making progress on the bridge. Not sure about the 4-way intersection at the East (Iowa) end of the bridge. Ending at the Trail Center was enough for Dennis. I still wanted to go toward 25+ miles. Rode over to Indian Creek - from Highway 92 to S 16th Ave. Over 26 miles today.

Time to take a break from the riding. Have a case of "saddle sores" from the aggressive riding this week. That was OK, since the weather was forecast for rain and nasty weather starting this morning. WRONG -- sunny and 50 most of the day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday Ride - First of the Season

This afternoon was the first of the Xtreme Wheels Tuesday Ride. Now, I had ridden a couple times on Tuesday this year - but the weather was not warm enough for most riders. The temperature at ride departure was in the 60s.

Dennis and I rode over to and around Lake Manawa. Rode the FX - have to ride it once in a while. We rode at the fastest pace so far this year - just over 12 mph.

I rode yesterday afternoon, too. Just a short (12 mile) ride. Was a little cool - about 40. I was checking my log yesterday. On March 10, 07, I had 90 miles. Yesterday showed over 190 miles this year. Today I topped the 200 miles mark.

No photos for today's entry :(

Friday, March 7, 2008

Trail Kiosks

The city of Council Bluffs, with support by the Rotary Club of CB and the Iowa West Foundation, have erected trail kiosks at numerous placed along the trail system.

Here is the kiosk near the Western Heritage Trail Center, at the entrance of the Iowa Riverfront Trail.

From what I have been seeing, the Council Bluffs has committed to building a bicycle friendly city.

The map on the kiosk is available at local bicycle shops.

BTW - what a difference a day makes. Yesterday it was 38 with light winds, today it is in the upper TEENS and windy. I am so over winter. The average high here is 46!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Longest Ride of the Year

Very light wind, sunny, mid to upper 30s - bike ride time!!! It has been a long time (Nov 8th) since I rode the hybrid, so decided to ride it.

The bike computer was not working when I was ready to ride - just took some cleaning of the housing contacts. Headed from the Wabash trailhead for the Trail Center. Stopped there, felt good so figured I might as well ride to the new bridge.

Weather turned cloudy for a while. Later the sun came put again.

In spite of the weather, they are making progress. Directly opposite from the bridge apron, they are building a short ramp/connector down to street level.

When I got back, went on up to Xtreme Wheels - get in a couple more miles. Ended up 27 miles today - June 6th was the last time I rode 27+ miles in 1 day! Probably will be tired and sore tomorrow.

OH, almost forgot, I got my new "Share the Road" license plates. They are pretty cool.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Back in Iowa

It was a good trip to Little Rock. Two rides on paved trails and one in the dirt. Thanks to my friends to putting me up and putting up with me. I got home just in time to enjoy the day today (actually got home Thursday evening).

Little windy this afternoon, but with the warm weather, couple not pass up the chance of a good ride. The trail from Wabash Trailhead to the Trail Center was in pretty good shape. A couple short sections with some snow still on the trail. There is the section under Hyw 92 - that was a mess with mud. Finally, wish they would do something at the access to the crosswalk switch S 24th at Penny's.

Hope I can get in a ride tomorrow before the cold front comes through.