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.

Sun, Wind, Rain, and Ice (Hail/sleet)

Friday night was the BHFTF Welcome Social. Saw some of the folks from last year. Sat wth the guys from MSP. Lots of SWAG given out. Pretty good social. I was tired, left once the raffle was over.

Yesterday was the second day on the Mickelson Trail Ride. The guys from MSP (most of our ride group) wanted to delay the start, so it was almost 11 by the time we got to Hill City and the bikes off-loaded. I stayed with the vans over the first section.

At The Mountain Trailhead (near Crazy Horse) I joined the ride, the goal to ride to Pringle (17+ mile). Most of that section is downhill. We stopped in Custer for lunch.

For some reason, my bike computer changed from MPH to KPH. Called Zach from our lunch, got most of it changed. At least it was reading at MPH. The prolem that my odometer was way off. Last night, using my log, I got the bike miles reset. (Have 184 miles on it so far)

Back to the ride --- The hill and wind out of Custer amost did me in. For basically the first 3 miles I was at max heart rate. Stopped once at a driverway to bring the heart rate down. Once the trail was downhill again, I was good to go. The wind was still rough at times. It would cause my speed to drop from about 15mph to 7mph, and everything between.

After a brief stop at the White Elephant Trailhead, it was on to Pringle. Just out of the traihead it started raining. that wasn't too bad. But then some kind of ICE came out of the sky. With the wind, rain, and ice, it was not pleasant. The support vans stopped along the road as the storm passed. Asking if I wanted off the trail, I said - I'm heading to Pringle". Only 2 miles to my goal for the day -- I made it.

I and several others called it quits at Pringle. Four kept on. A very strong squal came through. We picked up 3 riders off the trail. the last one made it to the Minnekahata trailhead (as he saw us leaving to pick up the other riders. Everyone made it back safe.

Last night was the viewing of "Seasons", the new film by The Collective". Lots of fast riding, jumps, awesome riding, and crashes. Over the the Firehouse for a beer and needed purchases for the Beer-Muda Triangle.

A great and tiring day. I felt good about making it through some of the worst weather I have ridden in.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Black Hills Fat Tire Festival

Yesterday I attend the Rapid City Walk & Bike for Life Summit. The day started with a presentation by IMBA about Ride Centers. Heard a lot of information that says we could create a Ride Center that encompasses THOR trails. How neat that would be.

Very interested in what more is being done for the Arkansas River Trail. Maybe I will attend the National Trails Symposium in Little Rock - Nov 08.

Today was the first day for the Mickelson Trail Ride. Weather was cold, damp, some drizzle. Trail surface was soft but ride able without damage. Eight of us on the ride. I only rode 10 miles - Dumont to Rochford. Others started riding from Deadwood - too many miles up steep hills. The photo here was taken in one of the tunnels on the Mickelson.

Welcome social tonight. More riding on the Mickelson tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Travel Day

Got an early start on he road this morning. Hated to miss the Wednesday Morning Ride, but had a 550 mile drive to Rapid City. Sky was clear until I got to near the Badlands - a shower came through. The rest of the day was mostly cloudy.

Detoured off the interstate to drive through the Badlands. Figured I might as well take a few photos on the way.

By the time time I got back to the interstate, it was time for a break. Bought ice cream for a afternoon snack and filled up my cup with ice water - from (where else) Wall Drug. Now, of course, you cannot claim to have been in South Dakota unless you have been at Wall Drug!

Weather forecast is not promising - thunderstorms and showers starting this night and through to Sunday morning. Watches for flash flooding in the area we are supposed to ride on Friday. URGH! Hope we can get in some saddle time.
Walk and Biking for Life Summit is on the agenda tomorrow. The summit is being held in conjuction the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival (which starts Friday).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wabash Line

With 2 days off the bike, I just HAD to get out and ride. About 80 deg with a breeze from the NW. Drove down to Silver City.

Zach said he might be riding the Trace this afternoon. When I did not see his vehicle, I figured he was riding later. Stopped in Malvern for drink of juice and eating a granola bar. Rode through downtown to see if the coffee shop had changed its name - not yet.

Right there downtown Malvern - there's Zach and his friend Drew. I decided to ride with them to the next cross road. Heading to the Trace, Zach took a wrong turn, looked back what we were hollering about. Splat - Zach did a sider, dumping the bike. Me, did not think to grab the camera (Damn!). At least he wasn't hurt.

Drew took this photo of Zack and me. Thanks, Drew.

Good ride back to Silver City - little slower with into the wind. The 4300 rode like a champ.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Platte River Battle Royale

yesterday, I needed a day off of the bike. So, did some yard work. It was needed. We did not have out Sunday Morning Ride (Dennis' bike is in the shop and John was recuperation from a wedding last night). I needed my bike/dirt fix!

Luckily, today was Platte River Battle Royale mountain bike race. Don't get fooled, I did not race - I took photos like I usually do.

Weather was great, the trail was in tip-top condition. Did some more experimenting - honing my photographic skills.

The photos are processed. (Many did not need any work.) Now I just need to post them to my web site. Trying to get that done before Black Hills Fat Tire Festival.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Friday Night Ride (MTB)

FINALLY the weather cooperated and we were able to make our first Friday Night Ride of the season. Seven Riders headed out into the woods in the Lake Manawa Mountain Bike Trail.

We rode for nearly 2 hours. On the last lap through E Sidewinder, I really hit my lines. Good ride.

Blaine had procured some headlights for testing. Several lights were attached to handlebars and one on a helmet. As we were waiting for dark, it was time for a ride over the the convenience store for food and refreshments.

Back into the woods, this time with headlights. I found that I really prefer a "flood" light with a wide pattern. Will see what everyone has to say after the test.

A marathon riding day (for me). 10.5 miles for the Mayors Bike to Work ride then 20.5 miles at Manawa (mostly in the dirt). The magic Blaine made on the crank of my bike did the trick. Now I can hear tire noise, not a drive train noise. (Thanks, Blaine)

Bike to Work Day

Yesterday was Bike to Work Day. I rode to show some support. There were several of us retirees. Of course, it was also an excuse to ride our bikes.

I think the attendance has improved each of the 3 years I have attended. Some of us assembled at Valley View Park (per the flier). We were sent over the Tazza di Caffe' for registration and refreshments (where the rest of the group was assembling). Cookies provided by Cellar 19.

Then it was over to Bayliss Park. Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan welcomed the riders and read a proclamation - designating the day as Bike to Week Day in Council Bluffs. The City also had refreshments in the park for the riders.

After the festivities, Blaine rode with me back over the the shop, where my car was parked. Blaine was able to witness the extra noise in my bike's drive train. Reworked the crank bearings.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Spring has Sprung

Overcast Tuesday, was threatening rain, but the weatherman said not until later in the afternoon - if at all. Brought my trail bike with me for breakfast. After breakfast I drove to the Wabash Trace trailhead, heading toward Manawa to check out the MTB trail conditions. Solid, except for the ditch on E Sidewinder. Rode more than planned - did the East side. Temp in the 60s.

Wednesday dawned clear, crisp, and cool. Another good weather for our Wednesday Morning Ride. Once again, layers started to shed during the ride. My riding was not at its best. Still enjoyed the ride.

Today - Wow. What a beautiful day for a ride! After our computer coffee, it was time to get out and ride. Clear, sunny, no wind, in the 60s. Went to the bike shop, changed some clothes (did not need the long sleeves) and headed out up the Trace. Good pace up the hill and flew down. My old Trek 4300 LOVES riding the Trace. Over 13mph average! My best pace of the season (I rated the ride A+). Took a couple of photos - Spring has sprung on the Wabash Trace.

Lots of riding the rest of the week, and weather forecast to be great. Council Bluffs Mayor's Bike to Work Ride is in tomorrow morning. Friday Night MTB Ride at Manawa that evening. Bellevue Bike Club's Ride is Saturday. Sunday is our Ham Radio group Sunday Morning Ride and the Platte River Marathon race.

Monday, May 12, 2008

More Scoping Out My Property

A nice morning yesterday, except for the wind - very windy. Not a riding day. I decided to hike down to the bottom of my property to scope out possibility for my singletrack.

I took my GPS to see what the altitude change down the hill. The GPS could not seem to make its mind, but it looks like about 50-60 ft from the bottom to the top. There's a area in the bottom with possibilities - through some trees, dead fall, and gully.

For information, the property is about 350 ft deep and about 750 ft long, with the yard cut out from that.

So, just have to think about flagging a trail...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Nauga Ranch Singletrack

Over the last couple days, I have been giving some thought to a singletrack and skills area on my property. I have about 5 acres to play with.

The top of the property is mostly flat, with some scrubby trees. Good areato build a skills area - see the mowed area. I have landscaping timbers, railroad ties, and old concrete to work with.
Since the riding mower was fixed last winter, I can use it to haul stuff around the property and mow a track.

Now, once I ride/hike down to the bottom of the property, I will find out what the vertical is. I know it is a pretty good hill.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

WMR on the Wabash Trace

The morning was damp and overcast. From the rain overnight, no dirt this morning. When I went into the garage, looking at my bikes, I said it was a day to ride the 4300.

Blaine and I were the only riders. We decided to check out the Wabash Trace - good shape for riding. Up the Trace we go. There were 2 small dead falls across the trail from the storm last night. Did our good deed for the day, clearing the trail.

At Margaritaville, I look at Blaine and asked "should we continue on to Mineola?" We did. Rested a little in Mineola and headed back up the hill. Another good ride.

My Trek 4300 is a great bike for the Trace. Think I will keep it - for now.

New Photos Posted

Head over to my web site. Photos are posted from:

Swanson River City Shootout

Xtreme Wheels Cinco de Mayo Ride and

XW Wednesday Morning MTB Ride

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In the Dirt Again

Well, was feeling good after my ride yesterday. With rain forecast for this evening and tomorrow, it was time to ride some singletrack.

This was my first full (my laps) 2 lap + warm/cool ride - 12.6 miles. Still getting used to the new trail bike. Some sections on the sidewinders I was riding at up to 12 mph! Then slower pace in the tight turns.

Minor crash on woodchopper. Never use the front disc brakes for panic stops! Just some dirt in my arm - that's all. Got back up and rode more. Thought of hopping a log on Fast Track - then dropped that idea, since I had crashed once already today!

Completed my goal - over 12 miles.

We are still getting some mushroom hunters (a guess) moving logs. I talked with one hunter during my ride. When I mentioned that the News was saying you can find mushrooms under rotting wood - he said that would be something novice hunters might think. Not true.

Only 2 weeks to my trip to Rapid City. Hope the snow is melting .

Ride Around CB

It was a beautiful day yesterday. Looked like a good day for a ride. I decided I needed a ride on pavement and on my FX.

When I headed out from the shop, I was not sure just how far I would ride. I made it to the Indian Creek bridge, feeling good, I decided to ride to Trail Center.

Stopped for rest & snack - the on up to the new bridge. It has been a long time since I rode past the new bridge. They are starting to run railings. Took a couple of photos.

Once I made it that far, through town was the shortest way back. Made another stop at Northway for drink and rest, then headed back to the shop.

Topped the hill on H. Langdon at 8mph, 140 bpm. Good ride.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Swanson River City Shootout

With the postponed race, I faced a bit of a quandary - I had also planned to work the Lake Manawa Clean-up Day. Even told our Trail Leader that I could cover for him. Thanks, Blaine, for helping me out of that bind.

I headed out for Swanson Park. It was a beautiful day Sunday for the race. The course was in tip-top shape.

T.H.O.R. set up a tent for our membership drive. We also had food and soda available. Tim and his crew were busy. New T.H.O.R. "Trail Crew" t-shirts, and the Spring issued of Dirt Tracks were also available.

What a turn-out for the race! I heard that some 151 racers registered. Awesome.

For the Beginner race, I found a new vantage point on the back hill. On the second lap. I set up at FireHouse Air - my favorite spot to photos. Then came the always popular Kid's Race.

With the Sport & Expert races underway, I found vantage points closer to the pavilion. I needed to near by to shoot the Beginner's Awards. After the awards, I headed back to FireHouse Air for some good air shots. Back into the woods closer to the pavilion, a couple more shots when the camera battery gave out. Switched that out and shot the Sport & Export Awards.

A busy day - looks like over 450 shots - now some time process the photos. Lastly, I will have to post them to my web site - sometime later this week.

Cinco de Mayo Ride

The Psycowpath MTB race for Saturday was postponed 1 day because of the rain Friday. That gave me the time (and energy) to ride the Xtreme Wheels Cinco de Mayo Ride.

Over 30 riders, many in costume, headed out from the shop for a ride on the Wabash Trace. The destination? Margaritaville, of course. There were refreshments & snacks. Then a quick ride down the hill.

Pot luck supper was served back at the shop.

I took it easy on the ride and food. For some reason, my stomach has not settled. My riding showed it. My speed was low climbing the hill. Coming up the hill, I had the rear shock cut in - that also gave me a bouncy ride - next time ride up with the shock locked out (the bike performance and my stomach condition were not related).

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Bike to Work Day

Join riding with Council Bluffs Mayor Tom Hanafan on Friday, May 16th. The ride is part of Bike to Work Week - May 12-16.

Ride from Valley View Village to Bayliss Park along Valley View Trail and Harry Langdon Blvd.

7:45 - 8:00am Registration and sign in at Valley View Park.
8:00 - 8:45 Bicycle Ride with the Mayor to Bayliss Park
8:45 - 9:45 Mayor's Proclamation and press conference (refreshments)
9:00 - 9:45 Return to Valley View Park

Click on the flier on the right for more information.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Reminder - Black Hill Fat Tire Festival

Three weeks to the Black Hill Fat Tire Festival. Last year I attended - the first year for the festival and the first festival I had attended.

Those that came last year - there are some new trails, rides, and functions. The big one for me is the Mickelson Trail Ride Friday and Saturday. The Mickelson is an old railroad bed and runs for 109 miles.

For you singletrack racers, there are races galore - downhill, xc, hill climb and more.

Singletrack tours are held a couple of times a day (you need to sign up before the ride). Tour rides are "no one left behind" and lead by members of BHMBA (Black Hills Mountain Bike Association).

Another addition for this year's festival is a film festival. There will also be a showing of Season the new film from The Collective.

You need to take part in Beer-muda Triangle. You earn raffle tickets for attending functions and making purchases at sponsors (stuff you will need anyway - like gas, food, and souvenirs).

I had a great time last (even if the trails were over my ability). I have been told that they have new trails, including an easier trail. This will be a great way to checkout my new bike!

Good trails, good friends, good food, good scenery - a great festival. Check out my photos from last year's Festival.

While you are in the area, check out Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Needles Highway (Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway), and Custer State Park.

Hope you can attend - looking forward to meet you there...

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Rides & Trail Work

Back on the trail Tuesday. I decided to fore go the Tuesday Evening Ride from the bike shop. Instead I rode dirt at Manawa. The trails are dry (except for 1 ditch), hard, and fast.

It felt that I was riding closely to the same as my hardtail. Good lines, increasing speed, etc. When I got the bike to the shop for Wednesday Morning Ride, I realized that the rear shock was locked! Now wonder it was riding like my 4300.

Wednesday dawned clear, crisp, and cool. A good morning for our ride. Riders: Randy, Greg, Zach and me. We did our normal ride from the shop to Lake Manawa, rode the trails there and headed back to the shop. I could feel the difference now - riding with the rear shock in v. locked. Still getting is used to the new bike - but riding better each time I am out.

Just ended the ride when my friend Chuck called - he wanted to come over for help picking out a bike. Took him to Xtreme Wheels, where he ended purchasing a Navigator 30.

From there - Trail work. I met Steve (Manawa Trail Leader) and Martin to clear the 3 dead falls and hopefully make repairs to the big tree crossing. Andrew (another rider from XW stopped by when working on the log crossing - helped with us.

When I got home I was tired - not mentioning sore legs. See how I feel today - if I am going to ride later.