Friday, December 31, 2010

Speed Bumps on the Road of Life

After retirement, I was just living my life without any direction. Just enjoy my retirement.

Then came along a 6 month illness that ended with a stroke caused by a failed heart valve. My doctors tell me they almost lost me. I don't even remember preparation for open heart surgery. But the ticking of the valve in my chest is a constant reminder. The first time I had to decide if I really wanted to live, and what quality of life.

Through that experience and cardiac rehab, I realized I have something to live for. I took up riding a bicycle for exercise. A year after onset of health problems, I was pedaling a bicycle. Soon, cycling was my life.

During this time, I was diagnosed with PTSD, believed to be from my service in Viet Nam. I was put on an anti-depressant.

My life refocused. With cycling, photography, and computers as the focal points, I started racking up the miles pedaling my bicycles. I started carrying a camera in the pocket of my cycling jersey. Soon, I was a fixture in the local cycling community.

Folks comment that I am an inspiration. I just want to be a better cyclist. My love for riding my bikes, brought me to giving back to the cycling community. As I found myself immersed into volunteering for the local trail groups. Started a cycling blog and added a cycling section of my web site. My cycling allowed me to kick the depression. Even started a photography business.

That brings us to 2010. At the end of 2009 I was diagnosed with cancer - Extraskelatal Myxoid Chondrosarcoma. 2010 started with a lung biopsy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. I believe the miles I spend on the bicycles last year made me stronger and better able to fight the cancer. My greatest achievement of 2010 was riding over 2000 miles, it was the 340 miles ridden during cancer treatments.

My doctors have been giving me good reports. The cancer is still there, but I can't let it drive my life. At the end of 2010, I believe I have given another lease on life. What do I do with it in 2011?

I think there are larger contributions that I can make for the cycling community and the area in general. It is in my photography arts? Spreading the word of cycling as a life style? Getting involved with wellness programs?

Since the stroke, I have been apprehensive about my public speaking. And at times, my writing can get difficult (the right words just don't pop up). This morning I caught the Charlie Rose show on PBS. He was interviewing Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen. He is battling cancer and recovering from a stroke – in the same year! Gave me the incentive to carry on, and do more.

Bring it on 2011...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

End of theYear

Well, I will have to settle with 2028 miles on the bikes for the year. I should have braved the wind today, but just did not have the drive. Yes, it was in the 50s here. I know others were out riding, but I called it a year.

No chance to ride tomorrow (New Year's Eve) as the weather is heading South as I am writing this (sleet and snow on the way). Forecast is for bitter cold on New Year Day.

Don't get me wrong, I am pleased with my efforts this year. After the worst winter weather in decades, a week in the hospital for biopsy, 7 1/2 weeks of radiation treatments, and 11 weeks of chemotherapy, I was able to ride 340 miles during the period.

To celebrate getting though the treatments, I treated myself with a new bike - my first road bike. Ended up with logging over 1000 miles on the new bike this year. Not much dirt riding at home, Lake Manawa trails were under water most of the year. Enjoyed some awesome dirt riding in Wisconsin and S. Carolina.

So, I am ready to close the book on 2010...

2011, bring it on!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Photo Blog

Tom's new Photo Blog. Photos, equipment, locations, processes.

Check it out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Snow Ride of the Season

I was getting antsy yesterday. Some of my cycling friends were riding in the snow at Manawa. My "snow bike" was in the shop for new chain and cassette, changing tires to studs, and swapping pedals (clipless to combo), so I was not able to ride with them. The bike was done late in the afternoon, a bit envious that I had not been able to ride with them. (OK, I could have, it meant a full suspension bike but no studs.)

After Sunday Coffee, I was ready for a ride. Put together a winter, snow riding kit and headed to Lake Manawa with the Hardtail.

Once again, it was like learning to ride again! Took it easy to get used to the snow trail. Started with West Sidewinder. Then both trails on the West side. Finally, ended up with East Sidewinder. That was enough for the first snow ride of the season.

It may sound like it was a wimpy ride (4+ miles in about 50 minutes) but that was enough for today.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Miles Not Accumulating Very Fast

Its December. Living in Iowa, we are happy for any decent riding weather we get. Have to take advantage of days like yesterday - mid 40s, mostly sunny, and a slight breeze from the West.

I headed into town for a bike ride. Parked near Xtreme Wheels. Rode my "Tour de Bluffs" route. Logged another 22.6 miles.

The Missouri River seems to continue dropping. Good news, we don't want more flooded trails. I need to air the tires in the Fuel EX7 to checkout the trail at Lake Manawa.

Along Veterans Memorial Highway (Iowa Rt 92), the trail blocked. Construction company boring a horizontal hole under the roadway. Looks they may be at this for a while. Take care when riding this short section off trail.

Stopped in at the Trails Center - restroom, sign guest book, mid-ride refreshments. Restrooms are few and far between in the winter. On the "Tour" the portable facilities are removed for the winter at the Wabash Trace Trailhead Park and Big Lake. That leaves me the Trails Center (but don't count on it on Mondays and holidays) and the bike shop.

Over the last week, I finished writing my Christmas Letter. It is starting to show up in e-mails. Over the weekend snail mail. Normal breakfasts and coffees. And the first Christmas Party of the season - Thanks Roxzanne and Ryan.

See if my legs want to ride this afternoon. Then its Second Friday Art Tour in Council Bluffs.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Made it - 2000 Miles

The last 2 1/2 weeks has been rough for me --- no bike rides. Yesterday, I finally broke the streak.

Sunny day, temperature in the low 40s, but a bit windy from the North. Forecast is that the weather will be going down the tubes over the next week. Had to ride.

Headed out from Xtreme Wheels North to Big Lake. The photo above is my road bike on the marshland observation bridge at Big Lake. Continued riding Iowa Riverfront Trail to the Western Historic Trails Center.

Being it Thursday, Jam and Bread was in full swing. I stopped for a granola bar and bottle of G2.

The new paving on the Western Historic Trail is completed. When I got to Indian Creek Trail, I had a decision - South to Lake Manawa or North back into town. Since I needed 22 miles to make my 2000 miles for the year, I opted for the ride down to Manawa.

The Missouri River level has continued to drop - great to see that.

By now, the wind seemed to pick up. Just in time for my ride into the wind. I grabbed a shot block to suck on, and headed North. Since I had forgot to bring the heart monitor, I took it easy. The climb up the bridge on Harry Langdon was brutal. Once I dropped down to South Ave, I know I had it without bonking, with some legs left (but not much).

Relaxed a little at the bike shop and headed home. Mission Accomplished - 2002 miles for the year! Nothing like the 3355 miles I ended up last year, but a good effort with the weather, floods, and treatments.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Road Bike Ride

After a snowy Friday night, chilly weekend, today was another beautiful day for a bike ride. I grabbed the road bike to put miles on it (goal to have it roll over 1000 miles).

Rode from the Wabash Trace trailhead, heading on the normal loop around town. backtracked quickly for warmer (and dry) gloves and take my 1pm pill.

Passed the Trail Center (closed on Mondays during winter). At Ameristar, the bike odometer turned 1000. Stopped took a couple photos. It was still at 1000 miles at Harrahs. Took another couple photos in the shadow of the gangway.

Next stop was Xtreme Wheels. A little, nagging noise at the rear wheel. Seems it was the spacer on the non-drive side of the rear wheel. Same thing had happened with the hybrid (I should have remembered).

Ended up with 24.9 miles and the road bike has 1012 miles on the computer. Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bike Bash 2010

Saturday night was Bike Bash 2010, an event to recognize Nebraska's road bike and mountain bike racers.

Food prepared by Donna and Micha Holmes (great job!) EmCee for the evening was Ryan Feagan.

After eats, the awards were presented. The first award, the Psycow Spirit Award, was presented to David Packard. From there, the Road Race awards were presented. Next, the mountain bike awards.

The evening was capped with a compilation of video and stills edited by Roxzanne Feagan. Video footage by Jeremy Cook and stills by Tom Winfield.

The photos I took at Bike Bash 2010 are on my photo sale web site.

A near capacity crowd was on hand for the event. Congratulations to all of the winners.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Western Historic Trail Paving

This week concrete is being poured on the trail from the Trails Center to S. 24th St. When I rode by yesterday afternoon, the paving work was along the baseball fields West of the Maintenance Building. Paving is progressing West to East.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hardtail Hits 5K

Readers of this blog know that I ride my bikes a lot. In April 06, I bought my first mountain bike - a Trek 4300. Today, this bike turned over 5000 miles! I have never ridden over 5000 miles on one bicycle before.

My Trek 4300 has been a workhorse. It is the bike I rode when I first learned the enjoy of riding singletrack. That first year, I logged over 1100 miles on the 4300.

A couple years ago, I bought a pair of studded tires for the bike. The 4300 became my snow/ice bike.

In 2008, I bought a Trek Fuel EX7, full suspension mountain bike. The Fuel EX7 did not handle as well on the Wabash Trace (crushed limestone Rails-2-Trails) but loved riding in the dirt. My trusted 4300 became became the ride of choice for The Trace.

Another duty for the 4300 was trail work. When helping maintain the mountain bike trails at Lake Manawa, it became my trail work bike.

For 3 years, when I took a car trip, it was the Trek 4300 that was on the rack. It was used to explore trails in Colorado, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Florida, South Dakota, Nebraska, and of course, Iowa.

Now, the bike was not without problems. The biggest item was failures of the seat post to saddle bolt. After a second failure (which caused me riding standing up about 4 miles on the Wabash Trace), it was time to buy a different seat post with a stronger attachment system.

In addition to normal maintenance items, there was a broken deraileur, and rear wheel failure. Yet when it fell off the car rack at 55 mph on the highway, the only sustained scrapes and abrasions.

It has been a great first mountain bike and is still going strong. It is my "go to" bike. If I can only bring one of my 4 bikes, it will be the Trek 4300. If/when I have to replace the hardtail 4300, it will be a TREK hardtail like the 4300, but with upgraded components.

The upper photo shows the computer showing 5000 miles this afternoon. The lower photo is the bike on Hopp Creek Bridge (Wabash Trace between Malvern and Silver City, Iowa) where I recorded the 5000 miles milestone.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Manawa Mostly Rideable

Last night 9 guys tackled the trails at Lake Manawa. Zach (Xtreme Wheels) had contacted about a trail evening to get the trails in shape for winter (Snow Rides!). With Zach's friends and a couple other workers (Trail Leader Steve counted a total of 9), a large section of the trails were cleared.

The river level is continuing to drop. We were able to get out and clear fallen trees, branches, and floated debris. In Tony's Playground, the flood floated the teeter totters up to a different location. The top photo from yesterday is a group of the crew carrying one of the teeter totters back to its location.

During the trail work session, the trail crew checked Riverfront Real Estate and Fast Track. No Second Chance was cleat\red. In addition to resetting the teeter totters, the trail was cleared. A deadfall was cut on Long's Landing. Finally, the return trails from Long's Landing to East Sidewinder were cleared (East Sidewinder itself has not been cleared).

Before the trail work started, I had time to head out to Woodchopper. Much of that trail (at least the out portion) is dry enough allowing to work on the trail. There is still some standing water and soft mud out in the center.

Of course, West Sidewinder is clear since we used that loop during the THOR Family Day.

When rode back to the parking lot after trail work, I was treated to a beautiful sunset. A shot of last nights sunset over the Missouri River is the lower photo.

Some of the guys headed back on the trails with lights for a night ride. I had the light along, but was just too tired.

For those that want to ride Manawa, be careful with the ditch just after the big log crossing and armored section - it is washed deep and needs benching (plans done to do that this Saturday).

Monday, November 1, 2010

12,000 Miles

July 2005 I started riding a bicycle to get exercise after a heart valve was replaced with a mechanical valve. Exit interview after cardic rehab asked what I was going to do to keep active so that I don't lose the progress I made during rehab.

I decided to check out cycling. Bill at Xtreme Wheels put me on a Trek Navigator and - as they say - the rest is history.

During my 25+ mile ride today, I broke the 12,000 mile mark. I think that's pretty good for a 63 year old. It makes many days on the bike since the longest day has been under 50 miles.

Next goal is 2000 miles for the year.

Manawa & Western Historic Trails

During my ride this afternoon, I went over the the Lake Manawa Mountain Bike trails. The water continues to drop. Visited with a couple guys that had just loaded their bikes. They told me that the West side (Woodchopper) still has standing water.

The two guys told me that most of the rest of the trail is rideable - just needs cleaning up, and some trees that need to be cut out. Guess with one tree, they moved deadfalls and created a log crossing. That's what is going to happen when the trail crew does not get out to take care of the trail problems.

From Manawa, I headed West - rode Veteran's Memorial trail to the Motel near S. Omaha Bridge. There is still that one block of trail that needs to have finish grading and paving.

At the Western Historic Trails Center, the construction company is working on the grading in preparation for paving. If the keep at it, they should have this done in the next couple weeks. The photo here is the preparations being made just out of the Trails Center.

The Trails Center has changed it hours of operation. November through to mid March, the building will be closed on Mondays. Be aware that the Trails Center will also be closed on State holidays. I understand this is a cost cutting move.

Rode on up the Iowa Riverfront Trail, dropped down on N. 15th St and into downtown Council Bluffs. Stopped at Xtreme Wheels to talk with Zack about the trail work we are planning for Wednesday evening.

Was thinking of riding the long way (down Indian Creek Trail) bach to the Wabash Trace Trailhead, it is was getting a little cool. The sun was bright when I headed out for my ride. Later in the afternoon, the thin clouds started filtering the sunshine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Saturday Road Bike Ride

Time to do a tour to check trail conditions. the first stop was Lake Manawa Mountain Bike trails. I was on the road bike, so could not ride the trails. But, from what I could see from the road, they are slowly drying out. In the next couple days I should take the hardtail back there to check them out more closely. Gee! Maybe they couple brought rideable before the snow flies.

At the Wabash Trace trailhead, it was a bit warm. Dropped the jacket. Almost dropped the l/s undershirt. Once on the trail, was glad I had it. Cycling shorts, l/s spandex shirt, and jersey was just right.

On over to the Western Historic trail. Nothing has been done over the last week. Wondering if the construction company doing the paving on The Trace is the same one that's working on the Council Bluffs trails. Seems like if activity on the Trace, there is none in CB.

One the way up to Big Lake I ran into Greg and Jodi on the Iowa Riverfront Trail. Stopped and visited with them for a while. Stopped at Big Lake for granola bar and Gatorade. Then the straight shot back to the Wabash Trace trailhead.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Windy Ride

The weather this week has not been conducive to riding - very windy. But I had not been on a bike since Sunday, I had to get out an ride yesterday (Friday). By noon, the sky was clear, temperature in the low 60s, and a 10-20+ mph wind from the SSW. I settled for a ride on the Wabash Trace. Besides, I wanted to check out paving progress in Malvern.

As I unloaded the hardtail in Silver City, a young man came over to talk with me. There it a new business opening in Silver City - Austins on the Trail. The restaurant and lounge will be in the old Wabash Bar and Grill building at 405 Main St. Austin's is planning to open December 1st.

On down The Trace. Other than for the wind, it was a beautiful day for a bike ride. At lease the trees along the trail offer some shelter. Stopped at the Silver Creek bridge for water and photos.

Just South of the Silver Creek Bridge there is a deadfall down blocking the trail (about 1/3 mile south - 2/3 miles North of 305th St). It took some effort, but worked the bike through the branches and was able to continue riding down the Trace.

There are smaller branches and limbs littered all over the trail. That is not surprising with the wind we have been having the last week.

At Janke Rd the barricade was down. I could see workers a little down the trail. Rode on the new paved trail to where they were working. I was advised that basically, the new surface was available for riding. They were pouring the last footings for railings at a couple culverts.

Most of the shouldering work is done. Next week (first week of December) they should complete leveling the shoulders, seed the shoulder, and sweep the trail surface.

While the trail is not yet officially "open" through Malvern, it is rideable. Just watch for construction.

More paving photos are on the Wabash Trace Facebook page.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Photo Shoot Bike Ride

After coffee at Panera Bread, the weather was just too nice (for the end of October) to spend it in the house. Time to get out for a bike ride. Aired up the tires on the hybrid.

Had not been riding that bike in a while (with the road bike getting the work-out). But, with the cloudy sky, it was a day to shoot HDR exposures. The hybrid has the rack and bag to carry the D-SLR.

Was a bit rough heading out - into the wind from the SSW. At least got a break riding up Indian Creek Trail with the wind.

When I turned the corner onto Veteran's Memorial Trail I noticed that the construction barricade was down, The re-paving there was done. They still have to pave the section of Western Historic Trail from S 24th to the Trails Center.

Feeling good at the Trails center, so headed on North the the "Bob Bridge" and across to Omaha. Got some awesome photos on the ride!

Uneventful ride back to the Trails Center and on to the car at the Wabash Trace trail head.

Some of the photos shot today are on the Tom Winfield Photography Facebook page.

27.6 miles today, topped the 1700 mile mark for the year.

Gaging the Wind

Needed to get out to ride Friday. Wind was kicking up from the Southsoutheast. Was a bit strong heading into the wind on the Lake Manawa Trail along Mosquito Creek.

The spur from the Lake Manawa Trail to E. Manawa Drive had been shouldered and seeded. I have found out the that "spur" will continue along E. Manawa Drive North to Hyway 92 where it will connect to the Veteran's Memorial Trail. That will cut the distance from the Wabash Trace to the "Bob Bridge" via bicycle trails.

Had fun (and a little scary) pedaling with the wind up Indian Creek. with a 15+ mph wind on my back, I pushed the road bike up to 27.4 mph on the flat! Fastest i have ridden on the flats. And with the wind, it was a little scary - so I brought it on down.

On the Veterans Memorial Trail, they have paved the section. Looking good, though still needs to be shouldered. The long section from S. 24th to the Trails Center had not been paved - yet.

Made my normal stop at the Western Historic Trails Center and on up the trail. With the wind, I was not looking forward to riding into the wind on N. 8th, St, I decided to ride city streets from the Bob Bridge to Xtreme Wheels.

The riding on city streets were much more sheltered. Had a pretty good ride, and got in my 20+ miles. BTW, the "short cut" that Zach told me about (South St) sure makes the ride from the shop to the car (at the trail head) sure made a difference. Love not having to cling Harry Langdon!

Lunch Ride to Mineola

I had been meaning to ride to Mineola on a Wednesday for lunch. Wanted to check out their tenderloin sandwich (a Wednesday Special) at Toby Jack's Mineola Steakhouse.

Sunny say, nice temperature, with a breeze from the WNW. The wind direction was a problem, I was not looking forward to pedaling up the hill into the wind on the way home.

When I got to Margaritaville, I notices some changes. The area has cleaned up and the bike racks moved over to the East side of the trail. There is a new (second) grill there. Looking good.

After lunch, I started pedaling up the hill, sucking on a shot blok. It was an effort, but made it. Tool it easy down the hill. Just before the trail head, there's an open space. The wind was sooooo strong there, I had do shift way down, and hoping to not bonk. Made it, but my lets were toast.

Needed a day off the bike to recover.

Back on the Bike

Tuesday, I was back on the road bike. It was time to check out trail conditions.

The river level continues to drop. Still lots of water flowing down the Missouri. Parts of the trails at Lake Manawa remain under water. The photo here shows how much of the trail is underwater.

Checked status of re-paving along 92 and S. 24th St to Trails Center. Nothing changed since stripping the asphalt.

Saturday Morning Photo Shoot

Its time to catch up on my blogging. Saturday the 16th, I headed to Omaha after breakfast. Beautiful morning to walk and shoot photos. Not up to riding - already had 111 miles for the week.

Parked across from Rick's Boatyard at Lewis & Clark Landing. Destination: Heartland of America Park. Set up the Canon Rebel T1i for exposure bracketing.

Most of the photos I shot were 3 bracketed exposure, generally +/- 2 EV. Some were exposed +/- 1 EV. A couple, where I did not have the changing fountain contend with, were a full 5 exposures: -2, -1, OEV, +1, +2.

Back home, I processed the photos with Photomatix Lite.

The next couple days I spent lots of time processing photos. Found some awesome photoshop plug-ins created by Topaz Labs. Took their software "Adjust" for a free test drive. Here's one of the "art print" efforts.

I have posted some of the art prints on the Tom Winfield Photography Facebook page. More will likely find their way into this blog.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Year Older

Yesterday I celebrated my birthday. Awesome weather for the middle of October.

Started the day with my daily chat. Then into town for coffee and computer stuff. Had my free birthday cinnamon roll at Panera Bread. John (KB0QKH) stopped by pre-work coffee. I did some updating on my web site.

Back home, nap, and preparations for a bike ride. When I headed to the Wabash Trace trail head, it was sunny, light breeze, and in the upper 60s. Didn't need my jacket. Rode the Gary Fisher Rail Super T road bike.

First stop was the Western Historic Trails Center. Stopped to sign the guest book, visit, and some liquids. On up the Iowa Riverfront Trail to the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge (Bob Bridge) and over to Omaha. Took a few photos at Heartland of America Park. More liquids and a shot block and back over to the iowa side of the Missouri.

On the Bob Bridge I stopped and ask someone to take my picture on the bridge. From there, it was on to Big Lake Park. Where it was a break off the bike, liquids and granola bar.

Still had miles to pedal. Next destination was Xtreme Wheels. Visited with Zach, Blaine, and customers for a little. Zach had bought decorated cupcakes for my birthday cake. No small feat as he carried them to work of his bicycle (no basket or rack!). Thanks, Zach.

I was thinking of extending the ride on the way back - taking Indain Creek Trail back to Manawa. But, the wind had been picking up from the South (hear wind) and my legs were getting a little tired. Decided to just ride on (the normal-short) route back to the trail head.

Good ride. Just over 25 miles, out for over 3 hours. When I logged the ride, found that I have done 111 miles for the week. A successful week.

Had a big salad for my post-ride meal. My mom called me for my birthday. I crashed into bed.

This morning, my legs are a little sore. Plans are of ham radio breakfast. Photo shoot - Lewis & Clark Landing and Heartland of America Park. Time to shoot some HDR photos there. Now, do I drive and walk to the shoot or ride the hybrid over the Bob Bridge?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Trail Condition

This week I have been riding the road bike. Weather has been great. Couple days with some wind - but learning to ride the "roadie" in the wind.

With the rides (and side rides to the river boat landing) it was cleat that the Missouri River is dropping. It has dropped about 2 feet or more in the last couple weeks. Still its gonna be some time before the trail dries off. What I have heard, much of the dirt trail is accessible and rideable - just can't ride through. Hope weather cooperates so our trail crew can get the trail open before the snow.

Re-paving reported in the previous post has started. As you can see from the photo here, the old asphalt paving is being removed. Thursday the machine was seen on the Western Historic Trail. The section of the Veterans Memorial Trail has been stripped. Hope they get right on to pouring concrete.

Hit the 1600 mile mark for the year with second ride around town in the week. Will make another 100+ miles week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Trail Closings

Yesterday I rode from the Wabash Trace trailhead to the Bob Bridge. As I was prepping the bike at the trailhead, Roxy (another THOR member) happened by. We rode together - was good to have a friend to ride with. The trail was open all the way.

That's why I was surprised to encounter barricades across the trail this afternoon. The first barricade was along Hwy 92 just East of S. 24th St, closed to S. 24th St.

The second closed section is from S. 24th St and Richard Downing to the Western Historic Trails Center. When I reached the Trails Center, I stopped to talk with the construction workers. The trail is being repaved - asphalt to be removed and replaced with concrete. I asked how long the trail will be closed. He commented "if they get right to it, should be done in about 2-3 weeks". Some of the paving machinery is along the trail (along Hwy 92).

I wonder - it this is the repair and repaving that is being done in Council Bluffs where monies were shuffled away from the Wabash Trace? The asphalt paving in the area are really NOT bad - for what I have seen, it didn't need to be replaced.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

THOR Family Fun Day

Suspicious characters were found riding bicycle in the woods at Lake Manawa State Park (IA). It was THOR's Bring Your Own Kid Mountain Biking day. Kids of all ages had fun on their bikes.

The awesome weather (great scheduling there, Dave), great food, and good conversation rounded out the day.

The photos I shot are on my photo web site

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10 Days on the bike

OK, not constantly on the bike for 10 days - I have ridden every day in the last 10 days. During that period I logged in 193 miles. One of the days I only rode 3.5 miles - during trail work. The rest of that day was shooting the cyclocross race at Swanson.

Its harvest season in the heartland. With wall-2-wall sunshine for the last 2 weeks, the combines have been busy. That kind of weather has been perfect for bike riding.

After 2 days riding in the Wabash Trace, the last 2 days I have ridden the loop around Council Bluffs. Looks like the Missouri River is slowly receding - again! Will take some time before we will be able ride the full loop at Lake Manawa.

Thankfully, West Sidewinder is (and has been all year) above water lever and rideable. Weather is gonna be awesome for THOR's Bring Your Kid Mountain Biking festivities on Saturday at Lake Manawa.

Lastly, today I (finally) topped the 1500 miles mark for the year.

Rides on the Wabash Trace

Monday and Tuesday the forecast was for windy from the SE. Temperature in the low 70s and wall-to-wall sunshine. Perfect weather for a ride on the Trace.

Monday's ride was from the Council Bluffs trailhead to Mineola and back. Took my time climbing to Dumfries, wanted reserves for the climb back up from Mineola.

I was just one of those "perfect" days to be on a bicycle. I was not in a hurry, no pace to set or beat. Just ride. Any when i got to Mineola, I wanted to just keep on riding. Not stop, not come home, just ride.

When I got back to the car, I wanted to ride more! But, decided to save the legs for another day. Speaking of my legs, a bit strange for me. When I head out riding, and even during the ride, my legs (and perhaps the mind) are not sure they are up to a long ride. A reason that I take it easy. But when done, I wished there was more -- more miles to ride. I have ridden every day since Sept 28th! and not too tired to get out and ride another day. While one day was just a couple miles when doing trail work, most of those days were about 20 mile rides.

Back to rides on the Trace.

Tuesday was a day to ride from Silver City to Malvern to check out progress of the paving construction. Stopped at the Silver Creek bridge to take some photos. as i was about ready to head on south, I could recognize Dennis headed down. We rode together on down the Malvern.

As I got to Janke Rd, I saw that supples for barricades are in place, but barricades were not. The same was the case all rest of the way to Malvern and through town.

Word had been that construction was to start a week ago through Malvern. Dropped a note (with photos) to the SWINT Board member with the county conservation board with a copy to the SWINT president. Have been some great weather the last 2 weeks - missing great opportunities for good construction weather.

On back up to Silver City. At Silver City, I rode a little past to Dobney Road to see the transition at that point. Dennis was on a ride out of Mineola- so we parted company.

I did continue up to the end of the paved section. The transition there needs some more crushed rock. its a bit rough.

Back at the car, I had just over 19 miles. Wanted to ride more, but loaded the bike on the car and headed home. Wednesday was another day.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Omaha Cyclocross Weekend

Saturday was the start of the Omaha Cyclocross weekend at Swanson Park. Was a beautiful day - sunny, cool, light breeze. Bike riding weather.

Decided to bring the cameras to shoot the race. And shoot I did - just short of 900 photos! Some need some help, most of pretty good, a couple are just awesome.

The photos are available for sale on my photo web site - When you purchase the photo, I will send you the file vie e-mail. The file is yours to do as you wish - except no commercial use without permission. (That means you can use it on your Facebook page, give prints to friends, hang a big poster of you in the house, but you cannot sell the photo.)

Will not be taking photos at the race today (Sunday). Today's riding day for me!

Lake Manawa Trail Work

Saturday was a busy day. Started with the normal ham radio breakfast. then on over to Lake Manawa to help with the Trail Day. While there are many sections of the trail system is under water, much work could be tackled.

The primary need right now was the clean/clear the short loop on the West site. That's the loop THOR's "Bring Your Kid Mountain Biking" will utilize next Saturday.

Took the opportunity to update the Kiosk (took down the Psycowpath Race poster and add the THOR information pamphlet.

Rode the short loop, then headed back to "No Second Chance". Did some lopping and clearing stuff off the trail. At times, it is very difficult to see just where the trail is in that section (see photo).

Friday, October 1, 2010

100 Mile Week

Another beautiful day for a bike ride. Headed out from the Wabash Trace trailhead. Rode the Lake Manawa Trail and the Indian Creek Trail. Finally, city streets to the new location of Xtreme Wheels.

The show floor is open. They were scraping the paint off the windows while I was there. Today's photo is the rack of bikes at the new location.

No hurry today, weather was just perfect. On the way back to the car, stopped to take some photos.

Another 100 mile week - this week all on the road bike. No, I'm not turning into a "roadie", enjoying the weather and riding but missing the dirt at Manawa. Probably be on crushed limestone (Wabash Trace or Steamboat Trace) Sunday.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And still rising

Another beautiful day in the Heartland. Breeze from the North, wall-to-wall sunshine, temperature in the 70s. Headed out from the Wabash Trace Trailhead on the road bike.

Rode over to Lake Manawa to check out the Missouri River water level. Not surprising (yet disappointed) I saw that the river was even higher today (Thursday) than it was yesterday. Compare today's photo to the one taken yesterday!

Hopefully, any rains to the North over the next week will be light. While forecast for the Omaha area is no rain for the next week, there may be storms North. We need lots of drying weather.

So far, the water is not over the road. Luckily, the trail section we (THOR) are planning to use on the 9th is well above the river level.

On over the the Trail Center. Feeling good, so decided to continue on to make a tour around the city. By the time I got up to Big Lake, my legs were a bit tired. Glad I will have the wind from my back most of the rest of my ride. Big Lake was my refreshment break.

Another stop at the new bike shop to see how they were progressing. Tomorrow is opening of the new shop at 33 S. Main St.

Still had legs left as I climbed Harry Langdon and Woodbury. Ended up with just short of 25 miles in just over 2 hours riding time. So far 80 miles this week, want to try to top the 100 miles tomorrow.

River Continues to Rise

Wednesday I was back on the trails. This time I parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead. From there, headed out on the Lake Manawa trail. Rode down to the mountain bike trail area.

The Missouri River level is up from what I saw Sunday. Today's photo is of the water level at the exit of the long loop. Sure would be nice to be able to ride my favorite trail once again! Guess like I will have to keep riding the pavement and the Wabash Trace.

Rode on over to the Trail Center. From there to I-80 (get in a little more miles - a very little more). By the time I was back to the Trace trailhead, the day was warming up and the wind was kicking up. Still, a good ride.

Riding Weather

Looks like we are getting some decent weather, finally. No rain in the forecast for all week.

I needed the day off Monday - relaxed at home. Tuesday it was to ride my version of the Tour de Bluffs. Started from the old bike shop (OBS).

Stopped by Western Historic Trails Center. With the river up, was concerned if the Iowa Riverfront Trail might be flooded behind the trail Center. The told me it was not - which was the case when I rode there.

On past the Casinos. There is some river water is invading the parking lots of the casinos. Recommend parking in the garage until the river is back down.

Stopped at Big Lake for refreshments and a break. On down N 8th to downtown. Stopped at the new Xtreme Wheels location. Took a photo of the road bike in fron of the new shop. Helped them move a couple things into the new location.

On around past the Mall and back to the OBS. Great, relaxing 24 miles ride.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Day On Conifer

Yesterday was the last day the Xtreme Wheels was open on Conifer Ln. They are moving to their new digs at 33 S. Main St. in Council Bluffs. I spend a couple hours helping them move stuff to the new location. (Thanks for lunch, Blaine)

The bike shop will be closed for most of the week as they move. They will open
again Friday (I understand). Stop by to check out their new shop.

I had brought my "Rail Super T" with me. Needed a short ride wit the weather so good. Changed clothes and headed out from the old bike shop. At 4:30 the sky was clear, basically no wind, temperature in the upper 60s. Perfect riding weather.

Rode over to Indian Creek. The news this morning reports the flooding in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Storms last week hit Sioux Falls, SD to Madison, WI with 10+ inches of rain! Sioux Falls water flows right down to the Missouri and through Omaha/Council Bluffs.

On the way back, stopped by the river to check the river level and trail condition. The Missouri River level is back up. That means the mountain bike trails at Lake Manawa are once again under water.

Back on the bike shop, logged in my 12 mile ride and headed home. When I got home, I was really tired. Made a peanut butter and whole grain bread sandwich and crashed into bed. Very tired, sore legs, feeling GREAT! Other than moving to stretch my legs, I slept like a log.

Tire Repair Bike Ride

Friday was a clear and mostly calm day, weather wise. A great day for a bike ride. As I got near to the bike shop, the "low tire pressure" light came on. Great! Checked the tires and sure have one light on pressure.

Headed on into town to Lyle's to get the tire fixed. Grabbed the bike on the car and head out on a ride while the tire is repaired.

Rode from downtown Council Bluffs to the Trail Center, Had a good ride. Stopped to take a couple photos of the road bike on Indian Creak Trail.

Picked up the car and went to the bike shop. Looked at the odometer on the bike - need 5 miles to break 500 miles on the new bike. So, rode from the shop to IWCC and back.

Valley View Trail just North of McPhearson is blocked for construction of the new College View Elementary School.

Frustrating Week

Weather has not been conducive to riding - rainy. When not rainy, very windy. But, have been getting in a couple rides. Saturday, the race was canceled from the rain.

Last week (Wednesday) I headed out from the bike shop for a ride on the Trace. When I got to Margaritaville, I was feeling good - so headed on down to Mineola. Was thinking of stopping in Mineola for lunch at the Steak House - but it was already 1:10. So just turned back up the hill.

Stopped just out of town to take this photo - well a "touched-up" version of the photo. This is the Keg Creek bridge.

Uneventful ride back. Had a great, relaxing ride on the hardtail.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

2011 Calendars

Bicycle Trails 2011 calendars are now available for sale. This is a 13 month calendar with photos of trails I have ridden.

Order your copy today. Price of the calendar is $15.00 (Iowa residents add $1.05 sales tax) plus $3.00 shipping. Remit via PayPal to photos (at) tomwinfield (dot) com.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Manawa Trails

Monday and Tuesday I rode from Xtreme Wheels to the Trails Center. Weather has been great for noon bike ride.

During Tuesday's ride, I dropped down to the Lake Manawa dirt trails to check on the water level. Today's photo shows that the standing water is gone. From what I could see, the area is still muddy.

BTW - rumor has it that the Psycowpath race scheduled for Lake Manawa on September 25th, is being moved to Swanson Park.

Three 20+ mile rides this week. Yesterday's ride was my fastest ride for the year (20.4 miles at 13.91 mph). No, I am not turning into a "roady".

I like the variety of the difference of my bikes. My hardtail is still the "go-to" bike. Its the bike I ride on the Trace, snow/ice rides, and trail work. The hybrid is good for photo shoots while riding pavement (hardtail and hybrid have racks where I can carry my good D-SLR camera). My full suspension bike is still the preferred bike for dirt trail riding.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Wabash Trace Update

Yesterday I rode on the Wabash Trace to check on the paving efforts.

One of my sources had said the barricade across the trail north of Silver City was still up but folks are bypassing it. Some shouldering was accomplished this past week.

The dirt that is being used for shouldering appears to have a high content of clay. From experience - it is very slippery and sticky. I hope there are plans to sweep the pavement when construction is completed. There top photo here shows the dirt over the trail surface.

Shouldering still needs completion through town. When I headed south toward Malvern, I noticed the barricade at the south end of Silver City was down. Not removed, but down, moved to open half the width of the trail.

Since the contractor has not yet completed work in Silver City, I was pretty sure there would NOT be any barricades up yet in Malvern. That was the case as I rode over Jahnke Ave and Keys Ave - no barricades or construction work.

Previous information I received showed construction on the Malvern section of the Trace should start today (9/13).

I rode through Malvern to Marh Ave. On the back in town I stopped to take the lower photo showing the trail through town before paving. I hope the new pavement stands up with the abuse. As I came into Malvern a pick-up drove down the Trace as a short-cut in town. With what I have witnessed, it seems some folks in Malvern use the Trace as an alley or driveway.

Capital City Challenge

Saturday was race day at Branched Oak SRA. It was a cool, sunny morning (in the 50s when I arrived). Word was that the trail condition was prime.

My photos have been posted and available for order at

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Workers Needed at Manawa

This afternoon I was at Lake Manawa with the THOR Trail leader. We were the only 2 that showed up for the trail work session. This was the first time I attempted to ride any of the trails there since the summer flooding.

There is a lot of work needed to clear the trails. The photo here was taken on Woodchopper (the short side loop). It is true that the water has not completely subsided but is receding. But we need to start clearing and cleaning where we can.

If we want to be able to ride at all this year at Lake Manawa, we need your help. There are downed trees to be cut and moved, floated logs and branches need to be moved, the log crossing needs to be rebuilt or removed, trail corridor needs to be lopped and trimmed. Some places, its difficult to find the trail.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Construction Update - Silver City

Yesterday (Sunday afternoon) I headed down to Silver City to check out the construction on the Wabash Trace. Also, planned to ride - perhaps as far a Malvern and back.

The first thing I noticed was that the approaches to the street (L-55) and the connectors to the side walk are completed. The "Trail Closed" signs at the street are gone.

I heard that there was a barricade across the Trace about a mile up from Silver City. Time to head North. Out of Silver City, the shoulder was not yet leveled. Up at Dobney Road, there is a gap in the pavement (for the cross road). See top photo.

From Dobney almost to the end of the pavement the shouldering has been done. The was no barricade across the Trace at that point.

The pavement extends about 1.1 miles north from downtown Silver City. If you are riding South from Mineola, The second photo is what you will see at the transition from crushed limestone to concrete.

I rode back down to town and headed South towards Malvern. Shouldering is being done South of town. The pavement extended until the bridge at the edge of town (0.2 - 0,3 mile). There, I was surprised to see a big barricade across the trail. Signage was for North-bound traffic. Perhaps they forgot to remove that one?

Anyway, there is an opening along the side to walk the bike past the barricade. From there, I continued my ride to Malvern.

Had a good ride. Was a strong wind from the South - head wind - on the way. Was looking forward to the tail wind on the way back!

Stopped to take some photos along the way. Several taken of the Silver Creek Bridge. Some of them may find their way on my facebook page and perhaps on the web site.

After an uneventful ride back to Silver City, I saw a notice stapled to the barricade just before Silver City. The notice includes a map with a detour for the Trace and estimate of the construction duration.

Someone took some time and effort to create the notice. It would have been nice to have such for the web site. Time to recommend such for the construction in Malvern.

Last time I heard, the construction crew is on a different job this week - returning to the Wabash Trace on the 13th. Do nit know if the barricades will go back up at that time until shouldering is completed.