Sunday, July 31, 2011

Flatwater Challenge

Saturday was a hot and humid morning for Flatwater Challenge time trial and cross country mountain bike race. The races were part of the Psycowpath Mountain Bike Series and hosted by Bike Pedalers of Lincoln.

The fog was starting to lift as the first riders headed out on the time trial. Grass was very wet, and the track was greasy. It took about 45 minutes to start all of the riders. I caught each time trial riders near the beginning of the course.

Next came the cross country race. The Marathon racers started onto the course about 10:30. The photo here is of the Marathoners climbing from the start.

Electronic race timing has sure sped up the posting of the results. Podium call for the first XC race was before the second heat of races started.

Category 1 and Category 2 races started at 12:30. I shot photos until the last riders finished their first lap. The heat was getting too much for me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

High Humidity

When I stuck my head out of the door this morning, I was not really sure I wanted to ride this morning. No air moving, hot, humid, and foggy. But I have other commitments Wednesday, and knew I will feel better once I got on the bike.

Early ride (left the house at 6am). Planning to do my normal laps around Lake Manawa. I was off and on the trail at 6:30. Hoping to see a nice sunrise. Really need to be up a little earlier for the best sunrise - but there was some clouds in the East sky, enough to put some color in the sunrise. Stopped on the road so that my sun will be partially blocked by a tree on Boy Scout Island. Anyway - that's today's photo.

The first section of the ride I felt some of a chill from the dampness. Other places I was comfortable. That is, until I was on my second lap when the sun started having its effect. Thankful for the breeze along the East side of the lake (or was it the breeze I was creating when riding?) When I returned to the car, there was NO air moving as I loaded the bike on the car.

Quickly changed shoes and headed over to Panera Break for coffee and some air.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

City Morning Ride

Another hot and humid morning. But, I needed for some miles before breakfast.

Parked at Super Saver in Council Bluffs. Destination was the N 8th St entrance to Big Lake Park. (I should say - to the barricade at the road.)

When I have driven there, there are "No Parking' signs there. The road is flooded almost to the level of the railroad track. That is this today's photo. I was thinking of riding over the the N 15th St area near the Sheriff's Dept. With the heat and humidity, I called it a morning and returned to Super Saver for breakfast.

6.9 miles for 38 minutes riding time.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Early Morning Ride

The dog days of summer are upon us. The only reasonable time to ride is sunrise. This morning I was actually a little late for sunrise. There were some clouds, so I was still able to capture this image.

Photo was taken on E. Manawa Drive. Took 2 different bracketed exposure sets.

Did my 2 laps of Lake Manawa this morning, including the North shore park road. It makes a nice 7.5 miles loop and 15 mile ride. Done and heading to Panera for coffee about 8am.

Checked out the medallions in the pavement along E. Manawa Drive. The new trail is an extension of Veteran's Memorial Trail (trail along Hwy 92). Once the flood waters recede and Indian Creek Trail is open for riding, there will be a nice loop to ride almost entirely on bicycle trail.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Road Closed - We Get the Idea

Two weeks agi I first saw this collection of signs at Lake Manawa. The sign is at the bicycle trail and road to the river boar landing (mountain bike trail area). The road was a popular spot to view the rive and the flooding.

That day, I figured they wanted folks off the road and out of the area because of levee work. Since the signs are still up, it seems they really don't want anyone over that way. Hope I will not get in trouble for leaning my bike (parking) at the sign (LOL).

A new map of trails closed due to the flooding has posted by Council Bluffs. This shows more closures than the June map.

Anyway, this morning parked at the Nature Trail and headed West and the bicycle trail. At the signed shown here, I transferred to the road. Followed out normal route around Lake Manawa to TSC. There, instead of riding through the streets, I rode the new bicycle trail along Hwy 92, and down along E. Manawa Road.

The newly completed trail still needs grass planted and a good sweeping (or heavy rain) to clean the trail surface. Rode over to the Lake Manawa Trail and back to the parking lot. About 6.5 miles so far.

Not enough mileage, to started lap 2 around the lake. This time at the North short, I rode over to the shelters and boat ramp. Stopped for some G2, and back to the maine road.

It was 80 when I started, 85 when I finished (basically 7am to 8am). Sunny, light breeze from the South (no wind at the parking lot - just lots of mosquitoes). 14 miles in 1:09 - pretty good speed for me. Oh, I was on the road bike.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Heat is On

This morning I shifted to Summer routine. Was out grocery shopping at 2:30 this morning. It was 80 degrees!

Summer routine means bike ride starting at 6 or 7 am. This morning I was at the Wabash Trace trailhead ready to ride at 7am. Rode up to K-Mart and back on Valley View Trail.

Sunny, light breeze, humid with a temp of 79. Surprised with the high number of trail users (walkers and cyclists) out this morning. Guess I was not the only one trying to beat the heat.

While I was tired heading into town for my ride, I was feeling good during the ride. Logging just short of 11 miles in an hour and a minute. Rearranged clothes and headed to Panera Bread for coffee.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Climbing Dumfries

Second day in a row, the morning was overcast and "cool" by July standards. I kitted up and grabbed the hybrid bike for a ride. Since there also was a bit of a breeze, I decided to climb Dumfries Hill.

Not sure how the climb would be. I have not been doing much climbing, and I was riding the hybrid (larger wheels than my hardtail). The climb went well - pedaling up at 8-9 mph. A few other riders on this portion of the Trace.

Stopped at Margaritaville for G2 and a granola bar. Margaritaville is looking pretty nice these days. Thanks to Greg and others that keep it cleaned up.

Then, what I was waiting for - the ride back down the 4 mile hill. No effort to cruise down the hill at 16 mph on the 28 mm, slick tires on this bike. Made the round trip in 1:08. Not my fastest trip. but I was pleased.

The heat is coming. Forecast is for heat index in the 105-110 Friday through Tuesday. Any riding will have to be very early in the morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bridge Plank Missing

Amongst the storms, heat, closed trails and the generally unfavorably riding conditions, today I was able to squeeze in a bike ride on the Wabash Trace. At 10am, it was sunny and cool at 75 deg - just a stiff breeze from the East. I decided to attempt a ride from Silver City to Malvern and back.

Not too bad once on the trail. The trees sheltered some of the wind. The first problem I encountered was at Silver Creek Bridge. One of the bridge decking planks is missing. Someone has stuck a tree branch into the gap to warn riders. (see photo).

There must have been some strong winds recently. Between the Silver Creek Bridge and 305th St, (a distance of 1 mile) there are two dead falls that have dropped onto the trail.

The rest of the ride down to Malvern was without incident. Stopped there at the depot and drank a bottle of G2 and ate a granola bar. Sky was starting to look threatening, so headed back.

Sure enough, at Gaston Rd, I started feeling some large drops of rain hitting me. I had 3 miles left of my return ride. Picked up the pace a little. Had my heart rate up to near my max for a while.

The sprinkle did not last much. kept pedaling up to Silver City. As I arrived in Silver City, I heard some thunder to the South. Guess I was back just in time.

The wind died down some on the way back (I was looking forward to a good tail wind).
Still, it felt good to get in the bike ride - had been over a week since I had been on a bike.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tranquility Tire Tantrum XC Race

This afternoon was the Psycowpath race at Tranquility Park. In today's photo, Omaha Devo racers start out on the Tranquility race course.

It was brutally hot and humid during the race. I did not stay through the whole race - just too much for me. By the time I was home, was showing a temperature of 93 with a heat index of 117.

I hope that I caught a photo of each racer on the course. As the Cat 1 racers finished their second of 3 laps on the 9 mile race course, I called it a day. My photos of the race can be found on my Photo Race Web Site.

BTW, I have been advised that I did not miss a race yesterday. Two races were combined. I hate it when I think I am wrong, only to find I was correct anyway. :)

Tranquility Tangle Short Track

Yesterday there were 2 Psycowpath races scheduled. I passed on the Time Trial at Lewis & Clark Monument and shot photos at Tranquility Park. One race a day is enough.

My photos or the race are posted on my photo web site -

I don't know what happened. It seems that I missed the 3:30 race. I thought I shot every race, but I have no photos during the race time slot, and there are no photos missing from the numbering sequence. I apologize for any riders I missed.

Please note that I was also shooting RAW copies of the photos on the singletrack (in the woods). If you are interested in a copy of a photo, I can make color and exposure corrections before you order the photo. Can send you a proof copy before you order a full file.

Photos of today's Tranquility Tire Tantrum XC race will be posted when I can get them processed.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Draft of Poster

I have been working with the Cardiac Rehab folks at Jennie Edmundson Hospital. That's where I did my rehab a little over 6 years ago. Will be donating some of my bicycle trail photos. The photos will be used as incentive to get outdoors and be active.

They were talking about one for each season of the year. That got me to thinking. Yesterday I spent some time on the computer to draft out a poster.

Since it is a project for a local (Council Bluffs, IA) hospital, photos used are of area trails. Let me know what you think.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Sign

All over Council Bluffs, we encounter these signs. So much of our bicycle trails are on the levees. With the flooding this year, the levees are off limits. In addition to this, we are treated to truck and equipment traffic all over town working to re-enforce the levees.

No access to the levee at the river boat ramp at Manawa. Even had barricade across the bicycle trail before the road.

Today I rode from Lake Manawa to the Trails Center. The Trails Center was closed (on July 4th!) The parking lot was packed with equipment (guessing for the levee re-enforcement).

The trail between the trails center and the baseball diamonds is partially covered with water. Believe that is ground water seepage from the river. Never seen the trail there under water.

On the positive side - construction of the trail along E Manawa Drive is almost completed.

I have never seen so many riders on the streets to ride around Lake Manawa. Have to ride someplace with so many of the trails closed.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ride to Malvern

I was a bit tired after breakfast. Napped a little and was almost blowing off a bike ride. But, I knew I would feel better once I got on the trail.

Dennis was planning to ride the Trace Silver City to Malvern. I was asking about the condition of the trail (and when was there rain). Had not yet ridden the hybrid with its narrower (28mm) slicker tires. Have been riding the hardtail mountain bike on the Trace.

No problems riding the hybrid. Did have to take it easy through a couple spots where there was sand or course gravel. Unloaded the saddle when hitting the transition from the crushed limestone to bridge planking and back.

Be careful when crossing Silver Creek Bridge. There are some planking spikes are working themselves up. I was able to step on the spikes to push them back down. They will likely work back up, soon.

Did a quick tour downtown Malvern and drank some of my water and G2. As I was departing Malvern, I saw Dennis crossing Keys Ave. I joined him with a break at the pond shelter. We rode together back to Silver City.

As expected, my speed on the trip was higher - with the skinnier, slicker tires.

Price Gouging - Kenosha

Thursday, I was in Kenosha, WI. Was planning to gas up the car for my drive home. Gas was running $3.499 to $3.559. Diesel fuel was in the $3.69 area.

I was out for my internet fix (getting e-mail, writing in this blog, checking facebook). During the 2 hours I was out, gas jumped 15 to 26 cents a gallon - up to $3.669/$3.759. At first I just figured a little bit heavy bump up on the price for the holiday weekend.

When I drove back home, I found that the gouging (because now it is clearly price gouging) was only in the Kenosha area. Once out towards Lake Geneva, the price was right where it had been Monday when I drove to Kenosha. All the way home - Beloit, Quad Cities, all across Iowa - price was about the same the week before. Diesel was also holding at the same price in the $3.6xx price.

The only think I can figure out is that one or two gasoline distributors in Kenosha are gouging the public. Gas supplies are high. Price of oil has been dropping. There is no other explanation.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Riding in Kenosha

Wednesday and Thursday were my days to ride. Have been in Kenosha this week to visit my mom. First, it was a ride on the North Shore Trail.

The trail is the old North Shore commuter line. The trail passes just behind my mom's apartment. Rode from there north into Racine.

The southern end of the trail (also known as the Kenosha County Bicycle Trail) starts at 35th St, between 22nd Ave and 30th Ave. At the county line, it becomes the Racine County Bicycle Trail.

In Kenosha County, the trail surface is crushed stone. In Racine, its asphalt. In Racine, the trail ends it Northward direction at the junction with Root River Pathway. Without a map in my jersey, i did not want to get lost trying to follow the pathway. It disappears into the street at about 16th St.

The county trail heads West toward Sturtevent. Not sure just hoe far. I rode less than a half mile and started back toward Kenosha. A nice 15+ mile ride. As you can see from the above photo, it was a beautiful day for a bike ride.

When i got back, called my Aunt Audrey and we met for lunch at Bonnies Diner before visiting with my mom.

The weather was warming up, so Thursday was a good day to ride along the lake. Starting on the streets for a mile until I picked up the Pike River Trail, At this time, the trail starts at 18th St and Birch Road. Then through Alford Park and on to the Carthage College campus. From there South along the Lake Michigan shore.

There is a break in the trail getting off Simmons Island. Pick it back up at 62nd St. The trail brings you past the Southport Marina to Eichelman Park. The trail ends in the park at 3rd Ave. About 5 miles from Alford Park to Eichelman Park. Another beautiful place to bike on a early summer day.