Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vietnam Veteran's Day

"Welcome Home" brothers and sisters.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Spring on the Wabash Trace

Almost perfect weekend for biking. Yesterday I rode the road bike from Wabash Trace trailhead to Western Historic Trails Center (and back). Wanted to get a couple miles to top over 14,000 miles since I started cycling in July 2005. Mission Accomplished.

Today was a beautiful Spring day for a ride on the Wabash Trace. It was the first ride on the Trace this year. Sunny, slight breeze from the South, and pushing 80 degrees. Yes, 80 degrees in late March!

Was good to get off the pavement and ride the hardtail (Trek 4300). Been a while since I rode that bike. It was outfitted with platform pedals and studded tires for the winter. That was not needed with my winter trips and the mild winter.

Headed south from Silver City. Rode as far as Silver Creek Bridge. By the time I was there, I could feel that my legs might rebel because of the fat, knobby tires and softer trail surface. Add to that this was the third ride in a row. Think they need a day off.

First think I noticed that there has been horses down the trail. They are not supposed to be on that section of the Trace. (Only allowed on the dirt trail that parallels the old railroad bed and then between CB and Mineola). Another rider I met said the horses cam down the trail about 3 weeks ago.

The trail is mostly clear except for branches partially out into the trail surface. The rider I talked with also mentioned to me that the mile marked 393 had been pulled out and dropped on the other side of the trail. Others had reset the sign (including concrete) into the hole left there. Can't understand why folks would such vandalism.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Miles on the Hybrid

Topped off the air in the tires of the hybrid bike. After a stop at the bike shop, it was down to the Wabash Trails trailhead park. Temp was in the 60s with sunshine and a little breeze from the NE.

Had 2 reasons to ride the Trek 7200 FX - Had been riding the road bike most (needed some variety) and needed a few miles to take the bike over the 4000 mile mark. Headed out toward the Western Historic Trails Center. Visited a little with the staff there.

On the way back, I achieved my goal for the ride - the bike rolled over 4000 miles. I ended up with just over 16 miles on the ride. If I ride tomorrow, I should hit a big mile mark. What is it? You will just have to wait.

Listening Sessions

Thursday afternoon/evening I attended the last county-wide trail planning "Listening Session". The session was sponsored by Pottawattamie County Conservation and the County-wide Trail Planning Committee in partnership with the National Park Service's Trails and Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA).

The county is starting an effort to build a county-wise master plan for recreational trails. The session started with a slide presentation briefly outlining the benefits of trails and the goals of the meeting.

There were about 25-30 participant in the session (last of the series) I attended. Each of the 6 tables had a large map of Pottawattamie County, Out task was to draw lines on the map showing where we would like to see trails. Pink markers were used to designate "hard surface" (gravel, asphalt, concrete, etc). Green designated dirt (equestrian and/or mountain bike) trails.

Maps from the 4 sessions will be overlayed, to see the most desirable locations for trails. From there the trails group can start developing the county-winde trails master plan.

We were cautioned that this was a long term process. (But its a start!

Above photo is of the trails our table lined out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

May in March

The thermometer reach 81 yesterday in Omaha! A record (I believe) for March 13. It was a great day on the bike, and lots of folks taking advantage of the weather.

After Tuesday coffee, I met Zach at Xtreme Wheels. Time to convert the hardtail (Trek 4300) again - removed studded tires and platform pedals. Getting the bike ready for a season of riding Wabash Trace. Made plans for lunch tomorrow.

Back home to get ready for my ride. Was great to be kitting for a bike ride wearing bibs shorts and short sleeve jersey! Sunny day, with a breeze out of the SSE. decided on the road bike for today's ride.

When i got the the Wabash Trace Trailhead Park, I saw Dennis there. Was gonna be his first ride of the season. We started off together along E. South Omaha Bridge Rd (Lake Manawa Trail). His destination was the Indian Creek Bridge; My destination was the Western Historic Trails Center (or further).

It stopped for some water at 2 miles. Dennis did not catch me up (being his first ride if the the season, he said not to wait for him). Stopped again at Indian Creek bridge for my normal water stop. From there it was flying down the trail with the tail wind.

Decided to ride on over the levee to check the trail conditions (and add some distance of the ride). Ran across Art and John (?). Last time I met Art (I thought his name was Wes) on the trail, he was riding with Mike. (See Bike Riding Weather - Feb 22)

After a nice visit, I rode on the levee to I-80. Today's photo was taken in the river side of the levee. It shows the destruction done to the trees during last summer's floods.

A stop in at the Trails Center to visit and wish Dewey a belated "Happy Birthday". It was back on the trail heading to the car. Wind was picking up, so decided riding Veteran's Memorial Trail (instead of Indian Creek Trail) back to Lake Manawa. It was still rough riding the section in the opens and a strong head wind. The reward was the last 2 miles. The wind almost blew me back to the car -- very little

Good 17 mile ride.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mountain Bike Festival Conundrum

Spring 2011 was awesome, as for mountain bike festival in my area of the country. Black Hills Fat Tire Festival (Memorial Day Weekend) in Rapid City, SD. The next weekend (which included National Trails Day) it was Festival of the Trails in the Hayward, Wisconsin area. The second weekend of June it was the festival opening Cuyuna Country Ride Center (Crosby, MN) with promise of an annual festival.

Whew - a weekend off. Then off to Quad Cities 0f Illinois and Iowa for the MidWest Mountain Bike Festival. A great schedule (though I did not attend the BH Festival - first I missed since it started).

This year, the folks of CAMBA decided to move Festival of the Trails from the first weekend of June to Memorial Day weekend. That gives me a problem.

Last year, with Festival of the Trails and Cuyuna Country (Wisconsin & Minnesota) on consecutive weekend, I just stayed in the North Country. Played "tourist" on Ashland, WI and Duluth/Superior. After all, Hayward, WI and Crosby, MN are only 170 miles apart!

Instead, I will have do decide which of these two festivals to attend. I cannot spend 2 weeks between the festivals on the road. And to drive home between, both festivals are about 500 miles (one way) from my house.

I don't know how many folks will be in the quandary of attend Festival of the Trails or Black Hills Fat Tired Festival - now both Memorial Day Weekend. But, for us in the Omaha/Sioux City/Sioux Falls area - we will had to choose one or the other.

Thanks, CAMBA, for screwing up the Mountain Bike Festival calendar.

Black Hills Fat Tire Festival - Rapid City, SD - May 25-27
Festival of the Trails - Hayward area, WI - May 25-27
Cuyuna Country Mountain Bike Festival - Crosby, MN - June 9-11
MidWest Mountain Bike Festival - Scott County (Quad Cities) IA/IL - June 22-24

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lake Manawa Reconnaissance

So it was in the upper 60s early afternoon, sunny, and very windy. For mid-March, I had to get out and on the bike. After all, it had been 3 weeks since my last ride. With the wind, it seemed to be a good day to check out the trail work that has been done at Lake Manawa.

The trails were underwater most of last summer - Missouri River flood waters. It was my favorite trail. Was a great place for me to ride.

I had commented that it would look that the trail system would need to be built from scratch. Recently, word was re-designing and trail work has started. A trail day was scheduled but the weather was nasty. Was some other work day while I was in Albuquerque.

Anyway, weather today was for riding in the woods (or at least trying to ride in the woods). Manawa bound.

Past the kiosk and the fence, I found the "Blue" arrow trail marker. A couple bikes have been down the new trail, leaving ruts. Except for the silt deposits, the trail looked that it just needed tread work (at least a lode of bikes riding the trail).

As I continued walking or riding my bike. I started seeing some problems with the trail. This was no longer the easiest trail in the area that I used to ride. It was not that the trail was re-designed, it was confusing. Coming out of on section, the trail changes to a "green" arrow trail. Then back into a "Blue" trail. Thought I was still on the same trail. No junction, just new difficult designation.

As I came to the old log crossing area, the new trail does not look to be sustainable. At the new ditch, the I noticed the trail becomes VERY narrow. The trail corridor width is for a black trail. There were more and more log crossings with no bypass, and I would judge at least needs black skill-level rider. Yet, I am still on the ONE trail.

At 0.9 mile, I bailed off the trail and hiked the bike up to the levee and rode the levee back to the parking lot.

Now, lest you think I am just complaining, I tried to offer helping with the trail design. I have seen some great trail designs during my travels. Lake Manawa needs lots of work (trail surface, by-passes, trail corridor). Otherwise, I will have to forget dirt riding, except for out-of-town trips. The local trail for unwinding, riding dirt, and getting into the woods, is gone for me.