|Like A Jungle, Only In Iowa|
Sound like a tropical rain forest? It feels like it, sans the cackling animals, large venomous snakes, and undiscovered cures for cancer.
We do have mosquitoes though. That we have in spades. We also have a lot of standing water and mud. So, with the return of the Mukluk and the main mountain biking spots all too wet to ride in the vicinity, I decided to do the "swamp bike thing". Off to the Green Belt.
Now, I get chastised from time to time for even dreaming about riding in the mud. One thing I need to make perfectly clear right now: These trails are not negatively affected by riding while they are muddy. The Green Belt follows the unruly, and aptly named, Black Hawk Creek, which churns the black earth and sand together at its whim and fancy. It changes course, chews away embankments, and dumps drifts of the finest sand whenever and wherever it wants to. A biker or two doesn't do anything compared to what the Black Hawk Creek can do all on its own. Multiple times per year, I might add.
That said, maybe you shouldn't ride on your wet trails. I'm betting you shouldn't, just like we don't on most of our single track. However; the Green Belt is not one of those places. And I was on a fat bike to top it off. Less impact with the floaty tires.
|Let The Sun Shine In|
The big, long stretches of 12 inch deep water on the trail was no problem either. I only got sideways crossing a water drenched ravine that was hub deep. Yep. Got wet feet there. Hard to see "the line" through when it is submerged by murky water!
Yeah, a lesser mountain bike would have done okay, but wouldn't have been better, and I would have gotten stuck more times, causing more ruts, and what not. (Again, not that it would matter after the next flood, which will come after the next heavy rain.) Sand dunes were easy-peasy. I would have dug right in with a "regular mountain bike".
And I suppose some of you were wondering about how the hub is doing? Well........not so good. It snaps, pops, and does that after almost every coast, or change in pedal pressure. Sometimes you can ride several minutes with no untoward noises. Then....pop! Snap! I thought I was going batty. I took off the old chain, checked the (nearly) new cassette, the (nearly) new chain rings, and the (nearly) new bottom bracket. All had less than 50-60 miles on them. (Most with Ben's wheel) I replaced the chain anyway, since I had heard of issues with SRAM chains on snow bikes. I put a Wipperman Connex chain on it. No change. Still makes noise. Bummer. It's the hub, again. This time I'll just run it into the ground, cut it out of the wheel, and replace it.
It's destined to become an expensive paperweight.
But back to all of that green stuff! It was a fun ride. Can't wait to do that again soon. I'll tell ya one thing- These fat bikes really give you a work out!