Sunday, February 05, 2012

Slow Ride

ATV's have churned things up
Okay, maybe I was right..... The big snow storm came, took aim at Iowa, and dumped a load of snow evrywhere, if you were somewhat south of Highway 20, that is. So, that left where I live high and dry.

We never saw a single flake here.

Meanwhile, friends in Des Moines, Omaha, and Lincoln, Nebraska were playing in the white stuff with their fat bikes all day. Well, I wasn't about to let a no-snow event stop me from joining them too.

The thing is, here it hasn't gone below freezing for days, with the exception of a few hours at night. Our snow is dwindling while everywhere south and west of us got a huge, fresh dump. Apparently the local ATV brigade figured that the nice, new ATV park we have in town isn't good enough and came and churned up our trail as well. Nice guys!

So, I decided to take advantage of the track they laid down, I mean- I couldn't do anything about it, so I decided to follow it along to see where it went. It wasn't bad riding either. Slow, but I could make decent progress.

This time I crossed it!
And that deep cut stream of water that turned me back last time? Well, it wasn't running as deeply today, and I found a place with interlaced roots that I could get a foot hold on to allow me to cross over. The Keen Brixen boots kept my feet totally dry, and I never slid in mud once. Awesome!

Now it was on to some really, really slow trail. Keeping the bike from swapping ends was tough. This time it wasn't so much about keeping the front end light. In fact, I got fairly frustrated until I stopped and thought about it. I also peeled off my hat, gloves, and unzipped my jacket. It was pretty warm out there.

What I figured out was that these post-holed, ATV-churned up conditions in wet, soft snow wanted was for me to pin that front wheel down and let the back end dance around a bit. That did the trick, and now I could trundle away without having to rest every 20 yards or so.

A word about tires in here. I saw the Nate 3.8"ers and I thought they were just too much knobbage. I had heard they were tractor tires that could grip like mad, but I just couldn't see where I would ever want that. Well, Saturday I think I figured out where I would have wanted them. The Larry 3.8"ers were sliding out all over the place. Keeping the bike underneath me was a big problem.

Slow going....
Well, the flat terrain deal was somewhat figured out, but I couldn't climb worth a hoot. No traction. (Yep! Nates would have done it!)

So it was that I picked my way along until I missed my turn off to go to the shelter on Ridgeway. I ended up going to the eastward entrance instead, and then tracking along Ridgeway I crossed the road to hit the next section.

Well, what a difference that made! I could go twice as fast in this section as before. (Which wasn't all that fast!) That said, if I used anything smaller than a 28T on my cassette I would be surprised. The last three pizza cutter sized cogs on that cassette got the lions share of the work this day!

Here I was going to get close to Highway 20, and go underneath the bridge over the Black Hawk. As I approached the area, I heard motor vehicles, but they sounded strange. I looked around to see two quads putzing around off-trail. One rider tentatively waved at me. I kindly waved in return. Like I say, what could I do? ATV's and other motorized vehicles are not allowed back here, but I think those two knew that.

Wind Power Generator Blades
I passed underneath the bridge and not long afterward I was caught sliding out. I stopped and assessed my situation. It had taken me a hour and a half to get out this far from the house. I figured I had better find my way heading back towards the house again.

I munched a cracker from Triple D where I snagged it from Chad's Pizza in Dyersville, and ate a Twizzler. Energy to get back home!

Now I almost never like retracing my steps, and this day was no different. I hit the bike path along Highway 63 to get back home. Along the way I passed the old Dog Track where they now store the blades for the wind power generators that are going up all over Iowa. It's pretty surreal to see these huge, white blades cued up in alternating rows waiting to get shipped to where they will be assembled onsite. I had always wanted to take an image of this, so I figured I would swing over and do that while I had the chance.

Then it was just grinding it out to the homestead. I got back in 45 minutes from where it had taken me an hour and a half to get to. Long, slow distance ride! Good times, and waaay better than riding indoors!


john said...

Mark - Instead of riding on along Ridgway - why not Marky Mark - your very nice single tract that basically does that same thing??? Where's the other Mark these days?
Good to see you are getting the miles in for CIRREM.

MG said...

Sorry to hear you didn't get any snow, but I'm stoked you got out for some rippin' anyway. We had a rad weekend of floating around in a foot of fresh powder on our fatbikes, capped off by a late night run with MW last evening through Wilderness Park. It was slow and tough pedaling, but under the light of the nearly-full moon, the beauty was stunning.