Thursday, October 03, 2013

Woodland Wonderland

The steed for the day: Fargo in singletrack mode
Wednesday. I was ready to enjoy what possibly may be the last 80°F day for the year. It is supposed to all go to crap for a couple of days, then clear up and be more Fall-like. That's good, but I thought it too good a chance to pass up to get out and ride at Ingawanis Woods. So, I packed up the Fargo and headed up in the "Truck With No Name" to get some.

With all the Interbike information still being processed, I haven't had a bunch of time handy to get a ride in either, so that was another good reason to get away. I just really needed to get out from behind the keyboard and decompress. Ingawanis Woods is about as remote a place in Iowa as you can get, so this was good medicine as well.

The Fargo is wearing some pretty nice tires here. They are Vredestein Black Panther models which have these super-supple casings and when run tubeless, they feel divine. They are just so smooth. With the 80mm travel Reba, the Thudbuster ST seat post, and these tires, it feels like I am on a short travel full suspension rig. The bonus is that it is a hardtail, so when I do sprint out of the saddle or put in a hard effort, the bike squirts forward, not sagging into a rear suspension's travel, as many full sus bikes are wont to do.

Caught these three coming down for a drink.
A quick truck ride up and I was there. Got rolling about 9:30am, so the light was at a low angle yet and the contrast under the woods was a bit difficult when trying to see things for the first bit. Intense light patches inside darkened woodland cover. Natures strobe light in effect as I rode along the winding ribbon of dirt.

The air was still and the woods were uncommonly quiet again. Similar feeling as last time I was here a week or so ago. It's as if the woods are waiting, holding their breath, for something to happen. Only the fluttering leaves in the air here and there were breaking up what would otherwise be an eerie feeling atmosphere.

Speaking of leaves, they were getting thick on the ground already in some spots, making navigation difficult at times. Some spots where there are a lot of exposed roots and embedded limestone will become quite treacherous when they are fully concealed by the falling leaves. With the rain that is forecast, the situation will get even more slick and slimy! At least for a little while, probably over the weekend. But for yesterday's ride, I still could make out many of the problem spots.

The Hairpin Corner
I stopped at the point I always do to get a glimpse of the Cedar River and see if maybe I can spot the eagles at play. I carefully approached the shoreline with my camera at the ready, but I didn't see the eagles. I did see the three deer across the river on a small island drinking the water of the Cedar.

Of course, they spotted me immediately as well, but they did stay long enough for me to compose an image of them for the post today. That was very considerate of them, wasn't it?

I then just stood on the bank and just soaked it all in. I don't know what it is about water, and especially rivers, and the Cedar in particular, but I have a spiritual moment here that is a good thing. I'll leave it at that. I was born in a city along the Cedar, and I used to sit on a big rock and stare at the river as a teenager. I still live in a city the river flows through. Maybe I'll never get away from it......

Well, at any rate, I eventually moved on, and took a decidedly casual pace through the Bottoms and then made my way up the steep climb to the higher parts above Quarter Section Creek. The grip was fantastic, and I guess I was creeping up in speed, because next thing I know I am in the tighter twisties and having to use more rear brake to get the Fargo to turn tighter at speed. It was just too much fun.

By the time I reached the end, I was flying, but the Vredesteins were gripping and smooth, so why not? It was a great day to be out in the woods, and I was happy to have had the chance to ride yesterday.


john said...

How about that Karmen and all the work she has done to further develop the greatness of the park. Can't remember what it is officially called now - but the Scout Camp well do.

MICHAEL said...

Big 'dittos' on the thing with rivers, GT. I am nearly in awe of any river and grew up in a town that had the mighty Rock River run thru it. We biked down to the park and fished that river about every day in the summer. In the winter, we hiked on the ice and shoreline almost every day after school. I think the river mesmerization is due to the endless flow and every thing that can represent in ones life. Excellent post 'ol Man.