Thursday, May 08, 2014

Dirt Time

Dry and fast!
Since I am a family man and work at a bicycle shop as well, I don't get out to play after work like a lot of folks do. I usually end up going out at odd times and I end up getting the woods to myself, more often than not. Such was the case again yesterday, which was my first proper dirt ride of 2014. That previously much mentioned event I was ranting on and on about here sort of took precedence over any extra-curricular bicycle jaunts this Spring!

Anyway, it started out cool and ended up at a pleasant temperature. In fact, yesterday was the first day all year we've reached the 80's. Must be going straight on to Summer, eh? Funny thing is that there were almost no bugs, (weird), and really low humidity for around here, (also weird). The ground is cracked already in many places. This is not looking good from a farming perspective. But, rains are in the forecast again today. We'll see....

Anyway, I had the WTB Nineline 2.25"ers to be riding, so I rode the Milwaukee Bikes single speed and tried them out. Obviously, with dry, hard packed trail, these tires rolled super fast, but almost any tire would in these conditions. That said, I tried to get back into the rhythm of single speed off road riding. It's been a little while since I've done any of that!

Tiny flowers were everywhere.
The underbrush is still just getting going and tiny flowers were studded into the green carpet of the forest floor. With leaves just barely poking out of buds on the tree limbs, it made for an odd juxtaposition of bare trees against the quickly spreading greenery on the surface. The views are still wide open, so spotting the deer flitting from ravine to ravine was easy to do. Most animals were silent or the forest was empty other than the few young deer I saw.

In fact, at one point I almost hit a young deer as it came from behind a tree I was about to pass by. It probably was born last Spring, judging by the size of it, and the tree was just big enough to obscure it from my view until the deer spooked and leapt out from its hiding place to run away. That's definitely the closest deer encounter I've experienced at Ingawanis Woodlands. I'm surprised it took this long to happen, actually.

An old, decrepit bridge on the Cedar River near Ingawanis Woodlands
Well, I did my ride and then noticed that the tread was packed in with dirt. Rather than import that mess home with me, I decided to ride down the gravel road a bit to clear the tires out. As I went Westward I thought about investigating the dead end of the road I was on. I knew that at one time there was a bridge across the Cedar River on this road but that it was now truncated at the river due to what I believed was the lack of any bridge being there at all. However; when I reached the faded, decayed barricades, I saw that I was in error with that thought.

The old bridge is still there, accessible by foot from the East bank, but not by the West side. I have seen a lot of bridges in Iowa, but never one remotely close to the design of this structure. The pylons looked to be cement filled iron or steel and the double arch design was decked with big, thick wooden planks that were rotting and some covered in moss. This bridge is an old one! I marveled at the fact that it should even still exist, given its decayed state, and even more so since it has survived some wicked floods in the past 20 years. It certainly is not long for this world, seeing how decayed the deck is now and that it is obvious no one is maintaining it. Such a shame! It could be one of the coolest bridges in Iowa, as far as I can tell. Glad I got to see it at all.

Well, I got my tires cleaned out and headed home, once again proving that you just never know what you might find if you poke around in the rural back country!

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