|Mike Johnson speaks on nutrition at the Ingawanis Endurance Clinic|
I first heard about Ingawanis Boy Scout Camp from a few of the older/more experienced mountain bikers way back in the early 90's. Details were not freely given, but from what I gathered back then, it was considered one of the best mountain biking opportunities in the local area. However; it wasn't open to mountain bikers. You had to "poach" the trails, and then only at night, or so the story went. Otherwise you might face the wrath of the Camp Ranger and possibly be fined a hefty amount.
Fast forward almost 15 years later, and I received a call from Ward Budweg, who was, at the time, the owner of Decorah Bicycles. I was invited to come out and see Ingawanis Boy Scout Camp to see if there were any possibilities for trails and what I thought about a mountain biking program that would also open trails to the general public. This would have been about 2003, or so, I think. Anyway, it was my first ride at the Scout Camp, and I was stoked by what I had seen there. It was all that I remember hearing about and more. Definitely the best terrain for off road cycling within riding distance of Waterloo-Cedar Falls. Maybe better than 90% of anything in Iowa.
|About 20 folks showed up and raised over $900.00 for the trails.|
This was alarming to us as cyclists, runners, and hikers since there were a couple of development companies eying the land to turn it into exclusive, woodland home properties. This, of course, would have effectively taken away a huge resource from the public domain and would have been a huge blow to recreational opportunities in the State. There just are not very many tracts of woodlands in Iowa, let alone in the Northeast part of the state, due to the vast agricultural interests here. Fortunately, the Bremer County Conservation Board saw an opportunity to add this resource to the public domain, and they were able to secure a loan through the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation to get this land locked away from the developers. The Boy Scouts even helped facilitate this as well, since they did not want to see the South side scrapped and developed into privately held homesteads.
|Mike detailed his bike set-ups for gravel. Tour Divide, and more for the cyclists in attendance.|
So, the clinic was actually really fun, and informative. If you missed out, this may happen again at sometime, and if it does, you should go. If only just for the food, which was tremendous, I might add!
Thanks to Dave Roll, Wendy Foote, Mike Johnson, and the rest of the volunteers and guests for showing an interest in this resource. Thanks to those who have given and will give. I really like riding out there, and it would be a shame for Iowans to lose this great woodland area.