Today was the shakedown cruise to Ingawanis for the new set-up on the Karate Monkey. Also, it was the first time in almost three years that I'd ridden up there. That's a downright shame! This place has more trails, and better riding than about anywhere in Iowa. There are a few things that could be better, but I'll get to that in a minute.
First, the new handle bar set up is going to the cat's pajamas! Yes, going to be! I've got one minor problem to solve yet, but that will happen just as soon as the Salsa Moto Ace stem I ordered shows up. The parts bin special I have on there now is pretty marginal, and in fact, it let the bars slip, and rotate foward on a downhill today. I decided to get out of Ingawanis after that! No need to eat it because my stem isn't right! Other than that, these bars rock! Several hand posistions kept my hands happy, and numb free for the duration of the ride. I even found an "aero" type of grip/ posistion that worked great. (That reminds me- I need new brake hoods, too!) The brakes worked exceptionally well. The control on downhills, and switchbacks was good. (YES! They have switchbacks in Ingawanis!) Climbing was awesome! I didn't even think about it until after a few uphill grinds, but holding the bars in the drops, standing, and pounding was so natural. I was able to keep the rear end hooking up with no problem. Some of that was due to the nature of 29 inch wheels, no doubt. I did feel a strange sensation during a particularily tough climb towards the end of my time at the camp. Liquid running down over my fingers! I was squeezing the life juices out of the bar tape! Kind of yuck! Oh well, sweat has gotta go somewhere! So, these bars have found a "permanent" home on the Monkee- for now! At least until I'm convinced that there is something better!
A few words about the camp. I am really impressed with the different types of terrain, and the length of trails that Camp Ingawanis has. Several newer trails have been opened up, and the established ones are very fine! I did not make it to the South Unit today, and I understand that it is "better" over on that side, so take the next statements with that in mind. The North Unit is a maze of trails that are bewildering, and I actually got lost for awhile! I finally ran into Paul Meyerman, one of the key individuals in charge of the trails up there. He gave me some pointers which helped me navigate a little better. If you ever run into Paul, please thank him! He has worked like crazy on this trail system, and it's maintenance! Anyway, the trail map at the sign in might help, if it was available to trail riders, but I doubt it. Those trails out there are not marked, and it's easy to get turned around out there. Perhaps a marking system of some sort will be worked out someday, but I'm not complaining! I'm just tickled that we have a place so near to Waterloo/ Cedar Falls that is so nice to ride at! I'll have to hit the South Unit next time up. If you can race on the 28th of this month, you'd better jump at the opportunity to ride these trails! You also can purchase a yearly trail pass from the Ranger, (Tim) or from Paul. Follow the check in procedure, and enjoy!
See the "photo blog" below for more of today's ride!