Friday, December 23, 2016

The Cold Way Home

  •     Well, it was too nice of a day this past Tuesday to stay inside and waste the day. 41 degrees at the end of December, I couldn't say no to a ride.

What...this can't be right...
So I loaded up and headed for the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail, the nicest little trail around. Too bad that they paved a s!all section of it within the city of Huxley. This trail really shines in its natural form. Its a converted rails to trails type format. The rest of the surface is a nice crushed limestone. Perfectly dusty in the right season. Not dusty right now, but soft enough to leave a track in the snow or the stone.
I'm not the first to track this section.

Now, I have ridden this trail innumerable times over the years. I have even raced on it as a section of the Iowa Games Gravel Race. I was surprised, however, to find a couple of things on this ride that I had never noticed before. One of these new discoveries was an ages old spur line stuck in the overgrown side margin of a ravine. I caught the sun's rays reflecting on the rails, even though they were rusted, and patina from years of weathering and non-use had left them nearly invisible otherwise. Some time I'll stop and look closer at this pair of rails. The other discovery on this ride was a frozen beaver pond. It was completely flat, frozen quite solid from edge to edge and end to end, and I had no clue that it was there. Not twenty feet from the edge if the trail. 
Pretty sure I put first-ever tracks on this!

I'll be back to this spot with my other fat bike for some delicious donuts.
Like any great ride does, this one drew to a close before all of the fun could be extracted from it. On the briht side, that leaves something to come back to. Good perspective to keep on so many things in life, I think.

Sunday, December 4, 2016


Despite my best intentions, I ended up riding in pure hell today. I had intended to drive my dad's van to Ames to get an oil service done on it and then ride gravel back to Boone on top of a fresh snowfall. That's roughly how it went, except the snow melted into snirt (snow dirt) and I ended up pedaling straight into a west wind, in 2 inches of slop. On soft gravel. Add to this formula a pair of jerk motorists who refused to slow down while passing me, and you may just be able to imagine how muddy I was when I arrived home 90 minutes later. Oh well, it was still satisfying to ride it home. That never gets old.