Monday, June 23, 2008

Dry Dirt

Corey and I went out on Sunday in search of dry central Iowa dirt trails. I am happy to report that we found them at Lake Ahquabi State Park and the nearby Annett Nature Center. Ahquabi - which I believe is Native American for "some steep hills"- is in great shape with the exception of 2-3 brief muddy patches along the way. Even the muddy patches have had plenty of wood chip thrown down on them and are not too bad. Here's one of the big hills taken with Katie's camera (shhh, she doesn't know I have it - mine is out for repair).

After making our way around the lake to the campground we decided to head up the road a bit to check out the Annett Nature Center. Its a nice facility complete with this anatomically correct (was that really necessary?) wire sculpture of a Bison.

We could see that there was some modest nature trail on the premises, but not wanting to be poor bike citizens we decided to ask if bikes were allowed before venturing in. The highschool/college kid at the visitor's center said, "Oh.....ah....yeah" when I asked if it would be okay. So, with this strong endorsement, we headed off toward the observation tower in the distance.

Under normal circumstances I would have probably thought these "trails" weren't worth the time but hey, these aren't normal circumstances and beggars can't be choosers. It's a combination of crushed gravel utility road, mowed grass doubletrack with some dirt doubletrack thrown in for good measure. There were some decent hills in probably 1-2 miles of trail. After a decent climb to the tower I, for some unknown reason, I dropped my bike and proceeded to sprint (ok sprint might be stretching it) up the stairs to the top. After 4 flights up my quads were definitely burning. Here's the view from the top looking at the Visitor's Center. From up here we spotted some more "trail" and went exploring. On this run we found some unmowed stuff including a downhill section that hides a waterbar that appears quite quickly out of nowhere. I should've taken a picture of it. I bailed out the front door scoring a nice save against my main man Gravity - Ha! 1-0. I forget what the overall match score is between us.

On our ride down from the tower hill I scared the pate out of a huge grey goose. That was kinda fun, he waddled along in the trail for a bit before he could get his well-fed rump off the ground.

After a short break in their little flower garden and washing my face and neck off in their fountain we were back to Ahquabi to reverse our loop. We figured the distance to be somewhere around 14 hilly miles. It was mucho grande fun. Between that and the time I been putting in riding and doing some trailwork at Easter I have been the lucky recipient of quite a bit of dirt under the tires this week.

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