Sunday, July 13, 2008

Awesome Weekend

Friday I headed out to check out my first Friday Fest at Walker Johnson Park in Johnston. It was nothing earth-shattering, just good family fun.

It was good that Friday night was low-key because I was getting up early on Saturday to head out to Omaha and the Lewis and Clark mountain bike trail with mi compadre, Senor Corey. L & C is a series of loops, the total is around 4.5 miles, which is plenty long considering the elevation change and technical challenges of the trail. For those familiar with central Iowa mountain biking I would say it is a cross between Hillside at the Center and Seven Oaks in Boone. It is off the hizzy. Stoopid fun. Check out the elevation profile.

Early in the first loop Corey brained himself on a tree. There were branches covering it, so it was really hard to see. I heard a loud thumping sound. Corey fell off his bike like he'd been shot. After rebooting his internal hard drive and scanning for critical errors, he was quickly back online. I thought he might want to take it slow for a bit but he took off with some speed and purpose. That Corey, he's a strong rider and a all-'round tough guy. You can see the big scrape/indention in his helmet just to the right of the Grim Reaper sticker - how appropriate is that?

This is a neat little section of the trail that winds around a gully. That is a rope swing hanging down in the middle, with a bicycle handlebar fastened to the end of it. I might have to try that sucka one of these times.

My only mishap was on our second trip around the loop. I was just plain running outta gas and grunting up this climb. I got my tire into a bad angle along these roots. I suppose I coulda conjured up a heroic effort to muscle the front end around the turn but instead I just sorta lost mo and tipped over like a lone domino. Corey rolled up and asked what happened. I said, "I just gave up". The offending root is right by Corey's shoe.

My surrender was only temporary and is a minor blemish on what was a very good ride for me. L & C ends with a loooong, steep climb the trail builders have very aptly named Mt. Never Rest. It just goes up and up....and then up a little more. When Corey and I rode out here early summer last year I couldn't get up even half of the climb, worse yet I couldn't get restarted on it and was forced to do the walk of shame - both tries. I vowed to return a leaner, meaner biker and conquer said Mt. Well, I am happy to say I cleaned both climbs. While that's great, accomplishments like this have a price. I had to stop to make a quick withdrawl from the pride and pain ATM in order to pay the cover charge. Believe me I paid plenty and the (imaginary) doorman was kind of a jerk. Toward the top the steepness mellows out, but you've still got 50-75 yards left to the top so its just an all mental slogfest. Don't quit now Sheesley! I didn't and it feels pretty good. Ha!

You'd think the adventure ends there, but no! We stopped in Council Bluffs, right next to the interstate, for some tasty post-ride Arby's. There was a ton of construction and semi traffic, so getting back on the road was a challenge. While waiting through traffic light after traffic light, we finally noticed this lady across the street. Corey and I saw her at basically the same time. He said, "Is that a wh$&% ?" (***edit - this term translates loosely to "Lady of the Evening") I said, "Where's my camera?" I only got one picture because just as I lined up my second shot the light turned. I pulled out into the intersection but I wasn't able to get all the way through before the trucks stopped in front of me. While I was waiting I started lining up my next shot of the (ahem) lady so I almost didn't notice the 2 guys in the truck coming the other way. Truck Guys wanted to turn through the intersection, and I was blocking them. Truck Guys could've went behind me, but I guess they wanted to prove a point, so they angled their truck like they were going to cut between me and the semi. About the time I noticed they were both jawing at me the semi cleared for my second shot of the lady. When I paused to snap another picture the Truck Guys got all-a-titter. As I pulled forward our windows lined up so he could deliver his best line right to me and he says, "Next time you'll have to wait your turn.".

Wow. I guess you told me.

I thought "really? that's all you got? That's how you're representin' for the Truck Guys, especially after jumping all bad with the angle and stuff?" Right after I passed him I remembered I was still holding the camera in my hand. I wished I had thought to take a picture of him. I bet he woulda liked that. By the way I get that stuff directly from my Pa, so you can blame him.

With a great Friday and Saturday in the books, you might think I would be content, but the weather on Sunday was way too nice to not be outdoors. I convinced the Sheesley ladies to go on our first ever family hike, including Captain. I especially wanted the everyone else to see Captain's alter-ego, Trail Dog.

Trail Dog adapts, he overcomes, he tires......but then he gets his second wind. When he negotiates even the simplest obstacle, some mud in the trail or a rooty climb he sports a funny little pep in his step.

Sheesley Inc. out enjoying this nature stuff.

Early on we found this viper. He is a little creepy looking and he was right in the middle of the trail. Captain almost stepped right on him. I wonder what kind of serpent we discovered. More on this once the research comes in. (Note - it is a Fox Snake or a Bullsnake which is apparently no big deal to country boys - I'm such a wimpy city kid)

On the decidedly less exciting end of the spectrum, we also found snails. They transversed most of the trail via Katie and Allie Travel Services. They were apparently named Mo and Gary.

All told, we probably hiked about 5, very hilly, miles. It was a great effort from the crew. There might have been some complaining and "how much further Papa Smurf?" stuff going on, but I don't really remember much, maybe I blocked it out.

This is a happy Trail Dog.

We stopped at McD's on the way home for some tasty refreshments, somehow Trail Dog wound up with a hamburger. Trail Dog likes McD's hamburger.

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