Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Doubling Down

Not one, but two, two, two tough trails this week, Hah, Hah, Hah.

Thanks Count, I'll take it from here.

Corey and I had been off to a great start to the prime mountain biking season by getting a trip in to Arkansas in early in May, but since then the pickuns had been kinda slim. Saturday we headed out to Lewis and Clark near Omaha. Not a new trail to us, but certainly a challenging one.

Today we added another notch to our belts - the trails at Crowder State Park in northern Mizzu. They call this area the "Nozarks" because it is a lot like the Ozarks, only further north - oh so clever. The drive is a little over 2 hours from DSM, and man is it worth it.

Crowder consists of four main loops with three main connector trails thrown in. One interesting feature is the connector trails were some of the toughest stuff out there. You typically think of connectors as boring flat little trails that only serve to link the interesting stuff together, not so at Crowder. The connectors were steep, rocky and technical. We inadvertently rode them in the reverse order from the recommended route, but that's just how we roll. They were both steep up and down so I don't think our transgression really mattered much.

I don't know exactly what makes a good comparison. It certainly reminded me of Syllamo in Arkansas. Locally I guess its a little like a cross between Sugarbottom and Boone, with ROCKS. It a little like Ingwanis on STEROIDS.

They warn you not to venture into the Thompson trail area without a map or knowledge of the trail system. They had nice topo maps at the trailhead and I had some local tips downloaded from the Earthriders website.

If you trying to freak me out, its working.

We learned quickly that when they say "rugged" and "steep" they are not kidding. We started with the River Forks Trail, which was kinda separate from the others. It was only 2 miles in length. Normally, you'd like to start with a nice little warm up - this is not a warm up. There were very technical climbs with these log stairs that were not easy to navigate around, you had to try going over them. Uff Dah.

Here is something gross. Katie would say, "Eeeew".

My only mishap of the day was spinning my peddle around to take another chunk outta my shin. Its the same spot that was injured in Arkansas and then again
when I crashed my road bike. I am beating that section of leg like it was a detainee at Guantanamo Bay.

There were a lot of "creek" crossings, except the "creek" was absolutely filled with rock. It was kinda weird. It must have been indigenous rock, but it looked like some massive human effort was made to fill the creek bed.

There were other spots were it was pretty clear the trail builders had armored the path with stones. It was a lotta work, super cool.

The loops are all relatively short, but they wear you out with the elevation changes and the technical roots and rocks. We did about 13 miles all told, skipping the North Thompson loop. That was kinda a bummer because there was supposed to be some great views on that trail and a creepy old 1830's manor house. Oh well, it'll give us something to look forward to seeing our next time there. Like we need an excuse, Crowder is sweet. We will definitely be going back.

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