Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Sheesleys Aren't Home Right Now....Leave a Message After the Beep

Feeling the summer start to fade a bit, Jackie and I started hatching a plan for a mini-end-of-summer-event of some kind. Jackie was thinking she would take the kids to the Tanger outlet mall to do some school shopping and surprise them with an overnight stay at da Wasserbahn Waterpark in the Little Amana Colony. Selfishly, I thought, "Hey, the Sugarbottom Trails near Iowa City are actually open (amazing considering the floods)". I could head up the road a bit to ride while the ladies are separating me from the all that extra money I had just laying around. If SB was closed I could shoot up I380 to Cedar Rapids to check out the Beverly Park trails, which I have heard a lot about. So it was: I would ride and then meet the ladies for some strange Amish/German wasserpark fun.

I saw on the ICORR website that the SB trails, which had been open, were now closed so I decided to make for Beverly. While driving up 380 you pass right by SB so I decided to swing by on the off-chance the on-site signs would show the trail to be open. Pulling into North Liberty I started seeing a lot of little road signs with all kinds messages. Just as I was really starting to wonder what was up I saw the first group of RAGBRAI riders. Yes, I rode (drove) part of Ragby this year. I have to say it was a great experience. A lot easier than I thought it would be. In reality, I drove pass small groups of maybe 100 total weary road warriors. Anyway, when I got to SB the signs did indeed say closed - ride subject to fine - yikes, okay I get it. I said a quick prayer to the no-rain God so I could ride SB Saturday and rambled on.

I had a little trouble finding Beverly. It looks easy enough, right off 218, so I didn't spend a lot of time making my google map exact. After a couple of loops of the area, and a look at a Casey's map, I found what I was looking for -- kinda. I was purdy sure this was it, but there wasn't a parking lot like I thought there would be.

A ramp, I smell singletrack.

By the way, this was my first ride with my spankin' new Garmin 305. I think I'm really gonna love this thing. My model came bundled with a heartrate monitor and a cadence sensor, so I think it could really improve my riding, especially during winter training. Its the cat's pajamas.

Upon initial testing it was determined that remembering to start the timer really improves its accuracy. By the time I noticed it wasn't recording I had made it through quite a bit of trail and stopped in the real parking lot. Calling it a parking lot is a stretch, but they have this very nice kiosk. The local club, LAMBA, has done a ton of work clearing old trash and building some very sweet singletrack that really offers something to every XC rider. They've done an amazing job.

My Garmin said I rode 8 miles, with 1065 feet of climbing. I will add a fudge factor of 2 miles and 250 feet, since I was gadget challenged, for a total of around 10 miles and 1300 feet of climbing. Iowa continues to prove that it is not flat. There were tons of stunts and features all over the trail. I am more a fan of tough, twisty and flowing singletrack, with natural obstacles like roots and rocks. Good thing they have that too. Even though there isn't miles and miles of trail here and the multi-directional routes split and converge all over the place, it doesn't feel all confusing and disjointed. Just like Hillside, after awhile you just know how to fit sections in to keep things moving and fresh (freaky fresh even).

I rode a little less aggressively since I was without:

Its a wingman. When you're in singletrack far from home it is especially important to have a Goose with you, someone who can put out the fire and collect your charred remains when you crash and burn.

I did I try it? Yes.
I did make it? Up: No. x3 Down: Yes x3

Try it? Yes
Make it? Sure, it'd be slicker than snot wet, that would get interesting real quick-like.

Try? Yes, fun.
Make? Yes x #? I don't remember how many times I hit this one. It is very well constructed, its harder from the other direction (coming from the "parking lot").

Attempt? Hell no.
Succeed? N/A;, When they were younger, Katie and Allie would've said, "Daddy, that makes owwwies. ".

Giver-a-go? You're damn skippy.
Get-er-done? Oh yeah, I did this one several times. This ramp is sturdy and perfectly placed. Its a blast. Magazine cover shots were to be had, too bad I had no Goose. This ramp is almost worth the drive all by itself.

Take a whack at it? Yes x3
Hit paydirt? No x3. I'm terrible at skinnies. This one is at the bottom of a little hill. When I fell off I got my shoe muddy (x3). Great, now I'm in trouble. I wasn't supposed to get muddy.

No stunt here, but as I was rounding this corner -- you know with the creek looming there on the right -- a fowl o' the forest was tucked just behind the tree on the left. That damn woodland chicken, it flew up all-flappin' and everything. It almost scared my Egg McMuffin breakfast right outta me.

Did one for the Gipper? Yes x 3
Come out on top? Yes x 3. You can get mad air off this thing. From there the trail sails into some fast flowing singletrack. The loop seems pretty new in this section, but once that gets smoothed out you could produce some muy rapido bike riding along there.

Obviously, they have a plethora of stunts and it looks like they're ready, willing and able to add to the madness. Generally speaking Beverly rides like a cross between the freewheeling Thunderdome of Hillside and the twisty, mixed with flowy, singletrack of Denman's (ah, poor flooded Denman's we hardly knew ye).

I'll do another post on Wasserbahn and SB when I'm not so tired. As for Beverly? Bev, ole' gurl, you had me at hello.


Ken said...

Thanks for the great write up, glad you had a good time.

iLuvTechnical said...

Thank you for your colorful description of your adventure. You have a great eye for showing angles of obstacles and layout in your pictures.