Saturday, June 5, 2010

Short Weekends

Weekends are never long enough, especially Memorial Day ones. Heck, this year I even took Thursday and Friday off and guess what? Yep, still not long enough.

Bonus Thursday I went down to Lake Ahquabi hoping for and available camp site for us and some pals. The Quab has a nice little campground along with a beach, boat rentals and a 5ish mile hilly doubletrack trail that basically loops the lake.

Getting lucky I found some spots and expertly staked our claim. I then unexpertly attempted to set up our tent all by myself. After much tent pole geometry, and related murmuring, a neighboring camper came by to help. You gotta love Iowans, always willing to help those who struggle.

Bonus Friday I headed out of town early with Nick to ride three trails in the Omaha area. First up: Swanson Park. I had never been to Swanson but I had read enough reports and seen a grainy You Tube video, so I knew we were in for a little sumptin-sumptin. I was still pleasantly surprised with what it had to offer. There’s only about a 5 mile loop, but it is sufficiently twisty, rooty and swoopy in true Midwest trail fashion. There’s even a little climb that takes you under some ominously buzzing power lines before diving down into the park via a long, fast downhill. We did 2 quick laps, smiling all the way.

Thanks to Nick for some of these photos.
Cool in B&W (Nick).

Cool in color.

That sign says don't ride wet. I guess the "or we'll will smash you in the head with a tree" is implied.

Me, absoultely killing this log obstacle. I'm so cool.


The obligatory handlebar shot.

We hit the Lewis and Clark trail next. It begins right at the L&C Monument which is perched on top of a high bluff overlooking the Missouri river.

(old photo)
I have been here several times but not since they redid the infamous “Mount Neverest” hill at the end. L&C is now configured into some sort of out-n-back, figure 8ish loop and Neverest has been tamed with switchbacks that cut back and forth across it. The trail building club, THOR, had to address the continual erosion of the long, steep and relatively straight behemoth, so I guess it had to be done. This makes bookend reroutes at L&C as a couple of years ago they had to redo the beginning due to land access issues. That redo cut off a deeply grooved, bobsled style drop in that was unique and a real scream. Still, L&C has a lot to offer and it’s good training, with all the up and down the bluff stuff, for the Boone race.

We didn't take many photos at L&C, so this one is from a couple of years ago.

After one lap, also 5ish miles, we moved on.

Last, we stopped at Lake Manawa. We didn’t have much time to play, but still got in around 5 of the 7 miles the including the teeter totter stunts (this picture is also from a couple of years ago)

and the “camelback” section.

Manawa is pancake flat and tightly wooded in some spots

and open in others

It reminds me a little of our good ole Denman’s Woods in DSM. All by its lonesome it would not be worth driving to Omaha (actually Council Bluffs) to ride, but when combined with a couple other trails it makes a nice end to the day.

I spent the rest of the weekend relaxing at Ahquabi. I rode the lake trail a couple of times, but there's some killer hills like this one (too bad you can't tell how steep it is from this pic, but trust me)

so I mostly woosed out. Good weekend, but not long enough.