In mid-November I felt the need to get away so I took vacation from work and hit the road. I decided I would drive to Colorado Springs and ride a few trails along the way. First up was a 40 mile ride on the High Trestle Trail. Temps were in the 40’s and the sun was shining but hardly anyone was out. I chatted with a guy along the way who told me Iowa cyclists tend to be fair weather and that he admired us Minnesotans who just get out there and enjoy life no matter the weather. From what I saw on my road trip, there might be some truth to that!
The next day I got in a 15 mile ride around downtown Des Moines. There appear to be a lot of bike trails in the city so one day I hope to return and explore some more. Iowa is just a short drive from the Cities so I’m sure I will drop down now and again to ride, especially if the weather is nicer there than here!
Next up was a 21 mile early ride on the Wabash Trace Trail. I got some stares as I headed out. It may have been the trike or it may have been people thinking I was nuts, but temps were just low 30’s and I was fine. Just me out there slogging along on an unpaved rural trail. Perfect start to the day watching the mist lifting.
I then took the next couple days off from cycling. I intended to ride one day but had a trike issue that led to a hand injury, which I’m still fighting in February, so I scraped that planned ride and climbed towers instead.
Once I arrived in Colorado Springs I got in a interesting 23 mile ride on Pikes Peak Trail finishing up just as the snow flakes started! The next day was icy so I only got in the one ride this time around.
This one short trail ride in Colorado Springs had perfectly smooth concrete, smooth asphalt, rough asphalt, red clay, packed dirt, and loose gravel! Quite the ride! I’d like to do parts of it again on the Fat Tad one day since the ICE just couldn’t cut it as I was heading up towards the Air Force Academy. I carried it up one hill but then realized it wasn’t worth trying to go much further in that direction and turned around.
The flip side of the trip had me following a major snow storm, but fortunately the storm was heading more north so I was still able to keep cycling on bare ground. Enjoyed a 15 mile spin through Kearney, Nebraska. I never would have stopped but for the bike trail.
My last ride for the road trip was a 15 miler in Lincoln. Temps were in the 20’s that morning so it was my coldest ride for the year to date, but it wasn’t bad. I hope to do more exploring in Lincoln the next time I’m through, but would prefer somewhat warmer temps.
I arrived back in Minneapolis to snow on the ground so I figured that was it for me and cycling. I was so close to 5,000 miles for the year, however, so I decided to drop down into Iowa once more and get in a couple more rides.
Thanksgiving Day was gloomy as all get out, but I cranked out 21 miles of some rough riding on the Heart of Iowa Trail. Most of the trail wasn’t too bad but there were patches of loose gravel, mud, and muck. I had to scrape manure off my wheels a couple times! This is another trail I would love to ride on the Fat Tad. When I hit water all the way across the trail I stopped, but on the Fat Tad I would have at least tried to roll right on through.
The day after Thanksgiving the sun was out again so I rode 36 miles on the Raccoon Valley Trail to reach that 5,000 mile mark with an extra 18 miles to spare! I saw not one single fellow cyclist on either of these rides. Purpose completed, I headed home to Minneapolis.
I woke to a beautiful morning. After riding so many miles in other places I decided it was time to take a spin around my city again. Temps were in the 40’s, the snow had mostly melted, and I was joined by many other cyclists along the way to a 40 mile ride. I refused to go home until after the sun had set. There is just nothing quite like my Minneapolis trails!