Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ring 'round the Prairie!

Funny thing - so far this is turning out to be more about rides that I put in than about an opening of a bike shop. I still do plan on opening the shop, have no fear! Still really waiting to hear from the bank...kinda sucks having this all hinge on one thing...but what can ya do?

So on to the latest ride report! We got hit with an ugly storm as I posted up two times ago. That rain that came put riding really on ice for me for about two weeks. Haven't touched the bike other than jaunts around the block. I finally found time to head out on Tuesday! yay! Since getting here to Western WI, I have noticed that the snowmobilers have quite the network of trails. Anyone who lives in the northland here will know what I'm talking about. Those buzzing stinkbombs are all over the place around here in the winter! As loud and obnoxious as they are, they sure do lay down a nice trail to ride in the winter. And those trails take you places that, normally, you can't get to. Through private land, across hidden ravines, and over ridgetops seldom seen by anything other than livestock.

So I took advantage. Conditions at the start were very good. The snow was still cold enough that it supported my girth as I slogged along.

From Ring around t...

Still in town...down by the river!

Still in town, but getting close to the edge. Its here where the climbing/walking begins. One of the finer nuances of winter snow machine trail riding is the, um lack of anything resembling traction on climbs. But its winter - I'm just out to be in the woods on a beautiful day. Not much else.

Going in to the woods for the first time. This is just after crossing an open field where about25 turkey were foraging about. 'Till I came along that it. Seeing turkey's 'fly' is interesting.

Almost at the top of the climb. In summer this section is ridable, but I've never done it, since there's a singletrack that departs from this trail just back down the trail. Anyways. Cool rock formation. Lots of that stuff in these parts.

5 miles in. And just about to start climbing again.

Last shot of the ride. At this point I'm pretty shelled. 13 miles in, and the snow pack got progressivly less packed, making riding a difficult proposition. Just after this shot was taken I came upon the steepest hill I've done in a long time. Over 15% grade according to the GPS. Steep, fast and icy. Kept me on my toes, that's for sure.

^^^^See that link? Please click it and go do some good over the course of the next few days. Improve your vocabulary while you're at it.

Happy Holidays!

Listening to: Pandora Holidays. Classic, folk, jazzy, and swingin'. I'm all over the board!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

As promised. Slowly getting more legit...

So on the last post, I said the logo was close to being done. And it is! I have to give BIG props to Doug Allan, a long time friend for putting this together for me. I think its turned out fantastic. Classy, classic, and timeless. I think its got staying power. What say the masses?

Without further ado:

Nothing much else to add, other than there has been progress with the bank - so there is still hope!

No riding lately. But I should be skiing! The snow around here is perfect for laying down some tracks and falling down a bit. I'll probably get out this weekend.

Listening to: NPR news. Just heard the Republicans debate in over in IA. Are all politicians so smarmy? - Thats rhetorical, btw...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Season end?

From LaRiv - short...

Nah. More like season slow down. The greater midwest metro plex, other wise known as Southwest Wisconsin, was hit with our first winter storm of the year. Saturday, we got about 3" to 4" of snow. Which really is fine enough. Then it started to rain. Turning all that wonderful snow to a solid sheet of ice. Which makes taking the girls to school via bike and trailer, a rather slippery chore. Time to stud up a set of tires...

Enter the DoDak. My Dad was kind enough in the past few weeks to find both a small 4'x6' utility trailer for the shop, and a truck to pull it with. Both the truck and the trailer are in great shape, and will be the perfect tools to go out and support at events. Thanks Dad!

I have taken Sidra to class in it once so far, and it seems the girls like riding in it. Guess its warmer than the Burley!

I've also just sent the final decision to Doug on my logo. Soon enough I'll be debuting that here. Feels good to have stuff starting to flow in. Makes it all feel more 'real', ya know?

Just a quickie today...back to spreadsheets!

Listening to: The Current. Again.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

By request, pics of the 'Backyard' trails!

So Guitar Ted mentioned in a thread on eMpTy BeeR that I've mentioned these trails before but have not actually shown them to anyone who would even be remotely interested. Huh. So here they are. My local stash. These aren't very good shots, firstly. Second, these are shot only on one small section of trail.

Notice in this shot, a large rock off to the left in the shot. I'm standing on it in the next shot.

I'm up about 8' above the trail here.

The view to Wyalusing State Park. And there's some good news about the park I'll get into later. Good stuff for sure!

Yes, its steeper and rockier than it looks. This section is pretty intimidating to come upon. Its ridable, but not every time. This section of trail is actually pretty rocky for a good 1/3 to 1/2 mile.

A few details of the trails. They're primarily horse trails. As such, there are climbs here that can't be done. There is some hiking involved. Personally, I don't mind that. It gives one a chance to slow down, and really take in the surroundings you're riding through. Many trails really don't let you do that, y'know? The trails start at La Riviere City Park, a 300 acre former farm with probably 5 miles of trail on it. Its also the perfect place for a future 'cross race! Anyways, the trails start at La Riviere, and branch out from there. There is a claimed 50 miles of trail laced through the hills here. Yes, you read that right 50, as in 5 - 0 miles of trail. dayum. And they ain't easy as alluded to earlier. Now, that's what they claim. I've been up there exploring for the summer months here, and I feel I've only found 25 or so. If there really is twice that much, I can't wait to find it! If you want to come on around for a ride, PLEASE DO, but be prepared. Its steep. And technical. The single track ain't beginner friendly. If one wants easy, there's Wyalusing, Pikes Peak, or the wide trails on La Riviere proper.

So that's the scoop for the 'Backyard'. While we're talking local trails, I guess I should mention what else this area has to offer. I won't go into terrible detail, I'll save that for later posts. Gotta give myself topics after all!

Wyalusing State Park - there are roughly 10 miles of tail open to bikes. Its all easy, grassy trail with minimal elevation gain. Some pretty views. The July storms destroyed some of the trails there though - and they are looking to develop a new system of sustainable trails, with an aim of attracting more MTBer's to the park. Yay! I'll be helping them with design and layout, and Vernon Trails will be helping with construction if timing is right. They've got their hands pretty full up there in Viroqua. I'll be looking for local help too, so any of you locals wanting to learn trail construction - pay attention! I'll be spreading the word as more news develops!

Pikes Peak State Park, IA - Probably 5 or so miles of moderate trail. Not single track, but ATV width trail that starts on ridge top, and goes alll the way down. Then you climb back up. A somewhat entertaining ride.

Yellow River State Forest, IA - a rough 40 mile loop can easily be created. Again, this is mostly on ATV width trail, with moderate to high horse use, so a single path has been worn in. Can be a pretty fun place to ride.

Volga Rec Area, IA - Ryan and I did a 17 mile loop there a few weeks ago. There used to be an IA mtn bike race there in the years past, but I guess the sand killed it. Yep, this place can be sandy, but one can still get a nice long loop in. Be aware of high horse use though.

That's about it for staying in close proximity to Prairie du Chien. There's lots more if you travel within an hour of here. Yellow River and Volga would be perfect places to start trail creation efforts. The terrain is perfect for truly great singletrack. Something to think about you IA locals!

Ah. this is long enough. Thanks for reading!

Listening to: Loose Fur a great littel side project from Jeff Tweedy. Check it out.