Sunday, June 14, 2015

June High Trestle Ride

It was time for some serious miles.  Been too long since my last century.  It is June and 20 to 30 mile rides are not long enough.  Next month we will be on Ragbrai and I do not want to suffer.

We picked the Trestle as a destination because we had not been there all year.  Other options were a ride to Lacona, Iowa, but I was not quite at 100% health thus not ready for hills.  the Chichaqua Trail and Baxter, Iowa, should be next week.

Head straight north from home.  Took the Neal Smith Trail via the Principal River Walk noting that the river was very, very high.  could be our last trip on the PRW.  Instead of taking the trail to Polk City as in the past we took the Ankeny Connector to Oralabr Rd and then turned north at the Git n Go at Irvingdale Rd.  This last part cuts off much of the urban inconvenience of the High Trestle Trail.  The road is a 4 lane and goes past the John Deere plant.  There is a sidepath available for those that prefer to stay off the street.  Eventually the HTT is intercepted and we took a left on it.  The Oasis is 4.9 miles away from this point.

Now getting to this section was interesting.  First, Farmers Market was happening in downtown Des Moines which brings out the crowds.  The what I dubbed the "Dumpling Run" was happening.  Groups of 8 or so runners/walkers were on the trail busting their asses and breathing heavily.    Also groups of bicyclists were heading downtown.  Crowded trail.  At Lutheran Hospital on the wooden bridge we watch a woman loose control of her bike and  land on her thigh as the bike slipped on the wet bridge.  A kid behind her did the same thing a mere fraction of a second later.  Had we been 2 seconds ahead of ourselves she would have knocked us over like bowling pins.  Scary.  I slowed down as this happened and when i resumed pedaling I could feel my rear wheel busting loose but my bike stayed upright and moved forward not sideways.  Yesterday's rain, mud, slime, pollen ect.  Bad wet surface.

Finally we disappeared into the canopy of the NST.  I settled down to a slow pace.  yesterday was not a good day for me.  My chest was still bother me and I did not want to push myself and renew the soreness of my bronchial tubes.  Mary pulled ahead.  Occasionally I was passed.  finally a group of 6 people passed and then settled down at a speed a fraction slower than mine.  That was it.  Three upshifts in succession and, 'left!" and I busted my move and caught up with Mary.  I don't mind being passed but for the love of God don't slow me down.  These were not the asses I wanted to see.  Never saw them again.

John Deere tractor at a john Deere factory.  Ankeny, Iowa.

We stopped at the Git n Go and I quickly consumed an entire bottle of Gatorade.  I hit my bottle only once thus far and that was after climbing up to Oralabor Rd.  Time to head north and catch the HTT.  We did stop at the John Deere plant because I needed a photo of a john Deere tractor for FB's Bicycle Ride&Seek game.  What a better photo than a JD tractor at a JD factory!  It came out a bit dark.  Hard to take photos in an overcast sky sky while wearing sunglasses.

There is signage alerting drivers and us about the trail.  And we saw a few bikes cross the road.  It was good to be on the trail.  No more cars to worry about although we were only passed by a handful and nobody yelled, honked, swerved at us or threatened us in any manner.  The Oasis would be our next stop.  We did, however, stop for a photo of a John Deere tractor parked next to the trail.  Back up in case the other photo was poor.

John Deere tractor.  Not visible are many turkey decoys and wagon wheels.

Nothing much to report about that High Trestle Trail.  there were a few people at the Nigh Hawk at 11 am.  the Flat Tire Lounge was packed and I had no desire to stop there.  Crossing the highway was painful as traffic was thick.  Worse on the return trip.

The final 2.5 miles is always crowded with bikes going both ways.  The Trestle is a major destination and attraction.  I call it Iowa's pyramid.  Just when you think that bikes would be the only thing we'd have to deal with large groups of walkers appear.  Take it slow.  Announce your presence and watch mother hen grab the small wandering child out of the way.  This was our umpteenth visit.  We did not stay long.  Took about two photos of the bikes and then rolled on to Woodward.

"You Ought to be Here" the sigh reads.  One of two photos I took while at the Trestle.  I must be bored with photographing this place.

Decision time.  Mary asked if we should roll on to the Raccoon Trail and take that way home.  That would have been a great way to return but 3+ miles of gravel, wet gravel on bikes with new tires, one with a new chain and cassette warranted a cleaner return.  We decide to back track but turn off at Polk City and take the Neal Smith Trail home from there.  Skip Ankeny.  This also provided an opportunity to take a photo of the red wagon on highway 210.  Needed it for Ride&Seek.  Also, Subway in Polk City since we have been living on PowerBars since leaving home.  Well, one each.

Big red wagon along 210.  we saw it from the trail but had to get on the highway.  Too many people at the houses surrounding this wagon for me to get closer for a better photo.

Funny how you see the same people on the return trip now going the other way.  Also saw several groups of bikes in double pace lines.  I gave no quarter.  I can be a trail hog, too.

The NST was the same as I remember it.  Short steep climbs, many sharp turns.  We had not been on this part in quite sometime.  After finding a different and faster way to get to the HTT we lost interest in this section.  Mary also commented that we had not ridden all the way to Big Creek in something like 15 years,  True, nothing there but the beach.  Leaving the marina we came across 3 boys on skateboards divebombing the trail.  Fast and furious, it looked like fun, dangerous fun.

Then we hit Fat Man's Curve.  Named after one of those 90 degree turns to a steep downhill that goes by a pond and a steep climb and another sharp turn.  I think there were 2 of these a decade ago but then the powers that be eliminated one when the trail was modified.  The story goes that we were on the fast drp and climb and about ready to make the 90 degree turn when a very overweight man in a pink shirt suddenly appeared and we narrowly avoided colliding with him.  Probably an apparition of myself but we labeled this spot and laugh about it every time we ride through.  No one today.

The problem with the NST is that it is incorporated into the Saylorville park system.  This causes the trail to dip into campgrounds and take round about ventures thus creating a desire to seek alternative routes.  For example, the sign leaving Polk City says that Des Moines is 16 miles away but it is like 20 on the trail.  But I like to take this trail in the spring and fall.  Eventually we reached Des Moines.

Since we left the river was overtaking the NST at the 6 Ave bridge and on the Principal River Walk.  1/2 hour after getting home the city closed the river walk.  We barely made it.  Today we would have to take 6th Ave to head to Ankeny.

83 miles.  I felt better as the day progressed.  don't know when i will return but I hope it is at night.

Should have made the effort to finish the century.  i did switch bikes and make a 7 mile grocery run after returning.

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