Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trailwork, Pseudobeach Riding, and Humongous Burgers!

Wow, what a day! After another busy week at work (this time 11 hrs of OT), I was hoping to sleep in on a Saturday. But somehow a planned trailday at Lake Manawa and riding afterwards had me up and ready to go by 8am. I don't even wake up that early on workdays!

This is the first thing you see when you arrive at the boat docks of Lake Manawa

Mangled and twisted, this TTF was displaced by the flood

I loaded up the fatty, packed up the beers, brought a PB and J, and headed down to Council Bluffs. Hooked up with 11 other THOR members to help repair a TTF that was moved about 15 feet due to the flooding this past year. Besides the strong and chilly winds, the first thing that I noticed after stepping out of the car was the sand. Sand everywhere. No grass or dirt. Just sand. It was a very fine sand, packed down more than you would believe. It reminded me of a trip to Destin, FL. Minus the beautiful beach and bikini clad girls of course. The only water I would be seeing this time is the Missouri River!

Key was to figure out how to dismantle this thing

The other half about 15 ft away

But the sight made me smile. This winter has been weird, very little snow in Omaha except for maybe one or two quick storms. I figured, heck if I can't ride snow with my Mukluk, then I might as well ride sand. Never in a million years did I think that I would be riding sand in January on my fat bike in the midwest. Snow yes, sand never. And the sand is a sight to see. It looked like a wasteland. Everything was out of place. Trees coming out of the sand. Water level lines making an impression in the flora of the land. Yes, the flooding had done its damage. The real question is whether or not the trees survived after being underwater for half of the year.

The other half was behind me, yes it had moved that far

The reassembly

On to the ttf site. We followed a flagged trail that would eventually get us to what is left of Tony's Playground. The ttf was still there, it was just in two pieces and one section was severely twisted and about 15 ft from where it should have been. The original goal was to have enough hands to pick it up and move it. Not gonna happen. The base supports alone for the ttf were massive. The THOR team worked away with sledgehammers, cordless drills, hammers, and screws to disassemble, move, then reassemble the once and still intimidating piece of riding structure. It went a lot quicker than I had imagined. Thanks to everyone who showed up to help. Time to ride!

The finished product

Now Todd, just no repeat of 2009!

Riders were throwing out nicknames for the trail, such as Mana-sands and Mana-dunes. In my mind I was calling one section, "The Beach". The following pictures will speak louder than words. There are still some downed trees in the far east side of the trail. And I'm not talking log crossings. I'm talking get off your bike and lift your heavy a** Mukluk2 bike over two feet of log. About four of those if I remember right. I quickly learned that to use that bike in a cyclocross race, even as a joke, would be torture.

You can see the water line on the trees. And remember folks, this part of the trail is a good 10-20 feet above the river. 

More water lines on the trees

What the heck is this thing?'am your wig got swept away in the flood

Logs stuck up in trees

After riding the lollipop shaped loop for two laps (about 3.5 miles total), we headed to lunch in Bellevue. Stella's is where we decided on. Cool hamburger joint, where seating is first come serve and we had to wait at least 10 minutes. But man was it worth it. Tall boy Schlitz, onion rings, and a humongous southwestern burger to refill my energy. Plan was to ride Swanson afterwards and that we did. It was slow going, but fun nonetheless. Thanks to whoever installed that new section of trail at the end, nice looking loop! Looks like a lot of hard working hours were used to get that in place.

Dave riding through the beach

Kind of surreal. It is quiet and there are trees coming out of the sand. 

It was a busy type of exhausting day. Ended the day with a three hour nap on the couch. I think this will be a good year of trailworking and riding. I plan to head back out to Manawa with my DSLR, tripod, GoPro, and Mukluk one of these weekends. There is just too much out there to absorb in one day. Here is a link to Paul's pictures.

I tracked the route using Endomondo:

Now that's what I call a burger!

Paul and Dave ready to dig in. No plates here, burgers are served on a napkin

Some proof that we actually rode Swanson

So on Brian and Paul's Surly Karate Monkeys, you can actually open your beverages on the Tuggnut. We were having way too much fun with it. 

Surly Tuggnut, meet Dig. Enjoying New Belgium's latest spring time brew, Dig. Good stuff guys! It's their newest pale ale

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