Saturday, January 12, 2013

In Which The Trail Has Ruts But Can Be Ridden

Tree that blocks Lindale Trail in Cedar Rapids.

Trail was OK to ride, but a bit rough.  It will be better on a colder day.

End of the road.  Barrier is not actually on trail and I suppose I could have gotten through, but I decided to take the hint.

Temperature was in the 20s this afternoon--and a cold wind was blowing. But recent warm weather and melting snow has put some water in the creek.

CR Biker went on a bit of an unplanned expedition today. I was going to ride my bike to the gym, when the siren song of the Lindale Trail, which leads to the Boyson Road trail, sounded in my brain.

After all, yesterday, the Cedar River trail was clear. What if the Great Melt had cleared this unplowed limestone path? On the other hand, a limestone trail is best ridden only when dry—it’s otherwise mushy and messy. But a cold front is sweeping across Iowa today and the temperature was chilly by noon—when I was starting my ride.

Would the trail be both clear of snow and cold enough to not be mushy?

Well, yes and no.  The west end of the trail, the part in Cedar Rapids, was dry enough. Patches of rough ice remain and, with the imprint of shoes, made passage rough, but beyond the one downed tree that has blocked the trail for several weeks, it was OK.

I was concerned as I entered Marion and crossed Lindale. Where the Lindale Trail runs into the Boyson Trail, it goes down a hill that is usually the mushiest, worst part of the trail in wet weather.

And the hill partly lived up to its bad rep.  It was very rutted—but surprisingly dry. I decided to ride the full “trail loop” through Marion, figuring that if the worst part o f the trail was OK, the rest would be, too.

That was a flawed assumption.  As I drew near the Frisbee Golf course area, the small woodsy hill that the trail has turned out to be more covered in ice than the rest.  The hill was passable—but only a narrow part. Following the trail, the area farther south proved damp and soft, which was an unpleasant surprise.

It was very wet. I had been glad that the trail was so frozen that I was not adding to its unevenness, but I think I left some tracks here. I veered right, and the new trial that leads to the Menards area of town improved, a bit—until I went around a bend and say a sawhorse with a sign stating “trail closed,” and a lot of dirt and equipment. The wettest looking part of the trail was between me and the dirt, so I took the hint.

I went to gym and then headed home. I am not sure when I’ll be on the trail again, but probably when it is colder.  Colder weather will make this trail firm. As it was, I still had an unexpectedly nice, although slow and bumpy, ride.

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