Thursday, November 23, 2006

Hey Nebraska, Please Define "Minimum Maintenance Road"

After a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner, Charlie and I decided to take advantage of the mid 50’s weather and loaded up the mountain bikes and headed over to Maskell, Nebraska to take off on the back roads. Now understand the route that I wanted to and was trying to do was the reverse of that we had just driven last week. That should set you up for yet another misadventure in mountain biking!

We headed south out of Maskell and I simply couldn’t remember how far that I had to go before turning, but I did remember it was a dirt road. We probably weren’t even a mile out of town when I seen a sign that said “Minimum Maintenance Road”: “Hey Charlie, we need to turn here!” Well, a perfectly quiet road turned interesting quickly. First we had to chase three cows back into their field. The humor of that quickly faded as our dirt road became a dirt path with grass in the middle. Shortly thereafter it became a grass path that farmers use, then basically "grass". We wound around to the point of not seeing much in the way of a path at all. “Minimum Maintenance Road” suddenly became “wandering across the open range”. The fear of not being totally sure that I could backtrack where we just came from kept us driving forward.

Finally I looked into the distance and seen a gravel road. Come hell or high water I was going to get to that road. Climbing to the top of the grassy hill I saw Highway 12 at the bottom which was a very welcome site. We had to throw our bikes over the barbed wire fence to get to the road but that seemed like a simple task after what we just rode. We took the highway to Obert and hopped on the gravel road that we were supposed to come in on. A couple good climbs later we were on our way down the correct dirt road. After chasing yet another cow back into the field (a rather large cow who made an impressive leap over the fence back into the field) we looped back into Maskell and loaded up the bikes to go home.

Although it was only a little over ten miles and a little less than an hour, it was still a great adventure. Our “out and back” ride ended up being a loop by accident, but loads of fun. I dare any of you to try to reproduce this ride exactly. Oh, and Nebraska: How about a sign that says "END of Minimum Maintenance Road"?!?!?!?!



Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mountain Biking Around Obert, NE

I should have known this day and ride was going to be intersting when, as I was putting the bike on my van to prepare to leave, all decked out in my biking gear, my 10 year old looked at me and asked: "Going biking Dad?"....Here's your sign.

It definitely wasn't the longest ride of my biking life, but it was interesting and I look forward to the next excursion to the land time forgot...Obert, Nebraska. Tim C. drove Joe P., Cindy L., and myself over to the "village" of Obert. Obert is a quaint, quiet little place that was about to be invaded by four mountain bikers.

The instant we left going south out of Obert, we were climbing...and climbing...and climbing. I like at least a little warmup (I'm sure this is shocking to Joe), but there was none to be had on this ride. About four miles in, we were ready to go from gravel to dirt. That's right, dirt. Joe P., realized that his tire was going flat. A flat always stinks, but especially on your birthday (Happy Birthday Joe!). We stopped, pumped it back up, made it a mile on a STEEP dirt road, and pumped it up again. It was here I noticed something to add to "land that time forgot" stigma: A "SCHLITZ" can. Do they REALLY still make Schlitz? Plugging forward we abandoned Joe with a lowly little pump and our best wishes on his survival. We all went another mile south before circling around to get the pickup and to backtrack Joe's slow progress and pick him up. Sadly enough, Joe's birthday woes didn't stop there. As he went to get into the truck, he slammed his head (still in helmet) into the top of the truck. Joe may have to reconsider biking on his birthday from now on.

At any rate, it's amazing to see how different this land is and it's still so close to Vermillion. It also looks like some good hill training for next year as well.

Tim decided to take us on the "north" loop from Obert to Maskell (via truck). After a fairly good climb leaving Obert followed by a fast descent, we turned on to another minimum maintenance dirt road. After being on this narrow road for a little while I jokingly said, "Now watch another mountain biker come screaming down the hill at us". Shortly thereafter we actually seen another mountain biker that was broke down. As we got closer we realized that we knew him! What are the odds! We gave Charles a lift back to his wife who backtracked to get their vehicle. So, all in all, it was an interesting day of mountain biking and bizarre coincidences on a cool November day.

At any rate, here is some info from the area we did mountain bike. I look forward to going back and biking the area again. Oh yeah, and if there are any people from that area reading my blog, I apologize for the "land that time forgot" comments! Please don't run me over when I come back.



Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Turkey Creek Road

This is a great mountain bike ride once you get over the bridge into Nebraska. Turkey Creek Road is a windy, hilly, scenic trip over to Newcastle, NE. This particular day was with Joe and Cindy on a beautiful November day. We bagged work at 2:00 to get a ride in.


The Route:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I haven’t blogged in awhile and I apologize to the faithful few who seem to get all cranky with me when I don’t blog much. Here is a thought for you whiners:Leave comments on the blog! Most of the time I feel like I’m just writing it to let off steam or to look back when I’m old and senile and say..”Hey, I remember that!”

At any rate, I’ve been in research mode as of late. Some of you know and some of you don’t know that I suffer from various levels of back pain. Three or four years ago after an MRI was done, I was diagnosed with a Grade 1 spondylolisthesis. They told me what it was, that I could get through it with Physical Therapy at this point, and sent me on my way. I figured it was a combination of many miles of distance running and a car accident that I was in back in 1992 but it’s awful hard to determine what caused it.

Cycling never seemed to bother my back much; actually if I DIDN’T cycle my back would tighten up and hurt so I tend to make sure that I exercise regularly. As I managed to get in better and better shape I decided to take a crack at running again. Well, long story short, I did fine until I started pushing mileage higher and higher. Then….well….not so good. There went the other dream of doing a triathlon again….maybe…stupid stubborn Kevin….

Why can’t I let this die? Maybe it’s the whole upcoming event of turning 40 and wanting to get back into my *former* shape and do something that pushes my body a little further again. Yeah, I know, like riding 100+ miles on a bike isn’t pushing it enough. I just don’t think it’s meant to be. I have the Physical Therapy department at USD monitoring me and giving me suggestions. I even learned that swimming isn’t good for “spondy” which was really shocking. I thought swimming was good for EVERYTHING.

For now, I am training extra hard on the bike/stationary bike/spin bikes. If nothing else, I’m going to try to have one heck of a 40 year old time trial on the bike. Lose a little more weight and go FAST. Wish me luck!