Now done with the hard part, I was wondering which route to head. Apparently I thought I must have gotten cheated out of something on Wednesday nights ride as I headed off to do somewhat of a reverse of that loop. Actually, I was trying to figure out someplace to ride to and get dinner and a beer. I ended up settling on El Ray over on Grand which actually meant I'd be riding the entire loop before hitting dinner. So, I better get moving. The first misstep came when I headed up the trestle to trestle trail. I was heading over to Johnston in hopes of looping through Urbandale and then back down the Windsor Heights trails. I completely forgot about T2T being built up with mud due to the floods of last summer. 10' into the mud, my memory was quickly jogged as my drivetrain clogged and drug me to a stop. I doubled back trying to keep as much mud off of me as possible and took surface streets over to Beaver and jumping back on the trail.
The rest of the loop was less exciting, but still interesting in its own right. Urbandale sucks for not plowing their trails! I jumped back off them quickly and hit city streets again. Then back on the trail the melting led to some interesting conditions. Low spots were dominated by 6-8" deep puddles that were punctuated with large ice chunks and/or on top of sheet ice. It made for a few puckering moments to say the least. 3 hours down and I made my well to El Ray for the burrito and beer recovery food group. MMMMM.
I started off Saturday with my mind set on a nice easy 2 hour spin. I had to be back at the house by 9 so I was off nice and early. Most everything was still thawed out from the warm temps and I took the cross bike as a respite from the heavy resistance of studs and knobs. Off towards Carlisle and ultimately Summerset park I headed. The sun was coming up and made for some very welcome warmth on my face along with setting a few nice pics.
I wondered if they even plowed the Summerset trail when I took off. Even these guys out in the sticks apparently know that you should plow trails (hint Urbandale). Unfortunately, not far outside of Carlisle the trail crowns pretty heavily to both sides leaving a lot of missed patches with ice build-up. After dodging a few and a runner informing me it only got worse down the trail, I opted for the gravel. The gravel was actually in almost perfect condition. As I got to the park, my options were to turn back or suffer some hills and loop back through Norwalk. At this point I decided I might as well hit it hard and see what popped. Funny enough, my legs popped about halfway through the rollers headed to the West. I barely made it home in time, but another 2 hours and 30 miles were down for the count as I hit the showers and headed off to our appointment.