On Sunday I decided to go for a ride. There are still a bit of ice and pack snow on the road so I put studded winter tires on my cross bike and headed out. For those of you who don’t know this, I have moved to a new interim position, so that means I have a new area to explore! I am in Tripoli (pronounced Tra-po-la) Iowa, the town is near the Wapsipinicon river, and Sweet Marsh, home of a small population of massasuga which I am sure are all hibernating, but I digress… Anyway I head out east of town and when I crossed the Wapsie I saw snowmobile tracks on the river so I circled back and gave it a try. My cross bike does no have wide tires but the snow on the river was not very deep. (the river must have froze sometime after the first big snowfall).
The snowmobiles had broken through in several places. I broke through the ice in a couple of places, once with my foot and once with my front tire. Even through the water was shallow, it is pretty exciting! I headed up stream and got a couple of miles until the river was so clogged with downed trees that riding was not possible. I got out at the county park on the west side of Sweet Marsh, and did some gravel riding (that was the original plan).
Today was warmer and my bike seemed to want to head back to the river, so this time I went down stream. There was a good stretch of open water that I had to skirt but after that I was able to ride almost 8 miles on the ice. It was cold recently so the ice was fairly thick — maybe 4-6 inches in most
places. There were places where the ice had froze over spots that must have been open recently. These were shallow spots, where you could see the bottom right through the ice it was only a few inches down, but it felt strange to ride across!
I saw a dozen bald eagles, and I was keeping my eye out for an otter– there were tracks all over the place, but the only mammal I saw was a very cold looking opossum that I am sure was dreaming of summer!
My daughter Linnea said a couple of weeks ago that she could see a fat bike in my future. I am pretty sure, if the snow gets a little deeper I am going to be coveting one!!!! Maybe I will put my studded tires on my monster cross bike, they are 2″ wide, that is half to a fat bike