Friday, August 24, 2012

High Trestle Trail: A Photo Essay Featuring My Head

Last weekend, dear spouse/Chief of Graphically Designed Stuff and I finally got ourselves up to the High Trestle Trail that Iowans have been so darn excited about. I know, I know, a cool trail right in my (approximate) backyard, and it took me this long? Whatever.

The day started like this:

Yes, the bike is bigger than the car. Thanks for noticing. On the upside, if the car breaks down, we can just carry it home on the bike.

So, off we went to the bucolic hamlet of Slater, Iowa. The trail starts in Ankeny, but its entire length would have been a 50-mile round trip... and since the namesake High Trestle Bridge is at the far end near Woodward, we wanted to make sure we had enough leg to reach the end and back.

Most of the trail featured "scenery" like this:

That's the chubby captain of the vessel against a backdrop of -- you guessed it -- corn. This monotony was occasionally broken up by a soybean field. Woo hoo!

Not far from Woodward, though, things got a little more interesting, other than the continued presence of my Spunik-like melon:

Head! Move! That looks like a bridge up there!

That's better, thanks.

And not just any bridge -- a really funky, twisty one. The effect is like riding through a rotating tunnel. There are blue lights on the arches that come on after dark, which -- I'm told -- make the sensation even more funky (here's an article with a photo -- scroll all the way down). Maybe regular reader and local dude Steve F. can comment, since I think he's been up there on a night ride or two.

Random stranger offers to capture the whole team and their vehicle on the mid-bridge scenic overlook:

Thank you, random stranger, for not dropping and/or stealing an iPhone. It's tough to get any perspective from this photo, but that signage says we're a good 13 stories above the valley floor, and it's a half mile from one end of the bridge to the other. Wowsers.

Nutshell ride report: Conditions were perfect... comfortably cool, overcast, no wind. The trail surface is so smooth, you'll find yourself doing the Field of Dreams "is this heaven? no, it's Iowa!" bit, and the "topography" (quotes intentional) is typical railbed: you'd be hard-pressed to know if you were climbing or descending. We absolutely hauled from Slater to Woodward and back (26 miles) and could have tacked on more if it weren't for a sudden-onset case of SBS (Sore Butt Syndrome) afflicting captain and stoker alike. I suspect that once we've toughened up those regions a bit more, an Ankeny-Woodward-Ankeny trip (defeating my stoker's Half-Century Curse) is in our future.


Amy said...

What a great trip! I had never heard of this trail until you mentioned it. I think you should continue posting more pics of your rides. The Stoker-in-Chief wields the iPhone camera with a deft hand.

Steve Fuller said...

The blue lights at night are awesome. :) Riding across it in a 20 MPH wind is a little disconcerting, as is being out in the open 13+ stories above the ground.

My next feat of stupidity is going to be riding to there from the Mile Long Bridge at Poly City, but I'm going to take the Fat Bike and ride along the river shoreline and flats. :)