Monday, March 4, 2013

Crazy Local Ride Ideas

Winter time is the time for pondering about crazy ideas. Last year when I was riding with my bike to  Webster City, Iowa for lunch I started to get the idea to bike through all towns of my home county on one ride/day.
 I picked to ride through all incorporated "cities" of the county, as these towns have their own elected major and some accreditation by the county. Yes, cities is in quotes since most towns have fewer than thousand residents and most of us wouldn't call that a city, but it's the official terminology used.  The smallest "city" is Kelly with a population of 309 and the largest one is Ames of 58,965.  Ames is home to Iowa State University while Sheldahl with 319 people splits them between three counties.  Gilbert with a huge population of 1,082 and 1,364 K-12 students.  Maybe during the ride I'll learn about more courtesies of this county.

Story County Incorporated City Tour

The ride is a little more than 100 miles which would make it a really long day for me because of my snow speed. Starting from Ames it goes counter clockwise through Kelley, Slater, Sheldal, (Slater), Huxley, Cambridge, Maxwell, Collins, Colo, Nevada, McCallsburg, Zearing, Roland, Story City, Gilbert and back to Ames.  Alternatively the route could be taken clockwise, however the head winds would still remain the same.  The route mainly follows county highways with the exception of the southern part where it follows the Heart of Iowa Trail which has crushed limestone.  Thanks to Nevada the route has to go briefly to the center of the county.  It's so tempting to skip the county seat to significantly shorten the day.

The next idea was to create a route that would circumnavigate the county.  Funny enough on asphalt roads it's nearly the same route as the city tour with Nevada skipped.  But most of the time I'd be riding a couple miles from the edge of the county.  But gravel roads nearly perfectly surround the county.

Story County Circumnavigation
So this 110 mile route primarily follows the border via gravel roads except on the north west where County Road R38 makes up the border.  There is even a short stretch of level B maintenance road in the north.  After a route like this I may be on the way for a good start for the Trans Iowa race LOL.

The second route would even be tougher than the first with the loose gravel on the gravel roads.  I'm not yet sure that I'll do either of them.  So feel free to leave your encouragement or comments about these crazy ideas below.

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