I wrapped up the year with a 32-mile ride that ticked a lot of my favorite boxes: gravel roads, rail-trails, singletrack.
The temperature was in the mid-40s, with abundant sunshine, but a gusty north wind made it feel a bit chill, so I headed north on the Prairie Spirit Trail, thankful for the windbreak provided by the trees that line most of the trail. I rode as far as the Anderson County line, then took to gravel, jogging east a few miles before riding south, where the tailwind and smooth roads made the southward roll just pure bliss. After crossing US-54 highway, I turned west and hit the Lehigh Portland Trails. I was on my Nashbar gravel bike, but most of the singletrack at Lehigh is smooth enough that it’s navigable even with skinny-ish tires. I rode part of the South Loop and part of the Creekside Trail before taking the wide Backbone over to the Southwind Rail Trail, which connect to the Prairie Spirit Trail, and then to the Mo-Pac Trail, then just a few short blocks on city streets to get home.
In Iola, I’m blessed to have great low-traffic roads and a variety of trails within an easy ride in any direction. It’s one of the reasons I live here!
Strava activity: FU 2016: Finish Unpaved
Photos, of course: