Bikes and beers of course. Were you thinking I was going to say University of Nebraska Cornhusker football? Hah!
As a loyal University of Iowa alumnus going to spend a long weekend in Lincoln, Nebraska I was not going to participate in any game day festivities. Instead I was going to attack the Homestead Trail south of town.
Last year over the Memorial Day weekend I went on a ride that covered a portion of the Homestead and Jamaica North trails. At the time the temperature was hovering around 90 some degrees with an equal percentage of humidity which forced me to cut my ride short. Heading back to my truck I vowed to return.
The route from just south of Lincoln at the trailhead off Saltillo Road southward to Beatrice is a little over 30 miles. Round trip I expected this ride to take about 4 hours assuming I could keep a consistent cadence on the gravel.
The morning started out cool and humid. How humid? Like fog dripping from the sky humid. Like trailside grasses sagging under the weight of morning dew humid. At least the trail dust was kept down by all the moisture in the air. One can really tell that it has been a wet spring and summer in Nebraska just by the density of the greenery along the trail. It is damn near jungle-esque.
Traffic on the trail was light. A few ultra-runners early on, but almost completely depopulated by mile ten. I passed a few people on bikes the rest of the way. If you want to be alone with your thoughts on a bike I highly recommend the Homestead Trail.
The trail surface was in good condition for most of its length. Somewhere around mile 20 the trail was scarred by what appeared to be quad bike tracks that whipsawed across the width of the gravel surface. It was as if someone deliberately came out after a rainstorm and dug deep tire tracks in an effort to frustrate cyclists. If so, that is just sad and belongs in the hall of shame next to the guys who “roll coal” next to cyclists at traffic stops.
I have got to be honest, the trail is a lot of this:
If it looks really flat that is because the trail is really flat. Over 60.34 miles—out and back to Beatrice—I gained a total of 479 feet. That is right, just an average of less than 8 feet of elevation gain per mile.
I made it to Beatrice:
Barn wood…it’s not just for people from Waco, Texas:
Caution: Animal Holes…my new favorite sign:
The reward for achieving my goal of riding to Beatrice and back was a trip around Lincoln to try out a few, new to me breweries. My legs were rubber after sixty miles of riding, but I was game for quick pit stop by White Elm Brewing and Code Beer Company in Lincoln. Both breweries put out a well-made IPA. I really only had the energy to sample a few beers before heading to dinner and bed.
Like before, I will be back.