Eight different trails wind you around the Ewing Park on the south side of Des Moines. Ewing has had trails for years now to allow mountain bikers to get their dirt riding fill. But after years of fundraising, Central Iowa Trail Association announced that the new flow trials next to the BMX and soapbox track on the west side of the park have opened!
KCCI covered the story in June. The project was around $35,000 in total and was completed by a Colorado company – Single Track Trails. With only a minute to reach the bottom of the line you can explore the rest of the ~5 miles of dirt trails.
Ewing Park Kickback Classic
Register for the Kickback Classic on July 30th! This year we will be including a marathon category that will give riders a flowing good 4 hour ride. Juniors category racers (-18 years) are FREE thanks to our IMBCS Youth Fund – we have raised over $1,2500 this year thanks to our series director Bruce Brown.
The Nebraska Lottery Psycowpath Series and the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series are engaging in some friendly competition to claim the title of Border Battle Champion. This border battle will take place at the challenging Lewis & Clark Monument trails, in the lush Loess Hills on the Iowa side of the Missouri River.
A few things that new comers to this race should know:
Because this is a public attraction, parking at the monument is prohibited except for race organizers. Racers can park on the road on the north side of the main entrance. Please do not park in any of the private driveways. Thank you for helping us and understanding.
Ride with in your abilities
With -26% descents and 30% climbs at times – new comers and all CAT 3 riders are encouraged to pre-ride the trails, always remember to ride with in your abilities and stay SAFE!
Kybos are available on-site, no running water
Hiking and Trail Run
The L&C will have a train run that starts at 8 AM! There are hiking trails that intersect the mountain bike race course. Please try not to hike on the course to take photos, etc. during the race.
800+ feet of climbing in five miles
One bomber descent
Same day registration closes 30 minutes prior to your event start time. See more info about the L&C race here>>
Coon Rapids, IA – For the second consecutive year, Whiterock Conservancy will play host to this Sunday’s Liberty Bell Cup, part of the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series. “Last year we were right around 100 bikers. We’re expecting at least that many or more. Registrations are open until the races begin so we won’t know for sure until then,” said Christopher Van Roekel, trails coordinator for Whiterock Conservancy. “We are really excited to be hosting this event again and very anxious to see if the numbers increase. We’d love to see this event hosted here every year,” Van Roekel added.
Rob Cook of Des Moines, who is organizing the event, is equally excited to see the event expand in participation. “I’m hoping to have as many as last year, when we actually drew riders from four states. In my dreams we double that number this year,” Cook exclaimed. Cook said Sunday’s event here is considered the state Cross Country Mountain Biking (MTB) championship, which means that winners are considered the state champions for 2017. “The races are held under the Iowa Mountain Bike Championship Series (IMBCS) banner and run to United States Cycling standards. If you are the state champion, you qualify to go on to the national championships,” Cook explained.
There are 10 events during the day-long competition for men, women and juniors, fat bike, four-hour marathon and more. The
races will be routed over some of Iowa’s finest mountain bike trails. Some of the shorter races will be held on the Big Dipper and Little Dipper trails; both trails are located near Whiterock’s Star Field. Longer races will be routed over the Shooting Star, Riverside, 805 Spur double track, and Long Creek trails. Every race will start and finish at the Star Field, so that would be one area where spectators could expect to see lots of action, said Van Rockel.
“MTB races, unfortunately, are not the most spectator-friendly events, given that we race over miles of trails usually through
woods and hills,” explained Cook. “To provide better viewing this year for local spectators, we have centralized the start and finish to take place at the Star Field campground where one can watch the races head off and finish. Whiterock does have some other great spots to watch from if you are willing to hike a little to get there. Creek crossings are always a fun place as well as the intersection of Long Creek and Riverside trails where many of the riders will be turning laps,” Cook said.
Whiterock prepares for Mountain Bike Championship series “What we don’t want spectators to do is park and watch along
Fig Avenue,” Van Rockel added. Van Rockel said Whiterock Conservancy is rolling out the red carpet for the bikers by inviting them to come here earlier in the week to camp, kayak and explore the outdoors. Whiterock is hosting a BBQ on Saturday night.
Cook said the races start at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, and he encourages local biking enthusiasts to give it a try.
“Even if you’ve never raced before, come give it a try. We have a beginning-friendly course so all you need is a helmet and bike,”
Cook said. Five dollars of every rider’s entry fee is given back to Whiterock to maintain and build trails. “Whiterock’s trails, in my opinion, are some of the best in the state,” Cook added. “Certainly they have as much or more in terms of miles of trail as any trail system in Iowa. One of the advantages Whiterock has over the other trails is the dedicated staff available to maintain, clean and build new trail. Whiterock is a bit secluded but the onsite amenities, showers, camping to name a few, make it worth the ride. Whiterock also has more varied terrain than other systems, and we manage to have several creek crossings that are unique to these trails. You really get the feeling that you’re going somewhere when you ride here.”
This will be the Iowa State XC Championship race! Our race director Rob Cook and with the help of Americorps (and some very awesome volunteers) have made some great trail improvements and the trails are in excellent condition! Saturday, July 1 the trail will be prepped for race day on Sunday. Everyone is invited to come pre-ride the trails and join the BYOB/Meat gathering!
Does Banner have an undeserved bad reputation? I think it does. I believe these trails are just misunderstood.
I have said for years that “the trails at Banner may be the most fun and most feared trails in central Iowa.” But I think it’s time for us all to forget that fear and enjoy the fun. I’m tired of hearing that Banner is only for experienced riders.
Banner has some advanced trails, but that’s only some of the trails. And once you get a feel for Banner’s character by riding the beginner and intermediate trails first, the advanced trails become much more manageable.
Liz Von Houweling has written an article for all of us Just in time to capture the month of August and our final trio of IMBCS races, plus the Women’s MTB Clinic sponsored by Zoom Performance and Rasmussen Bike Shop on August 27th. Many of us will be able to enjoy the excellent fall weather conditions for some casual mountain bike rides here in Iowa. Liz has some thoughts on the unwritten rules of mountain biking that are well worth reading and adhering to while you are out on the trails…
Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette
Mountain bikers are a pretty easy going bunch, but there are many unwritten “rules” to follow while out on the trail. Even if you develop an incredible amount of skill and fitness, the surest way to lose respect from your fellow riders is to not adhere to proper etiquette.
Respect trail closures. When a trail is “closed,” that means that you should NOT ride it! Riding on soft and muddy trails can leaves ruts and destroy the trail. Stay on the existing singletrack even if it means going THROUGH the mud. Leave no trace—if you’re leaving tire tracks behind you, the trail is not ready to be ridden.
Mountain bike races can vary greatly in length depending on the category and type. Marathon races typically last 3-5 hours while cross country races are only 1-2 hours. No matter the duration, proper fueling is key for meeting race demands.
For all race distances, a good meal that is a mix of carbohydrates and protein with a little bit of fat about 3 hours prior to the start is usually sufficient. Another 100-300 calorie snack about an hour before the race could also be necessary. Entering races hydrated is also important and this process should be started the night prior to the race.
This is our first article from Zoom Performance Level 1 Coach Liz Van Houweling. Zoom Performance has partnered with IMBCS for 2016 by becoming one of our sponsors for the series.
What to Expect at Your First Mountain Bike Race
Toeing the start line for your first mountain bike race can be rather intimidating! I came from racing criteriums for 5 years and was still fearful about the idea of RACING mountain bikes. To outsiders, the thought of going as fast as you can while weaving in and out of trees, bombing down bumpy descents, and maneuvering around other riders can be frightening. I promise that it is not really as scary as it sounds!
No one to build and maintain trails would mean no trails. And no trails would mean nowhere to ride for fun and no races!
So let’s give a a big shoutout to all those who have done and will do the necessary work on our trails, both locally and across the state(s). Let’s also make a resolution to go to the next trail work day or even contribute to trimming and other maintenance on our own as our schedules allow.