Sunday, December 14, 2008

Winter is not the off season at Potters

Winter in most areas is often considered down time or the "off season". I and a few other riders in the area don't believe that there should be an "off season". As the days get shorter it is time to start rooting through the backs of closets for the "off season" layers of gear that were long forgotten on the first warm day last spring. It is somewhat of a conundrum as to which bike to hit the trails at Potters with this time of year. Do you take the single, gears , or in the case of Llama is it deep enough for the Pugs ? We have been in snow,ice and wind and have even had to hide in a calm sunny portion of canyon just to warm in the winter sun so we could continue on the "frozen toes tour", anticipating the homemade hot chocolate Llama had waiting back in camp. Sometimes its hard to even go because you just know its cold!! But at the end of the day while you let the hot shower warm your bones you realize it was a great day as are all days on the trails !!
Ready to roll !!!!

Llama on Ceder Ridge
The Pugs !!!!
Q rollin on Brians Way
Q on Ceder Ridge

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey burn ride!

 With all the turkey being consumed at our house the last couple days what better way to burn it off than an outing to the pasture. Was just Lane & I but over on the east side we met up with the Llama & J. R. from Kearney. Beautiful when we arrived but halfway through it got overcast, blustery & the temp dropped considerably, had to increase the intensity to stay warm & finished off with around a 10 mile loop, rode up to Highline, down Zipper to Church Grove then up, down to the Arch then up to the top to bomb down Joe's (niiice!!!) then around the eastend back to the valley, back up Church Grove then over to Susan's Singletrack back to camp. Was a GREAT ride with some GREAT father/son memories made, dusting of snow today, sure sign of things to come.
Young goat going up!

Old goat going down!

Double log hop on Church Grove, dig the retro North Face fleece, circa 1989!

No room for error here kids, this trail NOT for the faint of heart!

A lot of Monkey play at the pasture today!

This lonely porcupine as well as around a hundred turkeys were spotted today along with some bobcat tracks following some turkey tracks in the snow. More pics over at  GREAT day of riding out at the pasture, get out there & turn some wheels folks, it's GREEEAT!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Any Day Now

Any day now the trails will be covered in snow and ice.  Today was a beautiful day.  Almost 60 degrees and sunny made today feel like a gift from mother nature.  We were on one of the usual loops when a strange sound could be heard in the distance.  Steve Potter (yes, that Potter, the caretaker of the pasture) was calling to us from across a canyon.  We held up and rode Hornito's and Sweetness before parting ways.  It's always nice to get an opportunity to ride with Steve and Callie (the best trail dog I've ever seen).

Although the weather and riding were great, there were hints of the season to come.  Many of the shaded ponds were starting to show that winter is trying to grab ahold of the land around us.  As I turned another year older this week (happy b-day to you too, Steve), I am reminded that every day on the trail is a gift.  If last year is any indicator, we have about 3-4 more weeks of riding before the snow makes the single track inaccessible until spring.

P.S. For those of you from out of town with family in the area.  The annual Thanksgiving day morning ride is still on.  If you're stuck at the in-laws wishing you were riding, wish no more. Forget that darn televised parade and earn your turkey dinner this year. 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trail Scouting and Signage Ideas

The "Grand Loop" at Potters continues to develop.  We've almost finished the first section on the south end of the property and are now laying out the northern section.  The difficulty was finding a way up to the ridge that didn't involve substantial hiking.  We stumbled upon another older cow path that has been out of use for some time.  It should be easily climbable by a rider of average fitness.  Once on the ridge, the trail will follow the contour of the land and drop in and out many "finger canyons".  We expect this section of trail to add another 5-6 miles to the perimeter loop. 

Signage has always been a problem at the pasture.  The trails are numerous, plus the critters and elements are always a factor.  Wooden signs always get knocked down when cows rub against them.  In short, it has been almost impossible to maintain adequate signage.  We brainstormed a number of different options and then it hit us - cow ear tags on metal posts! (thanks to Paul and Larry for the idea)  If we cut the posts off at about 4' in height, they will be too low for the cows to scratch on them.  If we used a new numbering and color system identified by ear tags attached to the posts, they will be durable and will easily correspond to a map and difficulty level.  

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Life's obstacles

In life we have obstacles, just like we do at Potter's Pasture, but we adapt to overcome obstacles in life as well as at Potter's. Steep climbs, fast, rooty descents, fresh cow pies, heat, cold, wind, rain, an occasional rattlesnake, a broken bone or bike part, it's part of our hobby & part of our "slice of heaven" out here in western NE.

Much like the elk that are moving back to these parts after more than 100 years of absence we've adapted to our "riding range" & in my opinion are "thriving", just as the elk are once again! I'm grateful for a place like this to ride, take my family, camp, hang out with like-minded friends that I've met there over the years & just LIVE! The memories I've made out there will be with me forever as will the friends I've made, RIDE your BIKE, SMILE & LIVE, it's all good people!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo

It's official the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo is coming to Potter's Pasture in fall of 2009.  The exact dates are in flux, but will most likely be the second week in October (in conjunction with the normal fall camp out).  This blog is in its infancy, but expect there to be future updates and additional features added in the future.  The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo is an event created by 29er advocate, "Guitar Ted".  It was originally a big camp out and demo weekend for those who love or are interested in bigger wheels.  The Ballyhoo at Potter's will retain the original mission to be a place for 29er lovers to meet and ride.  Potters is the perfect place for 29ers.  I'll expand on the terrain and the benefit of the 29er out here in future posts.  Additionally, I've planned a series of posts dealing with trail features that are unique to cow-created trails and how to navigate them.  Also, if you're a interested in more information about Potter's, Cow Trails, or anything 29er related, drop us a line over here at the blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fall Camp Out

The annual fall camp out is in the books.  A lot of folks riding in the damp haze through out Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It's always nice to enjoy the riding with like-minded folks.  Most of the old crew was there and rode their brains out over the weekend.  Many people came and went through the day, but we kept the fire going and the hot cocoa steaming.  Here are a few pics I pulled from the camera.  Sorry I didn't take more pictures, but the riding was just too good to fuss with the camera that much.  Stay posted for a hint at next year's festivities . . . big changes in the works.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Potters Pasture - Cows as Trail Builders

Potter's pasture teaches a rider many things, one of which is that Cows are crazy trail builders. When they decide upon a route, they stick to it regardless of how illogical.  They typically take the shortest distance between watering holes or open pasture. Which is usually straight up or down an impossibly steep hill.  Trails that have been guided by human builders are easy to spot, they follow the contour of the land, make use of natural features, and are erosion resistant.

I've been riding Potter's Pasture for about three years. Every time I arrive at the top of the first climb, I'm simply in awe of the wide open space and the sheer magnitude of trail options.  
When I first moved to the area, I heard rumors about crazy mountain-starved bikers riding cow trails to get their fix.  I asked around and learned nothing.  I began using a snow bike to ride the sandy canal near my home for lack of a better option.  An unlikely post on a MTB forum let to a contact with someone that had been riding the trails for quite a while.  A few phone calls and emails later, I was on my way to learning more about cows and their trail building tendencies.

Here's the thing about Potter's;  These trails are narrow, rutted, rooty, wide open, surprisingly tight, and anything else you can imagine.  They are raw and constantly changing.  The elements contribute, but the cows walk where they choose.  This place is pure MTB heaven.  Don't expect manicured race trails, be prepared for trails that will test your equipment and ability to steer precisely.  Thousands of acres of pure MTB bliss just a handful miles away from I-80, hidden in the center of Nebraska.  If you think Nebraska is flat, this place will change your perspective.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Potters Pasture a slice of MTB heaven

We decided that Potters Pasture is such a special area to ride that it deserves a blog!!!! I have been riding and working on trails at the area for 6 1/2 yrs. now. It just keeps getting better !! I was lucky enough to be pointed towards Potters by a gal by the name of Patty Evans who has a shop in North Platte called CycleSport. I asked about singletrack and she gave me directions to this place called Potters Pasture. The original crew has been riding the area off and on for around 16 years from what I've heard. We have a spring and fall gathering every year with atendence from 10 to 50 people. Its always a good time at Potters . The trails have evrything for all abilities from beginer to expert. We just had our fall gathering last weekend which will be another entry later!! I thought this would be a good way to get this blog rollin' !! Heres a recent pic taken by Mitch Kline on his last vist back from Colorado.