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“Is this Heaven?” “No, its Iowa.” Destination suggestion for Iowa riders.

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

“Is this Heaven?” “No, its Iowa.” Destination suggestion for Iowa riders.

Old 09-04-18, 10:43 AM
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“Is this Heaven?” “No, its Iowa.” Destination suggestion for Iowa riders.

Ok, this isn’t some destination like west central CO where its endless scenic views of snowcapped mountains and fresh water streams, but it’s a fun place to do a day ride or two.
I have been to Whiterock Conservancy a few times now and was just there again this past weekend for a 3 day stay and thought it would be good to highlight in the off chance some locals aren’t aware of its existence.

Nature Conservancy, Recreation Area Iowa | Whiterock Conservancy
Whiterock is a 5500 acre private land conservancy in Coon Rapids IA that is based on farmland originally owned by the Garst(seed) family. It is now a low impact outdoors activity destination.
It has 28mi of MTB trails(both singletrack and double track), equine campgrounds, river kayaking and canoeing, hiking, camping, cabins, 12 fishing ponds, and more.

A lot of the double track is great for gravel bike riding and connects you from where you are to other points around the property or to the never ending gravel roads that surround it. Also around Whiterock are multiple Level B(minimum maintenance) roads that are always a blast.
Guthrie County gravel is fun- roads are constantly different. Some are sandy with a hardpack base and loose top dressing. Some are relatively chunky loose gravel which never fully packs down. Some are hero gravel due to it being late in the season.
Regardless of the road covering- its constant hills all around Whiterock due to the Middle Raccoon River flowing thru the property as well as multiple creeks. Its down into a river valley and up out. Down into a river valley and up out. Good challenge for sure.

A 28mi ride I did on the 1st ended with just over 1500’ of climb. Again, not mountains like some parts of the country, but also certainly not flat.
Just wanted to give a mention here since Whiterock has done so much to encourage outdoor activity in central IA. It’s Iowa gravel riding paradise.

Some pics are below.






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Old 09-04-18, 01:56 PM
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Totally agree. It's been one of my favorite places to ride yet. I chellenge anyone to my Strava segments there

https://www.strava.com/activities/1121851327
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Old 09-04-18, 02:20 PM
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Beautiful area, a few spots your up on the hills and can look out for aways. There's a $2/rider trail cost that you fill out then drop in a receptical. I need to get back.

Tired of off road? Zip a few minutes east on highway 141 and catch the asphalt paved Raccoon River Valley Trail system. A 72 mile rail to trail system. Also $2/rider. Oh, don't blast through stop signs over gravel, there ARE rangers around!
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Old 09-04-18, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by shoota
Totally agree. It's been one of my favorite places to ride yet. I chellenge anyone to my Strava segments there

https://www.strava.com/activities/1121851327
Lemme check...
https://www.strava.com/activities/1309784449
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Old 09-04-18, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain
Ha! We managed to not do any of the same segments. Kudos to you good sir.
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Old 09-04-18, 11:26 PM
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Looks like a real nice area to ride.
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Old 09-06-18, 09:39 PM
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I'm looking for a "like" button! Thanks for sharing! Whiterock looks like a great place to ride when I get a bike setup for that kind of terrain. :-)
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Old 09-07-18, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by shermanbz
I'm looking for a "like" button! Thanks for sharing! Whiterock looks like a great place to ride when I get a bike setup for that kind of terrain. :-)
Whiterock area is awesome, but since you are right in DSM, there is endless gravel just a few minutes drive away.

- 5 min drive west of Jordan Creek is where i start a lot of rides- basically Van Meter. South and west of there thru southern Dallas and all of Madison counties is so much gravel, and you hit the Raccoon River valley and some other creeks a lot so there is a ton of climb. Also, just West of Jordan Creek is Booneville Road which is gravel and is a connector road for a lot of gravel cyclists to the western gravel roads.
- South of the city starting in Cumming is a popular spot too as most everything down to the MO border is gravel. From Cumming you have direct access to Warren and Madison counties which are predominantly gravel.
- East of the metro is a not as ideal because a lot of the East-West rural roads are paved, but many North-South roads are still gravel.
- North of the metro is fun flat gravel once you get outside of Ankeny. There is very little climb as its all on a 25mi wide shelf between the Des Moines River on the west and the South Skunk River on the East. With it all being relatively flat and farmland, the wind is challenging here.

It kills me every time I ride roads Ive ridden in past years and see some massive homes have popped up along a fantastic road. Its just more proof of the inevitable paving.
Look forward to reading about what you choose to do for a gravel bike!
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Old 09-07-18, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Whiterock area is awesome, but since you are right in DSM, there is endless gravel just a few minutes drive away.
True.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
- 5 min drive west of Jordan Creek is where i start a lot of rides- basically Van Meter. South and west of there thru southern Dallas and all of Madison counties is so much gravel, and you hit the Raccoon River valley and some other creeks a lot so there is a ton of climb. Also, just West of Jordan Creek is Booneville Road which is gravel and is a connector road for a lot of gravel cyclists to the western gravel roads.
I live less than a mile from Booneville Road! It's my primary motivation for getting the gravel bike sorted out.

Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Look forward to reading about what you choose to do for a gravel bike!
Thanks for the run down! That's some good information.

I posted another thread in asking for feedback on my plan... I think I'm going to convert the MTB to drops and try it out. (I can't post links yet)
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Old 09-07-18, 12:46 PM
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Until I looked at these pics I forgot how flat Iowa is north of HWY 92....LOL
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Old 09-07-18, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Rock71
Until I looked at these pics I forgot how flat Iowa is north of HWY 92....LOL
Not sure why this I allow myself to respond to these sort of posts, but...

The pictures dont show elevation well- cameraphone and all.
A ride with 55' of climb per mile is plenty.

You laugh at this and I laugh at those who whip it out to measure themselves over if their local hills are bigger than someone else's local hills. Ive ridden in southern IA dozens of times- around St Marys, Martinsdale, Truro, New Virginia, St Charles, etc and then also in SW IA in the Loess region Its usually about 60' of climb per mile down south of 92 in the central part of the state.
5-10' per mile hillier. Killer***
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Old 09-07-18, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Not sure why this I allow myself to respond to these sort of posts, but...

The pictures dont show elevation well- cameraphone and all.
A ride with 55' of climb per mile is plenty.

You laugh at this and I laugh at those who whip it out to measure themselves over if their local hills are bigger than someone else's local hills. Ive ridden in southern IA dozens of times- around St Marys, Martinsdale, Truro, New Virginia, St Charles, etc and then also in SW IA in the Loess region Its usually about 60' of climb per mile down south of 92 in the central part of the state.
5-10' per mile hillier. Killer***
I think your way OVER reacting to my post. That's why I ended it with an "LOL"... I laugh at those who take a post completely out of context and throw a little hissy about it. See it how you want I guess

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Old 09-07-18, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Rock71
I think your way OVER reacting to my post. That's why I ended it with an "LOL"... I laugh at those who take a post completely out of context and throw a little hissy about it. See it how you want I guess
right on
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