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Reply to Trail Report late August

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Reply to Trail Report late August
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Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 9/8/2020 4:40:35 PM:
Two of us did Norfolk to Valentine and back Aug 24-29 and I thought I'd give a trail report since I never got responses to some of my queries. This may be helpful to the Parkinsons group taking off in a few days. Best maintained area of the trail is Norfolk to Battle Creek, so enjoy that. On both sides of Tilden we ran into areas of thick, loose gravel that is rough to ride. My brother floated over it with 4" tires but I had to put a foot down a few times with my 2" mtn bike tires. One detour to the highway between Oakdale and Neligh, two between Neligh and Clearwater. After leaving O'Neill we started running into goatheads and started checking every 6-10 miles and removing them. Seriously, we removed DOZENS of them over the 400 miles of riding. I had new tires, Tuffy strips, and x-heavy tubes and never actually had a flat but had slow leaks in both tires the last day and a half. I'll probably look into slime before next year. There's a detour just outside of Long Pine on a gravel road. It was very hot and very windy for 2 or 3 of our days and two water bottles just didn't do it so water up every chance you have. Long Pine/Valentine is short on water stops. 8 miles outside of Valentine we saw a windmill pumping and watered up with cold water, not even knowing whether it was good water or not, nor caring that much in the moment. The trail is open all the way to Valentine. In 6 days of riding we met one couple doing the trail and one guy riding solo, and in O'Neill we met 2 couples from Omaha who had decided that this was a lot tougher than the Wabash Trail(correctly) and were calling it quits and heading home. I always say that this ride the way we do it isn't an easy, fun ride, but more of an adventure. It's addictive but come prepared. Good luck!

Tim on 9/9/2020 10:42:34 AM:
Yes, I rode the trail from Valentine to Norfolk 9/3-9/5 as well as Hwy 20 from Hay Springs to Valentine 9/1-9/2. I rode part of the trail from Rushville to Gordon but it was loose and somewhat difficult. I ride a 29er hardtail tubeless so thorns weren't a concern. The trail is in good shape there but not enough riders to pack down the loose rock and create a hard trail. Lots of local riders between Norfolk and Battle Creek on my last day. I only saw one other cyclist between Valentine and Ewing. I did Valentine to Bassett, Bassett to Ewing, and Ewing to Norfolk. I wish they could get the entire trail done to Chadron, but it was an amazing ride between Valentine and Norfolk.

Rickonabike from Brooklyn, NYC on 11/24/2020 3:54:31 PM:
DougT: Thanks for the update - very nice of you! I am with a non-profit bicycle touring club (People Cycling) (free to join) and a group of us (24) are going cross country next year from Seattle to NYC. On July 4 we go from White River, SD to Valentine so we can pedal the Cowboy Trail. The fifth of July we will go from Valentine to Ainsworth (short day) then the 6th we go to O'Neill. Then the next day, after a half day on the Trail we depart south towards Albion. Your posting was very helpful - - and I am going to start another (new) thread to post up our x-c and to invite anyone who wanted to pedal along with us for any of what I mention above but wanted to invite you since you are doing the right thing by giving such an awesome trail report. Regards, rick of Bicycle Habitat, NYC

Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 12/1/2020 11:29:15 AM:
Rick, thanks for the invite but I wouldn't be available in July to ride w/you guys. Sounds like an interesting ride across country, and I hope you can leave an update on this site after riding the trail. Conditions vary from year to year as to trail maintenance and the dreaded goatheads so I'm always curious before I ride it in Aug or Sept. Enjoy and stay safe, bud!

Rickonabike from Brooklyn, NYC on 12/9/2020 9:39:52 PM:
Will do - - and will report back after next July

Biker4 from Papillion, NE on 12/10/2020 12:14:36 PM:
Thanks everyone for your information on trail conditions and the issues in areas of concern. I do not understand why the state of Nebraska cannot see the diamond in the rough and take more care of the cowboy trail. Nebraska Game & Parks should look at making repairs to the trail like packing the loose gravel areas and spraying for the goatheads so groups like yours can enjoy the ride and promote Nebraska's Outdoors so others will come and ride the trail. Bike Trails bring in dollars to small communities along the trails like the Katy Trail, Mickelson Trail, Wabash Trace and others. I hope this will improve by 2021.