Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Trip Report: Dubuque Iowa

In July 2021 we took a trip to visit some family in Dubuque, Iowa. We also took the opportunity to try out some mountain bike trails around the Dubuque area. 

John Deere Proving Grounds

The Proving Grounds are built on land donated by the John Deere company a few miles outside of Dubuque (you know you're getting close when you see the massive John Deere complex). The Proving Grounds include a mix of walking and biking trails build in and around dense forest. 

Next to the road just before the parking lot is a small pump track with a couple of intermediate level wooden features that were, unfortunately, home to many wasps. 

Soren riding a feature next to the pump track. Not pictured: wasps.

There is a gravel road that cuts the proving grounds in two and provides a convenient shortcut back to the parking lot if you need an early exit.

Soren riding on the gravel road through the middle of the Proving Grounds

The trails were reasonably well maintained and clear of brush, though many sections had black dirt that doesn't pack and well as a clay mix. Some of the sections were not yet complete (July 2021), like the landing for these impressive drops. 

We decided to pass on these

This drop was manageable

This drop was easy!

Tucked away about one hundred yards from the parking lot is a paved skills course with lots of wooden features.

We will definitely be riding here again! 

FDR Mountain Bike Park

FDR Mountain Bike Park is hidden away behind Storybook Hill, a small park West of Dubuque. FDR was not as well maintained as the Proving Grounds, but aside from one fallen tree was clear and ridable. 

We rode Jesse's Ridge, which has lots of tight turns and small hills. We did not have a much fun here as at the Proving Grounds, in large part because the tight turns made it hard to pick up and maintain much speed. 

Dense undergrowth and lots of turns

We did not find any interesting technical features or jumps - FDR is more of a wilderness ride. 

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