Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday Trail Ride - April 17, 2010

I started out today thinking that I was going to do some road work but about a half mile out I realized that I forgot my sunglasses and circled back to the house.   Still thinking I was going to go on the road, I instead turned off Neiman Road, south of 135th Street, onto the trail that goes on the south side of St. Andrews Golf Course.  So I sat back and geared down and enjoyed the beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the low 60's and a refreshing and fairly strong east wind.

Maps of all the trails in Johnson County, Kansas are available on the Johnson County Park and Recreation District website.

The map to the left is of the Indian Creek and Tomahawk Trails and I downloaded it from the Overland Park, Kansas website in PDF format then converted to JPG for this post.  The Johnson County Park maps are more detailed but there are four different maps to download to cover the whole county.  Paper maps are also available at various locations that are detailed on their website.

The only complaint I have about the trails is that they are not marked very well so it is easy to get off on a side access trail thinking you are on the main trail.  Also not all the trails connect up very well and again better signage would help.  I use the Indian Creek Trail for Nordic Walking and Roller Skiing and generally head southwest from 119th Street and Quivira.

I worked my way over to the Tomahawk Trail in Leewood, Kansas and stopped at the Tomahawk South Park where there is a memorial to Ali Kemp, who was the 19-year old college student who was home from college the summer of 2002 working at a private neighborhood pool in Leawood.

Tragically, she was beaten to death by a stranger in the pool's pump room the afternoon of June 18, 2002 and there were no witnesses.  This was a huge case in Johnson County, Kansas as it took nearly three years to track down and convict her killer, Benjamin Appleby.  Very sad story and more information can be found at the Ali Kemp website and at The Ali Kemp Educational Foundation Facebook Page.  My wife, Carol, had pointed out the memorial on a ride we did together earlier in the year.  I believe Ali's parents were behind the memorial which also has many saying by Ali on the surrounding benches.

I next stopped by the Tomahawk Parkway Middle Pond which was right off the trail and snapped a picture of my bike.  The trail is on the right and also Tomahawk Creek is further to the right side of the trail.  I thought my podcast partner, Randy, would like this shot as a always make fun of his bike shots.

There are many areas like this all along the trail system to stop and relax and on a day like this there were some beautiful vistas.

Further down the trail, close to the Leawood Park and Aquatic Center, the Tomahawk Trail meets the Indian Creek Trail.  See the picture on the left.

At this point there is also a park bench that was donated in the memory of Don Welsh that had a plaque that I took a picture of, which can be seen in the picture below.  I tried to find some information about Don but by Google searches did not provide me anything definitive since his name is quite common.  I found it interesting that the plague read that Don did not sit around much and ran to the end.  It was a nice memorial to him as he was a runner, teacher, coach, and photographer.

Next stop was at the Leawood Park and Aquatic Center for a pit stop and then I rode along with a couple of other riders on the Indian Creek Trail back to 119th Street where I turned off to get back home.

The ride was close to 24 miles and at an average of 13.5 MPH which is short and slow for me but certainly very enjoyable.  It is also good technical training as the trail does have some nice hills and sharp turns so much different than my usual road riding.  A map of my ride can be found on my Garmin Connect Account.

It is wonderful to know Johnson County offers all these trails as they are very scenic and there are many bridges, like this one, that cross over the Indian and Tomahawk creeks.

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