Ken EakinsOur returning Elephant Rock Ambassador Ken Eakins hails from Nebraska.  He travels to Colorado to participate in our “unofficial” start to the cycling season.  In his blog, he shares his unique experience preparing for Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival ride while residing in the Cornhusker State.  

Since early 1995 Omaha, Nebraska has been my home.  Omaha sits on the Eastern side of the state of Nebraska sharing its border with Iowa along the Missouri river.

Nebraska is a relatively flat state with gently rolling hills.  Although a good part of the cycling courses for the Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival are similar to Nebraska in regards to terrain, one big difference is the elevation.  Omaha sits roughly 4,000 feet lower than the Denver area. At just over 1,000 feet, I’ve got plenty of air down here to breathe.  It can add to the difficulty of the ride when heading to states like Colorado.  Here in Omaha, we really don’t have a lot of opportunity to train for the higher elevations and thinner air.   When cycling in events like the Elephant Rock Ride in states with higher elevations I bring along a can of oxygen.  It’s small, weight next to nothing and gives my system a natural boost.

Photo: Ken Eakins - Awen Photography

Photo: Ken Eakins – Awen Photography

Nebraska is a beautiful state to ride in.  From the lush green corn fields to the nature and wildlife, your rides are seldom the same ride twice.  Lots of highways to ride and more off-street trails become available each riding season. From dirt to crushed limestone, asphalt to concrete, there is always somewhere to ride.   Bicycle awareness is growing each year here and it’s nice to see more and more people riding regularly and participating in the cycling events each year.

Like most states, we have our local and statewide cycling events.  A few of my favorites are the Corporate Challenge, Tour of Hope ride and the Owl Ride in which I volunteer as a Ride Ranger.  These are all one day events and there are more available.  We also have the Bike Ride Across Nebraska (BRAN) This is a 7 day SAG supported ride covering the state from East to West.  Living in Omaha, we are also fortunate to have the countries longest running organized ride just across the Missouri River.  Every Thursday evening during cycling season, The Taco Ride starts in Council Bluffs, Iowa and follows the Wabash Trace to Mineola, IA where there is food and refreshments then ride back.

I enjoy riding in Colorado whenever I have the opportunity.  I also encourage and invite you all to come ride in Nebraska.  If you’re ever in the Omaha area, drop me a line, I’ll ride with you and show you some of my favorite trails.

Ride Safe, Ride for Fun, Ride for health.  Whatever your reasons, just ride.

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