Mike, thanks for the links. They give me a place to start looking. My possible future doesn't look as bleak as before, but I fear I may be in for some LONG drives to get to downhilling if I do have to move...
Anyone else have ideas of experience with riding in the area?
I lived in Des Moines for 3 years (about 9 years ago) and hate to tell you that the mountain biking scene was non-existent. There was a trail on the west side of town that was very non-technical but fun nonetheless. It closed to mtb a year after i moved back east. It is seriously flat for hundreds of miles in any direction. If you are used to the stuff we have around here you will have serious withdrawal symptoms. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, bro.
Sadly, I do know from experience, and Iowa really is about as flat as it gets...however there is an event called RAGBRAI (Rockford's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) that is a LOT of fun. It's a 500 mile bike ride across a week that goes west then east across Iowa, and it's pretty much just a big party every night stopping at different towns. I don't remember exactly how many people go every year, but I want to say around 10,000 ? Someone correct me if I'm wrong on this, but if you have the opportunity to do that, I highly recommend it.