Sunday, July 1, 2012

Following Lewis & Clark

Sunday, July 1. St. Charles, MO to Marthasville, MO. 42 miles of riding in 3:09 hrs of riding.

Totally mellow day…hey I have the right to not destroy myself EVERYDAY!! Plus, with my co-pilot Judy, I kind of need to meld in a vacation for her instead of having her supporting me day in and day out on a bloody suffer-fest. So this section of the trip – the 265-mile Katy Trail - is totally doable for her both with respect to the terrain and the logistics, so I’m backing off on the jamathon so we can ride together in the morning, and if she chooses to do so, ride again in the afternoon. Once we hit Clinton, MO the trail ends and I’ll be back to searching out shit roads to ride on, and that will kind of put the kibosh on her getting regular rides with me – because really she hates most of the road surfaces I’m riding on. 
         Last night was just mellow as heck as we chilled in the AC once again. Hit the hay at 9:30 PM and my internal clock woke me at 5 AM CST. Worked for a bit until Judy got up and then we loaded the van, ate the complementary breakfast, with me consuming a platter of scrambled eggs and 6 patties of sausage, 2 yogurts and many glasses of ice water. Got rolling on the Katy Trail at about 7:15 AM in downtown St. Charles with the humidity up yet again. The forecast for today was 105 degrees with dangerous humidity, but since this was deemed a short day for our riding, the later than usual start time was not really a factor. Plus, the trail is somewhat shaded in spots for several miles at a time, so you don’t get the blast furnace effect that I was getting out on the pavement in IL with nothing but cornfields and zero shade.
         It was nice to see a good deal of people out there this morning riding and running and hiking on the trail. The temp was a good 86-88 degrees for the start, but like I said, with the thick tree cover surrounding portions of the trail and the sun rising in the east, that made for a great deal of shaded riding. Took it nice and recreational with numerous road bikers passing us along the way.
Now the trail is so dry that it’s packed down like concrete – since it’s composed of lime gravel. It has not rained down here in weeks to months from what I’ve been told, so that trail is like a freaking stretch of desert concrete – with copious amounts of a very fine lime dust that each and every biker kicks up as he/her is riding along. Not more than 15 min of riding and our shoes and shins sported nice white lime stripes from the dust. Several riders together create a small plume of lime dust when they ride by. 
         Jude turned around one hr in and headed back to the van, and I kept it rolling west. The portion of the trail today held a bit of everything: big towering limestone bluffs along the Missouri River; cornfields as far as the eye can see; heavily wooded sections out in the middle of nowhere; and tracks through small little towns that time forgot. It’s a nice and interesting mix of environments. I was actually surprised at how many people were out on the trail today based on the temps as of late. Last year when I had ridden through this area, I was pretty much on my own the whole time, rarely seeing a soul. That was part of my fascination with this trail last year, not seeing people for hrs on end, but with Judy having to do some of these stints back to the van on her own, I was kind of glad there were people around.
         On this trip down the Katy as opposed to last year, I stopped to read some of the signage about the Lewis & Clark Expedition up the Missouri River. You’re given their daily progress as you progress up (to the west) along the river, and I was surprised to find that sometimes I’d ride for just under an hour, and that was about the distance that they had covered in a day’s  paddling up the river. Hell, and I was feeling sorry for myself for just getting in like 31 miles/day while doing my pure dirt riding back in Ohio. Those guys were real men!! Made me feel like a total wimp. This stuff was kind of cool to read as I rode along this year. And I’m glad that I was able to stop at a lot of these and read about the history of the area. There was also a good deal of information about Daniel Boone, as he had lived and eventually died in this area of MO. Again, another pretty intense guy with a fearless reputation.
         So I did the tourist thing today along the trail, stopping and reading the various kiosks and placards along the way. The ride ended pretty fast, with me hitting the Dutzow trailhead within 2.5 hrs of riding. Had planned a pretty low mileage day today, but wow, this was just like over in no time. Called Judy and we did have cell service out here, so she was on her way from getting back to the van and driving west to meet up with me. Once she arrived, we were still really early for checking into the motel – the Washington, MO Super 8 – so I decided to ride ahead a bit more and then ride back, so I took it up past Daniel Boone’s old burial plot, to the small town of Marthasville. Then I turned it around and rode back to Dutzow. Eventual mileage for the day was a paltry 42 miles in just over 3 hrs.
         Slammed a couple BPJ sandwiches and an ice cold coke in the trailhead parking area, and off we were to the small city of Washington for the day. Right now the temp is really beginning to climb. About the only good thing about it is the fact that when I wash my cycling kit in the shower as I take a shower, I can hang it all on my van and it’s dry in under an hour. My van looks kind of like the Beverly Hillbilly’s truck for God’s sake. I just need to mount a rocker up there on the roof for Judy when she wants more of a “breeze” in the van.
         Legs and butt feeling great today after just a mellow noodle yesterday and today. I probably could have gutted out a big one on both days, but it’s amazing how well the body responds to just backing off to half volume and lower intensity for a couple days. Imagine that!! I think I tell my clients that very often!! Now I’m doing it it to…not a case of “do as I say not as I do.”
Hoping to do a longer ride tomorrow – round about 65-70 miles on the trail,  from Marthasville to Jefferson City, the state’s capital. Again, the forecast is for 100 degrees plus, so we’ll once again look for a fairly cheap motel for the evening. I’m really hoping that this thing – the heat spell – will pass and we can begin to get the camping thing going again. Then the following day’s ride will be from Jefferson City to Boone – 50 miles -  and then a final ride on the Katy from Boone to Clinton at 70 miles. And from there it’s hopefully back on some gravel backroads to the KS border and beyond.
         Anyway, it’s been a pretty sedate day. Judy’s jamming on CNN while I’m blogging and working on the computer. We’ll do Subway in an hr of two. Hey…I think my cycling kit is dry. Talk to you tomorrow……..pete

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