Thursday, July 02, 2009

Bike Adventure: Days One and Two - Long and Hot!

The old KATY track, along with the surface that we rode for a week

The Katy Trail (now a state park) was the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas railroad. The last train ran the tracks in 1986. Thanks to forward thinkers, a very generous Edward Jones (the man behind the company), and the concept of railbanking, this land was turned into a multi-use trail. It runs approximately 225 miles from Clinton, MO on the western side to St. Charles, MO on the eastern side. The Katy Trail is the longest rails-to-trails conversion in the US. Last week, the DH (dear hubby) and I rode those 225 miles, with some additional miles into and out of communities for a grand total of about 250 miles. We'd been training since April, and I'm grateful for it!

Day One: Clinton to Pilot Grove, ~61 miles
On the first morning of the bike ride, we rose early. We were up at 4:45. There's really no getting around it. We started to hear "zip-zip" from neighboring tents before the birds were even out. At that point, you might as well get with the program. The tent must come down, the bags packed and loaded on the truck, sunscreen to slather and breakfast to eat. I'm glad we rose early because I was anxious (I always am on the first day). We had 61 miles to pedal and a hot day looming. We skipped the breakfast of biscuits and gravy, and made do with a banana and small box of Raisin Bran. We headed out right at 6 am, to watch the sunrise as we rode east.

Before 6 am, ready to roll!

We traveled through farmlands and areas of prairie restoration. We reached the peak of the trail, at 955 feet. Day one was the hardest for me. The last 12 miles were a long, slow climb. It was getting very hot. When my knee began to hurt, my mind filled with doubt. I wasn't used to pushing the big gears and pedaling without coasting. This trail riding is quite different from what I experience in the hills of my home. Fortunately, the DH diagnosed the issue. Some ice that evening and a lowered seat fixed the knee problem, not to be seen again for the rest of the ride!

En route, we passed the Sedalia depot. It's been lovingly restored and now houses a museum and gift shop. It was a treat to see the old depots along the way! What a treasure given to a community when one is rescued from demolition or decay.

Sedalia depot (scanned postcard)

The trail is packed earth, topped with a finely crushed limestone. It's easy to ride on, though it slows one down a bit. There is a mild rolling resistance to be considered. I was pleased with the pace we kept. We were always among the first few in camp. Partly because we had a good pace and partly because we left so dang early, before breakfast most days! Our motto was, "It's about the ride, not the food!"
Katy crud on my trunk bag - it gets on everything!

Even though our focus wasn't on food, I got pretty darn hungry around lunch time. On day one, we enjoyed onion rings with lots of grease and ketchup at Betty's Burgers in Pilot Grove.

Day Two: Pilot Grove to Jefferson City, ~67 miles
Day two was longer and equally as hot and humid, but not as challenging for me. The route was flat (no 12 miles of painfully slow climbing) and my brain began to relax. We were on the trail at two minutes before 5 am. We rode in the dark for a good, long while. Thankfully, the limestone is white! At about an hour into the ride, we came to Boonville. Another lovely depot.

Boonville depot

Leaving Boonville, we crossed the Missouri river. Beautiful views, if you are brave enough to look. I was barely so. I'm not fond of heights mixed with open views, so I was a bit (well, perhaps more than that) unsettled as I pedaled across.

That's me, staying as far to the right as possible.

Here's the view as we looked east, crossing the Missouri. You can see the humidity hanging in the air.There is more to say about day two and the river/bluff views, but I'll save it for the next post.


zenabu said...

I love old depots, too. Like biking thru history, and imagining all sorts of fellow travelers from way back when. Beatiful pictures! Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see more.

Allison said...

This looks like so much fun! I think I like sunrises even more than sunsets. It is a good time to be riding. :)

parTea lady said...

Wow, what an interesting trip. Glad your knee problem was only temporary. I can relate to the fear of heights. Last time we were in Toronto, I stayed on the ground while the rest of the group went to the top of the CN Tower.

Thanks for the links to the places you saw. I'm looking forward to hearing about the rest of the trip.

Marilyn Miller said...

Depots and beautiful scenery, what a wonderful adventure! Loved reading all about it.

Tea Time With Melody said...

Looks as though you and DH had a fantastic time. Great places for bike rides, beautiful country. Makes me long for home made bread and apple pie!

Esmerelda said...

thanks, thanks, thanks for these pictures and views. I love reading about your adventure and like Zenubu, I love old depots. I read these posts and wonder if I could do this ride--maybe on my own (not with a big group) with a spa in between the days and NO CAMPING. I want to skip the uphill parts too. Looking forward to hearing how kids fared on the adventure.

xo Esme

Melanie said...

This is awesome! I remember reading about rail trails in a ... Kids National Geographic?... when I was a kid. I was enchanted - and I've wanted to ride one ever since. Good for you for doing it!