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Katy Trail Century

October 10th, 2010 [print] Go to comments

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I wanted to ride the Katy Trail in Missouri, from Jefferson City to St. Charles in a day.  At the time, it was supposed to be my second century ride, but ended up being my third, after a 60mi training ride got out of hand and turned into 100.  Anyway, I’m happy to say everything worked out, and on the 25th of September, I did the ride.

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The morning started out pretty chilly, with so much fog that I could barely see my front tire at times, much less the trail ahead.  About 15 miles or so outside of Jeff City, the fog cleared up, and I had sunny skies overhead for the next few hours.  Unfortunately, as great as the weather was, I was fighting a light headwind the entire time, so my goal of six-and-a-half hours ended up taking an hour longer.  Although it’s not a big deal, I was trying to beat a storm coming in from the West, with no idea what time of day it’d arrive in the eastern side of the state.  Also, my wife was in St. Charles that day, doing some shopping with her mom and aunt, and awaiting my arrival.  The goal was to get there early enough that they wouldn’t be forced to miss a show they were planning on going to later, and the longer my ride took, the more I worried that I was going to screw up their plans.

As it happened, they had to leave before I arrived, but I realized about 20 minutes from the end that I had a key to her car with me.  I told her to leave the car, go have fun, and I’d be able to let up a little before my legs totally fell off.  Adding to the stress, the ride ended up being 7 miles longer than I had planned for, plus the skies had become overcast, and the smell of rain was in the air.  According to a website, the distance from JC to St. Charles was 103.7mi.  That part was accurate.  However, it was another 5mi or so to the end of the trail, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got there.  I then had to backtrack two miles to where she left the car, making the total ride 111.59mi.

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I was fairly worn out, but not exhausted.  I’m a natural sprinter, so even with dead legs, I was able to sprint the final two miles to the car, and felt great when I finished.  That didn’t last long; after a 10-minute drive to my in-laws’ house, my legs had turned to concrete.  I showered, and headed to Chili’s to stuff myself full of fattening grease, right as the storm finally hit.  I’d beat it by less than half an hour.

Along the ride, I stopped a few dozen times to snap photos and eat, but didn’t get to spend as much time cruising around the small towns I passed as I would have liked.  However, my bike performed flawlessly, so I won’t complain.

Would I do it again?  Eh, probably not.  It was a bit boring for a lot of the ride, and then stressful near the end when the end didn’t seem like it was ever going to come.  I’d love to do it in two pieces sometime, though, so I can spend more time exploring.  I’d also like to wait for a day when the wind is on my back.

But… before I even think about that, I still have the Clinton-to-Rocheport section I need to ride (I’ve done Rocheport to Jeff City enough times that I don’t need to do it as part of a longer ride) so I can say I’ve ridden the entire trail.  That ride will be over 121 miles, so I’ll probably wait until late Spring before I plan it.

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