- Beg my husband to drive me the 2.5 hours to Jeff City (not gonna happen)
- Drive myself to Jeff City, bike the 100 miles to St. Charles, catch a ride back to Jeff City, and then turn around and drive the 2.5 hours home (not remotely appealing)
- Bike alone from St. Charles to where the group was camping in Hermann (what, and miss all the fun?)
- Take the train.
|Riding in style...|
I hadn't eaten dinner and Bob still had to put his bike together for the weekend ride, so we did the smart thing and put off both of those things to hit up a gathering at Aaron's --a pre-party party, if you will -- with some of the other guys and their wives/girlfriends.
|Adam's new ride|
We met up with Aaron and Jim at the Jefferson City trailhead. Luke wasn't able to be there in person because his daughter had a big concert that he couldn't miss. I felt for him, having had my own experience with missing out on things you really want to do because they conflict with things you can't miss when Bob scheduled the inaugural Cedar Cross the same day as my baby's First Communion. Feeling for him didn't mean that I didn't totally enjoy rubbing it in, though, and Luke was very much there in spirit with us, keeping me entertained most of the day with all the fun he was having without us.
I bet you don't have Catwoman on your stupid ride, do you? CATWOMAN!! (please note Luke's lines are written in green, the color of jealousy)
No, but I do have a splitting headache, so there.
Good. I hope you all puke.
Nobody puked, but even before we started Aaron noticed that his front tire seemed to be going flat and my rear wheel had a significant wobble. Rather than deal with either issue, we just put them off: "Meh...it's only five hours." That was our guess, anyway, for how long the 40 miles to our campsite in Hermann would take us. I'd been worried about being able to keep up with the guys since I know they're all waaaay stronger bikers than me -- and let's face it, my natural bike pace is basically the cycling version of a stroll -- but Jim's additional 40 miles, Bob's repeated flats, and Aaron's towing his 4 year old daughter in a trailer helped even things out a bit.
And we have a giant pumpkin! Booyah!
Governor's mansion and capitol!!!
Free turkey hats!!! BOOM!
We rode in changing configurations depending on the conversational flow, and Jim and I hit Tebbetts together ahead of Aaron and Bob. There was a nice group of people stopped there at the trailhead, two couples probably 5-10 years older than me. They weren't bikers but had decided a few months ago that a multi-day ride on the Katy Trail would be a fun adventure. I think they were enjoying themselves, and hopefully they found a new love for biking while they were out there.
It'll come as no surprise to you that we've already lost Bob and Aaron.
I am shocked. Check the bars.
When Bob and Aaron caught up after having to stop for a flat tire, we all checked out the Katy Trail Shelter, where travelers can stay the night for $5. It's no-frills, but it's dry and air-conditioned. Neat little place.
First floor Second floor
Rappelling off tall buildings, bitches!! Take that!!!
The weather this fall has been a little crazy, swinging rapidly from 80's to 40's. We'd been enjoying some warmer temperatures again, but the weekend was even nicer than we could have hoped. By the time we started, it was pretty much perfect cycling weather. Lunch was at the little country store in Mokane; I'm not the biggest fan of lunchmeat, but my two bags of potato chips sweetened the deal. Meanwhile, the guys discovered the wonder powers of Starbucks mocha drinks, the clerk bought Aaron's daughter a toy out of the coin machine, and Bob got to change his flat tire. All in all, a good stop.
Fried PB&J and fried Twinkies. Meat on a stick and funnel cake. Homemade root beer. POW!
|Bob has his arm around Invisi-Luke|
|Big rock and fall colors|
|Fall colors near Portland|
Despite having almost no long bike rides since June, I felt surprisingly good. My butt was a little sore, but not too uncomfortable. I'm not a good group rider if I'm in the front, though; because my balance is a little iffy, I have trouble turning around to check behind me. I'm not good at keeping a consistent pace, either.
|Nothin' but blue skies...|
|Bob and Jim|
|Bob discovered yet another flat|
Luckily, we had a great, roomy campsite in Hermann's City Park (where I'd camped during my first Katy Trail ride) to ourselves, and once we met up with all the cars joining us (Jim's wife, Aaron's wife and baby boy, and Bob's fiancee) and changed, dinner was the next order of business.
So, what did I miss?
Um, tons of drunk people, sitting waiting for food at Wings a Blazin. Sweet camping spot. You're now caught up.
You're a wordsmith. It's like I'm there.
We had a great meal at Wings-a-Blazin', grabbed some hot chocolate on the way back, set up tents, and had a great time hanging out around the campfire. It had definitely cooled off, so the fire felt great, and since I hadn't been able to convince my husband to come keep me warm I was really thankful for the extra blanket I'd borrowed from Bob and Cara.
|Home sweet home for the night|
|Could it be more beautiful?|
|Aaron and Jim|
|Cool old building in Treloar|
|Love this shirt on the motorcycle rider.|
|I have no idea where this picture was taken, but I love the bridge.|
We stopped briefly to check out the bluffs along the trail near Augusta. Apparently there used to be rock climbing allowed there, which would have been cool (and terrifying).
|Some serious erosion going on|
|Trail monster sighting!|
|Boys club :)|
|Kate, Jim, Aaron, Adam|
Despite Jim's extra 40 miles the previous day and Aaron's 40 miles towing a toddler, they seemed like they only got stronger. Me, on the other hand, I was definitely dragging the last 10 miles or so. The wind would start to blow again, and I'd think Really? Come on... I did have a nice distraction not too far from Greens Bottom when I inched towards the crossroad before riding into it and a woman swerved into the gravel (to use it as a right turn lane? to park?) and almost hit me before swerving around me. Heart beating a little faster, I rode on ahead.
I was pretty delighted to reach the turn to Jim's inlaws' neighborhood, and though I'd been inwardly dreading the hills Jim had warned about, they turned out to be fairly gentle..and at the end of the line was a beautiful deck, cold drinks, and a great supper that Janie and her dad had prepared for us. It was a fantastic end to a great weekend. And to be honest, I'd spent Friday toying with the idea of staying home. It had been a LONG week at work -- three 11 hour days -- and busy/stressful at home. All I wanted was to go home and sleep until the alarm went off Monday morning. Luckily, my FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I realized I'd regret it if I skipped out on the ride. I knew I'd have fun once we got started, and I was right. It couldn't have been a much better weekend. Big thanks to Jim for planning it, to Bob and Cara for hosting me Friday night, and to Jessica and Janie for schlepping stuff around for us.