The good news? Wow, do I feel good on a bike these days! Tour of Hermann was encouraging, and I had a great hilly 68-mile ride Sunday. I'd planned to do a 3-hour mountain bike race followed up by 40 miles of gravel, but Mother Nature had different ideas and the race was rescheduled. Thankfully, I have flexible friends who worked around my last-minute change of plans. I met up with some of the Momentum crew at the lovely hour of 9 a.m.
|Rolling down the Katy Trail|
I, despite knowing the hill would take me a while, opted to wait for the other guys and was, unsurprisingly, the last one to the top. Mickey rode back looking for me, but I wasn't as far back as usual. When we reached the rest of the group, he just kept riding. OK...I thought to myself, I guess I don't get a break...
|Finished summitting Duke and Terry Roads|
|Success back in January|
As I got up, Melanie warned me that my water bottle had slipped the cage and was floating away. Before I could grab for it, I fell again on the slippery crossing, then waded in knee-deep water to retrieve the bottle from the creek. My hip and hand hurt where I'd landed on them, but all I could do was laugh at the Keystone Cops show I was putting on. While trying to help me, Melanie also fell, so we were both soaked and shivering in the 50* morning air.
|Entering the crossing with some trepidation before realizing it was (safe) loose rock instead of a slippery slab.|
|Callaway Fork Rd. is really pretty|
|Abandoned bridges are cool.|
|At the top of the worst part of Femme Osage Ridge Rd.|
We absolutely flew down Osage Ridge Rd, where I hit my new fastest speed on a bike -- 47.9 mph!! -- and were soon back on the Katy Trail and headed for lunch at the Augusta Brewery. Happily spying the Augusta smokestacks in the distance and enjoying the knowledge that I'd be eating in just a few flat miles, I was most unhappy when Mickey led us off the trail for some unnecessary hills; I actually waited to start until he was halfway up because I thought he was just messing with us. But no.
|This hill is pretty short but much steeper than it looks, hence the pained expression on my face.|
|Gatorade stop in Augusta|
We rode back to the Hamburg Trail and then back up the hill towards the Mound. We'd all been relatively close until the uphill started, and when Doug and I reached the top Mickey and Shaun were out of my sight. "Those guys really dropped the hammer, huh?" I remarked before deciding to see if I could chase them down again. I got close (it's easier to race when the other people don't know they're racing) but ran out of trail, reaching the parking lot about 20 seconds after the guys. My disappointment was eased by going home and seeing that I'd just ridden my fastest time on that segment...at the end of a hilly 68 miles.
Of course, I can't help but measure our ride against Dirty Kanza, so I have to note that our mileage would place us just past the first crewed checkpoint of the race, or just over 1/3 of the way finished. Put another way, at 68 miles into Cedar Cross I'll still have close to 50 miles left to go. Somehow right now it's more exciting than scary to see how that plays out Saturday.