I met up that morning with Joe and Pete for a 60ish mile gravel ride on the Katy Trail. Though it's lovely, the flat Katy can wear on you: with no hills to get you out of your saddle on the way up or give your legs a break while coasting down, long rides can be more punishing than you'd expect. For these reasons, it's definitely not my first choice for a training route, but Joe's plan for a midpoint pancake stop won me over.
We rolled out right on time (since I don't know most of my new teammates well enough to be late), hoping the 34* temperature was going to rise more quickly than predicted. I was particularly chilly, having loaned out my tights the previous weekend under the assumption that I probably wasn't going to need them any time soon. Within a mile or so, pedaling had warmed me enough that I stayed comfortable as long as we were moving.
|Pete and Joe rolling down the Katy. It's hard to tell from the picture, but spring is finally starting to make a green dent in the flat browns we've had since winter began.|
The Dutzow Deli finally emerged in front of us, and if heavenly light didn't actually spotlight it while angels sang hymns, it was still a most welcome sight. As happy as I was to get off of my bike seat, I only realized how chilled I was once we'd stopped. Service was none too quick, but I was perfectly happy to relax in a comfortable chair, cuddling my mug of hot chocolate for warmth until the food arrived.
And it was delicious. Eventually, with clean plates and no excuses, we headed back out to our bikes and turned back towards St. Charles. Fueled by pancakes and boosted by a gentle tailwind, our return trip was a bit faster than the outbound leg, and we even got to shed a layer during a brief stop at Augusta. The pace picked up a few miles from our finish line, and we cruised along between 17 and 19 mph. I could manage the pace while on someone's wheel but eventually shook loose after one too many times slowing to negotiate the progressively busier trail.
I had 63 miles on my Garmin when I arrived back into the parking lot, my first unassisted metric century of this year...or, to look at it another way, just about to the first crewed checkpoint of Dirty Kanza...where I'm thinking they could make a killing selling me some pancakes.
Sunday was Easter, where the only real activity I had was running my nephew's C25K workout with him (a story for another post) on a full stomach and playing a few rousing rounds of finger rocket wars, where the takeaway was that you don't want me on your side in a "combat" situation. I'd been watching the forecast pretty closely, though, because I was really excited about the bike plans I had for Monday.
Ever since having to bail early at the MLK ride because of thawing trail conditions, I'd wanted to get back down to Berryman to ride the whole loop again. Jacob was back at school, so I took advantage of my last day of break to plan a return trip. My wonderful oldest son (adult children rock) came over to stay with Jacob until he could be dropped off at school so I could head out bright and early to meet Dave and carpool to Berryman.
We met up with Luke and Amanda, who had also managed to be free that day, and set off down the trail in disorientingly nice weather. The vast majority of my Berryman rides have been MLK weekend, typically featuring snow and ice. The trail was in awesome shape, and if I didn't feel great on the initial uphills, at least I could spin my inner dialogue from I'm in such bad shape! to This is great training!
|Amanda was feeling the after effects of a long dirt bike race on Saturday yet continued to get stronger the longer we rode.|
|Dave, sporting his new BOR jersey, and Luke|
|Slow speed topple on a rooty uphill switchback. It's not a good ride unless someone's bleeding, right?|
|Mandatory break at the artesian well.|
|The kind of day I'd been longingly picturing while suffering through Death by Gravel|
My last several miles were fueled by the knowledge that we'd be hitting up Missouri Hick for some delicous BBQ, and once we finished and changed we made a beeline for Steelville and lunch. Amanda lived in the opposite direction, but Dave, Luke, and I thoroughly enjoyed our meals.
|The exact same meal I'd eaten just over a week ago after Death by Gravel.|