River Des Peres Ramble

This was another Trailnet ride. I had tried to get my brother and a friend to go along, but my brother has been getting ready for his move to Wisconsin and was ready for a restful morning. The friend, well, I guess he's got other things cooking. Knowing I was on my own, I set my alarm with a healthy dose of skepticism. When it went off, I considered going back to bed, but my half-hearted commitment to myself to ride anyway was enough to drag me up. I did post a whine on facebook: "I hate doing things alone, but I hate not doing things more."

On a related note, check out this funny cartoon from yesterday's paper:

I actually used Cappy's bike rack, though I never stopped nervously glancing in the rearview mirror to make sure my bike wasn't bouncing down the road. I like being able to use my own car instead of borrowing a truck. I do think that I'm going to buy my own rack, though. Cappy shouldn't need his, but maybe I'll feel more confident in a newer one.

Parking was already pretty scarce by 7:45, so they opened up a closer area and I was able to park right by registration. Score 1 for running late! I talked to a couple of poeple and ended up hooking up with Debbie for the ride. She's an ultra-runner nursing a stress fracture, so she's cycling while she heals. Of course, the non-cycling runner has a sweet road bike, but whatever.

Debbie needed me. lol. She was very focused on watching the road ahead and not so much on watching for road markings to tell us where to go. It was nice to have someone to talk to while we rode, though it can be difficult to carry on any major conversation while riding single-file on city streets.

Rest stop 1. Lady to the far left was not feeling well and SAG'd in while we were there.

After last week's lack of food along the route, I wasn't making the same mistake again. I had my bag well-stocked with an assortment of bars.

At first I wasn't crazy about this, but I liked the fruit in it.

There were a lot of hills on this route. A lot. At first, they were just rolling hills, which were kind of fun. Then came the big boy...started out steep and went on forever. Normally, when I ride hills ("normally" isn't really accurate since I don't normally ride hills. But when I do...) the first one is tough and each subsequent one seems easier. This time, the first one seemed bad and the rest felt worse. I was really beat by the end of the ride. If you're interested, here's a link to the gmaps-pedometer map of the route. If you look to the right, you'll see where you can turn on mile markers, calories, etc. There's a link where you can turn on elevation. It shows "elevation: off small large". If you click on "small", the elevation data will load for the ride. Thanks to my SIL for showing my the gmaps-pedometer feature on google!

We rode through some beautiful neighborhoods and some less nice areas. Debbie mentioned being glad to have someone to ride with in those places, and I'd been thinking the same thing. Absolutely no problems, though. We also rode through some really neat up-and-coming areas.

River Des Peres Ramble
Pretty bridge

Part of today's route was on Grant's Trail, where I ran during N's volleyball practices. Somehow it looks much different from a bike. Around that area, we ran into Wesley and the Doc.* (More on that later). There was a rest stop at the Trailnet offices along the trail, and right after it we had to cross a busy street. I was so busy making the light that I didn't notice the arrow pointing to the right. Oops! Luckily, I didn't miss the bright pink "NO" on the other side of the trail! (We weren't the only ones to make this mistake. We ran into Doc again later and he had actually ridden the rest of the trail before catching his error. Luckily, there was only a mile of trail left).

We rode into downtown St. Louis.

River Des Peres Ramble

Fabulous picture, no? The building on the right is really neat looking.

On our way out of downtown, we ran into Wesley again. This time he was riding with his friend Marvin.** (More on this later). We rode with them for a bit and then lost them around Forest Park.

Speaking of "Forest Park" and "lost", we managed to miss another turn right after FP. Debbie was in the lead (right around here, with about 10 miles left, was when I started to fade) and went straight past an arrow. I called to her, but she was too far up to hear me. So I chased her down (by "chased" I mean rode until she was finally slow enough for me to catch) and told her I thought we missed a turn. By that time, we were waaaaay past our turn, and retracing our steps meant riding some serious hill in some busy traffic. A little consultation with Google maps (thank you, iPhone) helped us figure out a way to get back on the route without riding back to our missed turn.

Funny coincidence: as we were riding near the end of the ride, we were going up a hill (of course!) in a neighborhood. A couple was taking a canoe off the roof of their car. What a nice way to spend a weekend! What fun! ...hey...that girl looks familiar! It was my friend A. from work. I stopped for a few minutes to talk to her and meet her husband, and then it was back to the suffer-fest.

Not much else of note on the ride except the fact that over the last 3 miles or so I was done. I felt like a little kid. I wanted to get off my bike, sit down in the grass, and refuse to ride any more. And still, the hills kept coming. I had done a good job at this point of keeping my bike computer set on average speed (depressing, btw), but here's where I started looking at it and channeling my inner annoying brat. "Hooowwww much loooonnnnger?" (on the inside)

I was thrilled to see the parking lot. The...um...empty parking lot. Yeah, granted we rode the long route, but there wasn't much of anyone left when Debbie and I limped in.

River Des Peres Ramble

That lower level? The one with about 6 cars? Full, all the way to the back, when we left.

Ride stats:

Miles: 47.09

Max speed: 32.5 mph

Avg. speed: 12.1 mph

Time on bike: 3:54:06


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