Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 26: Goodbye Katy

Day #26) July 8, 2011. Sedalia, MO to Clinton, MO: 44 miles in 4:02 hrs.

Did this buffet last night in Sedalia called Ryan’s, and it was just amazingly good. I mean this wasn’t cafeteria food, this was some great stuff. And I got stuffed! Wow, walked out of there looking like Old St. Nick – at least in the belly section.

Got rolling at 6:30 am this morn, with the intention of looking at Clinton, the end of the Katy, as a short day for me. I need to get a ton of work done today and thus, I figured that the pain and suffering I’d have on the 40 miles of wet limestone would justify calling a day early. Rode down the deserted streets of Sedalia in the morning to the Katy and got going west again within twenty min of riding. And just as I had figured, it was nearly all this insidious false flat climbing on wet, unfirm lime cinder. Now the scenery was to me, really nice, just way out in the middle of farm country. And I could tell I was beginning to get it going on the Great Plains. I was finally in the very beginnings of the prairie. Every once in a while I could feel the wheels kind of sinking in the trail, and it just makes for some really tough riding, especially when you’re doing these 3-5 mile false flats. But in the grand scheme of things it was an enjoyable morning of riding.

The sun was obscured by a thick blanket of low clouds, and thus the temps were way down. So to for the humidity. No pulling out the sweat rag 20 min into the ride on this day. Matter of fact I never even used it today. I passed two groups of two who were riding through or cross-country, one group was a man and woman and the other was two women. Other than them, the trail was pretty devoid of life. Did see a huge owl fly across the road and onto a tree to gaze at me, and then a small red fox seemed to be racing me. It was off to my left off the trail and just ran along the edge of this corn field for 3-400 meters alongside me. Never saw anything like that before.

So I finally got to this placard thing that told of the place where I had stopped was the highest point on the Katy Trail. And let me tell you – I had been climbing ever since getting back on that freaking trail way back in Boonville – a solid 70 miles back. I’ve never ridden on a rail trail where the uphills were so pronounced. I mean you could just feel each and every mile of up on this thing, and it was the difference between going 12 mph on the flats to a mere 8-9 mph on these false flats. That

placard mentioned that I was riding on what remained of the Osage prairie lands. Now once I left that high point I had NO illusions of just doing this long 10-mile downhill to Clinton. Just the opposite. I was still doing the same amount of false flat climbing. Can’t explain it but nothing changed!

Made it to the western terminus of the Katy by about 10:30am. Now I asked a local there about places to stay, and then asked about some good westerly roads that went into Kansas. He told me of one, Rt 7 that had a nice berm all the way to Kansas, and that it turned into Rt 2 and 68 in Kansas and still had good berm. So I’m going to use his beta on that and change my route. He told me my route had zero berm, was narrow, and very rolling, and that it sees a lot of truck traffic. Don’t need to convince me anymore. He also mentioned that up the road by the motels there was a Golden Coral. BUFFET! Tell me no more, and I motored up Rt 7 north to the promised land.

So my general assessment of the renowned Katy Trail is that I’m really impressed with it. It’s the longest soft surface trail in the US at 267 miles, and darned near crosses all of MO. The trail is generally in very good condition, the trail markings are very good -- except at that detour. And most of the listings on the trail guide and on the trail are good. Now some mind you are antiquated and need changed. The scenery is pretty impressive. I’d seriously recommend it to any distance rider as part of a cross country ride or just a thu MO ride. My one caveat is that if you’re riding it as I am with a butt load of gear, beware of rain, which can turn the trail into a mudbath. And this puppy likely does not dry out for days, so you’ll be riding with wheels every so slightly sinking in the trail bed. I’m still cleaning off my gear from all the gravel particles and the fine lime dust. It can be messy!

Got a little local efficiency up in Clinton and holed up for the afternoon to work. Had to get a good ¾ day in today, and this was the perfect opportunity to do it. Of course as soon as I got in a couple hrs of work I high tailed it to the Golden Coral – Oh yea! Got a highway map of Kansas and I’m going to map out a route through this big mama of a state. This state is no small potato for sure. Guessing that it’s like 400 miles long, and then there’s the plains of Eastern CO, so my time in the Great Plains for this trip has just begun. It’s flat as hell out here in Western MO, and I’m ok with that after 2 days of false flat riding.

Well, back to work. Until tomorrow…….Pete

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