I've done spin class & spent hours with a trainer working to get in better shape, and I must say that while I don't mind it usually, I would much rather be outside-yesterday was no exception....SO, after having done a 10 mile 'trial' ride last weekend, I took my 'new' bike out and set my goal for 20 miles-YUP-no sense of upping by 10%-no, why not just DOUBLE it??? Crazy maybe, but it really didn't feel like 'work'-a 7 a.m. ride in late June was just the 'ticket'!!!
The Katy Trail runs nearly 225 miles from St. Charles, MO to Sedalia...I chose to put in near Greens Bottom & ride to Weldon Spring-about 11 miles each way...so armed with mosquito spray, 2 bottles of H20, 2 granola bars (I don't eat breakfast first), and my 'new' Specialized hybrid, I began my trek with temps in the mid 70's, a nice breeze and few others on the trail-which is just how I like it...oh, and NO headphones-I want to hear nature along the way!
Much of this section of the trail is shady, so even in the bright light of morning, I was cooled by the shade of the trees that grow along the back waters of the MO River-at one time, this was actually a rail line, but luckily, it's been converted into a great park system for all to use & enjoy...there are hiking paths that even break off the Katy, so I parked the bike and enjoyed Weldon Spring Hollow!
I don't know about you, but often the journey is half the fun-I didn't really know how far 10 miles would take me, having never done the trail that far, but it was exciting 'discovering' it for the first time-there were several spots that I could literally go to the shore of the mighty MO...thanks to generous donors, there are lots of benches along the trail, too, so I took advantage of a few of them to stretch my IT bands-they are killing me most days!!! Along the way, I thought of how many times I'd seen other people biking and thought about when I was in my teens and 20's and how much fun it was back then, but always told myself I was 'too old' to do that anymore...well, that's hogwash-I saw many 'seniors' on that trail, and people in all shapes and sizes, so pooh to that!!!
Just when I thought my legs wouldn't make the 10 miles, I pushed onward and was SO glad I did-I saw a bluebird-our state bird, and I hadn't seen one of those since growing up in the country! It was well worth the extra effort-I even passed a small farm that had exotic animals including peacocks-talk about sounding like a jungle!!!
This was the Weldon Spring 'station' with road access, so I 'rested' here and ate my granola bars and just relished in the fact that I'd come 10 miles & felt relatively great! I knew I'd make it back, even it I was slower....as it turned out, though, I made good time & managed to average just over 10 mph...20.5 miles in just 2 hours, so I'm more than good with that!!!
I think the gym is great for so many reasons, but no spin class or 'virtual' ride can replace the 'real deal'-at least for me. I'm already planning to go about 25 miles next time & head into the town(s) of Augusta/or Defiance-cool, historic places with wineries and eateries that cater to 'bikers'!!! IF I'm lucky enough to be on the trail during a downpour, the bluffs would provide a great waterfall, like in this picture...
I'm glad I made myself get up and do this ride-even if my knees are screaming at me now!!!