20120 Jefferson City
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It was really weird for me, a girl who doesn’t have a competitive bone in her body, to find myself so obsessed and driven to push myself so hard. This year of riding in this way has ultimately turned me into an adrenaline junkie. No longer satisfied with Katy riding. Once I got a taste of road riding and the freedom to go anywhere by pavement I was hooked. I love the challenge of finding new rides, tackling hills, crossing roads, dodging traffic and just the pure thrill of pending danger and keeping your wits about you. The amazing thing is these girls have all embraced it as well. You have to understand when I started this group we were the Katy Trail Biker Chicks and it was Katy Trail ONLY. It was gravel in the trees with no threat of the slightest incline. These girls would not ride near a car or on a hill. I had to send out great warning for a ride with the slightest incline. Wow have they evolved with me. Our world has opened up because of it. Now everyone is 10 years older and doing harder boot camp type rides with unbelievable attendance. Everyone is wanting the harder work out and no one needs the food or drink even included. But I digress. I just really wanted to get this in there to set a little background to the year of our two Big Rides.

So back to this Big Ride recap. Good for you if you’re still hanging in there reading this. I am sure I lost my boys after the first paragraph and I know I lost my husband when he scrolled down to see how long this was and he was out before he began. But that is ok, because I blog all this more for myself. It is my personal diary of the best times in my life and someday when I’m old in my rocking chair I will read these recaps and it will bring me back and wash over me the fun and passion I had in my youth. I also know Beth Robinson will read the whole thing, maybe even twice, so it’s worth it for that alone. Love you Beth, my cheerleader.  This one will be especially lengthy because I have nothing but time to kill on an 8 hour drive to Birmingham Alabama for a wedding. That is 16 hours of windshield time round trip. Boy this might end up longer than I want to read later. But my hubby could not be happier I am not rattling off stupid pointless talk at him right now.

Ok, now really, back to the story at hand. So much digressing. The Big Ride decision to ride to Jeff City came to me actually while on our 8th annual Big Ride to Pere Marquette. Man, what a hard ride. It had some complicated navigation trying to keep such a large group together, it was hot, we were shoulder riding near traffic, not to mention at the end it was nearly 100 degrees with unbearable winds and large rock riding. It was a nightmare for my husband’s security team. We had chicks down, spills and heat exhaustion. I swore to myself there and then the next year we were going back on the Katy with no navigation necessary, close, easy, straight and flat. Both Mark and I were ready for a break and an easy one. The best part is we did this ride our 2nd year so it was easy to plan duplicating the same itinerary. Except for the fact that COVID hit and it was rescheduled. Who could have saw that coming?

SATURDAY MORNING – THE START

Finally it’s ride day. We were going to have the perfect weather. Except for the afternoon prediction of 35 mile gust. I made sure not to made any mention of that. They would find that out soon enough. The anticipated 72 and sun ultimately turned into a day in the high 80’s. But hey no rain. I’ll take it.  Everyone was on time for start with 8am sharp as meet time. Oh no, not quite, where is Molly? Now this girl was 30 minutes late for the last ride and to insure this not happening again this year I personally found her lodging 25 minutes away. She and Paul planned to ride 58 miles on Friday from Pitman and overnight in Hermann and join us Saturday. I won’t completely throw her under the bus on this one. They got delayed by a road block to let a planned group ride pass. That will be your only mulligan, girlfriend. I always bake in about 50 minutes from arrival to departure off the trailhead. We have a lot to cover. There is bathroom breaks, tire filling, readying the bikes, collecting money, welcoming hugs and of course the highly anticipated send-off speech. I think people ride so that can hear my yearly 6 page speech complete with introductions and recaps of what the day will bring. My favorite part. Now with all the formalities behind us we finally get to ride and we are off. Staring down the barrel of 40 miles to lunch at Canterbury Hill Winery outside Jeff. Smooth sailing the first 10 to Portland. Shortly after leaving that break we came across the trail completely shut down. Wow, I didn’t anticipate this. It could be a really short ride. Luckily for GPS we found a way around and had to road ride a bit on Hwy 94. This was the section of the trail we had no security support because the guys had no access to us on the trail. I didn’t even have cell service. But we figured it out, all on our own, and got back to the trail. Second stop was Mokane. All is going well. I was keeping the stops short and sweet everyone was in sync on speed. We had a good group. After the third break Tibbett’s we started noticing a real increase in wind. We had about 12 miles left to the winery. People were starting to feel it. The day really warmed up and the sun was full in the sky and the wind, oh the wind. I decided to add in an extra stop breaking up the last 12 with a 6 and 6. The unfortunate thing about this ride is the very end involved a really steep climb to the winery teasing us with hopes of cold beer and refreshing wine. We just had to get there. Not so easy for many. The wind, the fact that it is now 2pm and we have not had lunch and the heat made the end a real push of endurance. Ultimately about 5 riders surrendered and took the trailer ride to the top. Mark said he has never put riders in the trailer before so this was a first. Anything was better than pedaling. But, at last, everyone made it and they had an awesome spot on the patio overlooking the river ready for us. Five riders could only ride Saturday and got picked up by the Katy Trail shuttle and brought back to Rhineland. Everyone seemed to really enjoy waiting until the end for lunch. You could have some drinks and know we only had 4 miles left into the hotel. Who could have known how hard that would be?

Lunch now over, bellies full, bodies rested it’s time to mount the bikes and finish this ride. I implemented a new policy of designating an ass-man. This was super useful for me to know when the whole group was there. So at this point I needed to assign a new ass-man for the final 4. The closest guy at my table was Paul, orthopedic surgeon, surely he could handle this easy responsibility for 4 miles. Well, was I proved wrong. We all made it over the bridge about 2 miles  and waited for ass-man…. and waited…. and waited. We lost ass-man. Are you kidding me? How can he not see our group in glowing neon pink shirts and get lost. It’s only been 2 miles. Not to mention just look for the capitol and start riding. We come to find out Paul and Molly were 2 miles down the Katy heading to Clinton. These are the two that definitely didn’t need any extra miles having just done an extra 58 the day before. Security was able to track them down and bring them in and we went on. Needless to say Paul will never get ass-man job again. He won’t ever live that one down. Holly cow, this last 2 miles was the hardest for me. My tummy full with an 8% IPA and lunch and now hills… then more hills. I almost had to walk. It was crazy. We rolled into the hotel happy to be done and everyone was down poolside in short order.

We had great sharing social time at the pool. I enjoyed getting to know some new riders. I always love having new people and sharing what we do. Dinner was an 8pm at The Prison Brewery and we all met in the lobby and walked there. They had us set up outside and it was such an enjoyable time together. I had after party planned for any takers to finish the night out at a local bar playing music. Well would you believe the only taker was my one and only, Mark. We are never quite ready to have a good time end. Obviously everyone else is smarter about anticipating 44 miles the next day and chooses the responsible action. I felt that pain at 6am when I was on a hunt for coke and milk to settle my tummy after late night bar hopping.

SUNDAY RIDING BACK

Sunday came early and plans took a major 180 degree turn. With prediction of afternoon rain pending I spun out a new last minute plan. Instead of a leisure breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant on the top floor overlooking Jeff city. I arranged for breakfast sandwiches in our rooms and a meeting time of 6:30am. This was really accelerated from the original plan to attend mass, have breakfast and meet at 10am for departure. We were in a bit of a pickle concerning security if there became the need to be transported back to the cars. We did not have enough vehicles for all 28 people. That is unless a few wanted to volunteer to be strapped to car tops, ride in the trailer or on Mark’s lap. I’ll take the job. Our only option to get back to Rhineland was by bike. So all measures were put in place to ensure this ultimate end. I also cancelled our winery lunch hosting by my parents in Portland and moved it to a pavilion in Rhineland. At least that way we would be at our cars to have lunch under shelter if raining by then. I actually embrace the challenge of things needed to be reworked last minute. Keeps me on my toes and just makes things extra rewarding. I was super impressed with everyone actually being pout front of the hotel at 6:30 with hopes for a 7am roll. We even beat that by 10 minutes and I gave everyone a gold star and Molly was even on time and got back in my good graces. We had those extra 10 minutes so stopping by the capitol for a group picture was allowable. So off we go 44 miles home. This is when my new term “soft stops” got implemented. In an effort to keep this group riding and not eat up 30 minutes per break we had all soft stops. That means you stay on your bike. You grab a drink or snack from your pack and we roll once everyone has caught up. We knocked this ride home out of the park and got back by 12:30. It was a whole new ride much cooler with clouds, no sun beating us down, and no wind draining every bit of energy. When at our last break only 10 miles from the end one of the husbands commented on the fact we had NO FLAT TIRES. His wife quickly shushed him and told him to take it back. I swear 10 seconds later a girl rolled up and said our ass-man had a flat. We all broke out in laughter. She had no idea why a flat was so funny. My parents were waiting for us with good eats and treats for all our efforts. It really is nice to have them host and not have to wait for service and check paying. I also had baked into the plan a final beer at the Tin Mill Brewery in Herman as a last hooray! Well would you guess once again. It was only Mark and I. Everyone else was ready to head home and have what was left of their Sunday. Might have been for the best. The ride, the shifting planning the crazy 3 weeks leading up to the ride, not to mention the 3 hours of sleep for the past month all caught up with me and I crashed chairside at the Brewery. That Katy flat grinding pedaling is just so hard after exhilarating road riding. So as easy as this was to plan and implement I think I will pick Big Rides on pavement going forward. They will be more work and harder to plan and navigate but I do love the challenge and it sure drives me. So its pavement for Big Rides going forward.

So a big “High Five” to all those committed to finishing this. You did it. That wasn’t so bad. You just enriched your brain with nearly 3000 words. What a great work out. I wonder how many calories that burned. This would burn my husband’s brain just reading it to him. LOL

Until next year when we ride the pavement of the Monon trail in lovely Indianapolis. Which you know I planned and finalized the week before this Big Ride. Like I don’t have anything else to do that week. Happens every year. I have come to expect it.

Hey I’m at 2982 words I wonder if I can babble on a bit more and break 3000. No I won’t the record breaking doesn’t have to infuse into all aspects of my life. LOL

Happy trails – ride hard – get strong and keep showing up for my rides. I sure love to see everyone and share this passion with you all. I am one lucky girl!!!!!!!

Oh good 3016 words. I did it!