I was geared up for a ride again today, and by the time I was done at work, I could hardly keep my eyes open. It was a busy, busy day, but one with some successes. I’d no idea how far I’d be able to cycle tonight, but I figured I could at least get to Matson and turn around — about ten miles.

Once I got to the trailhead at Weldon Spring, I heard someone call my name. It was a guy who worked for me about five years ago. He and I got to talking, and I learned he is training to do the Katy Trail Ride in a couple of weeks. He’d ridden it a couple of years ago, and was raving about the experience. He’s been riding a lot, but leading up to the ride, he’s doing 15mi rides daily to get ready. Seems like a good training regimen, and I’m sure he’ll do fine with the event.

I got aboard my cycle and got on the trail, and noticed that I wasn’t quite as tired as was when I started out, and started getting that same kind of rhythmic pace that I experienced Friday night. Sure enough, Defiance rolled by, as did Matson, and I continued westward on the trail. In short order, I was at Klondike — my farthest stab on the trail. That’s about seven miles west of Weldon, and I knew Augusta was only another five miles or so ahead. The legs still had spring in them, and I decided to go for it, knowing that it would take my ride to more than 20 miles, and would gobble up the evening.

I pulled into Augusta after what felt like an eternity. I was thrilled with what I’d accomplished, and stopped for a couple of minutes to relish my feat. I was thinking about stopping someplace there, getting a snack and resting before heading back, but I noticed that it seemed everything was closed. I figured I could stop in Defiance — I’d seen some signs of life at the bike shop there on the way out — so I headed back toward Weldon as the sun was quickly dropping through the western sky. Once I got to Defiance though (around 6.30pm), the bike shop was closed, and aside from one the bars, everything was closed. So much for my plans!

Fortunately, the weather was nice, starting out at about 80 degrees, and dropping to about 70 during the two-and-a-half hour ride. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions. By the time I got back to the truck around 7pm though, I was really done. I stowed my gear, and headed home, satisfied that I’d challenged myself, met the challenge, and survived. Frankly, had I not gotten off the bike at Weldon, or had to think about the coming nightfall, I probably could’ve put another five miles on the ride. It was that nice tonight.

I finally drank my fill from my CamelBak on this ride. The last few rides I’ve taken, I haven’t hydrated enough, and I could tell because the bladder in the pack would only be down a quarter or so. That’s not nearly enough. Tonight, I drained about three-quarters of it, and that’s a little better. The card that came with the pack indicated that it was enough water for about three hours — tonight, that was just about dead-on.

I noticed was some slight cramping in my calves once I got to about 18 miles. I stopped, stretched and rubbed my muscles, which helped. I’m gonna need to figure something out to help prevent that though. I couldn’t have afforded to stop for 30 minutes last night, as nightfall would’ve trapped me on the trail with no flashlight to guide me. I’ve always been told that bananas help with preventing muscle cramps. Maybe I should keep one or two in the pack for the longer rides like last night.

And finally, I need to remember on these long rides is to include some snacks, stuff with some energy to them. When I got to Augusta, I was starving, and not being able to find grub on the trail was a killer. Had this been a weekend, there wouldn’t have been a problem — everyone’s open on the weekend because the traffic is so high from the trail. I guess there’s just not enough traffic during the week to stay open too late, or at all. By the time I was back at the truck, I had visions of spaghetti from Pasta House dancing in my head. As it ends up, I came home, grabbed a PB&J, a fig bar, and a little chips and salsa. A simple meal in celebration of my longest ride in close to 30 years.