Today, about two miles east of Dutzow, I hit the halfway point on my Katy Trail Challenge effort. Six weeks of work is beginning to show results, too. Ten adn fifteen mile rides are becoming the norm, and really the minimum that I’ll undertake. And then there’s this desire to get on the trail. I couldn’t wait to get out there this morning.

I got up with the sun, and scarfed a quick bowl of Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch (nectar of the gods!) in preparation for my ride. I threw everything in the truck, and plodded my way toward Augusta.

I’d planned to start my ride at the Augusta trailhead [MM 66.3], and ride toward the Dutzow trailhead [MM 74]. This would be a new section of the trail for me, and it seemed a nice day for it. As I hit the truck, the sky sprinkled rain at me. No matter, I was a man on a mission.

I flew cautiously down Highway 94 — scene of the bambi-carnage two weeks ago — and passed all my usualy haunts: Weldon Spring, Defiance and Matson. None of these places had much in the way of vehicles, so I expected the trail would be pretty empty. At 7.00am, I pulled into Augusta, the only vehicle in the parking lot. That seemed odd, but I wasn’t gonna be upset about it. A lightly traveled trail is sometimes best.

I hopped aboard the ol’ Huffy, and plodded westward. Once again, about three miles in, the thighs were complaining, and I was wondering if maybe I’d taken on too much cycling between Thursday and this morning, having been off for a week. Shortly after, the miles began to click away and the ride became familiar — good rhythm, good breathing.

This section of the trail was out in the farmer’s fields, with little or no shade cover. Fortunately, the morning remained quite cloudy, and I suspect I couldn’t have picked a better morning to try this section of trail.

Upon getting to Dutzow, I stopped and looked at the maps for the trail there. I saw that the Marthasville trailhead [MM 77.7] was only another 3.7 miles down the path, and I seriously though about trying it, but I didn’t wanna tack on another 7.5 miles today, as we had plans later in the morning that I needed to get back for.

After stopping at the Dutzow Deli & Restaurant for an apple (Granny Smith — finest kind!), I hit the trail, heading east toward Augusta. And that’s when I started noticing that I had company on the trail. In fact, I encountered a lot of folks (compared to my travel to Dutzow) on the way back.

I safely dropped back into Augusta, and noticed a few more vehicles. I decided I was ready for a little snack, so I popped in the Augusta Bicycle Company. I’d been reading on the web that this place served a mean fruit smoothie, so I had the proprietor sitr up a pina colada example of her work. That was really good, and hit the spot after a morning on the trail. She even had a couple of playful dogs to pet while we chatted. With that, and a peanut butter cookie, I set off for the dusty TrailBlazer, and headed for home.

All the way back, I noticed how all the previously vacant trailheads were now full of vehicles, with the many, many bike-ladened vehicles I passed on Highway 94 only begging to add to the crowds on the trail. I was quite happy that I’d gotten up early and put my miles under me before things got so crowded. I suspect that’s a good thing to remember on these Saturday morning rides!