Category Archives: MO RIver
No, not that kind of virgin. I’ve got four kids, for cryin’ out loud. Get your mind out of the gutter, would ya? I’m talking about 100-mile virginity. You see, I was a virgin to century rides up until a few days ago.
I was supposed to get my first century done at last year’s Dirty Kanza, but that didn’t work out too well. With this year’s DK200 coming up in just 5 weeks (HOLY CRAP! 5 Weeks?!?!), I thought it was about time I got my first century out of the way. So Bob and I planned on doing a slightly modified version of a mostly flat 100-miler to Booneville and back that Stoney Cranmer, of Team Red Wheel fame, put together.
A couple of friends that were going to come just couldn’t make it (Kage and Travis), but our friends Aaron Lackman, Justin Nemeth, and Dave Baettie met Bob at the N. Jefferson Katy Trail right on time. Since my lovely wife and I decided to let our oldest daughter open her presents on her 10th birthday before going to school, I was unfortunately running late. As I sped the Virtus Van towards the Katy Trail, the skies did not look promising.
I rolled into the parking lot, and tried to get ready as quickly as possible. The weather was a cool 60-ish degrees, and although it looked like it would rain at any moment, we were staying dry as we rolled out on the Katy Trail. My plan was to maintain a 12 mph pace which is what I plan to ride at Dirty Kanza. The first 15 minutes or so, we were hovering around 13 mph, so that was close enough.
It wasn’t very long into the ride when a kamikaze squirrel scurried out in front of Dave, Aaron, and me. It was a big, fat, brown squirrel, and when it saw us, it sprinted straight down the Katy Trail, panicked, bolted left, right, then left again. Dave nailed it with his chain ring and then rolled over it with his back tire. It was amazing! It happened so fast, and Dave barely even felt anything. And the squirrel actually got back up and ran off into the woods, apparently unharmed. Bob and Justin missed the show.
Riding onward, we passed the first stretch of the Katy Trail that runs right next to the Missouri River, and we were happy that there was no head-wind.
It was pretty clear at this point that a 12 mph pace was going to be too slow for everyone but me. So I told everyone else to go to hell, and they dropped me. No, that’s not true. They stayed back with me for the first half hour or so, but since I was feeling good and the weather was perfect, I picked up my pace to around a 14 to 15 mph average.
I’m sure the other guys could have gone even faster, but this was a “time-in-the-saddle” ride: a ride to work out the kinks in our nutrition and hydration plan for Dirty Kanza and to get our taints, backs, and arms used to being in the riding position for hours at a time.
A few miles before Hartsburg, there was a really rough patch of the Katy Trail. We didn’t see it in time, and we just smashed right over the ruts on our cross bikes. No big deal… Until we made it into Hartsburg, and I realized that two of my water bottles full of my precious e-Fuel had fallen out of my Minora. Again, this wasn’t too big of a deal on this ride where I can get water at every stop on the Katy Trail. At Dirty Kanza, though, this would have been a costly mistake. I’ll make sure they are more secure for the DK200.
After a couple of the guys refilled their water bottles, we hopped on some flat gravel roads.
We kept riding, talking, laughing, and having more fun than anyone working or going to class that day (Kage). The clouds were beginning to dissipate, and we were having a really good time. My new Revelate Designs Tangle Bag, on its maiden voyage I might add, was awesome. I had a Camelbak hydration bladder in there along with my bike tools, money clip, and a snack or two. It was really nice to have nothing on my back.
As we rolled along, I noticed Bob was employing a new technique to keep his legs fresh while on his bike. I was quite impressed, so I snapped a photo:
Everyone was feeling good, and we kept riding. When we got near Cooper’s Landing, Bob decided to take an alternate route, so he took the gravel while the rest of us stayed on the Katy Trail. He always marches to the beat of his own drummer.
We all laughed at the weather man. It was supposed to reach record-high temperatures today. No way. It was in the 70′s and there was a light, cooling breeze. This ride was going to be a piece of cake. We just kept putting miles behind us as we talked and laughed.
When we reached McBaine, we headed out on some pavement. Again, this was Stoney’s route. We rode some pavement onto some more pavement. There were no good views, we weren’t near the river, and we had no idea why Stoney would add this stretch of pavement to the ride. But then we saw it… The Big Ass Tree. And Stoney’s route made a lot more sense.
Now, I had heard about “The Big Ass Tree” before, and it looked like a pretty big tree as we rode towards it. I’ll be honest with you, though. I wasn’t really impressed. But then, as we got closer and closer, I began to realize just how big this tree really is, and let me tell you, it is a BIG ASS TREE! And it just seems so out of place. There is nothing around it. You really just need to see this thing to truly get a sense of how big this mo-fo is. Here are a couple more shots, but photos never do justice:
I guess “The Big Ass Tree” is not it’s official name. It is also referred to as the McBaine Famous Bur Oak Tree, but I prefer “Big Ass Tree.” Don’t you?
We said good-bye to the Big Ass Tree and hopped back on the Katy Trail. It wasn’t long before a we saw a DNR truck parked in the middle of the Katy Trail. As we got closer, we saw a wonderful sight. Lisa had found my water bottles and tracked us down. Big thanks to you, Lisa, wherever you are.
This time when I put my water bottles back into the cages on the Minora, I bent the cages in to make sure the bottles stay put. I had no more problems losing the bottles. I might use a simple strap or something similar at Dirty Kanza to make extra sure they stay put.
Lisa left us, and we jumped back on the bikes. I looked up just in time to stop before running over Aaron who had crashed. Apparently, Bob completely cut him off (unknowingly if you ask Bob, but the jury is still out on that). Aaron couldn’t get unclipped, and he just toppled over. It was his first crash on his new Salsa Vaya. Aaron has cat-like speed, though, and I only managed to get a shot of him after he hopped back up to his feet.
Between McBaine and Rocheport we had a ton of fun and saw lots of cool stuff. Here is just a small sampling. We saw:
And then on the other side of Rocheport, we rode through the tunnel:
The sun was out in full force now, and the temperature was definitely rising. From Rocheport to Booneville was my least favorite part of the ride. There was a strong headwind for the last 10 miles, the scenery wasn’t great, and the Katy Trail seemed to stretch on forever and ever. We were all still feeling pretty good, but this part of the ride was just dragging on.
We eventually rolled through New Franklin and Franklin, and we soon found ourselves crossing Boonslick Bridge into Booneville.
We were all hungry, so we stopped at the Riverside Diner for some grub. After all the crap that Bob has given Adam about not eating any gravy in the past, Bob had the audacity to not order any gravy. Of course, I shamed him into adding a side of it, and Bob proceeded to dip his double bacon cheeseburger into the gooey gravy goodness.
This would end up being a bad idea for Bob, but we’ll get to that in a second. We paid our bills, jumped back on our bikes, and we rolled out again. The route back to Jefferson City included a little bit of pavement and gravel with some climbs. Even though it had gotten pretty damn hot and humid, we were still feeling good, so we jumped off the Katy and onto the pavement.
The hills hurt more than we had anticipated, the heat was getting to us, and Bob’s stomach was not really cooperating after eating all that gravy. I’m not sure what he was thinking when he ordered that, but maybe he’ll know better next time. Anyway, after a few miles of gravel, hills, and heat, we decided to jump back on the Katy Trail to finish the ride.
The hills and the gravel were a nice break from the monotony of the Katy Trail, but we were glad to be back on the flat, smooth surface anyway. We rode back through the tunnel on our way to Rocheport, and we decided to take a break under its cool, breezy shade.
Bob’s gravy was trying to find it’s way back out of him one way or another, so we decided to take it a little easy for awhile. We made it into Rocheport and stopped for another break. I was starting to feel the effects of the heat and the miles at this point, so I was more than happy to take another break. I dumped a water bottle of cold water over my head, and, after the initial shock, it felt wonderful.
Aaron needed to get home by 5:00-ish, so he needed to pick up the pace. Justin decided to keep him company, and Dave decided to stay back with us (even though he could have smashed us and left us in his wake). So we said good-bye as they rolled onward, and we rested a bit longer.
We soon got back on our bikes and started riding towards Jeff City once again. Bob seemed to be feeling much better at this point, but I was starting to fall apart. By the time we hit Hartsburg (only 10 – 11 miles from Jefferson City), I was really hurting. I had a pretty bad headache, I was starting to slow down, and I couldn’t even think about eating anything. I’m pretty sure I got behind on my hydration, and that is a BIG no-no.
I was carrying plenty of water, but for whatever reason, I just didn’t drink enough. Maybe it was because the morning temps were fairly mild and the riding was fairly easy. Or maybe it was because I was having too much fun riding with my friends. I don’t know what happened. Usually I stay on top of that kind of thing. All I know is, if that happens at Cedar Cross or Dirty Kanza, my race will be over.
The last stretch of the Katy Trail from Hartsburg took forever. And I mean for… ev… errrrrr… We’ve ridden that piece of the Katy countless times, so I knew each and every little landmark. I kept thinking we’d never make it back to the parking lot. I was wrong, though. We made it back just a bit after 6:00 PM for a total time of 10 hours and 20-ish minutes. Actual riding time was 7 hours and 54 minutes. The total distance ended up being 102.29 miles.
Aaron had already left so he could be with his family, but Justin was still hanging around. I wish I could have stuck around longer than I did, but I needed to get home since it was my daughter’s birthday. On top of that, I felt like dried dog poop, so I bid adieu to everyone and headed home.
By the time I got home, my headache had gotten worse, and I couldn’t even finish my dinner since I felt like puking. Let me repeat that. I, Lukas Lamb, could not finish my dinner… after riding my bike all day… for over 100 miles… Um, yeah. I’m pretty sure I was severely dehydrated and possibly on the verge of heat exhaustion. On my way home, I realized that I had only urinated once all day. That’s just stupid. When I finally went to the bathroom at my house, my pee was a dark, brownish-yellow. Not good at all.
So I learned a BIG lesson: Carrying enough liquid isn’t enough. You actually have to drink it to prevent dehydration. Now, that’s pretty obvious to most, isn’t it? Well, it was obvious to me before this ride, and I still managed to screw it up. It won’t happen again… I hope.
Anyway, it was truly a great ride. Not only was it my first century ride, but it was Aaron’s first one as well. It might have been Justin’s first century too, but I’m not sure on that one. So, I’m no longer a century virgin. If all goes well this weekend at Cedar Cross, I’ll get my second century in. And if everything goes perfectly on June 2nd at Dirty Kanza, I’ll lose my bi-century virginity too. I can’t wait!
Last Friday, I finally scratched one more “To-do” off of my bucket list. For years, I’ve wanted to paddle the Missouri River to Hermann. I had originally wanted to camp overnight on a gravel bar somewhere, but with all the rain this year that hasn’t been an option.
The first thing I noticed when I got to the boat ramp was a giant barge moving upstream. It was kicking up huge waves and making me nervous.
I let the water calm down for a good ten minutes before shoving off into the “Old Muddy”.
I couldn’t believe I was finally doing it, I’d been afraid of this river most of my adult life, but now I was out here by myself. No cell phone, no team-mates to drag me to shore if things went sour, and no way in hell my mom was gonna find out about it until the paddle was over.
The water was still a bit choppy from the barge, but after about 5 minutes soon I was far enough away that the waves were no longer a problem. The weather forecast was pretty grim, but for the moment it was sunny and pleasant.
I didnt take long to figure out that sand barges are the ruling force on this section of the river. Luck was on my side though, as all but one were resting peacefully along the bank.
I noticed right away that the MO river and the Katy Trail have a couple of things in common. Firstly, they’re both marked at each mile so you always know where you are. Secondly, everyone you encounter wants to know where you started from and where you’re going. People standing on ridgetops would call down to me, “Where did you start from?” It was crazy.I dont know how far I had traveled when I saw a large red sign in the shape of a triangle. I figured it was a warning symbol of some kind, but didn’t see anything in the water. This wasn’t a mystery for very long..
For reasons still unknown to me, the water just beyond the sign erupted. There was a plume of water, lots of bubbles and a big-ass whirlpool. The sound alone was terrifying, it was like something straight out of a horror movie and it absolutely scared the shit out of me. It lasted about 3 seconds and then.. nothing. it was as though nothing had happened at all. Another few seconds went by and it all happened again.
It was spooky, man..real spooky. Red triangles are not to be toiled with.
I’d say the hardest part of long distance paddling is being on your butt for extended perionds of time. I had a decent amount of pain in my hamstrings after a few hours, and tried to compensate by sitting cross-legged in the boat. This made the boat a bit unstable, but helped with the pain a LOT.
The closer I got to Hermann, the shittier the weather became. It was pretty obvious that I was gonna get rained on, but I decided to keep the ipod handy until things got ugly. Using the stopwatch on my ipod, I figured out that I was averaging (about) 9 minutes per mile. I dont know if that’s any good, but it seemed easy enough to hold that average and still be able to take in the sights and shoot some photos. I had forgotten my mileage map in the truck, but was fairly certain that Hermann was at the 100.8 mile mark. (This would later prove to be incorrect)
The peacefulness of my surroundings made it easy to forget about work, bills and all of that everyday crap. I saw countless ducks, blue-heron cranes and even a young fawn grazing next to the water. I’ll admit that it got a bit monotonous at times, but it was definitely better than being at work.
Every now and then I’d catch a glimpse of the Katy Trail, which I found oddly comforting. One such time was as I was passing Portland. The current kept turning the boat in odd directions, so this was the only (crappy) photo I could muster.
I had to laugh out loud when I saw this thing right next to the water. This is the little shelter where Adam and I hid from the rain during our first Treloar trip. You know…the trip where he couldn’t hold his liquor and barfed up an $8 cheeseburger and fell through a giant hole in Luke’s hammock. It wasn’t even a double cheeseburger…what a pansy.
I’d be lying if I told you I was keeping track of time out there. While the weather was nice, the miles flowed by and the world felt right. Before long I couldnt help but think my surroundings looked very familiar, as though I had been out here before. That’s when I realized I was at the confluence of the Osage River and the Missouri. I’ve fished in that spot dozens of times, but always from the safety of a much larger boat. I had never realized how turbulent the water gets when two rivers come together. I got a photo before I entering the riffled water ahead.
Just as the rain was starting to fall, I made a mental note that there were still 10 miles to go til I got to the 100 mile mark. One last photo was taken, then the ipod went into a drybag.
Those last 10 miles took an eternity. One thing I learned out there is that you can see for a long distance. At times I could see the next mile-marker even as I was passing the one right in front of me. This was a blessing and a curse, especially when the wind picked up and rain started soaking through my clothes. I paddled toward the same riverbend for at least 40 minutes, wondering if it wasn’t some kind of cruel mirage.
I passed the 101 mile mark, thinking that Hermann was at 100.8. Excitement poured through me, but was replaced with frustration when I passed the 100 mile marker 10 minutes later.
I was tired, hungry and ready to be done. I would periodically dip my hands in the warm river to fight the cold, then rub my legs to wake them up. The rain was letting up now, but had left behind a thick blanket of fog. I was still staring at that same damn riverbend, only now it was blanketed in fog. It was actually quite beautiful, but I wasnt in the mood for sightseeing anymore. The loud blast of a passing Amtrak startled me a bit, and when I looked back to the river I could see a bridge through the fog. It was the Hermann bridge.
I actually yelled out loud in joy, knowing I was nearly there. Of course, seeing the bridge still meant another 30 minutes of paddling. I didn’t care, all i had to do was paddle another mile or 2 and it was BEER THIRTY. I paddled past the 99 mile marker, then the 98, then finally passed under the bridge and towards the boat ramp. Mission accomplished.
My brother was waiting for me at the end of the boat ramp. It was after 6, and I had told him I’d probably finish around 5. The first words out of his mouth: “You need to get a f**king cell phone.
And so we went to the local watering hole for victory beer and hotwings. It was a great day, I spent 45 miles on the Missouri River, then drank beer and ate hotwings with my little brother. Does it get any better than that?