The Sexy Sixty Gravel Grinder
I’m not really sure what was sexy about this ride, but I couldn’t come up with anything that sounded better or rhymed with “sixty.” So, we’ll call it the “Sexy Sixty.”
Anywho, Bob posted the map for this 53-mile ride along with an open invitation to all (including you, Corey!) on his blog. Then he managed to tinker with the route so we would start and finish at Dos Primos, a fine Mexican eatery in Holts Summit. Moving the start and finish turned this ride into a 63-mile ride, although I didn’t know about this until 5:30 in the morning via a text message (thanks for the heads up, Bob). I wasn’t worried about it, though, because I had planned on cutting the ride short anyway. I really didn’t think I could make it the whole way, but I didn’t want Bob to think I was a girly-man.
Bob and I met at Dos Primos at 6:00 AM, and we looked over the maps while we waited for Phil to arrive. Phil had already said he needed to cut the ride short because of some family stuff he had to do (we later found out that he was actually getting a mani-pedi). It was dark and cold when we left, and we had to bomb down a big hill past the Summit Lake Winery. I wanted to stop the ride right there since my hands and feet were rendered completely useless by the frigid wind.
We hopped onto the Katy Trail, and I realized why we had started so early. Thankfully, the trail was still frozen, so the riding was fast and easy. If you’ve ever tried to ride the Katy Trail when it is wet and mushy, you know that it’s about as fun as a swift kick to the pills. But I digress… As the sun started to come up, the visibility did not improve all that much due to the early morning fog.
At one point on the Katy, while Bob and Phil were waiting for me to catch up, Phil had an urge that he needed to satisfy:
It was still very cold – cold enough for me to start transforming into my alter ego… Iceman!
We hopped off of the Katy Trail at Claysville and headed out onto some gravel roads. Everything was going fine. The sun was finally burning off the dreary fog. The temperature was rising slowly. We were getting into a groove.
And then… we ran into a viciously wild, ferocious dog coming full speed right at us.
This poor little puppy was shivering badly and wandering around in the middle of the road. We knew we had to do something for the poor little fella. So Phil gave him some water and a cereal bar which the young pup devoured.
We knew we couldn’t just leave the puppy there. We decided that we’d take him home and put an ad in the paper and contact the local vet to see if anyone had lost this precious, little schmoopy-poo. Since Phil was only planning on doing 30 miles or so and we were already at mile 15, he said that he would just turn around and take the puppy home. I had the biggest pack, so we transferred some gear, and Phil and I switched packs.
Bob and I named the puppy Falkor, after the luckdragon in “The Never Ending Story.” Actually, now that I think about it, that would be a great name for my new bike, because every time I ride it, I feel just like this.
Once Phil left with Falkor tucked away safely in the pack, Bob and I took off again. I knew Bob would be faster than I would be, so we agreed to meet back up in New Bloomfield. We were supposed to cross Highway 63 on Zumwalt Rd, but when we got to where I thought we should cross, the sign said that it was “Old 63” or something like that. I rode towards the highway, and then I saw that “Old 63” and Zumwalt Rd. are one and the same.
I was a little worried, though, because I couldn’t see any of Bob’s bike tracks. The snow and ice on the roads were pretty packed down, though, so I figured (and hoped) I was going the right way. This part of the ride was great. Riding the icy, gravel roads was pristine, serene, and beautiful.
I was actually feeling surprisingly good, but my toes were frozen. I managed to make it to New Bloomfield and stopped at the only gas station I found. Bob was nowhere in sight. Did he leave me here all by myself? I called him up, and he had blown right by “Old 63″/Zumwalt Rd. He ended up going 4 miles out of his way, so he was behind me a little bit.
This was where I was going to cut the ride short and head straight back to Holts Summit. Other than my toes, though, I was feeling great. So I figured, “What the hell?” I took off to complete the full ride while Bob got some grub and coffee at the gas station. If we wanted to finish at about the same time, then I needed a head start.
The ride to Tebbetts was a lot of fun. The roads were starting to thaw a little, but the scenery was great. I was still feeling strong when I rolled into the metropolis that is Tebbets (population around 700) at around the 45 mile mark. From here, the gravel roads were completely flat, long, and mushy. It seemed like there was no gravel at all on the roads. They were just nasty, muddy stretches of pain. I was begging for a hill or at the very least a turn in the road.
This muddy stretch sucked the life out of me. When I FINALLY made it back to the Katy Trail, I was hating Bob for dragging me into this. The Katy Trail was completely mushy and soft by this point in the day, and it was going to be brutal. I got off my bike to ease the pain in my ass (literally). I grabbed a snack, and decided to wait for Bob. It wasn’t too long before Bob rolled up.
We decided to try to ride Highway 94, but when the shoulder ran out, we decided it was too dangerous. So we decided to alter the route slightly and take some different gravel roads back into Holts Summit. Bob graciously rode more slowly with me, and we finished the ride together – hand in hand. Okay, we didn’t hold hands, but we did finish the last 10 miles or so together. We got back to Dos Primos, and we changed clothes in the parking lot.
I couldn’t wait to scarf down some chips and salsa while they prepared my Chicken Chimichanga. Bob decided to forgo looking at the menu (as he always does at Mexican restaurants) and go with the Chicken Nachos with extra jalepenos. He also decided to go with the “Monster” strawberry margarita.
Bob ended up doing roughly 61 – 62 miles or so, and I ended up doing around 57 or 58. Check out the map below:
At the end of the ride I was beat, but I felt a lot better than I thought I would. I was glad I didn’t wuss out by cutting the ride short. This was the farthest I’ve ever ridden my bike at one time which I think is pretty damn cool. We ended up eating a ton of great food – to replenish our glycogen stores of course. Then we called it a day.
So, we rode roughly 60 miles in the cold and snow, rescued a puppy, and had a crap-ton of fun – all in one day. What did you do yesterday? Next time we ride, you should really join us. Seriously. I’m talking to you. Come out and ride with us.
Until next time, keep on truckin’.