Sunday, 28 March 2010

Top tips on preparing the hike the Missouri Katy Trail

Certain weather factors can give the multi-day distance riders injury or health problems during the Katy's mid-summer riding season. Knowing how to deal with the following ones helps ensure the successful completion of rides between its endpoints of Clinton and St Charles, Missouri.

Heat. During the hot-weather months of July and August, dehydration and heat exhaustion can take a distance rider down fairly fast anywhere along this flat and fairly shaded rail-to-trail. Yet, because many riders use this trail during the main summertime riding season, one of them could help a downed rider fairly soon. To be safe, however, most riders will carry plenty of water (to be refilled at the trailheads or other near-the-trail local sources), and will rest often under midday hot-weather conditions.

Also, it is not uncommon for riders to carry extra water to pour over their heads and bodies if overheated. Otherwise, they will do the same thing with the running water at 16 of the 26 trailheads that all average about 10-miles apart. Although these trailheads are open year-round, their running water is not. It is turned on only during the months of April through October.

Thus, the following trailheads do not have running water year-round: Clifton City, Tebbetts, Mokane, Portland, McKittrick, Treloar, Augusta, Matson, Weldon Spring, and Greens Bottom. These so-called dry places are shown on the interactive map at the website below. Several are located between Jefferson City and Marthasville on the trail's eastern side.

Still, cool water can be obtained from other places near these dry trailheads or near the trail itself when they are open. For example, water is available at the following places.

Clifton City (bike shop, automobile-repair garage)
Tebbetts (daytime convenience stop, weekend bar-grill)
Mokane (daytime market)
Steedman (general store, currently closed for remodeling)
Portland (bar-grill, park-side campground)
Bluffton (bed & breakfast, park-side campground)
Rhineland (large cafe)
McKittrick/Hermann (large convenience stop)
Treloar (bar-grill)
Peers (daytime country store)
Augusta (winery, cafe)
Matson (nearby winery)
Defiance (bike shop, 2 bar-grills)

Tebbetts also has a park-side hostel for trail users. This hostel has a key kept outside, running water, restrooms, showers, refrigerator, and air-conditioning for anytime rest stops in season. Additionally, the patronizing of these and other local air-conditioned shops and stores helps riders stay cool during the mid-summer heat.

Note: heat stroke, which is the imminent-death level of heat exhaustion, must be treated medically in an emergency room to be contained.

Sun. On the interspersed sunny sections of the entire trail (between the longer sections that are treed and shaded), riders will protect their eyes and skin with sunglasses, helmet visors, protective clothing/gloves, and sun lotions.

Dust. During extremely dry periods that do not happen often, breathing-in too much trail dust can damage a rider's health. Dust will also clog bike gears and chains in time. Installing bike fenders with/dust-flaps combined with consistent riding on the trail's smooth worn-down bike tracks reduces these effects considerably for the trailing riders in groups. Inexpensive face masks or bandanas will also reduce these effects.

Wind. Strong crosswinds can dry a rider's mouth rapidly in addition to causing precarious tipsy riding conditions. Under this adverse condition, experienced riders will breathe carefully through their noses as much as possible, and will rinse their mouths with water as needed without drinking too much of it. Strong headwinds can cause the same thing. On the Katy, the prevailing winds come from the southwest. Thus, full-distance riders often will ride from the west end to the east end (from Clinton to St Charles) to keep the breeze or wind at their backs most of the time.

Fair weather. Weather-wise in season, this trail is dependably easy and fun to ride most of the time with adequate preparation.

To learn more about how to ride this trail, see the following site.

Katy Trail Missouri -

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