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entire trail in a day.

Well - I've only read one other experience on here in doing the whole trail in a day - an attempt I'll be making on May 6.

Anyone have any thoughts/tips/tricks on making the most out of the trail. I hear it's mostly like a soft pavement, and it will handle a road bike easily. I hope that's right.

I have a support crew coming with me, and we'll be starting in St. Charles, and finishing in Clinton - any tips on how the entirety of the trail would feel is helpful.
posted Apr 15 2006 11:29PM - Scott Randolph, Overland Park, KS

Why on earth would you want to do this? (I know, if I have to ask why, I wouldn't understand...) Your post indicates you have never been on the Katy Trail? You should take your road bike on a section of the trail at least once before the 'big day' so you have first hand knowledge of what the surface is like.

A couple of tips:
1. Don't be so worried about time that you become careless at places where the trail crosses roads & highways - lest you become someone's hood ornament!
2. If I were to attempt this (fat chance!), I would do it on a weekday, not a weekend (May 6 is a Saturday). You will be in Rocheport in the middle of the day or early evening and there will be a lot of traffic on the trail there on a Saturday. That will force you to slow down. Weekend cyclists, old folks walking side-by-side, families with little ones on their bikes wobbling all over the trail...people using the trail as it was meant to be used. It is discourteous and dangerous to pass these people doing 20+ MPH.
posted Apr 16 2006 2:01AM - savage24, KC,MO

Have you ridden on the trail before? I would not even attempt the entire trail on a road
bike. The folks I have seen on the trail with road bikes are the ones I have stopped to help
because they have 2 flat tires. Parts of the trail are pavement- like, but parts of it are loose
gravel, like 2 inches deep, and parts of it are larger rock. The parts of the trail that have
higher ridership have a more solid surface. The parts that are less traveled have a rougher
surface. And this time of year, you are more likely to encounter rough trail, larger rock and
looser gravel as this is the time of year that they do maintenance on the trail and it takes a
while for the gravel to pack down. Also, from Sedalia to Clinton you may encounter rough
terrain due to the horse traffic. I ride a Trek mountain bike with tires that are about 1.25
inches and smooth tread and I can easily do 20+ mph, but like savage24 says, you can't
do that kind of speed on a weekend when there are lots of little ones and inexperienced
riders on the trail. And, do slow down for the crossings and watch out for the wooden
guards at the crossings, there have been some serious accidents with people running into
those guards. I wouldn't even attempt narrower tires. Conversely, I wouldn't ride with
wider knobby tires either because they really aren't necessary and slow you down. Also,
your road bike just isn't built to withstand rough terrain. I wouldn't take my road bike on
the trail. But, remember you you need help, Hartsburg Cycle Depot is a full surface bike
shop and can help you out. And, well, have fun!
posted Apr 16 2006 9:05AM - sbikes, Kansas City

One more thing: If you do decide to do this on a road bike, despite the warnings above, you may want to postpone your trip if it rains a day or two before the trip, or if there's an extended rainy period during the week before. As you probably have read elsewhere in this forum, skinny tires do not do well after the trail has been softened up by rain.
However and whenever you make your one-day ride, let us know how it turns out. Good luck!
posted Apr 16 2006 9:59AM - Ray (Webmaster)


Good luck on achieving your goal. Before you start this attempt, I highly recommend:
1) That you have completed several centuries comfortably and at least one double century in the last few years.
2) That you have at least 1500 miles in the saddle in the 6 months prior to the attept.
3) That you have ridden on the KATY (or one of identical construction) for at least 2 hours to get a real gauge of the rolling resistance.

I wouldn't sweat all the talk about not using road tires/bike. I have ridden every inch of the trail on road bike at least twice. I have also ridden a fair amount of the trail on a mountain bike. Faster is not always better, but I can go much faster on the road bike. Just ride aware and get tires with a Kevlar belt.
posted Apr 17 2006 7:25AM - Nails

These folks have really given you some sound advice, but one other thing to think about is this is a day use facility and is only open from Sunrise to Sunset. Being on the trail before or after is considered trespassing, for safety reasons the Rangers are strict about this and you could be fined. On May 6th, the trail opens at 5:59 am in St. Charles and closes at 8:10 in Clinton. This gives you 14 hours and 11 minutes to complete your ride. The fastest anyone has rode the trail to date is 14 hours, 1 minute, 12 seconds. This was accomplished by a professional rider who purposely attempted this feat on June 24th, the longest day of the year. He also rode west to east which is down wind and down hill. You have chose to ride against the wind and uphill. Good luck!!
posted Apr 17 2006 8:56AM - Anonymous

entire trail in a day is missing the point of the trail
to enjoy the scenery, the towns, the people...

i rode the WHOLE trail front and back in a week and loved it.. on a road bike no less..

I would NEVER consider riding the trail of 269 miles in a day it just doesn't make sense
posted Apr 17 2006 9:48AM - dale nimmo, springfield missouri

Thanks for all the advice guys. As far as the bike - I've chosen my hybrind with kevlar tires. It's a good mix of mt. bike/road bike, and the one I have the most saddle time in.

I have the fitness/preparedness down on this, I've done a couple centuries, and spent the entire distance (in a trainer) a few times too.

As far as the trail surface/closing times/traffic volume - those are great points, and I may have to rethink a few things.
posted Apr 17 2006 1:55PM - Scott Randolph, Overland Park, KS

Hybrid with kevlar tires is a good choice. I run Panaracer messenger tires that are kevlar
and have never had a problem with them. The ones I have came from Hartsburg Cycle
Depot but the Bicycle Shack in KC (off of Blue Ridge) also carries them. They have served
me well!

Take a day and go spend the day riding the trail as a test run. You will find it different
than either road biking or time on a trainer. Some roadies talk bad about the trail as not
being challenging because there are no hills, but the trail has its own challenges...if you
want them. So, have fun. Try a the trail in halfs...start in Clinton and ride to Hartsburg
(check out the Cycle Depot while you are there!), spend the night, and ride back to Clinton
the next day. Would be a good test run to try in May. Then, if you still want to give it a
go, pick a day when the daylight hours are longer and go for it!
posted Apr 17 2006 7:02PM - sbikes, Kansas City

Road bike? Mountain bike? Hybrid? Don't make no difference. It all depends on what works for YOU. Go ride some of the trail on every bike you have and see which one works best. I think which bike is best is dependent more on what you like to ride, your size, how fast you like to go, how much stuff you carry with you, and so on. For instance, I don't care for road bikes on any surface but pavement. Sure, it may just be my imagination, but they don't grip the ground tight enough with those tiny little tires to stay under my big butt. I like big tires, (got the same on my truck, by the way)guess its my redneck upbringing. Do some test riding, figure out what works for your style of riding, and then go for it.

The only other advice I'd give is to agree with the "don't do it on a weekend" thing. It will be safer for all, and will keep your frustration level down. Be careful at the places where the trail crosses the road, and there are several places where farmers cross with tractors and trucks that aren't marked with signs the way the road crossings are. Don't get so engrossed that you overlook the big slow tractor.
posted Apr 20 2006 4:02PM - bryan, Springdale, AR

Slap on some Continental Ultra Gatorskin 700 x 28's or an equivalent Armadillo model and have at it! A support vehicle is a huge plus.

Actually there are 4 known individuals who have acheived this feat including a group of 3 and a solo.

I am planning on a 2-day entire trail trip in late spring or early summer. I figure 14MPH x 8hrs/day pedaling time x 2 days on a modified cyclocross bike. Yes we can all go faster than that but we are talking about 16 hours here. One day? eeeooowww.
posted Apr 20 2006 4:27PM - MLH, Overland Park KS

If the weather holds up, we'll be passing each other as I'll be (unsupported) on a West to East 1-day crossing. (CX bike/28c bulletproof road tires). Make sure you wave!

I wouldn't make the most of the trail if your goal is to finish. Stay on your bike and keeping pedalling.

My main caution is regarding the wind..would make for a very long east-west day.

My next caution is calories..but I'm assuming you've got ultra-cycling eating dialed if you're doing this.

Good luck!
posted Apr 23 2006 9:34PM - KDS, Clayton

There is alot of good advice above but the one that stands out is the direction. Go West to East if you can. It would be unusual for the wind to be from the east and as we all know the wind can ruin a trip. Use the prevailing west winds to your advantage. Also, the highway is closer to the trail in general on the east portion than the west and one would surmise you will want to be closer to the support vehicle towards the end.

Did I read correctly that KDS and SR are attempting 1-day entire trail crossings on the same day?
posted Apr 24 2006 6:43PM - MLH, Overland Park

The notion that the prevailing wind is out of the west is not true. Check out the wind roses for Columbia at:
There's very little difference in the wind coming from the West or East. It's apparent that the wind is most frequent and strongest out of the South.
posted Apr 25 2006 8:39PM - Nails

Thank you everybody for your feedback, as I will be attempting Sedalia to St Charles on Monday June 3. This is a west to east, weekday ride. I plan to stick with my roadbike but with an upgrade of the tires. I've enjoyed reading the different perspectives from different kinds of folks-- as for those wondering why one would attempt the trail in one day, its because its there. I'm sure I will come back and do it the civilized way another time, as my main hobby is trains.
posted May 6 2006 1:57PM - runkentrun2002, Denver

You should have plenty of time to prepare and train for your ride as June 3 will next be on a Monday in 2013. :)

Perhaps you mean Saturday, June 3, Monday, June 5, or Monday July 3.
posted May 8 2006 7:01AM - Nails

OK Scott, May 6th has passed. Tell us all of the gory details.
posted May 8 2006 7:23PM - MLH, Overland Park

I was on the trail all day May 6 and didn't see either of the one-day riders. What happened? Did I blink at the wrong moment?
posted May 14 2006 10:57AM - sharron sussman, Julian California


Just finished Sedalia to Page Bridge and then on to Webster Groves this past weekend (Aug 4/5.) - unsupported.
Time: 22 hours (10:00 a.m. to 8:00 the next morning - straight thru)
Distance: 214 miles
Advice - Assos chamois creme and change shorts often, solid food hard to come by in the middle of the night, water too. Cateye 530 LED light has enough burn power to go all night - only used my halogen Nite Rider when absolutely necessary.
Outsprinting farm dogs gives needed adrenaline rush in the middle of the night. Happened to me 3X. Recommended tires - black ones (for the record I used some 26 x 2" mostly slicks from a hybrid - no not 700c's! - 26's). Hygiene is key. Take care of your mouth, feet, hands and rear. Read Ed Burke's book "ong distance cycling".
Finally - listen to your body. If you take care of it you'll have enough mental reserves to deal with the biggest hurdle - your own mind.

Have fun and God speed!
posted Aug 6 2007 10:16PM - gravity assassin, Webster Groves, MO

Hello Scott. I am the rider who has, to date, posted the fastest one day trail trip. I rode from Clinton to St. Charles on June 22, 2007 in just over 14 hours. I rode West to East for two reasons: #1. All the hills are on the West end of the trail. #2. It is somewhat down hill as it follows the river. I did the ride on a cyclo-cross bike with 700-32 cyclo-cross tires with a very low knobby. I averaged 16.5 MPH and had only 15 minutes of stops during the day. I burned and estimated 15,000 calories but was only able to take in around 6000. I lost 5 pounds in the week which followed. It is a real test of your body and mind and one you will cherish for the rest of your life. I do not recommend doing this on a weekend. My ride was on a Friday. I am planning to do this again on June 20th and will be trying to break the 14 hour mark. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
posted Mar 29 2008 8:31AM - William, Springfield Missouri

Congrats on your goal. Luckily you're located not far from the trail, so you'll be able to do it numerous times. The trail is usually pavement hard, esp in the summer and fall. Thus, you might consider three things: 1. good tires, e.g., Ultra Gatorskin (25-28-mm) with thorn liners; 2. the amount of daylight time (since you're not going for a record of 14-hr, you might want a longer weekday), and 3. the wearing of blinders (in your mind) so you won't be distracted by the vast amount of scenery, wildlife, historical sites, events, quaint villages, and neat people on/along the trail. Good luck.
posted Mar 29 2008 10:25AM - JD, Greater KC area

William, you might want to note that the DNR ride this year is finishing up on June 20 - I believe they are riding west to east and will finish in Clinton. This means you will encounter 300+ riders going the other direction. Although I'm sure everyone tries to follow the trail rules, you may find this slows you down.
posted Mar 31 2008 6:13AM - Kim, Independence, MO

If you start early in the morning, you may pass the group before they get started. However, you might want to check the DNR ride schedule to be sure of this. I believe they will be on the Sedalia to Clinton section on that day.
posted Mar 31 2008 6:15AM - Kim, Independence, MO

Wow, Kim. The DNR ride is traveling west to east and will finish in Clinton? Isn't that a 25,000 mile ride?
Sorry, I couldn't help myself.
posted Apr 1 2008 6:13AM - gc, Columbia, Mo.

Or....perhaps it's a very short ride this year....starting and ending in Clinton. I'd just stop and watch the parade go by then finish my 6 block ride with ease.
posted Apr 1 2008 7:19AM - Trek, Saint Joe

Corrections to directions
:)(it rhymes)

The DNR ride will be going EAST to WEST this year.
posted Apr 1 2008 9:55AM - Kim, Independence, MO

Tags: Clinton, St Charles, Hartsburg, Rocheport, Sedalia, Columbia, Restaurants, Water, Kansas City, Weather, Animals and Plants, Hiking, Running, Bikes and gear, Tires, Events, Page Bridge parking lot Modify Tags

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