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Planning 100 mile ride for 25-40 high school girls

The high school girls in our church have the opportunity each summer to tackle a high adventure of sorts. I am hoping to have them ride 100 miles on the Katy Trail in June 2017 over 2 days. What suggestions do you have for preparation or anything else for this kind of adventure? The two itineraries they will choose from are this: (1) Rocheport to Marthasville, staying at the youth hostel, or (2) Portland to Machens and back to St. Charles, staying in Augusta. Is 50 miles too much for one day?
posted Aug 27 2016 2:07PM - Heidi, Wildwood

Personally I think 100 miles in 2 days is a little much unless you do a lot of training rides beforehand. With that many girls, there's going to be one or two who can't handle the mileage. Maybe more. Something like 25-30 miles might be better with an option for the better riders to put in more miles by riding past the overnight destination then doubling back.

I suggest not going to Machens as that part of the trail is usually washed out in parts and isn't very scenic.

I highly recommend that you have all the bikes checked out by someone who knows bikes. It will save you a ton of grief if things like bad brakes, rotted tires, dry bearings, etc., are caught before the ride.
posted Aug 27 2016 6:00PM - Jerry Whittle, Belleville

Yeah, I definitely wouldn't plan on going to Machens. It seems a lot of time each year it's either impassable or "closed", as Jerry indicated.
posted Aug 28 2016 12:21AM - dennis

I say go for it. You have plenty of time in a day to cover 50 miles. The trail is so flat that it's easy to ride. I'm sure you will have a support vehicle so no worries. Good luck.
posted Aug 28 2016 9:27AM - Chris

I agree with Jerry. Without a lot of training ahead of time 50 miles a day is too much. Heidi, I suggest that if you haven't done it yet, go for a bike ride that is 50 miles and see what you think. I just did a 4 day ride on the Erie Canal with a company that handled everything and they sent a lot of information about training ahead of time, getting time on a bike to get your "bum" used to being on a bike a long time. Good luck
posted Aug 28 2016 9:43AM - Cathy, Jefferson City

Very "doable" with some training in advance. It's not the legs that will need the training - it is the bottom AND the neck and shoulders. GOOD BIKE FIT IS CRITICAL. I saw some Boy Scouts on the trail recently and it didn't look like those poor kids had been given any help whatsoever with proper bike fit.

In my judgement, the prettiest (most interesting) 25 miles on the trail is Rocheport to Hartsburg.

If I was doing 50 out and 50 back...I would consider Hermann (just south of McKittrick - with a good connector trail) to Hartsburg. It's a few miles over 50, but not bad.

posted Aug 28 2016 4:04PM - Anonymous

I'd imagine most of the girls can't wake up and ride 50 miles two days in a row. But it's doable with preparation. June 2017 is a long way off. If you can present them with the challenge and get in many long rides to get them in 'bike shape' then they'll be fine. Otherwise, I'd think 3 or more days would be better. Only you know the ability and mental toughness of your riders.
posted Aug 28 2016 9:38PM - D, Stl

As for the distance, I think it all depends on the girls. A cross-country or soccer team could handle two 50-mile days. Out of 25-40 random girls, I would imagine that 5-10 could not handle that distance. I would suggest two 30 mile days. Or maybe a better alternative: go for the two 50 mile days plan (emphasize the CHALLENGE), but be ready to pick up the stragglers as needed.
posted Aug 30 2016 9:36AM - Dave, Kirkwood

I am planning to take a group next October so we have started training now. This is our plans:
Starting at 5 miles increase riding by 3 miles per month on a weekly basis as a group.
We are also going to hold training classes on: bike maintenance from fixing a flat, changing a chain, replacing cables etc to your maintenance: how to prevent saddle sores, how to help with cramping, signs of over heating and then also safety with a range of riding in traffic to how to get help. If you space it out and slowly increase the riding distance you can definitely do this. You'll know well before Jun which girls can make the trip.
posted Sep 1 2016 12:32PM - Michelle, Nevada

Go for it!
posted Sep 1 2016 3:48PM - Paul K, Florissant,MO

50 miles is pretty long for one day. The trail is flat but without a good bike thats too far. I would make it more like 30 to 35 and enjoy it than push the kids that hard. That way you will have time to stop and enjoy the scenery.
posted Sep 2 2016 5:49PM - Lisa, SAINT PETERS

I do not think 50 miles is long for one day. Just another opinion. I do agree that a good bike - at least a decent bike THAT FITS is a necessity to riding.
posted Sep 3 2016 7:03PM - Anonymous

I would do it mid-June or so. Having 11 or 12 hours of daylight gives you plenty of time for breaks during the day.
posted Sep 4 2016 6:40PM - Jim, St Thomas

I have a daughter about that age and I had to chuckle. The first thing they would consider is not the length of the ride or the fit of the bike, but the strength of their cell phone signal and how much battery they would consume! :)
posted Sep 5 2016 8:04PM - Don, Ellisville, MO

Tags: Augusta, Marthasville, Portland, Rocheport, Machens, Augusta Winery, Turner Katy Trail Shelter Hostel, Route Suggestions Modify Tags

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