Day 21: Farmington, MO to St. Louis, MO
Total Mileage: 76 miles
It’s always great to meet new people, especially if they’re going to ride with you for the day. If you all have been keeping up with the team fisheye photos, you’ll notice three new faces in today’s picture. Three guests joined us on our ride to St. Louis: Michael and Alex from last years 4K San Fran team and Summer, Caiti’s roommate from law school. Having alumni to talk to that’s been through the 4K is helpful, since they can relate to everything we’ve been through so far and offer some suggestions on things that can make the day run a bit smoother.
Today’s team name: On Fire with Katrina, Hilary, and Casey. After riding two centuries in a row, we consider a 76 miler a gift. Any ride 80 miles and below is considered a short day to the team now, which is pretty insane if you think about it. A 76 mile ride before the trip would have seemed near impossible, but now that cycling has become our lives, it’s what we expect. Team On Fire was on fire for the wrong reasons, not going to elaborate. Just know that sitting on a bike saddle for 9+ hours everyday can irritate your behind. The good thing about biking is that you can cycle through closed roads if it’s cleared for safety by the host van, which is what we did. Re-routing would have probably made the course much longer, so I’m glad the road closure was safe enough for us to pass through.
Right before lunch, we decided to stop at one of the local bike stores to see if we could get any tubes donated to us. We got a text from the group saying Kevin already stopped by Crystal City Cyclery and got some donated, but we decided to stop regardless. There we met Keith, who’s actually from California and an avid cyclists who did a 2500 mile bike ride in his mid 20’s. Explaining what the 4K is to strangers has become one of my favorite things to do, especially when people are curious about the organization. We’ve met so many generous people on our route so far, and it’s always a tremendous feeling when you spread awareness about a cause you’re so passionate about. On top of donating tubes to our team, Keith donated a bike computer and a iPod rain protector to Hilary.
After lunch, we knew we were about to run into a storm cause we could see the sky getting darker and hear thunder booming in the distance. We met up with another team along the way and made a storm chaser super team with Kat, Caiti, Sasha, Zac, and Summer. When lightning struck and it started to rain, we took cover at a gas station for over an hour and a half. Sleeping in front of a gas station doesn’t seem really optimal, but it’s 4K OK! The rain washed out the chalking on the road, so we had to re-route ourselves to Washington University at St. Louis (Wash U) as the super group. Zac’s awesome idea was to give each member of the team a street name to remember and ride “indian run” style. Whoever had the first turn would lead the group until we reached the street then ride to the back when their turn was over. The next rider would ride up to the front until their street and the cycle would repeat. We somehow ended up in a seminary along our way to Wash U, so we had to reroute ourselves again. Fortunately, someone from the seminary gave us easier directions to follow than Google maps. Made it to Wash U as the storm chaser super team! And big props to Summer for riding without cycling cleats and powering up those steep hills during the first part of the ride. Definitely an honorary 4K member!