Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4...bicycling from North St. Louis to Vandalia, Illinois

90.16 miles in 7:22...ascent 1562 ft.....descent 1578 ft.....average speed 12.2 mph....max speed 26.8 mph....total trip miles 1686.26 miles....trip ascent 34,043 ft.... Average ride distance 76.65 miles per ride.
I got a later start, because morning traffic in a busy area usually slows down after 9:00am, when most people have gotten to work. It worked for me this morning, after a 9:30 start, I was on some 4-6 lane roads, and they weren't very busy at all. The hills really roll in North St. Louis, and I was a little concerned how my legs would be after back to back centuries. I wasn't very explosive, but the legs did well. There were mostly short grades, where I could stand up, and that makes life easier. I would rather get out of that saddle to climb a hill. I listened to the GPS directions, so I really don't know where I was at. I went through the campus of the University of Missouri at St. Louis.  I went through some troubled areas, getting pretty close to Ferguson, Missouri, where there has been lots of racial tension over the last year or so that has been in the national news. North St. Louis was pretty run down also.I was a little surprised when I went around a bend on Natural Bridge Road, on which I rode for quite a while, and there was the Arch, that is the famous landmark in St. Louis. And then I could see the entire city's skyline as I rode through an industrial area towards the Mississippi River. There are only so many ways a bicyclist can get across the Mississippi, and I went across the McKinley Bridge. It had a brand new bikeway going up onto the bridge from the industrial area, and I had a little trouble finding it, so I went a mile or two out of my way on the riverfront bike trail, but I asked a bicycle cop how I screwed up, and he got me back on track. He wasn't really one of the more fit bike cops, but he was a nice guy.
Once I got across the river, into Illinois, which took about the first twenty miles of the trip, I got on a bicycle trail that was as extensive as any I've seen anywhere. The Madison County Transit Trails travel over 125 miles all throughout Madison County. I got on the trail in Venice, and I was on the trail for 32 miles, 20 paved, as most of the 125 miles is, and the last 12 were hardback limestone, just like the Katy Trail. Scenery was pretty much corn fields, but there were some wooded sections. The southwest winds really helped me all day, even though I really didn't feel them in the city. When I got out onto the open road in the little village of Alhambra, the winds really blew me along, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was on IL140 from Alhambra to Greenville, about twenty miles. No shoulder, some trucks, but not terrible traffic. It started to roll right before Greenville, but the whole trip was pretty flat except for St. Louis. The wind got me to Greenville so fast, I decided to extend my planned route, and go another twenty miles to Vandalia. Even though I could have picked up US40 in Greenville and paralleled I-70 to Vandalia, I decided to listen to GPS girl and traveled  on IL140, and then some more back country roads with more corn fields, into my final destination. I found a motel right on US40, near I-70, and I will follow 40 all the way home, unless plans change. I bought some Salisbury steak frozen dinners at an Aldi grocery store for supper, and tried to figure out tomorrow's ride. I am supposed to have a tailwind, so another century is not out of the question.

Pike house at the U of Missouri @ St Louis.  I was a Pike at WVU

Sign near Ferguson, Missouri

All of the sudden I saw the ARCH! - used zoom since I didn't get nearly this close.

Bike trail along the Missouri

My bridge across the Mississippi River.  McKinley Bridge

Crossing the Mississippi, looking back at St Louis

Illinois state line (In the middle of the river)

Welcome to Illinois!

Blue Heron near the river


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