FKT: Denise Bourassa - Katy Trail (MO) - 2021-10-08

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2d 22h 22m 5s

I began my Katy Trail FKT attempt on Oct 5th, starting just a bit after 6am running West to East. Clinton to Machens and completed it just after 4am on Oct 8th.  Total time of 70:22:05.  I had multiple people supporting/ aiding in my journey and will detail this in the following write up.  

I began my run with my sister, Mel, on a bike and my husband, Frenchy, in a car crewing.  Originally I was to run the first 121 miles solo with only my husband crewing for the first 34 miles.  But lucky me, after celebrating my 52nd birthday a week earlier, my sister surprised me with flying over from Portland to ride along side of me for the first 121 miles!! As I would only have crew for a short time, we placed drop bags Monday night as we drove to Clinton prior to my start.  These drop bags allowed us not to have to carry all of our water and food supplies.  In total we dropped 8 bags along the course, knowing I would have support the first 34 miles and then again the last 70 miles.  

The weather was perfect blue skies with a few clouds, and my sister and I moved steadily along with brief stops up through Sedalia. Here we took a longer break to eat a Big Mac and fries (compliments of Frenchy).  On through Clifton City and Pilot Grove mi 61 with no issues.  I had noted to eat a hot meal here (no drop bag) but decided we had enough calories and so we continued on.  We got to Boonville just at nightfall.  Where sadly we discovered out drop bag to be missing.  Having skipped getting food at the previous town, we would have enough calories but not a lot.  Here I decided to take a 45 min rest before moving on.  As we left Boonville, we knew we were needing to cross the MO river, we struggled a bit here.  Finally messaging a friend who was able to set us in the correct direction. Next up was Rocheport where we knew we would be taking a detour due to a closed bridge.  All was well, until we hit the detour and got out onto the highway.  My sisters rental bike locked up.  It had occurred early on when we started out and she was able to fix it and so, I continued on while she worked on it again.  It was around 2am.  When she did not reappear after 10ish min I called to find that she was pushing the bike.  The chain would not release.  She was able to catch me on a downhill section and so we both worked on the bike, but to no avail.  Together we made it to Rocheport.  Too early for any business so she set up camp at a bike shop at the trailhead and we went in search of our drop bag....what we found was our Perrier and Coke, no bag.  This is when it dawned on us that we were being robbed by animals.  Feeling frustrated by the turn of events, I chose to rest again for 45 before setting back out.  I left Rocheport leaving my sister behind and taking what calories we had left.  I got to McBaine, 9 miles further (no planned drop bag at this location) and knew at this point I could not go onto Hartsburg 16 miles away.  Tired and a bit cranky I left my husband a voice message telling him of our situation.  It was about 5am. I would rest for 30min and then plan to walk out to conserve energy.  30 min later I got a call from my sis, she was on her way with a new bike and FOOD!  She messaged the rental shop owner who drove out to pick her up and bring her to me!  With that she was able to accompany me to Hartsburg mi 111.  We were met here by my husband with more food, fresh cloths and a car for me to get a solid hour sleep.  My husband and sister would leave me here to head back to St Louis for her flight.  

I continued onto N Jefferson.  The weather was starting to change with some rain but fortunately I reached the shelter before it got truly ugly.  Here I waited out the storm.  A Cody, a friend, had left a drop bag for resupply and after the showers passed, I was off.  Unfortunately at this point my Strava beacon froze.  I was using the Strava app on my phone for recording my total time and for live tracking for my crew to follow me.  Not sure what happened but it froze and I was unable to get it to work after this point. I have to note the bikers who were so encouraging on the trail.  Many groups were camping overnight and once they got word on what I was doing it started to spread and I was getting cheers from everyone out there.  So cool! 

I continued from N Jefferson to Mokane with Cody crewing.  He got me through to Portland 148 mi where he handed me of to a Frank and Ashleigh (recruited from DRC, Daily Running Club) here I ate some hot food and slept for my first solid block of 3 hours.  Ashleigh and Frank shared some pacing duties taking me through to Treloar mi 180.  Here DRC came through with more pacing/ crew assistance (Lori, Chris, Christine, and Arek) and with their support brought me ALL the way through to the end at Machens.  Frenchy rejoined for the third afternoon and evening and through the night crewing in his car.

All in all an amazing experience.   What a treasure of a trail!  Main advantages, the Katy Trail has plenty of water opportunities at the Trailheads, knowing where they were was helpful along with knowing what trailheads had access to shops for food. Clearly the main thing I would do differently would be my drop bags.  They need to be animal proof.  I lost in total 4 of my drop bags to animals!  My sisters rental bike was unfortunate and so perhaps knowing the bike better before taking it out for 100+ miles :)  Between the support of my husband, my sister, Cody and DRC...they all helped me in reaching my goal and I could not have done it without them!