Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Schmatzenberg Loop

Today's ride was just not going to happen indoors. Yes, it was cold, but the sun was out, and I do believe that I reached the USRDA for indoor riding a little while back.

I got the crazy idea to do a loop that I haven't done in a while...the Schmatzenberg. It's a loop that takes about 30 minutes to do, has two killer hills in it, and is picturesque, especially this time of year.

The Schmatzenberg is on the south side of I-44, across from Six Flags. The road is actually called Wegman road. It climbs up just a bit from I-44, drops into a beautiful valley, then shoots skyward on the actual Schmatzenberg climb. The climb is only about a 1/4 mile long, but is very steep. After cresting, the road veers left, meanders downhill a bit, then flattens as it parallels the Meramec river. Then it hits the looong climb. This thing is ferocious, camel-backing 6 or 7 times, finally ending in an out-of-the-saddle, head-over-the-handlebars grunt to get over the top. A screaming descent follows, then you get to start over.

I parked at the Greensfelder visitors center and suited up. I rolled down Allenton road, eyes watering and getting a brain freeze straight away. On second thought, I should've ridden a bit before I attempted a 40mph downhill in 29 degree weather. No matter. I knew I would get warm on the loop.

No traffic to speak of, crisp morning, hrm and Power Tap alive and kicking. I saw between 500-550 watts on the 'berg. What a killer. I settled down and hit the second climb at 450-475 or so. By the time I hit the middle of the climb, I was suffering at 300 watts. Ug. After cresting, I decided to hit the loop again. I had a better plan. Feeling better and better, I hit the 'berg a little easier, this time keeping a steady 400-450 watts. Bingo, much better, and I was able to go over the top with some vigor. I did the same tempo towards the long hill, this time starting at 350 watts or so and maintaining that all the way to the final kick, where I had to stand. Much, much better. What did I prove? My own rule: hit the climb in such a way that you can finish it.

Crossing back under I-44, I wondered how hard Allenton was going to be. Normally, it's a tough climb if you hit it hard. After 2 laps of the 'berg loop, I was figuring it would be tough. It wasn't. The pitches on Allenton are just not bad compared to the ones I had already done.

All said and done, it was only an hour and a half. But an hour and a half of my life spent outside on a beautiful morning versus and hour and a half sitting still in a cold basement watching a small 15 year old television set with no cable? You be the judge.


Dad Zim said...

Checking this out of Google Earth it looks real interesting. I am assuming that the route is Wengler Rd., Horneker Rd., Sheerin Rd., and Hunters Ford Rd. Then back to the start on Main or Second in Allenton. That hump of a bridge over the MoPac lines (now UP) must be a little fun.

Goggle Earth also shows very clearly the old line of the Meramec River running north of old Route 66 and through parts of Pacific, MO.

TK said...

Ah, yes, it WAS Wengler. And yes, those are the street names. Perfect loop. I'd like to see the elevations and gradients.

That bridge would be much more fun if the light wasn't always red.

Anonymous said...


I love that loop. My parents lived right at the center of it since 1986. I used to ride too and from The Legends Golf course on my mountain bike back in the D A Y. You should have been out there 15 years ago when there were less houses. My all time favorite place to ride. If you go out there again and the ground is frozen look to the left as you are going up Horneker Hill (at the end of the field) there is s pretty cool waterfall. Every spring when it rains a lot both sides of the loop flood making driving to your house impossible and you are forced to hike on a old fire road to get back to the houses (left side on Horneker. It is very short but pretty fun on a Mtn bike.

Dan Tille

Jeremie said...

Actually you should call it the meitz loop :) since i live on hill coming up from the river on huntersford. If you want a real tough but short ride. I start from my house, do the loop then up to greensfelder do the TT course in reverse and then turn around and do the TT course and back to the Allenton loop. Talk about some killer hills, if you want more adventure do it twice.

Gateway cycling club

Anonymous said...

Also, the bridge wont be there much longer, ther will be a seven lane bridge going across similar to boone's crossing. This is needed to support Eureka Commons which is going in and the 1300 homes.