3rd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – April 18-19, 2020

 

Good pavement, nice gravel, light vehicle traffic, courteous drivers, and the hills of western Kentucky in the springtime – what’s not to like? Well, your legs might complain about some of the gradients, but the descents make it all worthwhile. And the riding companions – unparalleled.

Friday dinner, April 17:

For those folks coming into town on Friday, we’ll meet at Triplett’s BBQ in Cadiz for dinner. The restaurant is on US68/KY80 just west of I-24 at exit 65.

Saturday, April 18:

We will meet at 9:30am at the LBL Golden Pond Visitor Center on the Woodlands Trace Road, at the intersection of US-68/KY-80.  There is plenty of parking at the visitor center. I will have some repair/adjustment tools, grease, chain lube, floor pump, work stand, and some spare tubes and patches. Hopefully no major repairs will be needed before, during, or after the ride but we’ll be prepared for the usual (and some of the unexpected). We’ll roll out from the parking area around 10am.

There is no cost for these rides. If you want to chip in a little for the Saturday post-ride cookout, that would be appreciated, but it’s neither expected nor required.

The route:

The route is entirely within the LBL. This loop starts and ends at the Golden Pond Visitor Center in LBL, and is about 46 miles, all paved. There are a small number of actual turns in this route, so there should be no issues with navigation or getting lost. I will give my cell number to riders, should assistance be needed during the ride.  Cell coverage isn’t always the best in LBL, so bear that in mind.  This is an unsupported ride, but we will do our best to help everyone finish up safely.  At the southern end of the route, you could continue south on the Trace road and go to the TN state line and take a photo. It’s only a couple of extra miles so go to Tennessee if your want. it’s pretty close.

 

 

Click to Download Cue Sheet

Other cool stuff to do:

If you want to come in a day early, or stay over for a day or two, you could follow the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  If you like bourbon and want to sample the offerings by several distilleries, this is a great way to do it.  Check out where the distilleries are located and plan your route.

You can drive north on the Trace Road, and drive through the Elk and Bison Sanctuary.  There’s a small fee at the entrance to the sanctuary, and it’s well worth it.  I’ve been there more than once and it’s a unique opportunity to see herds of bison and elk moving around the area.  You do have to be in a vehicle – a bicycle vs a 2000 pound bison – no thanks.

There is a trap range close to the Lake Barkley Lodge, so if folks are interested we can shoot some clay targets.  No prizes, just bragging rights.  I have shotguns, ammunition, and clay targets – so all you’ll need is hearing and eye protection.  If you’ve not done this before, it’s challenging and fun. If you’re new to this, I’ll be happy to help you shoot safely.

Post-ride cookout:

We are planning a cookout after the ride on Saturday. We’ll just have it at my house. I’m about 20-25 minutes from LBL, so not too bad.  It’s easier anyway as I can just leave everything is the fridge/freezer at home and not have to haul it to the Lodge. If you’re local, just bring something to share.  Bring your favorite libations and we’ll sit outside on the deck and relax.  Or, take a fishing rod and walk down to the dock and try your luck.

Sunday, April 19 – ride the trails:

If folks are interested, we’ll take some fatter-tired bikes out for some trail riding on Sunday. There’s a lot to choose from, the map links below will give you an idea of the variety available to us.  A good choice is the Hardwoods Trail, from east to west all the way to Kentucky Lake.  Mostly crushed limestone and a lot of fun.  I would rate this trail as easy/moderate.  Bikes with road tires won’t be the best choice for this – wider tires are the best way to go.

At the north end of the LBL, there is a good singletrack loop named the Canal Loop.  I would rate this loop as moderate/difficult.

There is a fairly new option, the trails in Livingston County, to the north of LBL.  I’ve ridden there a few times and it’s a lot of fun.  These trails are rated intermediate/difficult, so bring your “A” game. Be advised, you will want some tread on your tires for these trails.

We’ll figure out when and where to meet during the cookout and I’ll update the information here.

LBL Hike and Bike Trails

LBL Maps – click the Trails tab.

Livingston County MTB Trails

There are 500 miles of trails and 200 miles of roads in LBL. It is great to have this area so close to home. Not all of the trails are available for bicycling, so check the website while you scout a potential route.

 

 

Temperatures to expect:

The average high temperature in April is 75 degrees, so pretty good riding weather.

Lodging:

Here are some options for lodging and some suggestions for restaurants in the area.

Kenlake State Resort Park Reservations

Lake Barkley Lodge reservations

Both are reasonably priced and are just a few minutes from our starting place. Kenlake and Lake Barkley both have restaurants too. For those folks arriving on Friday, we’ll meet for dinner.

Bike Shop:

Bikes and Moore in Hopkinsville is a shop that I’ve been to several times, and I couldn’t find a complaint if I tried. Good folks and they’ll be happy to help you out, should you need more than a tweak or two.  They have knowledgeable mechanics and a good parts inventory too.

Questions:

Contact me if you have any questions, I’ll do my best to help.

Please watch your speed while driving in LBL, it’s federal land, so speeding tickets are expensive – paraphrasing Agent K – “the rangers do not have a sense of humor they’re aware of.”

Masi Nuovo Strada – the tweaks

The Masi build was finished, but there were some changes I felt were needed.

First, the Koolstop brake holders and pads just didn’t look right. I had picked up a set of Campagnolo replacement pads for the Chorus pad holders, but they slipped into the holders a little too easily. Rolling the bike back with the brakes applied would have probably slid the pads out of the holders – not good. A friend suggested that I look for Clark pads and I found them on ebay coming from the UK. Once they arrived, I found they fit the holders perfectly, and installed them. Then I swapped the Chorus holders and pads in place of the Koolstops, and we have Campagnolo braking bliss again.

Second, the tubulars on the Mavic GP4 rims were Yellow Jersey 3-fers, and I wanted top end tubulars for this bike. I picked up a set of Vittoria Corsa Speed G+ tubulars, and decided to use Effetto Mariposa tape to mount them. This would be my first set mounted with tape, I had used Panaracer glue on the YJ tubs the first time. The Effetto rim cleaner worked very well, and you could not tell that a tub had ever been mounted on the rims. The actual taping for the tubs was anticlimactic – it took less than 10 minutes per wheel. I left a small section of the rim untaped opposite the valve stem, to make it easier to remove the tub if an on-the-road swap was needed. Put the tape on, press it firmly onto the rim, and fold the plastic film over the edge of the rim. I used cellophane tape to hold the plastic film in place while I installed the tub. Add some air, up to about 40 psi or so, and straightened the tub so that it tracked as it should. Then you just pull the plastic film out, recheck the alignment, and add air up to 120psi. Let it sit at that pressure for a day or so and it’s done.

The latex tubes in the Vittoria tubs lose pressure after a few days, but I always top off the tires before every ride whether tubs or clinchers so that’s no real issue for me. They ride beautifully, making chip seal roads feel almost like fresh tarmac, except for the sound. After talking with more experienced riders, I decided to try higher pressures than I had been using – I’m at 95F and 110R now, and the performance is great. The Corsa Speed tubs are not renowned for their puncture resistance, but either I’ve been lucky this year or I’m careful where I ride (maybe a bit of both) and they’ve been fine.

Centenario Coppi 2019 – Hollandale, WI

First, sincere thanks to Dave and Rob for their behind-the-scenes and in-front-of-the-camera hard work. It would not have been the success it was without your efforts. THANK YOU.

I missed the warmup ride on Friday, but the Friday get-together at Tony’s Tap was great. Nice to see some friends from previous rides, and to put names with new friend’s faces. This is a really remarkable group – different backgrounds, ages, education, jobs, from different parts of the country – but we all enjoy cycling and the people it brings together.

On Saturday morning, we met at the guest house for another warmup ride. Immediately, we’re climbing – this is a theme that repeats itself many times. Good roads, and the group stopped often enough to keep everyone together. In Dodgeville, we rode a rails-to-trails that I think is called the Military Ridge Trail. It ran the gamut – pavement, chip-n-seal, gravel, sand, and mud. The muddy parts made it a little risky to keep the speed up, but I don’t think there were any casualties. We agreed to meet up again at the A&W in Dodgeville for a root beer (as a recovery drink, of course), and then to head back together. A quick shower, and it was off to Hollandale to set up the bikes for the show. There were some VERY nice machines there, and some that are the only example of the breed (at least the only examples I’ve seen). A lot of time to talk and meet folks that weren’t at Tony’s the night before. There was a lot of accumulated bicycle knowledge in the Hollandale town hall on Saturday – truly staggering. There was bread, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to take the edge off before dinner. The dinner was first rate, can’t say enough good things about it. Afterwards the awards were handed out, and I apologize for not remembering the recipients. Then we packed up the bikes, cleaned up, and headed back to our various accomodations. Sunday’s ride awaits.

We met at the Hollandale town hall again Sunday morning at 8am, for coffee, scones, bananas, and other assorted delicacies. Fuel, you know. Dave and Rob were in the cat-herding business and were mostly successful. We rolled out around 9am, and guess what – a relatively flat start for a little while, then a right turn and a respectable climb. Someone had painted a purple COPPI on the road about 2/3 of the way up. The climb and subsequent descent theme played out often and was unrelenting. A couple of the climbs on County Road Z and Sandy Rock just weren’t fair – you crest what you think is the top, only to see a “wall” yet to be climbed. It wasn’t actually a wall when you got to it, but it was a little demoralizing to see it and realize that you’re not even close to being finished with that climb. But you persevere and you earn the reward on the other side.

One of the descents early on came up to a T, with a left turn and the fresh chip-n-seal had left a fair amount of loose gravel right where you needed to stop and check for traffic. There were a few skidmarks in that gravel when I got there, but I didn’t see any evidence of bandages, blood, or abandoned bike parts – so apparently everyone got through that part safely. County Z had a few rough spots, but for the most part the roads were in great shape. My GPS track showed a couple of descents at over 40mph, so I guess the work to climb up for them was worth it.

The rest-stops-that-weren’t-rest-stops-because-this-was-an-unsupported-ride were welcome, and a sincere thanks to those folks spending their time to help a bunch of moderately-insane cyclists enjoy a great ride in beautiful southwest Wisconsin.

Brats back at the Hollandale town hall afterwards were a nice way to crown off the weekend. Congrats to Allan and Pete  for being beasts. A welcome to his first event to Nic with his very nicely done Trek. Nic and I rode together on Saturday and Sunday, and I enjoyed that very much.

I feel privileged to have enjoyed the people, bikes, and the rides as much as I did.

Masi Nuovo Strada – chainwrap issues

The first problem to solve is to determine the width of the bottom bracket (BB).  It needs to be wide enough that the inner chainring does not contact the driveside chainstay.  3-4mm is enough clearance to allow for some frame flex during hard efforts.  On this frame, the 115mm width gives me the necessary clearance.  The 111mm version might have been cutting it a little too close, but it’s difficult to see the actual chainline without installing the chain.  For now, the BB is greased and installed, cups torqued to spec.

The crankarms are installed, using blue loctite on the crank bolts.  I greased the washer and the bolt shoulder before torquing them to spec.

Installing the front and rear derailleurs is simple.  This frame has a mount for a braze-on FD, so just a single bolt is used.  I set the bottom of the FD cage with a couple of mm clearance to the large chainring.  The RD fastens to the dropout hanger and is tightened in place.

Now some calculations are needed, to be sure that the derailleurs can properly shift the chain across all of the cogs in the back, and the chainrings in front.  This is called chainwrap capacity, and this number is provided by the manufacturer for a specific rear derailleur.  Their numbers are generally conservative and you can usually exceed them by a little bit without creating a problem.  The medium cage Campagnolo Chorus rear derailleur has a chainwrap capacity of 36.  You can calculate your chainwrap requirements by finding the difference between the largest and smallest cogs in the back (30-12=18) and the chainrings in the front (52-30=22) and adding those results together (18+22=40).  That’s 4 larger than Campagnolo says will work, so I either need to accept some chain sag with certain gear combinations, or adjust the gearing to better meet the RD specs.

A long cage rear derailleur would solve the problem, but they are basically unobtanium and very expensive when and if you find one.  I could use a rear cassette with a smaller big ring, but I’m building a climbing bike and I want the 30t cog in the back.  I could make the large and middle chainrings smaller, going with 50-40-30, which would lower the chainwrap to 38.  Those rings are expensive.  What I chose to do was to replace the 30t small chainring with a 32t chainring.  With 2 extra teeth, I now have a chainwrap of 38 – still larger then the recommended 36, but only by 2.  Some careful adjusting of the B screw and it should work fine.

Sure, you can bolt parts together and they will usually work, but sometimes not very well.  A bike that doesn’t shift reliably, or brake well,  isn’t going to be an enjoyable ride and will probably gather dust rather than being ridden.  Part of the challenge of bike builds is to make all of the components work well together.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

2019 Storming of Thunder Ridge

Well, as the new participant/victim at SOTR, I have to say this ride is the example of how to run an successful event. The organization was superb, the ride was definitely challenging, and other riders were encouraging to those of us that don’t climb like Primoz Roglic. A very enjoyable weekend. It was great to put some faces with the names – Spaghetti Legs, rccardr, seypat, and seedsbelize.  RobbieTunes and I made the trip to Lynchburg, and had a good trip playing guess the tune and artist – he’s pretty damn good at it too. Don’t bet against him.

I was planning on the 75 mile route, but made a game day decision to ride the 45 mile route. I felt pretty good for almost all of it. I decided that I wasn’t up to climbing to the ridge, and for me, for this year anyway, that was the right choice. The road markings were pretty hard to miss, and I missed a turn in the Evansville metric century the week before, so I was paying attention. Before the first stop, that right turn onto the hill was a wake up call. I knew it was coming and was in the right gear (for once), so I just pushed up the hill. I stopped and took a few photos along the route, drank water, and continued. Great scenery, it did remind me of the terrain here in western Kentucky. The hills on Otterville Road were stingers, and I admit that I stopped for a few minutes on the second hill – and I wasn’t alone in that decision. Towards the end, when you crossed the wooden bridge, the next hill was just mean. Oh, well, what’s a little sweat when you’re out on the bike.

There were some nice machines there too. I noticed a lot of them as they flew by me, and saw more when they were at the rest stops. I recall a Bob Jackson, an Eddy Merckx, and a Carrera, to name a few.

Really great people, nice bikes, and a good positive atmosphere the whole time. I didn’t sleep too well in the gym to be honest, next year will probably book a hotel room. Showering afterwards was a treat and made the first leg of the trip home much better. Getting out of the truck at the hotel in Huntington, WV was an exercise in achy legs but the great italian food at Fratelli’s made it worth the effort.

Next year, with more miles in the legs and a few less pounds, I will ride the 75 mile route. Hint – probably on the yet-to-be-built Masi.

Camera repair needed

I love to take pictures, and because of that enjoyment I bought a really nice 35mm camera a few years ago.   It is a grey market Canon EOS 5 slr – grey market because of the +/- f-stop dial in the viewfinder.   The camera focuses where you look, by bouncing a tiny led beam off your eye and focusing where you are looking.   It works better if you don’t wear glasses, but it still works pretty well for me anyway.   For a long time, I just used the USM 28-105 lens that I bought with the camera body, but recently I added a USM 75-300 lens as well.   On to the repair story…

I was taking pictures inside an auditorium, using ISO-800 film (not really my favorite) and the control dial stopped working.   This is a known problem on this type of Canon 35mm SLRs; the control dial internals will come loose and prevent the dial from turning.   Sometimes the dial turns but has no detent stops to hold it in the chosen position – this is what happened to my camera.   Damn.   I had read about this before, but I had apparently been lucky up to this point.   The camera has never been dropped or even handled roughly – there is not a single scratch on the camera body.   Despite that careful use, the camera still failed and a repair was needed.

With a lot of googling and reading forum posts from other folks unlucky enough to share my dilemma, I found a place that would make the repair.   Several posters pointed to Steve at Camera Clinic.   The repair price was very reasonable, he gives a guarantee with the work, and he turned the repair around in a couple of days.   Very responsive via email and the telephone, I recommend that you contact him for camera repairs.   It’s great to recommend someone without having to add all kinds of disclaimers and conditions, isn’t it?

What an ass

You know, in spite of a lot of evidence to the contrary, I still expect that people will live up to their word. When they don’t it’s a disappointment and sadly, all too common.

I had advertised a bike of mine for sale, and someone claiming to be from Canada, Eric Walter, ericmaster_brokers@hotmail.com, tried to run the old “cashier’s check” scam on me. I said that my bank required a 11-business-day hold on cashier’s checks from out-of-the-country banks and suggested that he wire the funds to my bank. Now my bank is a small town bank, and they take very good care of their customers. The lady that I spoke with said the best method was to have the funds transferred to the bank’s account at the Fed and they would then transfer the funds to my account. I was not giving my account number to this guy under any circumstances.

So, no cashier’s check scam, no way to get my account numbers means no scam run on me.

Hopefully all of the spammers on the planet will find Eric Walter’s email address ericmaster_brokers@hotmail.com and tell him hello. I think they should be able to sell him male enhancement products – he clearly needs them.

Nice try, jerkweed.