3rd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – a great weekend of riding

The 3rd annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour was held on September 12th and 13th, with the road and trail routes both in Land Between the Lakes (LBL).  The weather was good on Saturday morning, but the afternoon proved to be a wet one.

We were fortunate that a friend and local cycling buddy volunteered to be our SAG driver for the road ride.  Many thanks to Greg for his time and effort on our behalf.  Having a SAG driver was a first and a luxury for our little ride.

We rolled out from the Golden Pond visitor center just after 10am with 5 riders – myself, Doug from Madisonville,  KY, Nic from Springfield, IL, Mike from Louisville, KY, and Bob from Memphis, TN.  The temps were in the 70s, and the humidity was up.  The clouds parted once we were on the course, and we had sunshine for probably half to three quarters of the ride.

We headed north on the Trace road, no steep climbs but longer shallower climbs than we would see later.  We were pretty much together as we reached Silver Trail road where we turned east off the Trace road.  Silver Trace is a really nice section, maybe 3-4 miles long, running through the LBL forest.  At the Nature Center, we turned south and immediately passed an old iron ore furnace from the mid-1800s.  After this point the hills start to show up pretty quickly.  Up and down some nice rollers, and we cross the Energy Lake dam.  From this point south to 68, the hills start to bite.  Some steep climbs at up to 14% but most not quite that steep tested the legs.  This was the hardest section of the north loop.  We regrouped at the parking lot on the north side of 68, the hard climbing done for the north loop.  We headed west on 68 to the turnoff for Wrangler’s Camp, and headed south away from 68.  Some easy rollers and we turned right to head back to the Trace road.  A few more rollers on this section, and we came out on the Trace road about a half mile south of the visitor center.  Just a few minutes later we were back to the start point.

The plan was to re-hydrate, re-fuel, and head out for the south loop.  But we heard some sounds that were suspiciously thunder-like.  It could have been trucks on 68, but sadly it wasn’t.  Checking the radar, there were storms coming in from the west, and a large blob of rain following them.  We decided to pack up and head into town to get takeout for a late lunch at the park in Cadiz.  I went home and changed clothes, got lunch and met the others at the park.  It was nice to sit around and talk while we were rained on.

We decided to meet on Sunday for the trail ride, and we talked our SAG driver, Greg, into riding with us.  It was very generous of him to follow us around LBL and to help with drinks and snacks as we rode.  Quite a luxury.

We met Sunday morning at the Wrangler’s Camp turnoff on 68, and we took Greg’s truck up to the Golden Pond visitor center and left it there with drink and snacks in it.  We rolled out at roughly 10am.  Doug, Greg, and myself were the only victims today.  The Hardwoods Trail is in very good shape and we had a good climb up to the visitor center.  A bottle of water and some fig newtons and we continued west towards Kentucky Lake.  This section is mostly descending, going down English Hill, which we will have to climb very soon.  Stopped at the Fenton picnic area and stopped for a little while.  Then we headed out to climb English Hill on our way back to the visitor center.  Greg decided that he would take his truck from there, and met us back at the Wrangler’s Camp turnoff.  Doug and I continued east and met Greg there.  A good trail ride, good campany, and cooperative weather made for a really good day out on the bikes.

That’s the 3rd annual Bourbon and Tobacco tour post-mortem.  We’ll be back for the 4th annual ride in 2021, hopefully in mid-April depending on circumstances.  Best wishes for safe riding in 2020, and for a better year next year for everyone.

3rd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – Rescheduled!

RIDE RESCHEDULED for the weekend of September 12-13, 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.

A few updates for the COVID mess:

Rather than meeting at my house for dinner, we’ll just pick up dinner in Cadiz and meet at the park on the west side of town to eat and tell biking lies.  My wife will be much happier with this, and there’s plenty of parking and tables for us.  Because I don’t know what will transpire between now and the ride, please bring a mask and put it in your jersey pocket.

There are plenty of places to pick up some food – pizza at Casey’s, mexican at El Bracera, Sonic, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, KFC, Triplets, Cracker Barrel, and Subway.  I’d rather have everyone at my house for a cookout, but I’m trying to make some adjustments that will work for everyone.  I appreciate your understanding.

Friday dinner, September 11:

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, September 12:

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 has been updated for 2020, and is entirely within the LBL. This loop starts and ends at the Golden Pond Visitor Center in LBL, and is about 56 miles, all paved, with about 3500 feet of climbing. There are a small number of actual turns in this route, so hopefully there won’t be any 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.

 

 

Click to Download Cue Sheet for the full route

Click to Download Cue Sheet for the partial route

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:

See the COVID notes above for Saturday dinner plans.

Sunday, September 13 – 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.

A local friend and riding buddy will lead the gravel ride on Sunday, he knows the gravel routes in LBL much better than I do.

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 September is 83 degrees, and a low average temperature of 58 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.

Red Roof Inn – Cadiz

Quality Inn – Cadiz

Both of these hotels are at I-24 exit 65, and are within walking distance of Triplets.  Driving time to the start point is 20-30 minutes.

Bike Shop:

Bikes and Moore in Hopkinsville is a great shop that I’m happy to call “home”.   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.”

2020 Rides

I’ve been looking at a calendar and conversing with some fellow C&V enthusiasts (inmates) about meeting up at some rides next spring, summer, and fall.

The COVID-19 problems have put a wrench in many planned rides, and some have been cancelled or delayed as a result.  As soon as I have information for the rides I’ve included here, I’ll update this post.

There will be the Wednesday evening shop rides, and the Saturday morning rides throughout the season.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – May – on the 9th, I’m planning on the Rockin River City Ride, a metric century in Evansville, Indiana.  Should be a good warmup for the Storming of Thunder Ridge ride later this month.  I’ve emailed the ride organizer asking about 2020, but have not received a response.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – Later in May – on Sunday the 17th is Storming of Thunder Ridge in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is a very popular ride and a challenging century.  Registered for this one.  I’m planning to ride the Masi, but if the weather is iffy, the Merckx is well set up for climbing.

June – a couple of riding days are planned in and around Mineral Point, Wisconsin. Good friends, good roads, and hopefully good weather will make this an enjoyable trip. I really enjoy riding with this group, so an opportunity to do that won’t be missed.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – July – on the 18th is the Ride Across INdiana (RAIN) that goes from Terre Haute to Richmond in a single day.  165 miles, mainly on US-40.  I sure hope it’s not as hot as it was last year, that was just brutal.  The organizers are planning a go/no-go decision by June 1.

August – the Wabash River Ride is on the 29th.  I haven’t ridden this one before, so right now it’s tentative.

RESCHEDULED – September – the Bourbon and Tobacco Tour will be the weekend of the 12th-13th.  Road on Saturday, gravel on Sunday – should be a good weekend of cycling in the hills of western Kentucky.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – September – the Big Dam Bridge century in Little Rock is the last Saturday of the month.  Registered for this one.

The Tanner’s Orchard ride is planned for sometime in September.  I hope the weather cooperates, I don’t want to miss the ride this year.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – October – the Kent Jones century is scheduled for the 10th in Jackson, Tennessee.  A nice route, good rest stops, and a good warmup for the Hilly Hundred later in the month.

CANCELLED FOR 2020 – Later in October  – is the Hilly Hundred century, in and around Bloomington, IN.  Unusually for a century ride , this one is split into two days of riding over Saturday and Sunday.  A good time, great route, hills (as you would expect), and fun rest stops.

This is a tentative set of rides.  Life happens, so changes are possible.

An interesting ride

The temps were close to 60 degrees which is a little unusual for early December in Kentucky.  Not willing to let that pass us by, we headed over to Land Between the Lakes for a paved/gravel/trail ride.  I rode my Cannondale ST600 with 35mm tires, Bobby was on his Trek Boone.

We started at the same place the Bourbon tour started, and rode north.  There are some good climbs in the first few miles – all of them over 8%, one at 10% and one at 11%.  A quick wake-up for the legs.  We went north to the 4-way stop and turned right.  The Bourbon tour route continues north to the nature center.  Today we chose a more circuitous route.  We rode to the old Empire Farm and saw the Silo. Quite the visitor attraction a few years ago, closed now. Check out this article about it.  For some reason that I cannot remember, we rode back to the nature center on a hiking trail.  We crossed a gravel causeway over Honker Lake.  Roots, slippery leaves, a creek crossing, a sketchy descent down a hill with leaves covering the trail and roots hiding under the leaves, and some stairs going up and down all thrown in for good measure.  I’m not sure we should have been cycling on the hiking trail, but we made it just fine.  Maybe not our best decision, but we made other dubious decisions today – just to keep things in perspective.

It was getting dark when we left the nature center with about 18 miles to go.  West to to the Trace road, then south to the visitor center, then east back to where we had parked.  Riding on 68-80 with only 1 rear light and no headlights between the two of us was just another not-so-bright (pun intended) decision.  We got back to the parking area just fine and headed home.  Trying to stay on a hiking trail in LBL at dusk is not recommended. In retrospect, we should have started at least an hour earlier, 90 minutes would have been better.

I had a bright yellow jersey on, and Bobby’s bike is painted bright yellow too, so there’s that.  I know both of us should have had front and rear lights, and we will next time for sure.

Our route was a bit over 31 miles, with over 2000 feet of climbing.  Most of the climbing was in the first half of the ride.  Tired legs are the result.

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.

2019 Ride Across INdiana – the RAIN ride

It’s ambitious – a one day ride across the state of Indiana – 165 miles from Terre Haute to Richmond.  Not impossible, but definitely a challenging ride.  The forecasts had temperatures in the mid-90s, with a light wind out of the southwest.  Those forecasts were pretty close, but on to the story.

I got to Richmond about 3 in the afternoon, just minutes after my riding buddy Rob.  We got our bikes ready to go on the bike truck for their trip from Richmond to Terre Haute.  We were supposed to leave at 4pm, but we wound up leaving at 4:45, and after some rerouting around a crash and road construction, finally got to Saint Mary of the Woods College, the start point and our accomodations for the night.  We picked up our bikes, rider packets, and dorm room keys.  I took my bike, overnight bag, and the bag with my cycling gear up to the room.  I put lights, the GPS, and top tube bag with energy bars and gu on the bike.  It’s ready to go, just need to air up the tires before we head out tomorrow morning.

Went out to get a bite to eat with Rob, Allan, and Allan’s wife Donna.  Good conversation and dinner, but we all needed to get some sleep as tomorrow’s start is coming early.  Rob and Allan were going to ride from the Illinois state line to the start, and I was going to meet them at the start at 6am.  While we got ready to go, it was dark but sunrise was imminent.  Filled the water bottles with Gatorate, and the Camelbak with ice water.  Since we weren’t coming back to Terre Haute, my overnight bag went in the back of Allan’s truck for the trip to Richmond.

Turned in the room key, and I was off and riding. not knowing what the day would bring.

The first bit of riding is in Terre Haute, basically south on IN-150 towards US-40 which is our main road to Richmond.  There were some climbs in the initial miles, but nothing I would call a major climb.  Made it to the first rest stop at 40 miles without too much trouble.   I fell in with a group of riders from Columbus, Indiana.  They were riding at 16-18mph, which is a good pace and the paceline made it very manageable.  About 30 miles or so into the ride, the group ramped up the pace on a climb and I let them go.  I probably could have stayed with them, but I would have paid a price for that effort later in the day.

From the first rest stop to the second at 66 miles in, the route was basically east on US-40.  A few climbs,  again nothing huge, and made it to the second rest stop.  Close to the rest stop, we left US-40.  The temperature was climbing and the sweating was in top gear.  I was drinking a lot, and eating as I rode.  I filled my bottles and the Camelbak, and set out for the lunch stop.

The third stop, the lunch stop, came at 95 miles in.  I stopped several times in the shade of trees on this stretch, to drink and eat, and to rest a bit.  This was the hard stretch for me, as the temperature continued to climb and the heat was catching up with me.  This section was on narrower roads, 2-lanes, and being later in the day there was more traffic.  There was a detour around construction just before the lunch stop, by the time I got there I was pretty much done.  Sat around a bit, drinking and eating a little, and made the decision to call it at 95 miles into the ride.  Not an easy decision, but it was the right one to make.

However that left a minor (major) problem in that my truck was waiting for me in Richmond, 65 miles away.  I needed to find a ride from Franklin Community School that could take not only me, but my bike as well.  Luck was with me, because the first people I asked about a ride to Richmond were happy to haul me and my bike.  Really nice folks, and a sincere thank-you to them for their Hoosier hospitality and the ride back to Richmond.

Back in Richmond, I was there to see my riding buddy Allan finish the ride.  That left Rob still out on the route.  Went to take a shower, which was good but would have been better had the water been a little cooler.  Oh, well.  I was back in Richmond, Allan had finished, Donna was there as well, and Rob was inbound.  When I got back from the shower, Rob had texted Allan that he was a couple of hours out.  I made the difficult decision to head south for home instead of waiting 2 hours for Rob to finish.  I know he will be OK with it, but I will probably regret that decision for a while.  I told Allan and Donna goodbye, and headed back home.  With construction delays and closed roads around Indianapolis, I finally got home at 11:15pm.  A long day, but I will be back to start and finish next year.

2019 Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – a great weekend’s riding

We hit a weather jackpot this weekend, low 80s for a high and sunny on both days.  You can’t do a lot better than that in Kentucky in June.  The postponing of the ride from the original April date worked out well, and also meant that Allan was able to come and ride, as he had a commitment in April.  Even better.

Just a great ride on Saturday.  Drivers were very courteous, no close passes, didn’t hear a single car horn, waited behind as we crested a hill, and one driver even stopped in the northbound lane so that we could turn across the lane in front of him.  Makes me proud to live in Kentucky.  Allan, Rob, Bob, Ron, and I rolled out at 10am.  The hills come quickly and are unrelenting.  There are 5 climbs in the first few miles, all of them over 8%, a couple at 10% and one close to 11%. They wake up the legs pretty quick. Then there were some rollers, and some flat sections as we worked our way north and then west towards the Woodlands Trace road. The Woodlands Trace road has several climbs, not overly steep but longer than the earlier climbs.

Rob had positioned his truck at the midpoint, and we had coolers with ice water, gatorade, coke, cookies, and bananas waiting for us. Worked out great. The second section had a navigation problem, in that the ridewithgps maps showed a road connecting back to the main east-west road, but it doesn’t. It turns to gravel and dead-ends at Lake Barkley. Asked a park ranger how best to get where we needed to go, and got there just fine. There is a steep hill, 11% grade, on the second part of the ride. It is a butt-kicker with a few miles already in the legs. I was with Bob and we went up it once – I walked a good part of it. Going back down was fun too, once we had the proper route in our heads. My top speed was 42mph on the descent.

We met back at the start point and headed out to grab a shower and meet back at my house for a cookout, some libations, and of course, bike stories.

Rob and Allan brought pizza to my house for an appetizer, and we had burgers, chips, pasta salad (made by my wife Amy), and spent the time talking and figuring out riding plans for the rest of the summer. A good time, great people, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s ride.  Bob had to head back to Memphis after dinner, so that left Rob, Allan, and I to ride tomorrow.  Ron had plans for Sunday and couldn’t join us.

Now to get things in order for the gravel ride tomorrow. The creek crossing should provide some entertainment.

Sunday was another great day out riding in LBL. We decided to take a shorter road ride today, instead of riding gravel. We met at the Visitor Center at 8am, and headed south shortly afterwards. We wound up at the Kentucky-Tennessee state line again, and took some photos for proof that we were actually there.

A few hills, but less demanding than yesterday’s ride. Rob got a flat a couple of miles from the end, so we stopped and offered sage advice and constructive criticism of his tube-changing skills even without being asked. It seemed like the proper thing to do – you know, being helpful and supportive and all that. Afterwards, we were back at the truck in just a few minutes.

Rob and Allan headed for home, and the 2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour is now in the historical documents.

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 on 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.

2019 Rockin River City Ride

Went to Evansville, Indiana for the 2019 Rockin River City Ride on Saturday, May 11th.  It was a little cooler than in previous days, mostly cloudy, with temps in the 60s.  A nice day to ride.  Rain was forecast for later in the day, more on that later.

The start point was Sunset Park, and packet pickup went smoothly and we were ready to go.  The police escort through town was ready to go, and the National Anthem was played.  We rolled out right at 8am and the escort through town was a very nice touch.

My friend Rob and I started together, and I kept my pace a little subdued, as I have a bad habit of starting faster than I should and wind up paying a price for that later.  Settled into a nice pace and it seemed like the first rest stop was upon us fairly quickly.  Rob had already been through when I got there.  Well-stocked and nice folks helping out.  A great start.

Then, it went a little pear-shaped.  We (myself, John, and a young lady named Jocelyn) missed a turn to the west away from the river.  So we continued along the river for 10 miles or so, until the road we were on turned into gravel.  I was pretty sure that our route wouldn’t be on gravel, and I didn’t see any other tire marks indicating that others had gone through ahead of us.  Checking google maps on our phones, we decided to backtrack and find: 1. another paved road to the west, or 2. the road we should have turned on.  As it happened, the next paved road to the west was the one we should have taken.  Apparently all 3 of us were  rubbernecking and completely missed it.  Oh, well, the weather was good, we were enjoying being outside and riding, so we just joined the route and rode on.  This little exploration along the banks of the Ohio River added 20+ miles to our tally for the day.

We came upon the second rest stop and had some ice cold water and gatorade, a couple of chocolate chip cookies, and continued.  There were a couple of short but moderately steep hills and nice descents after that, and then we decided to freelance our way back to the start point.  We weren’t that far away at this point, about 12 miles if memory serves.

We got back to Sunset Park, where lunch was waiting, and as we rode past the start/finish point I noticed that it had just started sprinkling.  So in spite of our off-route adventure along the Ohio River the timing on the return worked out very well.  John and Jocelyn were fun riding companions, and I invited them to come to Land Between the Lakes for the 2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour ride.  I hope they decide to ride with us.

I emailed the organizers with a suggestion that they should include RideWithGPS file links so that riders can download the route to their navigation devices.  That would have helped us to stay on the route.  Maybe this is a hint that I’ve become overly reliant on devices for navigation, but following a cue sheet obviously isn’t my strong suite.  That small point aside, the ride was nicely done and I will plan to be there again next year.

UPDATE 5/13/19: I heard back from the ride organizers (thank you for the prompt follow-up) and they are planning to add the gps files and links for next year’s edition.  Should work out well.