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 6%, a couple at 8% and one close to 10%. 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, 10.9% grade, on the second part of the ride. It is a butt-kicker. 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.

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 of 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 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.

2nd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – June 1-2, 2019

Please note the date change to the weekend of June 1st and 2nd.  Keep your fingers crossed for good riding weather.

To help us with planning, please click here to register.

Saturday, June 1:

We will meet at 9:30am on the east side of LBL on US-68/KY-80, just west of the bridge over Lake Barkley.  Parking is on the north side of the highway, and there is plenty of parking available.  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 east entrance to LBL, and is about 42 miles, all paved.  As of now, there are a small number of actual turns in this route, 5 by my count, in the entire ride, 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.

 

 

Click to Download Cue Sheet

Moonshine:

If folks are interested, we’ll head over to Casey Jones Distillery near Hopkinsville to sample some genuine Kentucky moonshine.  We can take a tour, or just try some samples.  I need to know if y’all would like a tour so I can let them know, OK?

Post-ride cookout:

We are planning a cookout after the ride.  LBL does not allow alcohol, and the Barkley Lodge pavilion is reserved.  We’ll just have it at my house.  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.

Sunday, June 2 – 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.

We’ll figure out when and where to meet during the cookout and I’ll update the information here.  Most likely will be one of two places.  Either at the LBL North Visitor Center, or the LBL Golden Pond Visitor Center.

LBL Hike and Bike Trails

LBL Maps – click the Trails tab.

I didn’t know there were 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 June is 86 degrees, so on the warm side.

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 Friday, I have a place in mind 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.

Questions:

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

Some sponsors have graciously agreed to help out.  I have no right to expect anything and I’m immensely grateful for their support.

Chain-L – the best chain lube available

 

 

 

PRIZES – Yes, we have prizes too.  They won’t take you out of the amateur ranks, if you’re concerned about that – but they are good ones that will definitely see some use.

Prize #1 – for the rider traveling the farthest to attend the ride.

Prize #2 – for the oldest participating rider.

Prize #3 – for the youngest participating rider.

Prize #4 – for the best C&V bike, as voted on by the participating riders.

Prize #5 – for the Lantern Rouge on Saturday’s ride.

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.”

2019 rides – should be a fun summer

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.

On May 11th, going to the Rockin River City Ride, a metric century in Evansville, Indiana.  Registered for this one.  Should be a good warmup for the Storming of Thunder Ridge ride later this month.

Also in May is Storming of Thunder Ridge in Lynchburg, Virginia, which is a very popular ride and a challenging century.  I’ve not done this ride before, but several other C&V glitterati have.  Registered for this one.  I’m hoping to have the Masi ready for this ride., but if not, the Merckx is well set up for climbing with the recent changes.

In June will be the rescheduled 2nd annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour.  I’ve worked out a nice paved route for Saturday and a good gravel route for Sunday.  It should be a fun full weekend of riding.

July is the Ride Across Indiana (RAIN) that goes from Terre Haute to Richmond in a single day.  165 miles, mainly on US-40.  That will be my longest day on a bike by far.  Logistics are an issue when you ride from point A to point B instead of point A looping back to point A.  The ride organizers have provided several choices to help with this.  Registered for this ride, dorm room reservations made for both SMWC (Friday) and Earlham (Saturday).

September is the Centenario Coppi, a C&V get-together to celebrate the 100th birthday of Fausto Coppi, one of the legends of pro cycling.  A bike show is part of this weekend, so lots of bike porn to see and a C&V ride too.  What’s not to like?  Registered for this one.  Hotel booked also.

October is the Hilly Hundred century, in and around Bloomington, IN.  Unusually, this ride is split into two days of riding over Saturday and Sunday.  All reports say this is a very well organized ride.

Also planning to ride with steelbikeguy for a donut at Tanner’s Orchard sometime in October.

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

Tanner’s C&V Ride in Chillicothe, IL

Went up to Chillicothe, IL for a ride out to Tanner’s Orchard for an apple cider doughnut.  You may reasonably question the sanity of driving 6 hours and then riding 20 miles for a doughnut, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.

We got to Chillicothe around 9pm Friday night, checked into the hotel and went in search of food.  Had a pizza at Monical’s just before they closed, which tasted pretty good.  Fuel, you know, for tomorrow’s ride.

Met some nice guys riding classic steel bikes along the banks of the Illinois River in Chillicothe on a brisk Saturday morning, temperatures were in the low 50s.  I brought my Lemond Alpe d’Huez, with a tubular wheelset installed and it rode very nicely.  There’s not many miles on this bike after the restoration was finished, but it was like reconnecting with an old friend.  No introduction needed, no getting-to-know-you questions, just “what are we waiting for?  Let’s go.”

I enjoy the classic bikes more than the carbon wonder-bikes, because they have a air of elegance and quality about them that easily belies the number of miles or years they’ve been around.  They have experience.  Riding with C&V folks is fun too – I don’t think I’ve ever met a cyclist on a classic bike that didn’t end with “great bike, enjoy the ride.”

The doughnuts lived up to their billing, but it seemed colder when we left the orchard than when we got there.  Oh, well – we’ll warm up again soon enough.  We took a different route back to Chillicothe, and the descent down to the valley from the bluff was great fun – I got up to 37 mph on the descent.  Not a lot for some riders, but still fun.  Drivers were considerate, and we were only honked at once, which might be a record.

Many thanks to Steve (steelbikeguy on BF) for organizing this ride.  We’ll be back next year.

Misaligned Minds ride in Paducah, Kentucky

We chose to do the metric century, called that because it’s 100 kilometers in length, about 62 miles.  Rolling hills, nothing too serious.  The start point, at Bob Noble Park in Paducah, is about an hour from my house, so we had a little drive to get there.  Picking up our registration packet was simple enough, and then we got the bikes ready to go.  Aired up the tires, checked to be sure we had what we needed, and headed out.

I left my phone at home (grrr) but it turns out you don’t actually need a phone to ride.  It would have been nice to get some photos during the ride, but oh well – we came to ride.

The riders in my group are from the midwest – Evansville (Rob), Florence (John), Cadiz (me), and Memphis (Bob).  We all rode bikes that are 20+ years old, in the cycling vernacular they are Classic and Vintage (C&V), just like their riders.  The carbon, plastic, go-fast bikes are certainly capable but we all enjoy the fun of maintaining and riding older bikes.  They have a charm and quality that we all find enjoyable – and spending the day riding a classic steel bike is fun.

The rest stops were very well done.  Ice cold water and Gatorade, good selection of snacks, and really nice folks manning the stops.  Every one of the four rest stops was as good as the previous one, something that has not always been true at other rides.  The route marking was good but there were some old marks that were plainly visible and that caused two of our group to follow a previous route.  We met up with them later.  Drivers were courteous too, most of them moving completely into the far lane when passing us.  We rode side by side, but moved into a single file when we saw a car approaching.

The SAG vehicles (Support And Gear) were out and about, and even brought us a bottle of water when we were between stops.  It was warm out and that was appreciated.

While cresting hills, drivers waited behind us and passed after they could see the oncoming lane was clear – and this happened several times.  A sincere thank you to the drivers for their courtesy today.  No one that passed us seemed irritated that we may have delayed them a few seconds, no angry car horns, no drivers yelling, just a nice ride on a Saturday.  It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Chain Reaction Cycling Club in Paducah, Kentucky puts this ride together, and to my mind, this was the way a ride should be done.  From the smiles at the end of the ride, they were more than successful.  We’ll definitely be back next year.

2018 Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – in the historical documents

The weather for Saturday’s ride was basically perfect.  Temperatures topped out in the low 70s, with light winds.  The winds out of the east picked up later in the day, which didn’t help as the final few miles had a long climb, into the wind.

This ride kicked my butt.  The time I’ve spent behind my desk working didn’t actually contribute to my riding fitness.  Hmmm.  A 55 mile ride in (relatively) flat Illinois is much easier than a 55 mile ride in the Kentucky hills.  Clearly I have some work to do.

It was great to meet some BikeForums members in the flesh and on the bike, and the cookout afterwards was fun as well.

Some things to take away from the ride:

1. My 1989 Cannondale ST600 performed very well, no issues at all – not bad for a 29 year old bike.

2. The Compass tires were everything they were advertised to be, a nice smooth ride and good traction.  I ran 60F/65R tire pressures.

3. The Selle Anatomica saddle is very comfortable (for me).

4. I need to be in better shape.  I have a shape, the problem is that it’s rounder than it should be.

5. Drafting behind Adam and Jamie would have been a smart choice.

6. Ex-Pres and PilotFishBob are very patient riding companions.

7. Apparently everyone that owns a boat was pulling it on a trailer today, but with a single exception, we were given plenty of room while we were being passed.  We were riding single-file for the most part, and moved to single-file when we saw a vehicle approaching from the rear.

Will definitely do this again next year, and since the new bridge across Lake Barkley should be finished by then, the route will be different than this year’s route.  Might even go south into Tennessee and back.

Thanks again to the kind and generous sponsors that provided prizes for our ride – Road ID and Chain-L chain lube.

Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – the final details

I need to check the gps file for the upcoming Bourbon and Tobacco Tour.  Gotta make sure the route is clean (no unnecessary turns) and correct.  I also need to add the sprint points to the cue sheet.  I’ve made a list of the things I need to bring to the ride, I’ll go over it to be sure I haven’t missed anything and we should be ready to ride.  Hopefully the weather will cooperate, I can’t do anything about it but good weather would be really nice for the ride.

I’m back from driving the route and the gps file is good.  I added the sprint points to the cue sheet.  That part of the ride is ready to go.  Now, if I only had a finished bike to use.  Decisions, decisions…

Inaugural Tobacco and Bourbon Tour – April 21-22, 2018 – getting closer

The Inaugural Tour is getting closer, three weeks from today.  I have the prizes from the generous sponsors, and the cookout after Saturday’s ride will be at my house.  Logistically it’s simpler to leave the food in the fridge at home than hauling it from home to a pavilion.  In this case, simpler is better.

Several folks have confirmed that they’re going to be here, and a couple are definite maybe’s.  I hope they turn up, it should be a nice ride.

I will take as many photos as time allows, and will post them here and on the BikeForums site as well.

The plan is to drive the route one more time beforehand, using the Garmin 705 for navigation to be sure the gps route is complete and correct.  I need to select the sprint points and update the cue sheet with their locations so I’ll do that while checking the gps route.

Sunday’s trail/gravel ride is a bit of a wildcard, no real routes are in place.  We’ll just leave from the North Visitor Center and see where we wind up.

Can’t wait.