2019 Storming of Thunder Ridge

Well, as the new 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.

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.