3rd Annual Bourbon and Tobacco Tour – Delayed

RIDE DELAYED – NEW DATES NOT YET FINALIZED.  Please check back here for any updates before making non-refundable reservations.

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.”

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.