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.

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