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. On the Bourbon tour route we went straight 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.