May 2018 05

 

Only On A Bicycle.

Ever notice things on a bike ride that you otherwise wouldn’t? I remember our parish priest preaching about “awareness” one Sunday at Mass many years ago. He ask the question: have you ever arrived at a location, and immediately thought, I don’t remember the ride. Scary to think about sometimes. Especially if you just drove there. Yet it happens daily.

We submit to processes, routines, and the destination that too often we don’t pay attention to the journey. Fortunately, it’s not as easy to lose awareness on a bicycle ride. Sure, everyone finds themselves lost in a zone from time to time on a ride. That’s the medicinal benefits of riding. When you travel to work, school, the store, or anywhere that’s routine, you don’t pay much attention because you’re so familiar with the route.  However, when you travel anywhere via bicycle, you are forced to use multiple body senses, and the result is awareness. 

 

Which Way Do You Look?

Can you identify more details of landscape, or architecture features on a bicycle or in an automobile? I’d be willing to be it’s not even close. I notice something nearly every time I ride my bicycle that I wouldn’t see or hear or smell or taste if I was driving or riding in a car. And I realize it when it happens. It’s as if I notice something spectacular, then immediately give thanks that I was on a bike to be blessed to bear witness to it.

Ever ride a familiar route in the opposite direction you usually ride it? Try it sometime. I’ll bet you see things you haven’t noticed before. I have realized that I notice the landscape to my left a lot more than the scenes on my right when I’m cycling. Sometimes I go the opposite direction for better flow. Other times, I opt for more of a challenge. Simply a different view, is another reason or changing it up. Sounds crazy, I know, but it’s absolutely true.

 

Sightings From My Saddle

Recently, I rode a familiar route with my friend Nathan Rome. As we were closing in on our final descent back into the Frankfort river valley, from a ridge road behind Buffalo Trace Distillery, I pointed out the new warehouses built and being built off in the distance. Then I couldn’t help but notice the numerous trees along the road side that were decorated with glass bottles. It went on for at least a mile. Not huge trees, but just all different shapes, sizes and colors of bottles stuck onto the branches of tree after tree.

Another familiar scenic route I rode recently was a forty-something mile loop around my wife’s hometown area of Loretto, KY. I’ve ridden the area numerous times, and for some crazy reason, I tend to always go in the direction of the infamous Pottershop Rd. If you’re not familiar with it, you don’t want to be, I promise. It boasts some beautiful views out over rolling hills and knobs, but it’s an unforgiving climb to get the views. You’ll push your pedals with all your power to rise up the initial quarter to half mile at a gradient near 25-30%. Enjoy a steep, fast descent, then hit the replay button two more times, and expect your legs to be mad before you finish your ride to anywhere! On to my sighting…I have always had company on this loop before, so I guess I just never payed as much attention to the scenery like I did this particular ride. This area has an unbelievable amount of crosses along the roads. I didn’t keep count, but I’m not sure I can count that high anyway. I counted 5 crosses at one location, and numerous other sites with multiple crosses.

My final example I want to share of a moment noticed on my bike that I know I wouldn’t have in a car, also came on the recent ride with Nathan. As we left the valley of Peaks Mill, headed back toward Frankfort, he gave mention to never before seeing a narrow tributary flowing under Sullivan Lane in a sharp curve. He first heard the water rushing over the rock ledges in the bed of the small runoff, headed into the Elkhorn Creek. A perfect example of using multiple senses and being much more aware of surroundings on a bicycle than possible in a motor vehicle.

 

 

Share Your Moments As Seen On Bike

Please tell us about your sightings by joining in the conversation on social media. We will post this blog link to our Twitter. Anyone interested, please reply and start or continue a thread by posting your memorable moments…only witnessed from the saddle of your bicycle. We look forward to hearing them all.

 

Apr 2018 24

 

This year, I decided to give myself a new cycling challenge and commit to riding ten centuries. To help drive my self motivation, I explored the Kentucky Cycling Challenge, formerly the KY Century Challenge. I was one of just a few folks that completed the century route at each location (8 rides total) for the first two years of the Challenge. After skipping most of the rides the last three years, I decided it was time to renew my passion in the challenge again.

 

As I was researching the new rides that are participants, I discovered the main sponsor for the cycling challenge is Ale-8. For those of you not familiar with Ale-8, it is a citrus soft drink with a great ginger flavor that is made locally in Winchester, KY. If you are a central Kentucky cyclist, you’d probably claim it to be your official drink. I really don’t know anyone that doesn’t like it. I also discovered that they were offering a cycling ambassador program. The idea was to help promote their brand, and I just had to apply.

 

 

The application process was an essay format where you tell the selection committee why you should represent their brand as a cyclist. If selected to join the team, Ale-8 asked that you agree to be photographed and mentioned on social media, and wear the jersey they give you at all of the Kentucky Cycling Challenge events. Huh?! Yeah….you heard correct, a free Ale-8 One cycling jersey!! I’m not sure how many people applied, but I’m positive that they could sell the jersey for $50-$75 and probably sell as many as they want.  That makes the 21 of us chosen as the initial ambassador group feel that much more special, knowing we are the only ones with the awesome jersey.

 

 

It took the committee a couple extra days to officially select the total group and they must have had some excellent entries. I was very ecstatic to have been selected. Many of my friends reached out to congratulate me, and ask if this meant that we get free Ale-8 after all our rides. That’s my awesome friends, for you. LoL! Now that I’ve received my jersey and completed the first ride in the challenge, I plan to wear my jersey proudly on rides regularly. I couldn’t help but notice that no one from the largest city in Kentucky was named to the ambassador team, so I definitely plan to help promote Ale-8 by wearing my jersey anytime I ride in Louisville!

 

 

In closing, I want everyone to know how greatly humbled and appreciative I am to have been selected as an official Ale-8 One cycling ambassador. I highly encourage all of my friends and family to patronize the brand and I promise to represent them properly. By the way, we had an ice cold Ale-8 waiting on us at the finish of the Redbud Ride this past weekend… you’re welcome,  my friends! P.S. I can’t wait to try the new cherry flavored Ale-8!

@KPtheMasher

Mar 2018 03

Never before in my 13 years of cycling have I been lucky enough to get in a solid week of cycling in mid eighties and sunny weather in February! Nor have I ever had the fortune of completing a century ride as early as February before. Until February 2018 arrived, that is. Doesn’t seem possible in north central Kentucky, does it? You never know what to expect in the winter months in the bluegrass state. We’ve seen polar vortex temps to massive snow storms to ice storms knocking out electricity for days and weeks, to mild temps with gray and rainy days.

 

A few months ago, I had a couple coworkers invite me to join them on a fishing trip in February to Lake Okeechobee in Florida. Florida in February…hmm, tough decision?! I’m not quite the dedicated fisherman they are, but the sound of sunshine and mid 80’s sounded pretty appealing, for sure. I agreed to go, with one small stipulation. We had to make room in the boat to bring my bike! They obliged and I was thankful.

They intended to fish twice a day, every day that we were there. A morning trip that would start at sun up, a break for lunch, followed by an afternoon session that would end at sunset. I picked the times I would fish based on when I wasn’t cycling. Having never been to this area, I was not expecting the degree of rural where we travelled to in Florida. I have only ever been to coastal towns or Orlando. This place felt like home, except for the weather and sunshine!

I was fortunate to find nearby access to a paved section of trail that sits atop the lake levee. Our vacation rental house was about two miles down the highway from a canal/lake lock that includes entrance to the recreation trail. I ventured in both directions (north and south) as I was blessed to get to ride my bike for 5 straight days. I took a day off on the last day there, as my legs were tired from the work I had put in. I managed to accumulate a little over 250 miles over the five days, including finishing with a century ride on the last day.

 

Although, I was unfamiliar with the area, it didn’t take long to find my way around on some roads that weren’t too busy. The roads coupled with the trail made for a great week of R &R, R & R! Yes, four R’s! Rest. Relaxation. Recreation. And recharge. The cycling was typical Florida…flat, hot and always windy in one direction or another. All said and done, I know how fortunate I was to get to see the sun shine every day for a week, while doing a couple of pastimes I love. Especially considering the amount of rainy days we had at home in February. I hope they invite me to go fishing again next year!

I have set some pretty lofty goals for my cycling in 2018, and one of them is to complete 10 century rides. It’s a great feeling to be excited about lofty goals and finishing the first of ten this early in the year brings a smile to my face! I don’t intend to preach about my goals though. I’d rather let my actions speak for me!

@KPtheMasher