Redbud Ride in London, KY is cycling at it’s best. This event never ceases to amaze me, when it comes to the categories of friendliness, organization, beautiful routes, and awesome support. Every season, I find myself thinking I’ll try some different rides next year because there are great venues that I hear or read about, and financially I am somewhat limited on my “paid events” commitment. This is one ride that I just don’t think I can replace on my schedule. For several reasons. The timing is great, I always look for a big ride early in the season to help me train steady though the winter. The scenery is spectacular along the many winding roads along creek and river beds, not to mention the amazing redbud trees just beginning to blossom and the beautiful pink flowers they host. And probably most importantly, the fellowship. This has become like my cycling family reunion. I’ve invited new folks each of the last three years to join me for this ride, and for three straight years, new folks have showed up and ridden in all the various routes.
I was very pleased to be reunited with some strong cycling friends in Jim Simes from South Carolina and Chris Schmidt from Kentucky. This year we were joined on the century route with one of my wife’s cousins Jeremy Wheatley, along with numerous other friends that I regularly ride with in the Bluegrass Cycling Club. I was also excited to run into a couple brothers that I haven’t seen since third grade about 30 years ago, Darin (who was my best friend when I lived in Casey Co.) and Sean Cundiff. Both guys rode very strong finishing their first century at a pace around 19 mph. My dad Charles Pearl and brother-in-law Jamie Garrett also came back for their second consecutive Redbud. More near and dear to my heart, riding in her first organized ride event was my big sis Charlsie Garrett. She has come a long way since buying her first road bike less than a year ago and I’m so very proud of her. I think she probably enjoyed riding more than driving a SAG vehicle! I was simply amazed by Schmidty’s wife Becca Schmidt, who is one of my Skratch Labs Team L3 members as she completed 88 miles (parts of the 70 route and parts of the century route). She had signed up to do the 38 miles route, but proved she’s an endurance athlete like her husband. I hated that Tim Stout couldn’t attend but he’s made a commitment to becoming a deacon in the Catholic church, and for back to back years now, his monthly training weekend has conflicted with the Redbud schedule. Sorry Tim, but considering how awesome the weather has been the last two years, I hope they don’t change the date.
I’m not the only one singing the praises of the Redbud Ride in London, KY. I simply haven’t heard anyone with negative feedback and I’ve solicited several riders comments listed below to back up my statements. If I had any recommendations for the organizers of the event from this year, I guess I would say they could use a few more porta-johns at the busiest rest stops (but that’s every event I ride), and there was a very long line for food and drink refills at the stop at the top of Tussey Hill (didn’t affect me, but it did a lot of others).
“Could not have ordered better weather. Much more prepared than my first time riding Redbud in 2013. Beautiful day with a strong group of riders from Bluegrass Cycling Club. Pace was comfortable at @17 in a double pace line. Was glad to get the miles under my belt and pushed on the harder climbs in preparation for AOMM in May. The themed rest stops were well stocked and enjoyed the friendliness of the volunteers. Redbud was worth the day trip down to London from Lexington. There were more port-a-pots this year, but half for the men and half for the women. For the first time I can recall, I had to stand in line longer than the women. Maybe there could be a 3:2 mens to womens port-a-pot ratio :-). Looking forward to riding again in 2015 with the goal of hanging with Masher and his group.” -Linn Laborda (Lexington, KY)
“I just started cycling about 8 months ago, so the Redbud was my first century ride. Since this was my first organized ride of any kind, I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I can tell you that I enjoyed it so much that I’m already wanting to do another one. The weather was perfect, the course was beautiful and well marked, and I thought they did an awesome job organizing the ride. Can’t wait to do it again next year!” -Darin Cundiff (Liberty, KY)
“This was my first century, so I didn’t know what to expect. I had a pre ride feast of bourbon and a box of tagalongs the night before the ride. It was an awesome course. We finished it in less than 6 hours so I was happy.
> We will be back next year.” -Trevor Williamson (Louisville, KY)
“Watching my husband, father, and brother participate in Redbud 2013 inspired me to do the ride myself. Goal Accomplished! Redbud 2014 was my first organized ride and it did not disappoint. My riding crew opted for the 34 mile route. It was a beautiful ride on great roads with lots of wonderful cyclists. London is a wonderful bike friendly town. I’m already looking forward to next year’s ride. Goal is set to complete the 70 miles!” -Charlsie Garrett (Gravel Switch, KY)
I had requested comments from a few others but have not received their response yet. I highly welcome any other rider that has a comment or any feedback they would like to share to please do so. Simply click on the yellow quote button near the title and share your Redbud experience. Thanks in advance, for your comments! See you next April, Redbud Ride, and I’ll hopefully bring others again.