ABOUT HORSEY HUNDRED
The “Horsey Hundred” is an annual bicycling ride hosted by the Bluegrass Cycling Club every Memorial Day weekend in Georgetown, KY. I happen to be pretty familiar with this bicycle social because I have now ridden in it five times, and it happens to be in my hometown! “Horsey Hundred” is the largest group ride I have participated in and this year was expected to host around 2000 cyclists that had 9 route options over Saturday & Sunday from 25 to 102 miles to choose from. That’s a remarkable statement considering all of the other rides I have attended only offered 3-4 routes. This year I was fortunate enough to complete the century route (102 miles) on Saturday, but was unable to ride on Sunday due to being out of town with family the rest of the holiday weekend.
The following paragraphs are my personal review of the 2012 Horsey Hundred including some of my struggles, some of my better memories, and please check out what some others have to say about the ride at the conclusion. Also, don’t forget to catch my overall rating for this ride at the end of the review!
PHASE I: TO SWITZER
All rides departed from Georgetown College in the heart of downtown Georgetown, KY with the routes of 102, 76, & 51 miles heading north, while the 26, 36, & 60 mile tours went south. The first 21 miles was a great start, I thought, because we had some short decent grade hills to get warmed up on with plenty of shade along the roadway. I felt great upon reaching the Switzer stop, where the line for water refill was fairly long.
PHASE II: TO MIDWAY
The next section of road was a little more flat with just a few small rises leaving Switzer, but still a beautiful section of road passing numerous farms en route to Midway about 16 miles away. By the time I reached the church stop here, I was pushing an 18 mph average and thought I better slow down and pace myself as I felt the heat starting to intensify slowly. This was a very busy rest stop because I think every route came through this spot.
PHASE III: TO MILLVILLE
The next part of the route joined and left most of the other routes at one point or another, in fact, if folks had pondered about riding 76 or 102 miles they had to make their decision early on in this phase. There was no doubt in my mind, even though I knew it was going to heat up, I came to do the “Horsey Hundred!” Still somewhat flat with leisure rollers and continued beautiful farm scenery along the road way, I intentionally slowed my pace in an effort to not over work. I Had the advantage (or maybe disadvantage) of knowing the route somewhat, and knowing that the toughest climbing was coming after Millville. At Millville, I waited on my riding mate, the Renaissance Man, and he looked worn out stating, “I’m starting to feel the effects of the heat.” Inside I was proud of him, that he made the decision to continue on the 102 mile route, and I felt good knowing that thus far, I had not eaten any shot blocks or gels, only bananas and oranges and home-made trail mix. I would soon wish I had been fueling myself a little better.
PHASE IV: TO JACK JOUETT HOUSE
As we left the Millville stop, the route went up, climbing a hill immediately. A few miles later as we approached a long steep descent, I warned another rider to go slow until the sharp left curve. The Ride organizers also warned us with 3 or 4 road paintings in all caps: SLOW! It was a scary moment entering the sharp curve I spoke of as we witnessed a rider against the rock wall with several other cyclists tending to an obvious injury. I’m not sure how bad it was, but we heard an ambulance was called to pick them up. My route continued, and continued in low gears as we had a long normally fairly easy grade for me to climb, but I was starting to struggle. I could feel myself slowly starting to bonk, and I finally reached a nice flat spot and found a shade tree to stop under and rest. I ate 3 shot blocks and drank a bottle of water at mile 60, leaving me short on water for the next 10 miles which included even more tough climbing, especially for someone on the edge of exhaustion. I’ve never in my cycling career had to make an unscheduled stop on an organized ride (first time for everything). I was thrilled to see a water hose at the Capt. Jack Jouett house rest stop and I took a long break drinking water, and cooling off under the hose. This stop was exclusive for the century riders as we received our “2012 Horsey Hundred Century Rider” pin from a very pleasant gentleman proclaiming the worst was behind us and the next 30 miles was all downhill with the wind at our back. He was the same guy who had jokingly harassed me the night before at registration because I was wearing a Cardinals shirt. It was nice to hear his positive and cheerful voice, considering how rough I felt, and looking around, I was in common company! I went on and put my pin on, just to make sure I made myself make it.
PHASE V: TO KEENELAND RACE TRACK
The next 15 or so miles was still tough as we probably were now riding in the hottest temps of the day, and the rollers were starting to make me frustrated. I recall turning onto a road called “Dedman Lane” and thinking how appropriate. As we turned onto the Lexington airport property I passed one guy walking his bike up a short steep hill and another guy sitting on the guard rail at the top, as I reached the summit, I ask “why do we do this to ourselves?” He said, “No clue!” Again, I was more than happy to find a water hose with cool water at a barn area where we stopped for fuel at Keeneland Horse Track. I was past physical exhaustion by this point, but I still had it mentally, because I knew how close I was getting to home now. Three more shot blocks in and off I went.
PHASE VI: BETHEL ROAD STOP & FINISH
Only 8 miles down the road was our last stop and I stopped briefly to refill my water bottles again. Back on the road less than a mile from the last stop, I felt a wobble on my tires. I stopped to find that my front tube had somehow forced a small section of the tire off of the wheel. I was amazed that it had not popped, but mad that I had to deal with it. I let the air pressure down until I could re-seat the tire, the took my portable pump and went to work. It was at 40 psi when I began pumping, then about 15 minutes later, the Renaissance Man rolled up to find me struggling and offered a CO2 inflator. I was at 80 psi and I was whipped. Then the Scheller’s SAG van pulled up with a real pump, and I was relieved. I managed to break the stem trying to pull my pump off, so I gave the bike tech my spare tube and he generously changed it for me. Back on the road, I got to finish with my good friend Tim the Renaissance Man and was very happy to be done. His wife Kelly and son John were waiting on us with smiles, and soon after we finished my wife Maria along with my sons Charlie and Dawson arrived with my vehicle that conveniently had my bike rack mounted. We cycled to the start that morning from my home 2 miles away, but were more than happy to rack our bikes and sit in the air conditioning on the way home.
WHAT OTHERS HAD TO SAY
* Karen G. from Denver, CO rode the 60 mile route and gave it an (A-) grade saying, “Long line for water at the first stop. The staff was very nice. Wanted a bench to sit on at Keeneland.” She told my wife how she had forgotten how beautiful this area is.
*A. E. U. from Richmond, KY rode the 50 mile route and gave it an (A+) grade saying, “There were plenty of stops with everything you needed to refuel. The road markings were very visible and easy to follow! I’ll come back again, just please put sprinklers at the finish line … too hot!”
* Larry Cheser from Harradsburg, KY finished the 76 mile tour and said of the ride, “Great and Excellent. It is well ran.”
* Libby Barnes of Nicholasville, KY rode the 102 mile route and gave it an (A-) overall grade commenting, “Wonderful, beautiful, scenic, and plenty of fuel.”
* Linda S. from Mansfield, OH finished the 60 mile route and gave it a grade of (B+) stating “The breaks could have had food variety and some seating. It was HOT and beautiful.”
CONCLUSION AND MASHER’S GRADE
I had set a personal fitness goal to complete the 102 mile tour in an average speed of 16 mph or better, but in the back of my mind was the knowledge that I had never ridden that far in that kind of heat, and the ultimate goal was to finish 102 miles. Well, after bonking around mile 60, I focused on the ultimate goal and achieved it. The stops were well positioned to enable riders the chance to complete the century ride in temps near mid 90s, and everyone was very friendly along the way. I saw no real traffic issues either. All things considered, I look forward to riding in the “Horsey Hundred” again next year and will definitely recommend it to followers of RAM Cycling as I give it an overall (A) grade! For the registration fee, I would like to receive a free t-shirt, but I will admit that the quality of the ride t-shirt is 2 or 3 times better than the ones you get free at other rides. Great job Bluegrass Cycling Club, I look forward to Memorial Day weekend next year!
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