Memorial Day weekend is always the weekend in which the Bluegrass Cycling Club hosts it’s annual Horsey Hundred bicycle ride in Georgetown, KY. This is the one ride that is always circled on my ride calender as “must do,” partially because it’s in my hometown, another part because I’m a BCC member, and mostly because I love the mass of cyclists that show up for two days of cycling from all over the country, some for their first time and others that are here every year.
This year I was able to ride the Saturday century route with a good friend Chris “Big Dog” Schmidt, the Dean of students at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, KY and one of his hometown friends Toby Young, a trooper on the KY State Police force. Both guys completed the challenging Iron Man Louisville competition last year, so I knew the pace would be fast, especially when they chose to start at 10:30 about 2.5 hrs behind the mass start. I’m pretty confident we were the last group out that planned to do the 104 mile route, but we certainly weren’t the last ones in, actually this was the first century I rode in that I was never passed by another rider.
This weather was perfect for cycling, it was a chilly morning in the fifties, but gradually warming into the upper sixties for most of the ride with good cloud coverage that often gave off a “comfortable cool” feeling, rather than warm or hot. Last year this event was torched by temps in the mid 90s, and many riders (myself included) suffered to the finish. Some routes were changed this year, and I enjoyed the new route through downtown Frankfort around the state capitol building. I also liked how the two longest routes (75 & 100) stayed together until the rest stop around mile 50, this gave riders a chance to go all the way or cut it short depending on how strong they felt. In years past, these routes had split much earlier, before you had a chance to feel tired.
The century route was beautiful scenery throughout as it rolled out of Georgetown heading southwest into Midway, then on to Switzer and passed the historic covered bridge over Elkhorn Creek. The route then touched the edge of Peaks Mill en route to the state capital Frankfort, before heading back to the east through Millville, around Versailles, and then turned north along Lexington as it journeyed through Keeneland horse racing track and back to the host campus at Georgetown College. Living up to it’s name, there were plenty of thoroughbreds and their remarkable barns behind miles of wood plank fences for our viewing pleasure.
The Horsey Hundred offers six routes on Saturday from 25 miles to 104, and then three more rides from 34 to 75 miles on Sunday, all fully supported with roaming vehicles and well stocked rest stops including tons of dill pickles! Needless to say, this is a cycling event for riders of any and all age and skill levels. While I got out and ran pretty fast with my buddies on the century route, a very nice memory for me was as I volunteered at the registration desk on Sunday morning and witnessing a father’s story about renting a U-Haul truck just to be able to pack his wife and their 6 children and all their bikes and gear to be able to do one of the rides after camping at the KY Horse Park. That is simply awesome, and that is exactly what the Bluegrass Cycling Club is all about: encouraging people to ride a bike! This is also the single event in which I see more variety of bicycles than any other ride, as I’ve witnessed numerous styles of recumbent, tandems, tri, hybrids, children, and even some mountain bikes to go with all the variety of road bikes. Another great memory came on Sunday morning as “Bucky the Bugler” played the famous “Call to the Post,” on his horn that he also blows at Keeneland Horse Track as a 50 year veteran, to signal the mass start for the riders heading toward Paris.
In my opinion, this event was an all around success, and continues to be one of my favorites, and definitely the one ride I know for sure I plan to do next year. Although I sometimes take the beautiful scenery of these roads for granted because I ride them so often, I can’t deny that this is my favorite place to cycle. Hats off to the coordinators, and all of the supporters, sponsors, donors, and especially all the volunteers. Another great weekend, another great Horsey Hundred, and for many others and myself, another leg of the KY Century Cycling Challenge accomplished.