The My Old KY Home Tour, an annual bicycling event hosted by the Louisville Bike Club, was the fourth and final chance to complete the innagural century challenge sponsored by Adventure Tourism KY. Some numbers from the century challenge: nearly 560 riders signed up, around half accomplished the challenge by completing 3 of the 4 century rides, and only 34 completed all 4. My good friend Chris Schmidt and I were 2 of those 34, while the Renaissance Man was able to finish his first century of the year at OKHT!
The ride began in Louisville and departed from E. P. Tom Sawyer State Park, heading southwest towards it’s finish point in historic Bardstown. The weather was very nice for a day to spend on the bike as it started with little humidity in the 70s, however it would rise through the day to a scorching low 90s as we found the toughest stretch of the ride, the last fifteen miles. The LBC offers three distances of 50, 70, or 102 on day one, with the option to camp and ride back to Louisville on Sunday on a 50 mile route or you can make your own arrangements for a pick up. I had planned to stay in Bardstown with good friend Chuck Allran and ride back on day two, but after listening to my bottom bracket snap, crackle, and pop all day long (and maybe hurting a little), I gladly took the pick up offer from my very gracious sister and brother-in-law Charlsie and Jamie Garrett. My hurting was mostly self inflicted from poor ride prep, but that happens sometimes.
My starting group consisted of Tim, Chuck, Chris, Toby, Becca, and Ann and we rolled out around 9am. We all hung together for about the first ten miles as we got warmed up then it split up a little over the rollers of the next section. The road marking leaving Louisville was eventful itself, but it did get better, especially after the “lunch stop” at mile 36 when the routes separated. From there on, the rest stops became fewer but the road marking was much better. It seemed like around four stops available up to the lunch stop, not sure because we only stopped once, but the meal was very nicely served at a Catholic church community by some Boy Scouts and friends. I normally won’t eat a full meal on a ride, and I would have preferred to have a lunch stop past halfway but I enjoyed half a chicken salad sammie and some power-aide to drink. I understand the meal was so early because of the way the routes stay together up to that point.
As we rolled out from there, our group was feeling strong and we attacked the next 20 – 30 miles, I don’t really remember any groups passing us. There was another rest stop at mile 50 and we skipped it because everyone still had plenty of water, not realizing the next stop would be some 28 miles later. So there were five stops, maybe more, through mile 50, then 2 for the last 50 … I’d recommend some type of change there. The entire route was beautiful, as much of cycling in the bluegrass state always is, and the last fifteen miles of this ride was probably the toughest stretch of the day with the climbing involved and the hottest part of the day. Earlier in the ride on the stretch just after lunch, I felt like I could pull my group strong to the finish, or even drop them. But when we ran low on water and had to conserve for many miles, it took a toll on my energy level. Thankfully, we found a farm hydrant along a country road and some very pleasant gentlemen graciously allowed us to refill our bottles. From that point on, it was the two Ironmen (Chris and Toby) who set the pace and eventually dropped me. Their level of endurance amazes me, I have learned by riding with them this year that they don’t try to kill a ride early, but they finish strong! And sometimes get off the bike and go running for good measure.
I simply couldn’t hang with them and Jamen, a Lexington cyclist we picked up along the way, over the last 8 miles which including the climbing section along the infamous Pottershop Rd. I did get to finish with some familiar faces, however, as I found several folks from Bluegrass Cycling Club (my local group ride) that had started a little earlier than us. Another Ironman (ironmom) Courtney pushed me the last couple miles to the finish where a celebration festival was in full force. There was a BBQ meal, music, a bike raffle for the Red Cross, and much more. Overall, it was a very nice day, despite some of the suffering I endured. Any time I get to ride my bike with some of my best friends is always a good day.
I think the ride was well organized, although for a long standing ride, I think they could benefit from a few changes. All of the volunteers were great as always. Huge thanks to all who helped, we couldn’t enjoy it nearly as much without you! Thanks to Louisville Bike Club for hosting the event, I’m glad I finally completed this ride, and thanks to Adventure Tourism for hosting the century challenge, I’m especially glad I accepted the challenge and look forward to receiving my cycling jersey! As far as the bike issue goes, it was somewhat normal wear and tear. The bottom bracket has been replaced by Pedal Power bike shop in Lexington, and is ready for another century ride. And since I felt a little guilty about not riding on day two with Chuck, I decided to donate blood when I saw the bloodmobile at church that morning. I would recommend the Old KY Home Tour bicycling event to any cyclist that enjoys road cycling, since it is later in the season, all riders have a chance to train and complete the route that best suits them. If any event planner would like to hear my opinion on the changes I would recommend, feel free to contact me through our site here and I’ll gladly help. Kudos once again to LBC and the entire OKHT team. Hope to see you next year!