Nov 2014 30

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Back in October we hosted another (and probably our last for this year) group ride on the weekend of Masher’s birthday. A great ride always starts with a great group and we were honored to have Linn, Adam, Patrick, Oleg, Chris, Bena, Greg, Phil, John join Tim and me on this 55 mile road ride. The weather was also near perfect for the season, it was cool but not cold and the autumn colors on the landscape were amazing.

 

The route took us from downtown Georgetown to Versailles, the heart of thoroughbred country as we passed many horse farms. From there, we continued towards Frankfort entering bourbon country where we found an old abandoned distillery currently being renovated for reopening. We also found a couple tough climbs near Millville as we turned for home and headed back to Gtown through the historic railway town of Midway. This stretch definitely has some of the prettiest and most bike friendly roads in the area.

 

I promised the group I would give out two VIP bottles of Makers Mark bourbon (as a bribe to ride with us), but I incorporated a friendly segment challenge into the ride so that the gifts would be earned, rather than granted. My initial thought process for this style of challenge had me wanting to give all riders a fair chance, so I included 3 sprint zones and 2 climbs in the challenge. I also split the riders into 2 groups based on who had done more group rides with Renaissance Man and who had done more with me, Masher. I marked the segments on the pavement with “Ready, Set, Go, & Stop” in color coordinated arrows.

 

The first segment came about 7 miles into the ride and was about a quarter mile sprint on the flat section of Bethel Rd, to the church. The next was a climb segment on the infamous Clifton Rd. as it ascends from the Kentucky River valley. After the Clifton climb, we had a very pleasant brief SAG stop where my two older sons (and their girlfriends) met us with water, Coke, Ale-8, bananas, and snack bars. Just a few miles down the road was our second climb zone up Duncan Rd. to Frankfort. From there, we had two sprints remaining to try and earn the bourbon, and all riders still had a fighting chance. The next sprint came as we approached the Midway city line and it was blazing fast as the group battled it out and many set strava PRs. The last sprint was a slight downhill quarter mile run to our final county line sign as we re-entered Scott Co. No rider won every segment but the winners scored points in each one and had dominating performances on this day. A few cyclists (Gene, Rusty, Eric, Diane, Darin, Chuck, Schmidty, and Steph) couldn’t come due to injuries and/or schedule conflicts, but they would have definitely strengthened the races. Nevertheless, the winners on this day were Linn from Tim’s group, and Adam from mine. They earned the bourbon outright with very strong performances!

 

Back at Masher’s house, we enjoyed each others’ company with sandwiches, chips, snacks, beverages and great post ride conversation. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present, and consider this a notice to all of our cycling friends: when we announce RAM Cycling groups rides next year, make it a priority on your schedule, ’cause you won’t regret it. Thanks to all my friends that joined us!

Oct 2015 20

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We just wanted to give a shout out to our great friends that were able to join us for our 2nd annual RAM Cycling Oktoberfest bicycle ride!! Huge thanks to Bena, Steph, Linn, Adam, Oleg, Phil, and Bryan for cruising a beautiful 64 mile route through the bluegrass region/horse farm country of Kentucky with Tim and me!!

 

The route departed and finished in downtown Georgetown, ventured through portions of Fayette, Woodford, Franklin, and Scott counties, with many miles rolling along the Elkhorn Creek. The weather was a little true to the new fall season and started out very chilly, but gradually warmed nicely providing a sun filled sky and a gentle breeze that had little affect on our pace.

 

We continued the tradition of giving away bourbon for an extra-stellar performance by having another friendly competition, this time collecting points at county line sprints. There were a total of 5 county line signs (2 others were omitted for safety reasons) that some of us attempted to be the first to cross, but at the end of the ride, we had a three way tie for most points. Not having a good tiebreaker rule in place (after all, it’s just for good fun), Adam was kind enough to mention he had received a winner’s fifth of bourbon at last year’s event and he suggested the others tied should get it this year. So the winners of a fifth of Makers Mark bourbon were Oleg and Bena, and keeping in tradition, all the cyclists that rode got to sign each bottle.

 

Thanks again friends, for making Oktoberfest a very enjoyable and memorable ride! It has been a great group ride to somewhat wind down the last two cycling seasons heading into the time of year with cold temps, unpredictable weather, and less daylight. The camaraderie at the event is awesome and we encourage all our RAM friends to consider joining us for this ride next fall!

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 2015 28

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In central Kentucky, we have been blessed with some very mild weather for the months of November and December. Though we have had more than usual rainfall, the temps have remained in the 60s nearly nonstop for both of the final months of 2015, and many cyclists (including me) have put their winter/off-season indoor training on hold to keep piling up the miles outside as long as this weather sticks around.  I’ve heard many folks preach that we’ll probably pay dearly for all this nice weather later in the season, but I for one am not complaining. I’ll take this as long as it’s here!

 

Today I was lucky enough to get one final road ride in for 2015 with a couple of my close friends (and some of the best cyclists I ride with) when I hooked up with Toby & Schmidty at my in-laws home in Marion Co. for a pretty challenging 44 mile route with plenty of wind and hills. I do have a RAM Cycling group ride scheduled at Legacy Trail Tuesday night, but I’m leaning toward cancelling it based on all the rain we’ve had that’s produced some standing water on the trail plus not sure I can get off work in time. So for now, I’m betting that this was my final ride of the year, and I couldn’t have asked for a better event to finish with.

 

My ride today with Toby, Schmidty, and Ryan Waldo (a former Lindsey Wilson cyclist that now lives near Lagrange) took us from our starting point in the town of Loretto/St. Francis past historic Makers Mark bourbon distillery, across some fun and flat winding back roads, up the painfully steep climbs on the infamous Pottershop Rd. into Bardstown. We departed Bardstown and rolled past more distilleries (Heaven Hill and Willet), then found plenty more up and down roads mostly into a stiff headwind all the way to New Hope where we passed the Abbey of Gethsemani (home of many Catholic monks, including the late Thomas Merton), then back to the starting point.

 

The awesome ride today was a little bittersweet for me because it may actually be my last ride for several weeks. I am scheduled to have a minor procedure to repair some cartilage and meniscus in my knee this week and I will be recovering in-actively for at least 3 weeks. It is tougher to cope with the time off while this mild weather has been lingering and especially now that I’m so energized to get ready for the tough 2016 cycling slate I have planned. Just as I’m looking to get back in my best cycling shape, I will have to be patient not to rush back into more injury. I know deep down that I’m making the right decision for the long haul and I’m going to stay positive about getting caught up on conditioning as soon as possible.

 

If indeed this was my final ride of 2015, my final cumulative stats for the year are: 2656 miles on 70 total rides with 182,000 feet of elevation. When I compare these to the last 2 years, they don’t compare at all, but considering I feel as though I practically took the year off, I still had some decent achievement. I fully plan to destroy those stats in 2016, even taking the first month of the year off. Also, one final huge shout out to all my close cycling friends … I look forward to riding with all of you in 2016.

 

Keep a watch out for my planned 2016 cycling schedule to be released next week and I will also keep you informed about my recovery as it progresses. If you get a chance to enjoy this weather, get on out there and ride, ride, ride!

@KPtheMasher

 

Oct 2016 06

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RAM Cycling is very pleased to announce the details of our 3rd annual Oktoberfest ride. This has been a great group ride the past two years and this year shouldn’t be any different. Our friends that have been awesome enough to grace us with their presence in the past can attest that this ride is fun, friendly, and full of fellowship.

 

Please note, the event has moved to Frankfort this year. The start/stop point for Oktoberfest this year is at the Capitol Annex building, please park in the lot on the right side (behind the floral clock). The official address is 702 Capitol Ave. Frankfort, KY 40601. Restroom is available across the street at Masher’s house. The ride is scheduled to roll at 11:00am (weather permitting), so please plan to arrive and be ready to ride at 11.  We will keep our fingers crossed that the weather is nice, however if it turns out to be wet, we will announce a make up date on the morning of the ride which will be Sunday October 30!

 

Keeping in tradition, we will have our friendly segment challenges along this group ride. This is a tempo pace ride and we do not drop anyone! The segment challenges include 3 sprints and 3 climbs and points are awarded to the top 3 in each segment. We will regroup immediately after each segment race and the average rolling pace has been about 17 mph I the past. The route this year is a little shorter (42 miles) but has plenty of scenic views. There are stores to stop for refuel/restroom at miles 12 and 34, and a stroll through Buffalo Trace Distillery (a National Historic Landmark) at the 34 mile mark. Anyone wanting to make a purchase at the gift shop, I will have my sons bring your souvenir back for you. Also, keeping in tradition, there will be bourbon awarded to the segment winners and we will have refreshments and beverages for all at the completion of the ride. Please let us know if you can attend!

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The route is posted publicly on our Strava club page. Feel free to invite any cycling friends that you think would enjoy this ride, all are welcome. Maps will not be handed out because this is a group ride, we do not drop anyone and I want to make sure I don’t get dropped, LOL! The route is mostly back roads, but we will be in the downtown streets some too, however there’s very little Sunday traffic in downtown Frankfort. I think there’s only 3 hills and everything else is rolling (as long as you keep your wheels rolling). Hope to see you there!

@KPtheMasher

 

Nov 2016 04

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Renaissance And Masher are both Libras, as Tim celebrates his birthday in late September and mine (Kevin) in mid October. Our idea to celebrate getting older by riding our bikes with friends seems like the perfect idea 3 years later now. Initially I thought it’d be a nice gesture to give away some Kentucky bourbon after the ride and then inform our guests this is how we celebrate our bdays, as opposed to telling them upfront and tempting them to bring gifts. It’s not about receiving, as much as it is  about being connected.

 

RAM Cycling has planned/organized a couple other group rides, but none have become an annual event like Oktoberfest (or RAMtoberfest, as Tim calls it). It’s safe to say, I looked forward to this ride more than any other the past two years! I’m very thankful that the weather has cooperated each year, especially this year. We have hosted the ride early in October the previous two seasons, but due to some conflicting schedules, this year’s ride took place 1 day before Halloween. Ironically, it was much cooler the two years we had it in early October, this year it felt like how I would imagine Christmas in Florida feels…temps were in the upper 70s with a mild southern breeze. Everyone rode in shorts and short sleeves!

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The venue was relocated this year to Masher’s new home turf in Frankfort, the Capital of Kentucky. The route left from the Capitol building and toured out towards the west side of the county finding some hills and beautiful scenery along Kentucky River valley. We left the valley and headed into Anderson Co briefly, then back into Franklin as we turned towards Shelby Co. Never leaving Franklin Co again, we then ventured along Taylor Branch and ridge before descending into Benson Creek valley. Another good hill climb and descent down Devils Hollow took us back into downtown. We rolled into Buffalo Trace distillery for a brief rest stop with snacks and beverages delivered by my sons Charlie and Dawson. The route continued north in the Owen Co direction for our steepest climb of the day up Lewis Ferry from the river behind Buffalo Trace. Then another ride along a ridge, and descent back into town took us home with a final sprint up to the Capitol building.

 

Historically, the bourbon is given to the overall points winners based on their performance in the segment challenges on several sprints and climbs. The bourbon went to newcomer Ryan this year, and the second bottle went to Tim for an honorary win. He learned his dad had passed away Friday night (after being sick in a Louisville hospital for nearly 9 weeks now), just two days before Oktoberfest ride and he wouldn’t let me postpone the ride. I did not expect him to ride and did not want to host our event without him, but I was very excited when he showed up. His dad was a bourbon guy, a fan of the Pappy, and Tim deserved a bottle of bourbon as much as anyone that rode! As far as Ryan, he earned it too! Several cyclists in the group are very strong, and rode hard in the segment challenges (unfortunately, I was not one of them), but none had the speed to match Ryan.

 

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I have to give out a huge thanks to our loyal riders Linn and Adam! I really appreciate you guys joining us every year that we’ve hosted Oktoberfest. A special thanks also goes to our first-timers… Jeremy, Toby, Schmidty, Gene, Leighton, and Ryan. It’s always great to ride new roads, with new friends, anything new, as long as we’re riding. We definitely missed a few regulars… Bena, Phil, Oleg, Stephanie, and St. Onge! Hope you guys can make it back next year.

 

Speaking of next year, Gene asked me when the next big climb is. I’m thinking a return trip to Clingmans Dome in the spring sounds like a great idea. I know some of our friends get into the triathlon season early and may not want that much climbing as they train for flatter races, but logistically it seems to make the most sense to knock it out early (just don’t ask Linn and Tim how that worked out last time ;-). Be on the alert for the planning of this group ride in April 2017. In the past, I’ve found myself really get motivated to take on big things in the next season when I wrap up the previous season with some great events, and I’m feeling pretty motivated right now after a great ride first at the Bike To Beat Cancer event in September, and now following another very successful Oktoberfest.

 

Keep your wheels rolling …   @KPtheMasher

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