Louisville Bicycle Club

Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter -- November-December 1996

Stupendous Old Kentucky Home Tour, complete with GREAT weather, makes for a perfect weekend

by Duc M. Do

This article was originally posted to the ‘KyCycList’ mailing list on September 15, 1996

We're just now winding down from our big bike tour of the year, the Louisville Bicycle Club's 19th annual Old Kentucky Home Tour, our overnight tour to Bardstown, KY, and back. The Do family has been looking forward to this tour with excitement, since it'd be the first time that four-year-old Nicholas actually “rides” to Bardstown as the stoker on the tandem, although his lifetime participation record stands at four OKHT rides. Two-year-old Lucas completed his second OKHT ride, albeit still as a passenger.

Saturday morning dawned a little chilly but not as cold as the forecast had called for. Paula was due in at Nelson County High School for SAG duty at noon, so she took off with a couple of riding companions, while the boys and I waited around to decide on what to do — whether I'd drive them to Bardstown, or we'd ride. Around nine o'clock, the sun had done its magic and the morning had lost its chill, we decided (actually it was I, no democracy around here!) that we'd ride. We mostly brought up the rear as the majority of the riders had headed out earlier. After having to turn around a couple of times to pick up Little Bear which had fallen out of Lucas' grasp, we smarted up and secured him around the neck to Lucas' seat with a bit of phone wiring I found on the road — half way up a hill! By the time we got the first SAG stop 14 miles out, we had caught up with the bulk of the riders and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. The boys roamed around, played, and stuffed themselves with cookies and grapes, the first of many times today.

Leaving the SAG stop, we hook up with three other tandems: Don and Mary Margaret Williams on their red Cannondale; Debbie Browning and her younger son Craig on a Motobecane; Brian Shelley and Chris Browning on a Santana, and us, the Do Boys on our blue “Cannonwhale.” We made a pretty good train going along Plum Creek toward Waterford. All too soon, we crossed the Salt River on KY 623 and arrived at the second SAG stop at 26 miles, but not before a leg-searing climb to the hilltop where the SAG was situated. (I definitely have to look into swapping out the Dura-Ace double chainring on the tandem for a triple crank. Climbing with a couple of passengers with only a 42x28 low is just too hard.) After another half-hour spent playing at this SAG, we bid good-bye to our riding companions and drove in to Bardstown so the boys could have lunch and take naps at Grandma Do's.

Switching to my single bike (or in tandem parlance, my half-bike), I then went out and rode the last portion of the 62-mile route in reverse, where I saw many of the 400 riders who opted for this route. The scenery along the Beech Fork River (Woodlawn Road) was spectacular, which ended all too soon for a lot of you as the climb out of the river valley was a steep one. Riders were still coming into the third SAG stop at the 62/100-mile split when I left there at 2:30 PM. The sun was shining bright but thanks to a cooling breeze, it never got hotter than low 70s. The "cooling breeze," however, became a howling gale for the century riders the last 20 or so miles once they left Springfield. I joined the century route after leaving the third SAG stop and steadily caught up with the century riders, many of whom took advantage of the beautiful weather for a leisurely ride in the heart of Kentucky. Well, actually at this point in the ride, with the headwind and rolling hills, we were all forced to take it leisurely.

Valley Hill, Springfield, St. Rose, Bear Wallow, and Manton all rolled by quickly as the century riders neared the dreaded Potter Shop Road hills, on the last ten miles of a long ride. The top of the first hill was clearly visible as one rides along in the Beech Fork River valley (yes, the same Beech Fork that the 62-milers also had to climb out of) on KY 605. The last SAG of the day on top of the hill was a welcome sight for the riders slogging their way up the first of three hills on this road. Each hill is the result when the road dips down to the creek level and then quickly rises up to the ridgetop. Each screaming downhill serves as a warning for the coming climb. After the big hills and a couple minor ones (but they all seem pretty major at this point in the ride), we entered Bardstown proper from the southeast and quickly left it to head east out to the high school. By the time our family all got cleaned up and arrived back at the high school, it had become a veritable bike tour stop, with bikes of all kinds lining all available wall space along the school hallways, riders resting on their staked-out spots in the gym, or setting up tents outside on the school lawn. Some riders were still finishing up their ride while others were going into or coming from Bardstown on the shuttle bus. I always love to be in this hub of activities, meeting up with old friends and making new ones. We forgo the dinner at the school in favor of a pizza feast at the Pizza Hut in town, but arrived back at the school in time for the perennially-favorite slide show and entertainment.

Sunday morning was a bit chillier than Saturday morning, so the decision was made that the boys would drive back with Paula, stopping at a couple of SAG stops to see how Daddy is doing riding his single bike. After a hearty breakfast of Chris Cakes pancakes (caught nine of them flapjacks, dropped one), I set out to ride with a few friends into the morning chill. It's the first time tights were required since early season rides back in March and April. (As Shakespeare said, “Summer's lease hath all too short a date,” our summer is definitely coming to an end after much too short a run.) The ride back was pretty uneventful. I lingered for a long time at the first two stops to take in the ambiance of a great bike ride, one that will definitely serve as a benchmark for great rides in my mind. To cap off a perfect weekend weather-wise, Mother Nature was nice enough to hold off the cloud cover until mid-afternoon, after all of the riders made it in to complete what is unarguably the best OKHT ride in recent years.

Return to the Newsletter Table of Contents
Return to the Louisville Bicycle Club home page

Copyright ©1996 Louisville Wheelmen

last updated: 08 November 1996
by Duc M. Do