The Tour was this past Saturday, September 13. It begins and ends in Elizabethtown, which is down the road a little way from Louisville, and, more immediately, Fort Knox. I had assumed that "Hub City" would turn out to be a nickname for Elizabethtown, but I should have asked; a little cursory after-the-fact internet research does not reveal any such connection, and I have no idea how this ride got its name.
I arrived the afternoon before. The host club is Central Kentucky Wheelmen (an unfortunately non-inclusive name; I saw numerous Central Kentucky Wheelwomen there also), and their headquarters is a local bike shop, Bullmoose Brothers, where the early packet pickup took place.
|Wow, those guys are almost as bald as I am! Well, not really. I'm quite a bit balder, I think.|
|Awaiting the word to go. Check out the jersey on the guy to my left. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a Communist?"|
Almost right away, I noticed the contrast between the Kentucky I saw on this ride and the horse country version I'd seen in the two previous centuries. In and around Hardin County, I didn't see the sprawling, lush bluegrass pastures. Instead, there was more mixed agriculture, particularly the corn and soybeans so familiar to my Hoosier eyes. It seemed like a somewhat-hillier version of southern Indiana to me, except for the prevalence of red clay, which lent a Georgia-ish flavor to the scenery.
|Central Kentucky presented more of a hardscrabble look than the territory to the east.|
|My home church has a pavilion, too. But ours is, well, smaller.|
On we went. The scenery, as mentioned, looked a little different. But in case I started to forget I was in Kentucky, I was reminded almost constantly by the fact that relatively little of the way was level.
|Ah, Kentucky! Thy name is "hills." Or should've been, anyway.|
At the second stop, 35 miles in, the provisions were the same as at the first. In fact, they never varied throughout the ride, which was a little disappointing; there were salty snacks, bananas, cookies, pickles, vile blue gatorade, tangerines, and water. That's okay, though. They had plenty. And while I was kind of jonesing for a peanut-butter sandwich, let's face it: as long as there's bananas, I can keep cranking. And the volunteers who manned the stops were outstandingly friendly. At three stops, there was a technician from Bullmoose Brothers Bicycles with repair stand and tools, for those who had mechanical issues. I was highly impressed with the support organized by the CKW club.
The route crossed a wooden-decked bridge about 40 miles in, where a painted pavement sign asked us to walk across. It seemed ride-able to me, but it would have been churlish (and unworthy of centurions) to refuse, so we all walked it.
|This bridge didn't have the tire-width gaps that the one on the Redbud Ride had.|
It wouldn't have been Kentucky without some Horsican-Americans. The one in the center in the photo below was wearing a cover that, as far as I could tell, wholly obscured his eyes. I suppose that might have been a veterinary measure of some kind.
|The one on the right ... no, I'm sure he or she wasn't mooning me. Pretty sure, anyway.|
Another wooden-decked bridge turned out to be a railroad overpass (or underpass, I guess, depending on whether you're the train). In any case, it afforded a look down into a substantial sort of trench cut or blasted out of the rock, through which the tracks were laid. A cool thing to see.
|Another cyclist and I were enjoying this view. "Somebody used a little dynamite here," I conjectured. "Either that," he replied, "or John Henry was pretty busy."|
The weather kept teasing us. The sky would look broken, then close back in and spit a little bit more chilly rain.
|What's that? A bit of blue? Yeah, but it's just funning with us again.|
|I admit that it's a cliche. But I can't seem to write one of these without the obligatory mileage shot. Note: there are actual shadows on the ground! The Yellow Face, it burns us, Precioussss!|
After I got home, I dumped my bike computer into Garmin Connect. Now I see where I was.
|Looking at the plot on the bottom reminds me that there was quite the steep climb -- and descent -- in the mile 75 and 76 region. Big fun! Sort of.|
The report isn't over yet, though. Elizabethtown was holding its Via Colori Street Art Fair, and I took a little time to walk around it before leaving. Here, a young artist applies some extra touches to her pavement chalk work.
|I translate "Via Colori" as "Color Street." Seems appropriate.|