I desperately wanted to do the Redbud Ride in London, Kentucky this weekend, but due to a scheduling snafu (read: the American Planning Association thoughtlessly scheduling the national conference the same weekend) I couldn't make the ride. It's a bummer too, because, of the four options to get three centuries for the Kentucky Century Challenge jersey, it was the one that most appealed to me.
Thankfully the Pavement's Edge had a correspondent on assignment at the reported "Best Century Ride in America."
And so follows the first ever Pavement's Edge guest post. My beautiful wife Mandy shares her trip report and makes me even more jealous I only got to run in Illinoising today:
We (the royal we--Dad and I) arrived at our hotel in Mt. Vernon, KY for a quick (and I mean light speed) stop. Dropping off our things we flew to London to make the scene. Dad likes to make the scene; I dare say, he's perfected it.
We rolled into London at about 6:00. That gave us plenty of time to register for the ride and do a bit of swag shopping. The Redbud people have artfully mastered the registration process. A simple form filled out, payment made, and we were set for the race the following day. The volunteers were helpful and friendly. The vibe was just great and we hadn't even ridden yet.
We went into town to check out the Redbud block party. The Abbey restaurant hosted an all you can eat carb loading buffet. Pasta, chicken, salmon, veggies, and salad bar. YUM! We waited to be seated for about 15 minutes. While waiting my dad made friends with a couple from Chattanooga. They eventually joined us at our table and enjoyed the carb loading with us. I'm a firm believer my father has never met a stranger and this just reaffirms my beliefs.
This year was the 6th annual Redbud Ride and the event was orchestrated beautifully. I can't emphasize enough how amazing the volunteers were. We arrived at the London community center/farmer's market at 7:00 in the morning. It was a balmy 40 degrees, but the sun promised to shine and we didn't see a cloud in the sky. The local rotary club had heaps and loads of lovely golden pancakes and sausage. Hot coffee, orange juice, and milk were on tap. The breakfast was really fantastic.
The "mass" start was scheduled for 8:00 for the century riders, but most people left in groups of 10 or so riders. Dad and I headed out on the course at about 8:15. The ride consists of five routes--the red route is 100miles, the green route is 70, the yellow route is 23.5, orange will take you 33.5 miles, and finally the hybrid route which takes you 58 miles. We chose the hybrid. The Redbud organizers excelled at route marking and simplicity. We followed the green route for the first 47 miles and the yellow route the final 11 miles. The courses overlap at several places which made us think it would be very easy to modify ride lengths to distances that suit your fancy. On our ride there were three, what I'd call, major rest stops. There were minor stops sprinkled between and SAG vehicles traced course throughout the day.
The ride out of town is a lovely rolling traverse through a residential area. All five routes travel this path. The yellow and orange split from the green and red routes eventually and that's when the fun begins. The green route takes you through parts of Laurel and Rockcastle counties. The scenery is beautiful and there isn't a massive flow of tourists. I'd imagine a ride in the fall is breathtaking. We crisscrossed the red route occasionally getting buzzed by club groups who were vying for some nonexistent prize at the end.
We met up with Jeff and Casey at a rest stop. Jeff had busted a cleat before the ride and Casey had managed a decent wreck between the start and the rest stop. She went on to finish the century. She's my hero!
Then there was Tussey Hill. Tussey motha $&@!ing hill. It starts at a 0.25 mile 16% grade followed by a lovely 0.1 mile rest followed by a 0.1 mile 22% grade. Yeah, I didn't stutter, it really is 22%. It's like riding up a wall. I assume this because I walked it. Walked it way faster than I could have ridden it. Way. Faster. It was glorious to reach the top.
The remainder of the day was really relaxed. We made it to the McWortle Christian church lunch stop and enjoyed the company of Earl May--an 80 year old volunteer with a pink hip replacement. I loved him.
Our day ended at about 2:30 when we rolled into London again. Five hours of riding time. 6ish hours out and we had done it.
The Redbud was my longest ride to date. I'm calling it a solid 60 miles as we detoured around town here and there and I'm sure we made up that mile and a half.
Be sure to check this ride out next time you are in southern Kentucky when the redbuds are booming. You won't regret it.