For 4 and a half days in March, some lucky members of our team load up whatever cars we can get our hands on; like a bunch of college kids, and get away from our jobs to ride bikes like it’s our job. Sleep. Drink coffee. Eat. Ride bikes. Complain about the pace. Drink beer. Eat. Relax. Scatter in some bodily function humor throughout all of that, and repeat. Complimented by luxury lodging in a massive log cabin on a Kentucky hilltop, this is:
Leadout Racing’s 5th Annual Kentucky Training Trip (Report):
Peter and I met at Scott’s house Wednesday afternoon, then picked up Lupe along the way. The trip was uneventful until our driver (me) decided “to hell with Google Maps,” and decided to hold the I-75 line just a bit longer, and take a new route into our destination of Cynthiana, Kentucky. While technically a state highway, our new road was about as wide as the Kent Trails, and had 5000 times more curves. Whatever. We made it. The other car, containing Dan K, Chad, Tom, and Bryan made it just barely ahead of us despite using all available modern technologies.
The unpleasant scene Thursday morning - in MARCH - in KENTUCKY
Layering made easy with the Hincapie zipper tabs
We were all a little bummed to wake up to snow on the ground and gray skies Thursday morning, but what better excuse to push the ride back and watch some Euro racing for a while? We made some more coffee and let BK’s delicious egg scramble digest. We finally got out early afternoon, and were grateful that the roads were clear of snow. We even got some bonus miles thanks to some Garmin glitches (take that, technology!). Even though the temperature barely got above 40, we were all well-layered in our Hincapie gear, and managed to push the pedals for about 67 miles. Considering Thursday was Chad’s “sawtooth” profile, we did pretty well to wrap things up in around 4 hours. Barely a mile of flat road anywhere!
Lupe breaks out the latest in aero technology
Dan & Chad are best friends
That evening, we put the cabin’s massive grill to use. Scott whipped us up some great marinated chicken fajitas with all the fixin’s. The grilled onions were a big highlight.
Despite being literally stuffed with food, we made a grocery run into town to stock up for the rest of the weekend. Surprisingly, with 8 of us in public without spousal supervision, we managed to complete our shopping before we were asked to leave. Once it was obvious that Dan DOES NOT mess around with his Cap’n Crunch Berries, we grabbed our 2 gallons of ice cream from the freezer case and headed for the checkout. Many arguments would ensue regarding the proper proportions of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry in a single serving of Neapolitan ice cream.
Korienek Krunch..."not that cheap crap in the bags!"
My achievement for the night was getting the entire team hooked on peanut butter M&M’s.
Improving conditions Friday morning
Friday brought us much friendlier conditions, specifically sunny skies and rapidly disappearing snow. Although the temperature hovering in the low 50s still felt slightly cold at times, conditions were great overall. Gone were the full length tights; replaced by knee covers and my new Bontrager calf-length wool socks These amply soaked up the spring sunlight on their maiden voyage. (Shameless plug: You can buy them, just as I did, at your nearest West Michigan Bike & Fitness store.) Friday’s plan was to keep the speed and distance pretty moderate, with our legs and minds focused on our plans for a looooong day Saturday. No crazy uphill surges or extended 28-mph pacelines. Everyone felt pretty good with the sun in our faces and the civil tempo.
One of the few main roads we were on
Plenty of open space & sunshine
Chad managed to find an awesome road called Abners Mill Road, just after our lunch stop. You can see it on the map starting at mile 32 , with some curves and crazy – but short – climbs and descents. It was the perfect road to ride at that casual pace – just rolling along and enjoying the spring weekend. Any serious attacking without regrouping would have been pretty tough, though. Friday’s ride stats were about 51 miles; just under 3 hours. Dan, Tom, and Chad went for an extra loop, but only made it a few miles before a mechanical turned them back home.
Proof of warmth
Post ride Friday
Friday night on the grill was steak & potatoes, with Chad overseeing kitchen operations. With some crescent rolls and topped off with a big bowl of ice cream, it was another king-sized feast.
Last early sunrise Saturday before DST
Saturday was the big one. With sunny skies again, light wind, and temps headed up to 60, conditions were perfect for a big day. In past training trips, there has been an undeniable conflict between the urge to go hard and the urge to go long…take from that what you will. Needless to say, it’s plenty difficult to achieve both. Today was no exception. With plenty of steep kickers and 5 miles of dirt muddy roads all packed into the first 25 miles, it became increasingly obvious that we would be adjusting our distance expectations accordingly.
In the pain cave, up a hill 10x steeper than it looks
A road, not a bike path!
A long gradual 4-mile-long climb out of a river valley at mile 50 was the nail in the coffin for many of us. I, on the other hand, was feeling great, probably due to my “borrowing” of Peter’s personalized Infinit Nutrition blend. Well, nobody drinks anything but Infinit, so it’s probably just that I’m awesome. We limped back to the cabin at about mile 66, but considering the great weather, and the short getaway ride planned for Sunday, Tom (again!), Peter, and I were motivated for an extra 20-mile loop around our Kentucky “block.” 85.5 miles; about 5 hours. Near 100% sunshine. Great day!
Extra miles with me, Tom, and Peter
Saturday night: Dinner out at Don Señor’s, followed by a trip Joe’s Bar on the advice of some locals.
This will keep us safe...
Tom can dance! Lupe knows the words to every country song! Scott can riff a mean air guitar! Chad loves country bars! Despite some hesitation when we walked in, It didn’t take us long to fit right in with the Kentucky folk. It was the stuff of legend.
With the start of Daylight Saving Time Saturday night, Sunday morning was always going to come early. Some of us woke up a bit more groggy than others, but we rolled out for a really fun 34-mile rollercoaster only slightly later than expected. Ironically, it was the warmest morning of the weekend.
Following the previous day’s rough ride, and a lifetime’s worth of smoke inhalation at Joe’s Bar, we followed the twists and turns of our Pedro’s Pike loop at the brisk pace of nearly 20 mph. Before long, we were back at the cabin, packing up, and enjoying the last few moments of sunshine on our porch. Aside from the lingering cold on day 1, we were really superbly lucky with the weather, and very fortunate that so many of us could get together and do what we love to do for a few days.
Until next year, Kentucky...
We will definitely be back to Cynthiana – and Joe’s Bar – in 2014.