A Big Time in Kentucky

This was my fuel for today’s ride.

So my pal Luke wants to do Tour the Divide next year.  Its some kind of crazy mountain bike race that’s like 3000 miles long, its unsupported and if you do finish it alive no one would probably notice.  Perfect for a madman like Luke.  We discussed training options for this insane undertaking and Luke has decided that long, hard road bike rides will be a good way to start getting ready for it.  Leading us to try a century today.


This photo looks better then real life, that road looks real.

I asked Luke this morning where he wanted to go and he said something about Golconda, Cave in Rock, Kentucky or something like that so I ran upstairs and planned out a quick route with google pedometer. I was surprised it only came out to 107 miles, I was like, “Dang dude we can do this.”    A true ride planner would have printed the map, or at least wrote down the major roads we were following, I spent several seconds committing the general shape of the route to memory. Real handy.

The Shawneetown Bridge.

So we rode to Historic Old Shawneetown then continued across the bridge to Sturgis, home of the Little Sturgis bike rally, then continued to Marion Kentucky where something strange happened, I looked back and saw I was riding by myself, Luke was aways behind me.  See the thing is that Luke is a real fast bike rider and I’m just a bike rider.  Luke suffered for the next several miles from some unknown afflection which drained him of energy.  My guess is some Mountain Bike witch doctor was jabbing pins in a Luke voodoo doll.  Perhaps it could have been the fact that Luke had forgotten to eat last night or breakfast this morning and he brought two bottles of water, a cliff bar, and a gel on this hundred mile ride.

Standard Early in the ride pose.

The good news is that Luke recovered and took his rightful place a mile up the road from me after 88 ounces of Hi-C from McDonalds in Marion.  As we continued on I began to realize just how hot it was, I mean it was like really hot, but it was windy so he had that going for us.

On a couple of occasions we had to ask friendly Kentuckians if we were on the right road, they were always nice, and the people there gave us lots of room.  Real nice place to ride.

One of the benefits of this route is how we didn’t have to ride this quarter-mile across the Ohio.

We had a big time crossing the Cave in Rock Ferry and then a big time getting water at the Cave in Rock gas station.  By this time I had drunk about 4 bottles of water but my thirst was unquenchable.  No amount of water or Gatorade was able to quench the desert that my mouth had become.  I’m sure I should have probably drank more water earlier.

We pulled into Glenn O Jones with only 13 miles to go to the end, I drank another bottle of water and tried to eat a Cliff Bar, it was like trying to chew sand, I could only get any down with a big swigg of water with every bite.  I drank my two full bottles on the way home, forcing myself to take a drink every few minutes and pour a bit over my head.  Soon I felt better.

End of ride pose, Umm, this isn’t look good, I can barely get my thumb up.

This could be my longest ride, I think I did a 110 miles once on Bike Ride Across Nebraska in 2005, that day I left at 6AM and finished around 6PM.






About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
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5 Responses to A Big Time in Kentucky

  1. Steve says:

    You look like you got some sun! The Shawneetown Bridge is CRAZY – that alone is a unique experience. Ferry rides are the cherry on top.

    The Ride The Divide is one of the toughest races in the world, if not the toughest. Best of luck to Luke!

  2. Jim Russell says:

    Ugh, 100+ miles in 90 degree weather; that is insane. Would kill a normal person.

    My wife and I went to a Memorial Day weekend cookout at Rend Lake today (Sunday), so I took my backup road bike and rode about 25 miles around the state park. Spent the last 5 miles with one hand on the bars and the other hand just holding my water bottle; had to drink every few minutes to stay hydrated.

    Had to look up the Tour the Divide, trail starts somewhere in Canada and ends up close to the Mexico border (on a mountain bike no less), that little bag under your seat probably not going to cut it.

  3. Shon says:

    As others have said, a pretty hot day for a 100 mile ride. It certainly looked like it was worth it, though.

  4. Matt Gholson says:

    It was hot, but in July it will just be normal, my body wasn’t used to the heat yet.

    I want to make one thing very clear, under no circumstances would I even think about riding Tour the Divide, that is all Luke.

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