It all started out with this song playing at 5:50am as I was pulling into Heather and Maddi's:
For those of you who don't know, my bike is named White Lightning, so I thought this was a great omen to start the journey!
I have to say Heather's dad Hank is the hero of our trip. He offered to come with us and drive our "safety vehicle," which already has been beyond helpful and needed. He is also a lover of bourbon and a guru, so already after just one day it's been awesome having him with us!
These are some of the Jim Beam tastes we had. The one at the end is an "experimental" one. It's only available in their tasting room for people to try so they can get feedback on whether or not to continue it and make it official.
After our tasting, we had some pork/chicken sliders and some Southern sides at the little cafe there to give us some fuel to start our journey. The meat was all smoked right there outside the cafe, and it was delicious!
After that, it was time to be on our way! After getting a group shot with Jim, of course.
Our ride was pretty uneventful, save for an angry truck, two dog chases and Maddi nearly being annihilated by some chickens. We definitely weren't fully aware of the Kentucky back-road terrain. We anticipated hills, but thought they would be more rolling hills and not such steep grades the whole way. It was just about 25 miles until our first stop while biking: the Heaven Hill Heritage Center.
I was struggling with some dehydration during the last 5 or so miles to Heaven Hill, so it was a good break to get into the AC and chug some water. We decided we were going to take our sweet time the rest of the journey: 23 miles to Maker's Mark. Let's just say the first 2.5 miles out of the Heritage Center was alllll uphill. We struggled a bit, took lots of rests, and eventually called Hank to come get us to pack up a few miles short of our intended length. I said multiple times on the second leg that I will be happy just to ride 100 miles on the weekend...these hills are so tough! For some reference, on my rides all around NE Ohio, the gain usually hit between 600-750ft.; today's total gain was 1,971ft.! We finished at about 43 miles before packing up for the evening. We enjoyed lots of beautiful Kentucky countryside on the ride.
The sun was setting and we were starving, so we went straight into town (Lebanon) and ate at this great local Italian place called Ragetti's. Normally, this much chicken parm would leave me stuffed, but it was devoured quickly and easily! From there we went to our hotel, checked in, showered, stretched and caught some much needed zzzz's.
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." --Anatole France