We had an appropriate P-R experience yesterday, when flats, crashes, torrential rain and dicey road surfaces making for our own “hell of the ‘ville”. 7 hearty souls showed up for a 20-miler instead of our originally planned 27. I apologize up front for the lack of pictures, but we were poured on all day long, making camera usage difficult. The ride started with some bricks to the south of Mid-City Mall and then took advantage of the many long alleys which parallel B’town. And here we experienced a harbinger of what was to come, in this case our first mechanical via Chad’s loosened rear axle nut on his Diamond Back frankenbike. Dave came to the rescue with a 15mm wrench and off we went. Several comments in the course of that section suggested that the downhill brick alley descent into Grinstead was a bit sketchy. I propose that my old mountain bike riding helped, in that the best way to confront the bricks was speed and more speed. By the looks of it, James and Chad agreed with me. From there we looped behind Phoenix Hill and up a nice climb at Rubel Park. Hitting the next section of bricks hard, we encountered a 2nd reality of cobblestone life, loose stuff. I had a water bottle jettison and throughout the ride other folks had weird stuff coming loose: o-rings, bottles, several blinkies and 3 helmet mirrors. Brutal stuff. We came through the Original Highlands section unscathed and bridged towards Old Louisville.
After a wrong turn by some of our hammerheads we took an excellent turn along Shelby Park where I had my one “pucker” moment of the day, feeling a front wheel start to skid in a nasty section of brick, grass, mud, gravel and rock. No dab though. Shortly after we had our first flat, in this case that of Dale. After a replacement tube in the torrential rain he felt the same misery just down the road and threw in my replacement tube. Below we have our Ormsby St. fracas, one that took us a while. Ever try changing a tube in a driving rain storm? It makes for a bit of difficulty.
You can see most of the involved parties in this 2nd pic: Dave (vest), Dale (tire), James (really wet sweatshirt), Chad (legs and DB against wall), & Andy‘s rivified Trek in the distance, along with the front wheel of my Crosscheck. I’m taking the pic and Todd is behind the tree branches. With the time already taken up with mechanicals, We/I cut out some of the Old Louisville portions and headed downtown and through the bricks 4th St. Live and down towards Rowan St. off of Main. To my knowledge, along with those next to the Brown Hotel, Rowan has the only tried-and-true cobbles in town, but our drama enfolded not 20ft from that portion. 11th Street crosses some old train tracks right before this portion and to our surprise, poor Chad hit what was probably a hidden hole just before a portion of track and took a dramatic header, and I mean header! I was just in front but heard the impact, and the rest of the group saw it happen. Fortunately, he had nothing broken and was able to recover his wits soon enough, but Wow! Oh, and he had another flat to fix. He as able to ride with us part of the way towards the East but smartly veered off in a more safe direction.
We came to our third region of the day in Clifton/Crescent Hill and took advantage of a few very nice sections, especially that of an nasty alley paralleling Frankfort and of a hill climb on State St. By this point I needed to make my own way in the homeward direction ( family peace, you know), so we descended Payne and took the Beargrass Trail in all its lush, green glory to link up to the parks. After a detour on the cut-through paths in Cherokee AND another flat (Dave), we undertook our last two sections, paralleling Bonnycastle and later Baringer. Someone noted that the Baringer section is particularly nice, although it might not have been James b/c he almost ended up in somebody’s garage. He experienced what we all did late in the day, a loss of braking power due to the wet.
Time made it such that we couldn’t stop for a refreshing one, which is really too bad, but the ride was certainly a memorable one. The mix of rain, grit, mud, traction, more rain, flats, crashes, drama, scenary and company left me with good feelings about our won P-R. I’m sure the rain scared a few folks off, but it does keep our theme of atrocious weather for RCCS rides (3 for 4). I would love some comments on people’s favorite sections, preferably with *** rankings.