13 Sep Whoa nelly! Biking Kentucky’s Horsey Hundred
Cycling among bluegrass and bourbon
Want to ride long smooth roads with rolling hills in gorgeous countryside at a well-run cycling event? Saddle up your bike and head to Kentucky’s bluegrass region for the Horsey Hundred.
The event is put on by the Bluegrass Cycling Club, and 2017 was its 40th anniversary. The Horsey Hundred has grown greatly through the years, with more than 2,000 riders from across the country and abroad. The ride is based outside of Lexington in Georgetown, on the beautiful campus of Georgetown College.
Horsey Hundred cycling scoop
Check in is on Friday, with optional rides Friday and official rides on Saturday and Sunday. There are rides for all types of cyclists, from a sampling to a century, with tandem bikes and families welcome. There were four to five routes to choose from each day, ranging from 25 to 100 miles.
The scenery is unbelievably beautiful. The Horsey Hundred website describes it best, “… wind your way through … the Bluegrass region and be treated to some of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine including horse farms, stone fences, rivers, streams, lush pastures, historic towns, and bourbon distilleries. … Come join us and see why we feel blessed every day to be able to ride here.”
There was an indoor vendor expo with a variety of booths featuring bike jerseys, cycling clothes, tours, artwork, jewelry, gadgets, accessories and wonderful massages. The Friday night food trucks on-site were a nice touch. The towns of Georgetown and Midway had parties on Saturday night.
Official event lodging options include dorms, camping and RV camping on campus. We stayed in a nearby hotel.
Cycling event registration fees include:
- Optional Friday ride routes
- Friday night entertainment in the big tent on campus
- Saturday and Sunday post-ride lunches
- GPS routes and cue sheets
- SAG vehicles, which roamed the riding routes
- Well-stocked rest stops about every 20 miles
- Horsey Hundred tee shirt or bike socks
First time’s a charm
We were newbies at this year’s Horsey Hundred, but tagged along with some folks from home. They’ve been coming for a number of years, so they knew the nuances of the area, where to stay, where to dine and fun places to visit.
It’s almost a 7-hour drive from our home in Charlotte, North Carolina, so our group added a day on the front end to arrive on Thursday. We did a wonderful 25-mile ride Friday morning out of Midway, a quaint small town with nice shops and restaurants. This was a great leisure ride, stopping for photos and taking in the incredible scenery. Then we enjoyed lunch and a distillery tour at Buffalo Trace Distillery, before checking in Friday afternoon.
The weather forecast leading up to the weekend showed Friday being beautiful, but Saturday and Sunday with lots of rain and possible lightning storms all day. We were optimists and got lucky with Mother Nature. The weekend days had gray skies, a few very brief showers, but great riding! We heard that a number of cyclists were no shows this year due to the horrible forecast. But we were going no matter what, and had a Plan B – if we couldn’t bike, we would tour bourbon distilleries, dine out and enjoy the company of friends.
Biking the Kentucky bluegrass
Martin, some buddies and I rode the 42-mile route on Saturday. On Sunday, we rode the 35-mile route. Routes were very well marked and the pavement was generally very smooth. The rest stops were at beautiful old churches, which were interesting to check out.
The routes meandered through the spectacular countryside, with big beautiful horse farms and pastures lining both sides of the roads. There were some long slow hills to climb that were rewarded by a long fast fun rides on the downside. Fun rolling hills that all riders can enjoy!
Once you got out of town, there were often more bikes than cars. It was a grand sight to see and we never had a problem feeling crowded.
The Horsey Hundred is an awesome event with great routes! I cannot say enough about the absolutely gorgeous Kentucky countryside – it will fill your soul with its beauty and give you quite the workout in the saddle of a bike.