Happy New Year Everyone!
It has been a while since my last post. I type this with soreness in my right hand from a fractured little finger that happened a few weeks ago. I was finishing a 5-mile run to prepare for a 10k that I wanted to run in Florida over Christmas Break. I tripped and fell on the sidewalk less than a block away from my house. I twisted my left foot, had water on the left knee, a broken right pinky, and a cracked Galaxy 8. 😬
I will not dwell on my fall. This post is about the joy that I have found over the last two months while biking along the Louisville Loop.
If you recall, last year I purchased a road bike with goals to compete in triathlons. I raced a sprint distance where I could have placed in my age group had I not struggled in the biking section. No matter how much I wanted to get into the sport, I could not adjust to being clipped on the pedals and changing gears. The outdoor cycling experience was a lot harder than indoor spin classes in terms of coordination and safety.
Not one to give up, I decided to try a mountain bike.
Ride #1: Ohio River Valley
My first ride started at Chickasaw Park based on a co-worker’s suggestion. I was confused about where to get on the Loop because of construction along Southwestern Parkway. I parked at the tennis courts and rode out to Southwestern Parkway. There were green signs for Bike Route on a side street, but I didn’t want to go into the residential area. I continued past the construction into Shawnee Park. I finally found the paved area for the Louisville Loop.
My first reaction was excitement to see Louisville from a different perspective. It was a little scary hearing ruffling in the woods from wildlife. It took so long to get set up on the new bike that I was losing daylight.
I came to a sign that said the area was closed due to high water. I didn’t see any water and figured I could ride until the path was blocked. I kept riding and got to the Shawnee Golf course. The next barrier was a complete road block I could not get around. I ended up riding on the golf course. It was cold and I didn’t expect anyone to be golfing, so I kept on peddling. The 10-mile ride seemed short and not much of a workout.
When this section is opened, it is supposed to go all the way to the Big Four Bridge.
Ride #2: Floyd’s Fork
The next ride was at Beckley Creek Park, which I am familiar with from marathon training and the St.Patrick’s Day Half Marathon.
I got there in the afternoon and it just so happened that the Louisville Marathon was getting their last finishers. I felt bad for the runners, because it was a very cold morning for a marathon. The park is beautiful and more ideal for biking than running because of the concrete.
The path went on forever. It is easy to get caught up in the newness of scenery and forget the same miles going out need to be covering getting back to the starting point. I spoke with a couple at the Turkey Run Park rest area. They mentioned how The Loop connected to Broad Run Park. It came with a warning that there were hills in that area. From Beckley Creek Park to Turkey Run was about 24 miles round trip.
Ride #3: Brown Forman Silo
The next ride on the Louisville Loop was Broad Run Park to Turkey Run. I covered 9 miles on this ride and it was very hilly! I was low gear for most of this ride. Turkey Run Park is home to the Brown Forman Silo that has been transformed into an observation tower. There are 109 steps to reach the lookout platform.
Again, I was seeing parts of Louisville that were new to me. I went to Broad Run to walk around when it first opened because my parents lived in the area before they moved to Florida.
Ride #4: Ohio River part 2
On Thanksgiving Day, I skipped the Turkey Trot races and went for a 22-mile ride on the Ohio River Levee Trail. I began at Farnsley-Moreman and rode to the Watson Lane Trailhead. From Watson Lane, I rode until a split. The left side goes to the Ohio River Overlook. The right side continues the Louisville Loop to Chickasaw Park.
It was getting dark, and the oatmeal I ate for breakfast was not enough fuel.
Ride #5: Ohio River part 3
I was determined to ride from Farnsley-Moreman to Chickasaw Park. The Levee part is okay, because the scenery is nice.
The boring part of this ride is coming out of Riverview Park. This section is along an industrial park area of Cane Run Road. It goes around Louisville Gas and Electric stations.
There is a part that I liked in a wooded area. Sadly, I can tell that this section of the loop is not as respected and taken care of like the Parklands sections. The residents in this area are to blame for the graffiti and using motor bikes. A section of the trail was very muddy from motor bike tire marks. I heard one behind me and pulled over to let him pass.
After the Levee Section, the Louisville Loop goes into a residential area towards an open road. I did not like being out there on a 50 mph, two lane road. It was very industrial with factories and 18 wheelers passing by. Someone in a pickup truck thought it would be funny to yell out the window to startle me. I’ve experienced jerks yelling obscenities while running, so it wasn’t a huge deal. Some people are just ignorant.
I was happy the Loop took me back onto a traffic free area by a junkyard and going into Rubbertown. The Louisville Loop had made full circle when I came out onto Southwester Parkway. I must admit that I was tired mentally from the concentration and physically. This was my longest distance for running and biking with a little over 28 miles covered in three hours.
Ride #6: Parklands
I like riding in the Parklands because of the scenery.
This was a 16-mile ride to keep it reasonable in terms of going out and back in under two hours. The trail was blocked due to high waters in some areas. I saw a guy with a Sheriff bag on his bike and asked how did it look ahead. He told me it was okay, but very muddy.
With the mild weather in Kentucky, there were a lot of cyclist out on my last ride. I couldn’t help but notice how smoothly the road bikes were moving. I got looped on the Loop!
I posted my Trek bike for sale after I failed miserably at clips, gears, and a fall. I am glad I didn’t accept some of the low ball offers I received. I have decided to keep my road bike! Clipping in is going to take some time. I plan to switch to platform pedals and see how that goes.
The missing piece to the Louisville Loop is getting into the downtown area and figuring out where to go from there with the section in Shawnee being closed. Once I am fully healed from the fall, I would like to take new routes around Cherokee Park into Seneca Park, and possibly out of town.
Whether mountain or road bike, I will keep you all in the Loop!