These cyclists proudly take a break at Ada’s Place on Drip Rock after pedaling up the steep, winding hill.
By Kris Davis
With the Bluegrass Cycling Club
The Mountain Mushroom Festival attracted more than 50 cyclists from Central and Eastern Kentucky to Estill County on Saturday. Many of the cyclists were members of the Bluegrass Cycling Club (BCC); cyclists from Prestonsburg and other areas also attended.
The BCC promotes cycling in Central Kentucky and beyond and is comprised of experienced riders and racers as well as novice cyclists. All members like to ride their bikes and have fun! Libby and Danny Barnes, BCC members, have been hosting a club ride for the past three years in conjunction with the Fungus 5K and the Mountain Mushroom Festival. Last year, approximately 20 cyclists participated in this ride.
This year, Libby Barnes planned five different routes that ranged in distance and difficulty. The first group of cyclists headed to McKee. They rode 64 miles round trip in a little more than four hours. The backroads to McKee and Stanton are an absolute terror for anyone trying to drive there. And luckily for the cyclist, this makes these roads challenging and also thrilling.
The second group stayed in Estill County and rode to the top of Drip Rock and back down to Red Lick and over to Knob Lick; they enjoyed a snack stop at the old Jinks Trading Post.
The third group rode 38 miles and visited the old Texacola oil refinery then traveled on to Cathedral Domain and Fitchburg Furnace. I really love this part: seeing peoples’ faces the first time they see this furnace. Fitchburg Furnace is a true man-made wonder.
The fourth and fifth groups rode 54 and 39 miles, respectively. Both groups had one goal: to ride up Cobb Hill. The steepness of Cobb draws riders from all over with one goal: to simply make it to the top. Only some of the riders earned those bragging rights.
After riding up Cobb Hill, the fourth group rode to Stanton. The route to Stanton and back to Irvine is like a miles-long roller coaster. The views are second to none. Looking over Hardwick’s creek and State Rock is my favorite view up at Furnace Junction.
The BCC is hoping to bring a ride to Irvine on every other Wednesday to enjoy the views, tackle the hills, and see what else Estill County has to offer.
Please watch out for cyclists on the road! For more information on cycling or the BCC please visit http://www.bgcycling.net.
Kris Davis lives in Estill County and is very involved in the Bluegrass Cycling Club and the Cave Run Red River Gorge Mountain Bike Alliance. He also helps organize bi-weekly Estill Action Group hikes.