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Touring Louisville, Kentucky

I enjoyed our travels last year to Bardstown so much that I suggested that we all travel to Louisville as a group. Like at the office, when you make a suggestion, you often have to carry out the implementation. At first I thought just the guys would want to go.

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Making good decisions as a group.

We soon found out that the entire group was interested in traveling to Louisville. Some in our group, including me, had been before and even had kids attend the University. This was a first-time visit for some of the group. I had not put together a travel itinerary for a group of friends before, so I went to some blog posts and pulled out a few ideas. It turned out wonderful. It was not as hard as I thought, and my friends all helped with some suggestions of their own.

We began our tour of Louisville by getting one of the rare treats, a bourbon milk shake from Royal’s Hot Chicken. The place was packed near noon and we could see why; the chicken delicious and so were the milkshakes. I had a smooth tasting, cold milk shake that hit the spot with my hot chicken tenders. I was interested that they put a test tube filled with bourbon in the glass along with a spoon and a big straw. This allowed me and the others with the bourbon shooter to add the bourbon as we went. The bourbon in the milkshake was a good combination and one I will look for again.

After a satisfying lunch we had tickets to Angel’s Envy Distillery, a few short blocks away from Royal’s.

 

We were impressed with Angel’s Envy and the tour. They have their own unique take on emptying the bourbon into other spirit containers, including port wine barrels. The distillery was clean and, for an old factory, amazingly modern. The distillery has done a good job in laying out their process.

Taking risks and being bold was a good combination for the taste in my opinion and the opinion of others. We did enjoy the tour guide, the general tour and the product. I found the flavor enhanced by the re-barreling process that is unique for them.

After a wonderful dinner out at Jack Fry’s, where the service was great for our party of 8 and we enjoyed very good cooking and a piano player setting the mood, we went to our B&B to dream about our next day’s tour.  We enjoyed the charm and warmth provided at the DuPont Mansion B&B in Louisville. We were able to sit in the parlor and chat or play games. The breakfasts were very tasty as were the cookies when we got back at night.

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The DuPont Mansion B&B

 

Since we had a large group, I was interested in allowing us to explore the city as well as see the sights together and on our own, depending on what we liked to do.  Some of us purchased the Museum Center (six in one) tickets. I thought it was a great value. Our group made it to these sites: Frazier History Museum, Louisville Slugger Museum, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Muhammad Ali Center, and Peerless Distilling Co.

I spent the most time in the Frazier History Museum; they were showing a bourbon exhibit with the history and shaping of bourbon in America, especially Kentucky.

Being a baseball fan, we noticed several improvements at the Louisville Slugger museum over our last visit about 5 years earlier. The tour was on point and ran us through their bat making facility, starting with the forest and the trees and how they work on growing and identifying trees.

The Slugger Museum did a good job of explaining the process of bat making and letting us feel the product in various stages. I am still in awe of holding a major league bat that could be used in a game (I hope so!) later this year.

Several in our group went to the Muhammad Ali Center and were impressed by the presentation in the museum and the life story and values of this great fighter. This is a stop we will need to go back to and experience. We foolishly thought that we could do a museum in about 30 minutes and then we were drawn into the stories setup inside and spent longer at each stop.

The surprising stop for me was the Peerless Distilling Company. It does not look like much from the outside and is in an old building.

The product was very good and we came away from our tour with a favorable impression of their product and the way this craft maker distills their bourbon. We enjoyed the tour and our tour guide. Peerless uses a sweet mash and they would not share the mash percentages, the corn, rye or wheat, unlike other tours we have been on before.

 

Peerless takes pride in their heritage as an old line (placed in barrels beginning in 1889) Kentucky distilling company. They have modeled their bottle and the re-start of this distillery on the original distilling company. The history was a good story and made the tour worthwhile to hear.

The distilling process and the inside of the building is clean and new in appearance. We did not find a rundown bottler but an up to date modern facility with a good product to sell.

 

We were unable to tour the Even Williams shop, although we stopped in for a visit to the gift shop. Several in our group knew what they liked and found it in the shop.

Our second dinner out at RYEs  was a bigger party for us, with 10 at the table we had the best waitress and service. The food was delicious and I would say you should try it out for yourself. A long time ago, I waited on tables and discovered that big parties like a group of 10 friends, was a big pain to wait on. No one is ready and then everyone is ready. This restaurant must do a great job training their staff because we had no hassles and excellent service.IMG-0583

On our way out of town, the day after Leap Day, we visited the historic Brown Hotel, a landmark in Louisville.

The hotel is known for their grand style and inventing a unique Kentucky dish called the Hot Brown. I thought I had had hot brown before that day, and I now know that it was a poor imitation of the real thing.

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Brown hotel Hot Brown

Everyone at the table ordered the hot brown and we all loved it!

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This is a hotel that properly prides itself on service and satisfaction. We were happy with the meal, our service and the ambiance.  We were visiting on a Sunday and the place was packed. We had the feeling that we were special, just because we showed up and enjoyed a hearty meal.

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After the hot brown at the Brown Hotel, we needed a walk. We had planned a walk to Indiana on the Big 4 Bridge over the Ohio River. We picked the perfect day, the sun was out and the weather was a hint of early spring.

Other Fun

On the first of February I ran the “Frozen 5k” and my son and his friends ran the “Frozen 10k.” This event is put on by our local minor league ice hockey team, the Cincinnati Cyclones. They were kind enough to open their arena prior to the race for us to stay warm and get ready for the event.

 

It was cold (about 36 degrees when we started) in the morning, not as cold as it could be with the historic average of 23 on February 1 in Cincinnati.  My running group suggested that we sign up for several races or running events to get use to running in large events. The run was sold out with about 2,200 runners.

This was my best run (I finished in 32 minutes and 2 seconds), as I ran the whole 5k instead of my unusual running and walking and then running some more. I managed to finish faster than my son and his friends and was able to see them cross the finish line. Yes—they ran twice as far as I did and I am twice their age.

 

Lessons learned:

Always plan ahead. A plan can change, but as we saw with Evan Williams, we do not always get to visit a place without planning ahead for a limited tour. IMG-0580

Take advantage of the local opportunities. We could have gone almost anywhere with our group. A quick ride down the road was like being a world away.

No bike riding on this trip.  I will get the bike out of the basement in the spring.Glen and Kim at Louisville walking bridge

Wabash bike

 

December in Cincinnati & Christmas in California

Before Christmas, I was able to watch the New England Patriots with Tom Brady as quarterback playing the Cincinnati Bengals in Cincinnati. I shared that I thought it may be the last time we see Tom Brady in person in a Patriots uniform and as events unfolded, we were correct. I thought he would retire.

My son joined me for a “fun run” in Northern Kentucky put on by the Arthritis Foundation. The Jingle Bell 5k Run was fun and a challenge (for me). My son ran with me the whole time giving me moral support and slowing down his pace for mine. One of the pictures he took while running backwards.

After a Christmas Eve church service we had a lovely Christmas day dinner in downtown Cincinnati, complete with a walk around town with wonderful December weather.

 

On Boxing Day I flew to California to enjoy the continued nice weather and live out my desire to spend time with family and friends. Our youngest lives in San Jose and we had a great visit. Besides spending time together, watching the MSU Spartans win a bowl game on TV and seeing the latest Star Wars movie, just spending time together was the highlight. We also had a day in San Francisco where we toured Golden Gate Park, visiting the California Academy of Sciences and enjoying the wonderful late December day. We ended up at Ghiradelli Square for some ice cream and good memories.

 

Lessons learned:

Just being together is enough. Listening and respect is also good. I love all our kids!

Other activity:

I did get in my running preparation while visiting prior to joining the running club for the Flying Pig half marathon I plan to run virtually in May of 2020. No bike riding on this adventure.

SFO ending shot bike

 

 

Welcome to Spring!

With Covid-19 disrupting everything, I am home for a while and need to catch up on my blog posts starting with Christmas in San Francisco. I thought I would start out of order and share that I got back from my last travel adventure in early March and just like all of you, all of my activities have been cancelled.

One of the things I learned was the phrase “too much husband and not enough income” describing the now retired husband. I am now at home and my wife is working part time outside of the home. It is a balancing act. One each has to make adjustments for and with each other.  My habits changed as full time employment ended at the office and part time travel and teaching began. I was fortunate to have a coach work with me on this transition, more on that at another time.

Many of us are now faced with no travel and life socially distanced even from their neighbors. I am looking forward to getting back into my routine and meeting in person with my friends.

Here are the things I had to start doing to keep going when I stopped going into the office daily:

  • Walking daily for at least a mile with my wife. This habit, which we enjoy even in the winter, keeps us together and active.
  • Intentionally calling, emailing and setting up meetings with friends and family.
    • We started a group we call First Friday Friends. We have traveled with this group, and the consistent monthly interactions have been great.
    • A life lesson I heard about and then experienced was that my work friends said, as I did when others left, that they would keep in touch. The reality is they are busy and the demands or bonds that previously brought us together are not present any longer.
    • I needed reach out to maintain friendships and connections and you will as well.
  • Find a routine: Prior to the staying at home notices we now are all under, I had a set routine on when to go to bed, get up and what I was planning to do daily. I went so far as to schedule out a day, week and month so I knew what was coming and had events to look forward to each day. All plans change as events happen. I was fortunate to have a plan to change. My lesson learned was having a plan to change was better than no plan to begin with.
  • I chose to get up and go out most days—playing racquetball with friends, teaching indoor biking, working out and swimming at my local gym, now closed until at least the first of April, 2020. The consistency of a group I was accountable to and for kept me active and engaged in life. It was the same thing until a week ago with my running group.
  • Challenge yourself and live your values. One of the coaching benefits was the exploration of values and how to live those out. My frequent visits to family, friends and travels are a part of me living my values of family and friendship. I have also taken on some new challenges, starting running at the age of 60 and participating in running races for the first time in my life.

Here is an example: I joined a running group in January (first run on January 2) and enjoyed running with the group from Tri-State Running Company, a local shoe store in Kentucky. My inspiration for joining this group came from reading the book by Peter Sagal, “The Incomplete Book of Running” where he advises readers to not run alone. I also want to improve my weakest link in the triathlon, running, in hopes to compete in the event again with my son this July. Last year, I walked much more than I ran, so I thought I should keep up the running, at least until July.

So, I joined the running group and have enjoyed the comradery. In fact, the group is so large, I could join the 11:15 pace group for the half marathon.

 

If you do not know (and I did not a year ago) this is a slow pace, and we have more than a dozen dedicated runners who are self-selecting to train at this pace. I picked the half marathon because they did not offer a 10K training program. Now I have done several runs more than a 10k so I think it was the right call.

I just completed, as a virtual run, the Heart Mini Marathon Cincinnati. I did the 15k run that was scheduled for this weekend and was cancelled.  It was fun as I had the support from my wife while I ran the 2.25 mile loop in the neighborhood. The 15k I found out is 9.321 miles.

Keep safe and healthy. I will have more coming soon on my recent travel adventures. Happy to assist with tips on working from home or places to visit. My only bike riding has been at the gym or in my basement. Warmer weather soon and I will be out riding again.Bike End No Ride

On the Road to Perryville

I was able to convince a few friends into visiting the well preserved Civil War battlefield in Perryville, Kentucky. This is a Kentucky state historical site. The battle was a dramatic and short (less than 6 hours) fight for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As a border state between the North and South, Kentucky declared neutrality. So of course both the North and South invaded with the desire to use Kentucky as a base to defeat the other side.

Perryville and the cemetary

Perryville battlefield at the cemetery–Ready for a hike

The North and South forces met in Perryville with the resulting battle costly for both sides. The information provided by the state park was that more soldiers died in the short hours of this battle than at Gettysburg. They are speaking of the death rate per hour of battle and not of the overall number who died in the battle.

Perryville Battlefield Museum and visitor center

The Perryville site does a good job of presenting how the Confederate Army pushed the Union Army and, if they had stayed, would have been able to claim a victory. At the end of the day, the Confederates left the field and moved out of the state to Tennessee. So, this was a technical Union victory. When you are on site and see the movement of troops, you can better understand the results.

We appreciated the site and how we were able to visualize the battle during our almost 2-mile hike around the battle grounds. It was hard to put ourselves in the place of the soldiers on either side going up and down hills. This is the type of place that a map and knowledge of the battle is a good idea. A healthy imagination is also a good benefit.

Perryville line of battle

Line of battle in Perryville KY Civil War site

 

Before we made it to Perryville, the group of guys I was traveling with decided we could go to Buffalo Trace Distillery. This is a 200 year old continually operating distillery; of course continually operating for 200 years takes some talent as most distilleries were shut down for prohibition. Buffalo Trace was open as it was able to supply medicinal bourbon during prohibition. This is a stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and on the way to the battlefield (kind of).

BT Visitors Center

We arrived early in the morning and were able to take one of the free tours. You need to plan a few months in advance for the scheduled longer tours and, being guys, we planned a few days in advance to go and did not have the longer tour. The free tour was a very good tour. The tour had us walking the beautiful grounds. We were able to see a short film, ask questions and go into a rick house complete with a secret entrance. We were able to see the bottle filling and labeling as well. At the end of the free tour, we were able to taste test the product. As a result, or it could have been planned, our group purchased a few bottles of Buffalo Trace products at the gift shop.

After a lunch in Frankfort, near the Old State Capital, we went on a tour of the State Capital. This is a wonderful building with interesting statues in the rotunda of both Abraham Lincoln (dominating the center) and Jefferson Davis (much smaller and off to one side). Both were born in Kentucky, about 100 miles away from each other. If you know history, we were heading to a Civil War battlefield, and these two were in charge during the battle.

Lessons learned.

Everything is better with bourbon here in Kentucky. We visited the Kentucky Knows Coffee Shop in Frankfort. We had a good time talking with Tony, the owner of the store. And yes, we also purchased coffee beans.

Burbon Coffee

You can read about history and then walk the fields to see the hills and sweeping fields of fire. Even reading the markers and then walking the grounds sharpened how we took in the scope of that effort by both sides. I am a proponent of being on site. Thank you for the preservation of this historical battlefield.

 

Travel with friends and explore what they want to explore. One in our group had heard of the bourbon coffee shop. It was a fun place to explore.

 

Support the local businesses, helping them and yourself. I am so happy we made a stop at the distillery and visited the capital building. We are not alone and need to continue to explore.

 

No biking was done on this trip.

bike in garage

Bikes left in the garage

 

Competing in a Triathlon

Watching an event is different than participating in one. We were able to watch our son run in the Flying Pig Marathon weekend and complete a Spartan race. This weekend was different for me because I was participating in the race. My son challenged me to run a Triathlon at the end of July. At a moment of weakness, I said yes. Then the challenge began with him suggesting that I needed to try and beat him.

 

Getting ready to race

Arriving at the race and ready to get started

Our triathlon was a sprint, meaning it was a shorter distance (thankfully for me). A 400-meter swim, a 20K bike ride (about 12 ½ miles) and a 5k run.

I have to confess that I have not run in years—maybe the last time I ran was with the Michigan State University Spartan Marching Band in college. I had to learn to run. The challenge for me was starting my running and working up to the 5k distance.

The training was good for me; I am already trying to keep in good health. My running training started and ended by listening whilst running to the NHS (British Health Care, National Health Services) couch to 5k audio podcasts. I ended up running over 60 miles prior to the triathlon. I felt good about running, although I am definitely not a runner. My best time, of course in practice, was still a generally slow time of over 10-minute miles.

Good day at the event!

Ready to go out to celebrate after the event

It was great to have my son spend the night prior to the race and join us for dinner and answer my many questions on the race that he competed in last year. We rode up together and were at the event in plenty of time for a little warm up and to get some of the nerves out of our system.

At the Finish line with the UM hat bowing

Right after my finish. Notice how my son looks rested!

I was over 13 minutes slower than my son for the event. He started on the swim after I entered the pool so that if he passed me, he knew his time was better. I had a good experience at the event and was happy to finish.

I learned that the start is critical in a sprint; I went too hard on the first few hundred meters of the swim. Next time, he goes first. Although I passed a few participants in the pool, I was passed by a few more as I walked from the pool to the first transition location and then spent too long getting ready for the bike ride. I did manage to beat my son on the bike; that was the only event I had an advantage.

My run was poor and I cannot blame anyone but me. My son passed me on the run portion as I was tired from biking and you know already that I am not a runner. I was walking (catching my breath) when he passed me during the running portion. That was all the encouragement I needed to get back running. I heard my son’s finish, so I was not too far behind (okay, 13 minutes…).

I had fun and I would do it again. Next year, I will find the time to practice more.

After the race

Finishers!

A few lessons learned.

Run after getting out of the pool…even if you are tired

Carry a bucket for your clothes and then you can use it to sit on before the race and during transition. The two competitors I saw with the 5-gallon buckets looked like they knew what they were doing.

Consider training to unbuckle shoes on the bike to go into the run transition without the clip-on shoes slowing me down.

Run more, swim more and start practicing earlier. If I am to do the event again, I will have to maintain a running regimen during the winter to get ready for a July event. If I can run in April, then I can work on time and not just getting ready to run the distance.

The warm-up is helpful; I need to determine the pool warm-up for the event.

There is no substitute for experience. I read a lot about the event, watched YouTube videos and learned more by doing.

Training for a triathlon is different than my normal bike riding for distance. It was a different mindset on the course.

 

Activity Statistics:

Swim: 9:16

Bike: 42:11

Run: 34:50

Overall finish time: 1:31:41, place = 68 out of 92 men in the race (I was 30 finishers behind my son). He did better than his time the year before and I am happy to have been part of his motivation.

Bike ride over with Medal

Ride to Rabbit Hash

I have found out that when I do not have a goal, I am not motivated to ride or walk or do any other activity. I was encouraged to spend more time locally this summer to participate in a few local bike rides. Training to participate in organized rides takes practice on the local roads. Where I live we have a lot of hills, and since I was going to participate in Kentucky rides, I needed to practice on our local roads. As a result, I have enjoyed rediscovering some of the local rides that I ignored for the last few years.

The local challenge:

This year, a buddy of mine, David, who retired when I did, purchased a bike; together we went on several rides. It was great fun riding with him on the local roads.

Another friend of mine was looking for a riding partner for a few century rides. Mike took the Kentucky Century challenge and wanted a riding buddy. I looked at joining the Kentucky Challenge and decided against four century rides. Much to my surprise, I ended up riding three of the four century rides with Mike as well as training on some of the local roads. I also managed a few 50 mile rides on my own and with friends. I think I should have signed up for all four.

Additional encouragement to stay local was received when one of my sons challenged me to compete in a local triathlon.

As a result of my goals for riding this summer, I spent more time around the area than I did outside of our local area.

Favorite local rides:

Have you ever been to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky? I used to go about once a week in the summer a few years ago. It makes for a great stop when you are on a local bike ride. We have seen the original general store, the burned down general store, and now the re-built general store.

Local Rides--G-K Rabbit Hash General Store

Rabbit Hash Kentucky

Big Bone Lick State Park to Rabbit Hash. This is a favorite ride for me and my wife. Many of the Boone County rides end up or begin at or ride by Big Bone Lick State Park.

We often  ride from Big Bone to Rabbit Hash (about 10 miles out) with the variations open to go up the evil twins (both category 4 climbs) or a single category 4 climb or just to ride along the river without climbing to get to Rabbit Hash. We like to go early in the morning as motorcycles come to Rabbit Hash as a destination in the afternoon and evening.

 

As a side note, Strava recognizes the size of the climb in the results. A category 4 is a big climb (okay—it is hard on a bike!) with category 1 being a harder, steeper climb. This categorization of hill climbs started with the Tour De France; the category 4 climb is the lowest level they count. I am not sure I have been on a category 3 climb. Probably just as well.

The “no brainer.” This is a sponsored ride on Monday evenings along the Ohio River on KY Route 8. It is a no brainer in that as you leave the parking lot, turn right. When the road ends, you turn around and head back. This is a great beginning ride, and David and I did a few “short” 10 out and back rides to get a feel for road riding. The ride is fairly flat and does not have too much traffic. The views of the Ohio River are wonderful.

Harrison’s Tomb. William Henry Harrison’s tomb is in Cincinnati. He migrated to Ohio and became a senator prior to being elected president.  He has an impressive tomb and has a regular procession of visitors to the tomb. The ride is a great route along the Ohio River, heading west toward the power plant and ending (if you ride the hill!) with a great view from the bluffs overlooking Kentucky and Southwestern Ohio. I appreciated learning about the ride from my bike mentor Chuck.

My triathlon-challenging son and I rode this ride—had a great day and enjoyed the scenery. Unfortunately, he rode just as fast as I did, so I was determined to train a little harder on the bike ride for the triathlon.

Ride from the Boone County Arboretum.  Our ride from the Arboretum avoids the big climbs and starts with a big downhill.  The first time I went in 2019 with Mike and David it poured rain on us the entire second half of the ride, all the way up the hill on Big Bone Road (a category 4 climb). Even in the pouring rain, we had a good time.  My bike riding mentors took me on the easier ride several times. I returned the favor for David and took the path away from the evil twins (two back to back category 4 climbs), riding on Riddles Run Road, taking a left on 338 or Beaver Road and then up Big Bone Road where we can climb just one category 4 hill before heading back to the Arboretum. This 17-mile loop is a great challenge for any rider. I know that to see if I am ready for the upcoming challenges, once a year I need to ride over the evil twins.  I managed to get in a solo ride and accomplished riding up all three of the category 4 hills in one ride. Fun but exhausting.

Rev war grave on 338

Revolutionary war marker on 338, Union KY “John Hawkins Craig, VA-TRP, Revolutionary War, March 14, 1763-April 8, 1852.”

On 338--property for sale

House for sale on the way to Big Bone—farm on the Ohio River.

View up 338 toward Big Bone

View from the road from an early morning ride along 338, on the way to Big Bone Lick

 

Loveland Bike tail—Ohio & Erie. This is the rail bike trail in Cincinnati with a paved rail trail all the way to Cleveland. My wife and I have spent many fun rides on this trail with a stop in Loveland to enjoy a meal or ice cream. David and I spent our retirement anniversary (2 years) doing a 50-mile ride on this trail to celebrate.

 

Lessons Learned:

  • Enjoy the local rides
  • Go out and exercise and have some fun with friends while you are out
  • Join others or use their knowledge to explore some good routes.

Activity statistics:

Century Rides

I did participate in three century rides with my friends this season. I previously wrote about the Horsey Hundred ride over Memorial weekend.

My friend Mike signed up for the Kentucky Century Challenge and I joined him for three of the four required rides. I could have signed up and received a jersey for completing the challenge as well. Maybe next year. I enjoyed our time outside on the century rides.

The best one of the seasons was the last; likely I was in the best shape for that ride. The Limestone Challenge was a beautiful ride and very well supported. It made a difference that it was cool and overcast all day. One of my favorite segments was a switchback climb where we could see the riders ahead of us climbing up as we were climbing into the valley preparing to climb.

This was a big climbing ride and featured two category 4 climbs. This is why I practice on our local category 4 climbs, including the evil twins. The distance rode was 100.27 miles (had to get to the start) and elevation of over 6,100.

Limestone finish line

Mike, David and Glen after the ride.

The other century ride we did was two weeks before the Limestone Challenge out of West Lafayette, IN , the Wabash River Ride.

Wabash River--Glen and Mike

Mike at the Wabash River–Cool 68 degrees to begin

We had another perfect day for a century ride in the summer. It was great weather for a long day on the bike. This ride was well supported and much smaller than the other two century rides we participated with.  We rode 101.3 miles and climbed over 3,650 feet.

At the end of the ride we were looking for the hills that the organizers said were coming up. The day was cool to start, which is always great. We did cross a covered bridge and enjoyed the views of the river from the banks.

Wabash and Glen 2

Glen at the Wabash River

I am not a fan of pickles, and Mike and I both thought it was funny that at the Wabash and Limestone rides they offered riders pickle juice.  Maybe I will try it some other time.

Local Rides--Rabbit Hash General Store--End

Looking forward to our next ride to Rabbit Hash

Cincinnati USA

It was a cold and wet spring. Not too much time for training on the bike outside. The good news is that Cincinnati has a lot of fun places to go and see.

In between the cold and the rain I was able to go to see the Cincinnati Reds play baseball. First professional game I can recall being at where the temperature was under 40 for the entire game. The Reds played their second game of the season, after their opening win, to a small crowd (18,737) compared to the opening day crowd of over 44,000, one of the biggest at the ball park. Even though the team lost, we were convinced that warm weather was coming. The game was fun and baseball always holds the promise of summer.Cold in baseball

It was expected to rain when I went to see my first professional soccer game. The local club “FC Cincinnati” plays in the University of Cincinnati football stadium awaiting a new soccer stadium in town.  So, it was fitting that I was invited to the game with my son who played in the first soccer game I ever saw. The day turned out nice and even though the game ended in a 1-1 tie, the game was exciting. The crowd, into every kick and pass on the field, seemed to know all the rules. With 26,023 fans in attendance, the noise and excitement was a contrast to the baseball game. Constant noise and cheers came from a fan section called “The Baily” that lent the game an atmosphere of intensity with chanting, drumming and yes, yelling.

The Baily has chants and songs for all occasions. We were able to witness the snake of fans in their orange and blue on the way into the stadium all chanting (Yes, I had to look it up…)

Cincinnati here we go, here we go, here we go.

Cincinnati here we go, here we go, here we go.

OLE OLE – OLE OLE, No one likes us, but that’s okay.

So score a goal, or score a few, Cincinnati, we’re here for you!

FC Cincinnati game bailey

Looking from our seats at the Baily after a goal by Cincinnati

Another tradition in Cincinnati is the Flying Pig Marathon, something I have never done or even been to see in action. I do have friends that have run, including one who ran the marathon for 20 years in a row.  The same son who took me to my first soccer game invited us to see him run in his events. He ran the “3 way with cheese” events, a 1 mile, 5k, 10k and half-marathon on the Flying Pig weekend. He did really well and we were glad to be on the sideline cheering him on.

My friend who ran all those marathons is also a champion bike rider and has completed a few iron man challenges. I have no desire to run a marathon, let alone run one at the end of a swim and bike ride of over 100 miles. We did manage to do a century ride together at the Horsey Hundred bike ride.

HH Intro

Before the start of the Horsey after we got our numbers and were ready to go to the start. The jacket was short lived and did not make it on the ride.

Each year over Memorial weekend, Georgetown hosts the Horsey Hundred, a bike ride displaying for all who care to bike ride the beautiful horse country area in Kentucky. The organizers directed us on routes past several horse farms; we were impressed and welcomed at the rest areas stocked with friendly volunteers and needed snacks.

End of HH Bike picture

Look–horses!

The ride was a challenge as the weather in the afternoon turned sunny for the first time in weeks. Too bad I had not trained in the heat or the sun for the ride. I think we were both a little overloaded with the sun when we pulled into the finish after the 100 miles of bike riding. I am thinking my next ride (already signed up for a century ride in September) will see me in better shape for the distance.

HH mile 100 pin

Mike and Glen getting our pins for completing the 100 miles.

Spring would not be complete without a visit our local Arboretum. Of course we walked and saw the spring trees blooming and the flowers starting to bud.Spring in Cincinnati

The flowers were coming out on the dogwoods just in time for the local dogwood dash.

A few lessons learned.

  • Be a tourist in your back yard. We have a gangster tour planned for the summer in Newport, KY.
  • Support your local teams. Wow, the baseball and soccer games showed that a lot of local people really like and support Cincinnati.
  • Beauty is often in your back yard. Even though we have had to mow often this spring, the budding trees and flowers of spring bring joy.

Activity statistics:

Thank you Mike! I appreciate you pulling me along on the 100 mile Horsey Hundred event. That was not our first century bike ride together as Mike and I did a 100 miles MS bike ride a few years ago. My favorite comment from Mike was that at least he does not have to get off the bike and run a marathon. Amen to that! It was enough just to finish the ride and drive home.

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Training ride along the Ohio river, route 8. A favorite out and back trail ride.

 

 

On the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

One of our goals is to be a local tourist. When friends and family visit, we need to be able to show off where we live. We have also moved around the country and know that exploring the home town area is important to growing roots in the community.

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Lots of product stored for aging

Kentucky is home to several bourbon distilleries. One of our retirement travel goals is to begin to visit them along the trail that the Commonwealth of Kentucky has set. It will likely take us a while to get to all of them. We have friends who have biked on the bourbon trail, and Kentucky has an outline of some suggested bike routes. I am sure I have a friend or two who would ride some of the trail with me sometime next spring.

Bourbon distilleries are large and small in Kentucky, and the smaller makers are the craft distilleries. We started our tours with the craft trail, close to home. We have made one stop so far. Our first stop was the Boone County Distillery.  I cannot think of a better introduction into bourbon and the history than what we received from this group.

The tour was fun and informative. We did not make a reservation and were pleasantly surprised to be the only two on the tour. Larger groups proceeded and followed us on the tour. This is one of the benefits of being home when others are at school or working.

After our tour, we had the unique opportunity to see them uncork a barrel and strain the product. It was cool. Even better, we were treated to a taste from the barrel, which was slightly different from the finished product.

A few lessons learned. Being a local tourist is just as much an adventure as flying around the world. The people were very nice, informative and happy to make our visit meaningful. We are planning to visit more local attractions and will get to them soon.

 

Other items:

We were excited to see the redone Music Hall in Cincinnati. The symphony sounded great and the colors and updates were all very well done. We hope to go back soon to the symphony.

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We were able to watch a dog for a short time and appreciated the quiet moments to reflect when you just have to be outside walking a dog. It is a good reminder to reflect on all the good things in life and all that has gone so well for us. We are grateful for every day.

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No bike riding on this bourbon trail. I did teach a cycle class on the day of our tour. Always fun!

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Have to stay in shape when it is cold outside.

 

Black Friday Hiking

One of the joys of seeking experiences over stuff is we do not have to join the world in shopping on black Friday. For those that know us well, you know we never did go out on Friday morning for “Black Friday” deals. I usually went into work and wrote performance reviews celebrating a day lacking meetings and emails.

This “black Friday” we took in the local Middle Creek Park in Burlington, Kentucky. We enjoyed the hiking and the stepping away from all of the traffic that exists anywhere near a mall. The venue was quiet and we were part of a small group of hikers; we saw a few others out on the trails. The park has almost nine (8.49) miles of trails.

Middle Creek park sign post

No cell phone reception and watch out during hunting season–which when we looked it up was when we were out. No hunting in the park, just the neighboring area.

The excitement of hiking in the fall is that no insects are out to ruin your day. It was only 50 degrees out so we were wearing long pants. The other benefit is that no prickly bushes were scratching our legs as we hiked up and down the hills. On the other hand, we are noisy as we walk through the leaves that have almost all fallen, scaring away the local wildlife and sometimes obscuring the path.

The trail we hiked was a multi-use trail for horses and people. Horses must use the trail as we saw evidence of their hoof prints and, fortunately, no other evidence. The ground was muddy in places. The hiking up and down the hills was just right. We enjoyed the glimpse of the Ohio River that is afforded at the top of the trail.

Middle Creek park view of Ohio River

View of the Ohio River from the park

One of the retirement benefits is taking off when the weather is nice and visiting local parks. We are sure that many others had the day off.  

 

The lesson learned from this travel is that near or far, a good time is often determined by our own attitude. We set out for an adventure, and even though this one was closer to home, it was a get away from town and any normal routine that we have established in retirement.

Another lesson learned during the last few weeks was emphasizing the importance of family and friends. We have traveled to a few funerals and attended some locally. It is great to get together with the family and remember a life. It is even better at Thanksgiving and other times to get together and just be together. Making memories together is part of the journey; we are looking to continue to celebrate that journey on our travels.

We hiked about 3.5 miles on this adventure.

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Our minimum outdoor bike riding temperature is 55 degrees or a little cooler if the day is warming up. I taught an indoor bike cycle class instead of taking a bike outside.