Only seven weekends for training remain before the official start of GABRAKY, and the deadline to sign up is Sept. 16.
There are plenty of changes for this year’s cyclists.
As always, the ninth annual ride is a fundraiser for the Grand Theatre, but it’s been extended from three to four days for the first time, and participants will visit five state parks along the way.
Part of the proceeds will also go to Walk/Bike Frankfort, a nonprofit group working to build safe cycling and pedestrian paths.
The 250-mile Governor’s Autumn Bicycle Ride Across Kentucky starts Thursday morning, Oct. 4, at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton and ends Sunday afternoon, Oct. 7, at Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park on the Kentucky-Tennessee border.
The maximum number of riders will be 100 and 30 have already signed up. That includes cyclists from Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Connecticut, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky.
The deadline for participating is Sept. 16. For online registration, go to Active.com and search for “GABRAKY 2012.”
“We’re excited to have so many out-of-state riders joining us this year,” says Angela Mitchell, GABRAKY co-chair.
“The routes in the past have always been scenic. But we’re working extra hard this year to showcase our beautiful state parks and historic sites including the Abbey of Gethsemani near Bardstown where Trappist monk Thomas Merton lived.”
Cyclists have an option of riding all four days, Friday through Sunday, or Thursday only.
The first day starts at General Butler near the Ohio River at the Kentucky-Ohio border. When riders reach Point Park they’ll dip their back tires in the river, and the day’s ride ends in downtown Frankfort at the Old Governor’s Mansion for a reception.
Thursday at 7:30 p.m., cyclists are invited to attend a concert at the Grand Theatre featuring “perhaps the world’s greatest Beatles tribute band,” says Bill Cull, president of the Grand Theatre. “1964: The Tribute has performed throughout the U.S. and around the world, and tickets will be offered to GABRAKY cyclists at a special riders-only discount.”
Bicyclists start the second day at the downtown Grand Theatre for a short ride to the Capitol for a brief ceremony with Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear hopefully in attendance. Lunch is at Taylorsville Lake State Park, and Friday’s ride finishes at My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown, known as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.”
The third day starts at My Old Kentucky Home and the first rest stop, after 13 miles, is at the Abbey of Gethsemani where riders can sample the monks’ homemade bourbon fudge. Lunch will be served 12 miles down the road at the historic Sisters of Loretto Motherhouse. Saturday’s ride concludes at Green River Lake State Park campgrounds near Campbellsville.
The final day starts at the lake campgrounds and ends in Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park at the Kentucky-Tennessee border. Sunday’s brunch stop will be at Columbia’s Lindsey Wilson College, a major supporter of GABRAKY every year.
Fees have been lowered this year and are $125 for all four days; $100 for three days; and $40 for the first day only. Fees include mechanical support, gear transport, refreshments and water at all rest stops, a Thursday afternoon reception at the Old Governor’s Mansion, Sunday brunch at Lindsey Wilson College cafeteria, and a long-sleeve GABRAKY T-shirt.
Reduced-rate camping and lodging are available at state parks along the route. Camping rates are $5 per person at Elkhorn Campgrounds near Frankfort and My Old Kentucky Home State Park and $10 per tent at Green River Lake State Park. Lodging at General Butler State Resort Park and Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park is available for $54.95 plus tax per night. Catered meals and box lunch will be provided at state parks for additional fees.
Major sponsors for GABRAKY are Graviss McDonald’s, Lindsey Wilson College and Humana.
For more information see GABRAKY.com or call 502-226-4157.