Henry Horton State ParkYesterday was the “Duck River Rendezvous” 50-mile bicycle ride at Henry Horton State Park, which is about 30-miles south of Nashville. Unfortunately, I had to host a Nashville Palm Users Group meeting, so I was unable to participate in the ride. That didn’t stop Holly and my Mother though from deciding to try the ride. They’ve never taken part in a coordinated bicycle ride and both had never ridden more than 20 miles at a stretch, so both ladies were definitely exploring a bit of the unknown.
Normally I would put a link to a web site describing the ride, but unfortunately the only mention of the “Duck River Rendezvous” is in a year event calendar for the entire Tennessee park system for the 2005 year. You can find it at this link, but to save you the trouble, here’s what the entry said:

Henry Horton | April 9 | Duck River Rendezvous
A 50-mile bicycle ride that travels through Marshall and Bedford counties will begin and end at Henry Horton State Park. Pre-registration required.
Contact: Randy Whitworth, Randy.Whitworth@state.tn.us or (931) 364-7724.

Not much to go on, but given that the event was free certainly nothing to complain about. My Mom works for State Parks and e-mailed Randy who explained that there would be full SAG vehicle support (No one knows what “SAG” really means or where it came from; in this respect it’s kind of like “Ham”. According to one definition, it is an abbreviation for “Support And Gear.” SAG Vehicle drivers pick up broken down bikes and tired riders.) So it sounded like a great ride and I was really sorry that I wasn’t able to participate. Holly and Mom both registered and I helped them get their bikes ready for the event. I tried to get them to train some for it, but with only a week, there wasn’t a lot of time. Mom got in two 10-mile rides and Holly only had 1 10-mile ride. Even with very little mileage under their belts, both ladies were ready to go at 6:00am yesterday as I loaded them up. I learned later that they were a little nervous about the ride since I wasn’t able to go, but they showed no signs of it as they were leaving.

I checked up with them a couple of times, but it wasn’t until they got home that I was able to get all the details. They said that there were about 20 riders as best as they could tell. Everyone else passed them, as they were the slowest in the bunch, but they enjoyed the ride nonetheless. Randy Whitworth, the coordinator for the ride, took excellent care of them and the SAG van was always nearby checking up on them. This made me really glad to hear. Since most of the roads were rural, having that level of support made them feel like they were never alone. They took plenty of rest breaks and thanks to Randy’s support had plenty of extra snacks, water and Gatorade. They ended up having lunch at the

Three Corners Market & Deli, where they “had great hamburgers”, according to Holly. After approximately 5 1/2 hours in the saddle, they made it to the end of the ride, which ended up being around 55 miles all total. Both of my ladies were exhausted, sore and ready to crash when they made it back to the house. They were surprised that they made it all the way to the end, but knew that it took everything they had to make it there. All in all, they both said that they had a good time. Even though they took a long time on the ride, Randy and the rest of the Henry Horton staff never made them feel rushed. They were the last ones in, but they were made to feel as if they were the first. Neither of them will probably get on a bike for the next week, but both of them said that they would like to do another ride in the future, which is a good sign. Hopefully I’ll be able to ride with them the next time. Speaking of next time, it seems that there’s another 50-mail ride at Henry Horton in September, but it’s a little tougher. Randy says it’s a little bit more hilly, but who knows, if it works out schedule wise, we’ll try and make it. In the meantime, I applaud Randy Whitworth and the staff at Henry Horton State Park for putting together a wonderful April ride and for taking such special care of their riders. 🙂 Course Map Since there wasn’t much on the ride, I took the liberty of using Google Maps, to create the course path that they took. If you want to use Google Maps to browse around on your own, you can use this link. Otherwise you can download the image of the course route that I created.

2005 Duck River Rendezvous Course Map (193k)