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franklin county times

Watermelon Festival Bike Ride rolls for sixth year

By By Kim West
Russellville cyclist Buddy Pardue knew the 102-mile ride would be an uphill challenge – literally.
Pardue, along with 62 other riders, participated in the Watermelon Festival Bike Ride last Saturday.
The ride featured three distances, including 35, 65 and 102 miles, and was sponsored by the Russellville Kiwanis Club for the sixth consecutive year.
"The 102-mile ride is fairly hilly, " Pardue said. "We started at the (Russellville) school stadium and climbed Spruce Pine Mountain, along with one in Colbert County and Lost Creek. The race went through Belgreen and back up to Frankfort, and looped back around to the stadium."
Every cyclist was provided a post-ride meal, which included grilled chicken, potato salad, chips, and Gatorade or Powerade drinks..
"It was hot – 100-something degrees when we finished in the afternoon – but there was low humidity," Pardue said. "If you do it right, you're eating and drinking during the ride. But everyone's still pretty hungry after the ride is over."
Pardue said he didn't train specifically for the the ride, but encourages first-time riders to include hills in their pre-race workouts.
"I train all year, so I didn't do anything specific, and I know the route," Pardue said. "You only need to train a little while to go 35 miles, but it would take several months to prepare for the 102-mile ride, because it's fairly difficult and has a lot of hills to climb."
Pardue said the race wasn't a competition and that all riders completed their rides by 4 p.m. after a 7:30 a.m. start.

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