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Feel the Burn: Bourbon Festival and Biking Tour

It started out as an idea kicked around between a professional bike guide, a travel enthusiast, and a long distance runner. Today, it’s the inaugural Bourbon Country Burn. The event was built from the ground up for bikers to experience Lexington’s quiet country roads with pit stops at distilleries and horse farms, and delicious local food at the end of each day. The Bourbon Country Burn will make its inaugural debut this Fall from September 29 to October 1.

“We want people to walk away from this experience with the perspective that Kentucky is indeed an international biking destination on a par with some of the best cycling itineraries in the world,” said Mollie Hanrahan, co-founder of the event.

Participants of this Southeast biking tour will have the flexibility to choose from one, two, or three-day passes as well as the option to tailor your distances each day anywhere from 20 to 100 miles. Luckily, hydration and safety are of top priority for the hosts as they have partnered with Revive Medical: IV Wellness and Recovery Specialists who will be available on-site all weekend should anyone need it.

Camping at Kentucky Horse Park Campground is included with registration. The campground is also Bourbon Base Camp, the event’s central location where riders can indulge in local foods, live entertainment, and taste bourbon from the same distilleries biked to that day. Bourbon Country Burn’s team has also partnered with two hotels in the area for discounted rates for the riders.

Austin Render, one of three partners who made this possible, has enjoyed a career as a professional cycling guide in Vietnam, Cambodia, and and National Parks of the U.S. Mollie Hanrahan, has spent time traveling in South America, backpacked around the world, and brought her passions for biking and bourbon with her to Kentucky’s bourbon culture as she became a tour guide and brand ambassador for several whiskey labels. As travel companions with similar passions, Hanrahan and Render co-founded Louisville Bike Tours, a sightseeing touring business. Four years ago when the two were biking across Patagonia, the dream for an event like this was first formed.

Mike Kuntz, the third founding member of the team, began his journey toward the event 20 years ago as he ran through Oregon. From that experience, he came up with the successful, 24-hour relay event known as the Bourbon Chase. He always wanted to add a biking component to his event, so when he connected with Hanrahan and Render, it was the perfect fit to join forces to create the unique and exciting Bourbon Country Burn.

As a first year event, the team was pleased to have the support from the Lexington Convention & Visitor’s Bureau as well as all of the participating farms and distilleries that are thrilled to be a part of the fun. 

“Our original concept was in itself a much larger project, and we do hope to bring the bigger picture to life, within the next few years,” said Hanrahan.

To get in on the action of this bike & booze adventure, register on their website and make plans to stay in one of the most scenic areas of the Bluegrass state.

Ticket prices: 1-day pass $150.00; 2-day pass $220.00; 3-day pass $300

Participating distilleries: Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Town Branch, Castle & Key, Kentucky Peerless, Glenns Creek, Hartfield & Co. (and likely more to come!)

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