I had planned to start the Solvang Double Century at 6:30am and showed up at the start at 6:15. The tandem team and single rider I rode with at the Camino Real Double were there and they wanted to know if I would like to ride with them, of course I would. Another tandem showed up they knew and off we went. Holy smokes weíre 200 feet out from the start and weíre doing 24 mph. After a few miles we settled down to 22. I was a little worried about the pace but they said they were just trying to get away from the crowd.
Weíre now into the first climb and we havenít let up. I mentioned to the other tandem that weíre hitting this pretty hard and Iím not that great of a climber. They told me I was doing great and we werenít working that hard. Ok, the 2 tandems raced the Furnace Creek 508 and the stoker on one of the tandems is the stoker on a tandem for the RAMM. I have to admit it was fun, we were hauling a**. At mile 50 we made a turn and there was a short climb. I dropped my chain and stopped to put it back on, matter of a few seconds. They were gone, almost. I saw them at the top of the hill so I took off to catch them. After almost 5 miles of completely burying myself I caught them. I was tired and it took me 35 miles to recover or I thought, we never did let up. We were at the turn around at 106 miles with 4,100í climbing in 5:45, Iíve never covered a century that fast. 12 miles later and it was lunch.
By the time we got to lunch I was toast and knew I couldnít keep up this pace. I told the tandems I needed to slow down and they should go on without me. They offered to slow up a little to see if I could recoup, but I told them to go on. After lunch I dialed it way back because I knew 60 miles down the road is a nasty little climb of 3 miles and 900í. By the time I got to the last rest stop, just before the climb, I was feeling much better. I had some cup-of-noodles and a Coke I was now ready for the climb, I hope. I got on the climb and I keep waiting for it to get hard. Wait, Iím almost to the top and I havenít hit the hard parts. Did they lower the hill, took out the hard parts or was I just feeling that good all of a sudden. I donít know, but the hill didnít feel that bad.
Once over the top itís a tough downhill, 2 hairpins at the top with sand in them and then the roughest 3 miles around. On the lower part you have 4 miles of 4% downhill with pretty smooth road, I was back to flying. With one last small hill and then it was on to the finish, a shower and some dinner. I felt very good about the ride even though I had buried myself during the first half. I was able to recover and finish strong.