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  1. #1
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Another Century, A Lesson confirmed

    We rode the Solvang Century on Saturday and (surprise) proved without a shadow of a doubt that we need longer weekend rides and more climbing. We can ride 100 miles and we can do some tough climbs, but we can't do both on the same day. More precisely, I can't get the tandem up a sustained 11% grade after 85 miles Actually, was a pretty nice ride, but we need more base so we can do 80 miles or so with some climbing very comfortably.

    I'd definitely recommend this ride for the scenery alone; it's a beautiful area. The roads are generally good although we hit one stretch at a 35 mph downhill runout that was very rough. Rests stop were just ok, especially considering this is a large ride, but everyone who does these things seems to have different expectation levels.

    Next weekend we'll lead a 58 mile "B" ride with a bit of climbing; this will be a nice relaxing recovery ride.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post
    . . . More precisely, I can't get the tandem up a sustained 11% grade after 85 miles . . . .
    Walking counts.

    You already know that, but some inexperienced riders avoid long rides in fear that they won't make the grade.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  3. #3
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    Rick, I remember awkward moments like that on the tandem. I talked to other, more experianced tandem teams and was told not to put much thought into it as it usually happens when one or both riders in the team isn't 100% on that given day.

    I'm an empty nesting single parent these days and I've sold the tandem, but I do miss it. My older daughter mentioned a triplet for her family, that should be a hoot.

    Brad

  4. #4
    Rabid Member KillerBeagle's Avatar
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    Not really on topic, but since you mentioned it, what makes a rest stop "just ok"? Not having ridden in a supported century for over 30 years, I'm curious as to what people expect to find. I was just hoping for porta-potties and some water, maybe fruit and snacks but I always carry enough of my own anyway.
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  5. #5
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    So you had to walk your tandem part of the way up a hard climb late in a century. Look at it this way, you rode a century in March. WTG!
    With a strong start like this, you're both on your way to a great year of cycling.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  6. #6
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    Rick, ride Tierra Bella next month and tell us how that goes, OK?

    All I can say is if you became Lance Legweak at the tail end of the ride, I'd take another look at how you're fueling/hydrating during the ride, and/or gearing. Maybe you just need a super low bailout gear when everything goes south? 'Course, if you're going sub-4mph, I guess you might as well jump off and walk, or better yet, tack across the road if it's low traffic w/ good sight lines.

  7. #7
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Great job on finishing! A 11% grade that deep into the ride certainly tests riders in a lot of different ways and is nothing to be taken lightly.
    Ride your Ride!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member DanteB's Avatar
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    Great job! The Solvang area has some beautiful areas and some steep hills. I'll be riding there March 26th doing the Solvang Spring Double Century. If you want a century without steep hills at the end and most of the climbing in the first half checkout the Woody Y Century & Family Fun Ride.
    Make mine a double!

  9. #9
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillerBeagle View Post
    Not really on topic, but since you mentioned it, what makes a rest stop "just ok"?
    The lack of a certified massage therapist, of course.

    There are lots of little things that can make the difference between 'okay' and 'gee, that was nice'. I worked SAG while back, at the top of a monster climb, and we met riders at the edge of the asphalt, took their bikes and put them on the rack, and filled their bottles for them as they sat in the plentiful chairs. After awhile we had to ask some of them "don't you think you should, you know, get back on your bike and finish the ride?"

    Maybe we shouldn't have said the therapist was running late.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  10. #10
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    I worked SAG while back, at the top of a monster climb, and we met riders at the edge of the asphalt, took their bikes and put them on the rack, and filled their bottles for them as they sat in the plentiful chairs. After awhile we had to ask some of them "don't you think you should, you know, get back on your bike and finish the ride?"

    Maybe we shouldn't have said the therapist was running late.
    Was that the Heart of Arizona, AzTallRider?

  11. #11
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az_cyclist View Post
    Was that the Heart of Arizona, AzTallRider?
    Yep... it was fun working the stop.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  12. #12
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Rest Stops: Solvang had five rest stops on the century which is more than enough (we skipped the last one). They had water and Heed (I believe) at all the rest stops, but Gatorade would be nice (or it would be good to know in advance what they were going to have available). Cantaloupe, pineapple and bannanas were fine It would have been really nice to have something salty, pretzels or potatoe chips which you find at most rides. PB&J at some rest stops I believe. Solvang was above the threshhold, therefore "ok". I think the biggest improvement would be having different selections at some of the rest stops. Rides that stand out in my mind are the Marin Century, Tierra Bella Century, Lighthouse, Foxy's and Wildflower (Chico Velo). It's less a matter of specifics than an overall impression. Some rides don't have as much flexibility in locating stops which can make a difference.

    Ride Itself - roads were well marked, CHP and others at critical intersections, friendly volunteers at the stops. We had absolutely no mechanical problems, but I didn't see any vehicles labeled as "SAG". Don't know what there were doing to sag folks to say nothing of a tandem! I would say with the exception of the pitches that got to us the ride is not bad at all. There are some good flatish stretches and some great downhills

    BTW, the 70 mile option might have been reasonable but only two rest stops which is below my stoker's threshold and I don't think very many folks turned off at that point
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  13. #13
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    Yep... it was fun working the stop.
    I could not ride it last year do to being out of town on business. I will see how the volunteering goes this year to see if I ride or work it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    Rick, ride Tierra Bella next month and tell us how that goes, OK?
    In your dreams on the tandem. Will do it some time when we're not riding that week. We can do the Henry Coe Climb and we can do Leavsley/Canada pretty easily, but there's a lot of climbing on that ride - the 100K for us!

    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    All I can say is if you became Lance Legweak at the tail end of the ride, I'd take another look at how you're fueling/hydrating during the ride, and/or gearing. Maybe you just need a super low bailout gear when everything goes south? 'Course, if you're going sub-4mph, I guess you might as well jump off and walk, or better yet, tack across the road if it's low traffic w/ good sight lines.
    We have a 24-32 and I don't know that we would every use a 24-36 and we are hovering around 4.5 mph. Having a cold didn't help, but I need to hydrate more and maybe try something other than Nuun tables. I have "tacked" on dead end climbs on my single, but have you every tacked a tandem when you're going 4 mph and cramping?

    All in all it was a good ride. We learned something of our limits which is always a good thing.
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  15. #15
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by az_cyclist View Post
    I could not ride it last year do to being out of town on business. I will see how the volunteering goes this year to see if I ride or work it.
    I'll be riding it for the first time this year, and hopefully there will be less wind. The big reward for the climbing is the "screaming descent of Yarnell hill". But I actually saw people off the saddle, pedaling, to get down the hill.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  16. #16
    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    I'll be riding it for the first time this year, and hopefully there will be less wind. The big reward for the climbing is the "screaming descent of Yarnell hill". But I actually saw people off the saddle, pedaling, to get down the hill.
    and from what I have heard about Yarnell hill, that headwind must have been a serious attention-getter!

  17. #17
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rdtompki View Post

    We have a 24-32 and I don't know that we would every use a 24-36 and we are hovering around 4.5 mph. Having a cold didn't help, but I need to hydrate more and maybe try something other than Nuun tables. I have "tacked" on dead end climbs on my single, but have you every tacked a tandem when you're going 4 mph and cramping?
    Yeah, I have tacked going 4mph on the tandem, but not with a cramp. I think if I ever got to that point I'd just get off and "walk it off."

    I've used Nuun tablets before, too, but maybe you should try something more direct like salt tablets or those Enervit Sport Tablets. The Nuun is OK except that it ends up flavoring the whole bottle and sometimes you just want plain old water.

    I should go see what the 100k route looks like, maybe I'll join you folks if the stars line up.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv View Post
    I should go see what the 100k route looks like, maybe I'll join you folks if the stars line up.
    The 100K Tierra Bella is a very nice ride, not up to Solvang standards for scenery, but the loop up toward Gilroy Hot Springs and around Canada road is very nice and Uvas road is a rolling , shady oft-bicycled stretch. I'm probably being a bit unfair regarding the comparison with Solvang since I've lived in the Tierra Bella area long enough for the scenery to have become familiar. Rest stops, BTW, are excellent. So T4mv, come on down. We could wheelsuck until the first climb!
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  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    A Tandem on a century with any form of hill is not an easy bike to ride. I know- I used to do one every year and my years training was evolved around this one ride. It's that training that you have to get right. My ride was In june so from February I was down the gym twice a week. From April it was extra evening rides aswell taking a hilly 30 mile route that we used as our marker for our our fitness. When we got to doing the 30 miles in 2 1/2 hours- then we were fit.-normally about a month before the main event.

    But hills at the end of the ride are killers. Our ride had the worst 3 in the last 20 miles. Only a 1 mile stretch at a time but first came the constant 15%- Then the rutted trail broken 15% with 18% just at the end---Then the killer of 12 to 22% over broken bricks and Scree. I have seen grown 20 year olds crying as they pushed their solo bikes up these hills. Mainly because of the Muscle strains and Blood oozing from scratches from the number of "Offs" they have had on the ride.

    So if you want to do Hilly centurys this early in the season- Start training earlier. It will still hurt but possibly not quite as much.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    A Tandem on a century with any form of hill is not an easy bike to ride. I know- I used to do one every year and my years training was evolved around this one ride. It's that training that you have to get right. My ride was In june so from February I was down the gym twice a week. From April it was extra evening rides aswell taking a hilly 30 mile route that we used as our marker for our our fitness. When we got to doing the 30 miles in 2 1/2 hours- then we were fit.-normally about a month before the main event.

    But hills at the end of the ride are killers. Our ride had the worst 3 in the last 20 miles. Only a 1 mile stretch at a time but first came the constant 15%- Then the rutted trail broken 15% with 18% just at the end---Then the killer of 12 to 22% over broken bricks and Scree. I have seen grown 20 year olds crying as they pushed their solo bikes up these hills. Mainly because of the Muscle strains and Blood oozing from scratches from the number of "Offs" they have had on the ride.

    So if you want to do Hilly centurys this early in the season- Start training earlier. It will still hurt but possibly not quite as much.
    Welcome back, Stapfam.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    Thanks for that info. Tough to have the climbs towards the end (profile here).

    I've been comparing recent rides with my upcoming Wildflower century, and can see that I may be in trouble. At least the end is flat.



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  22. #22
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
    Thanks for that info. Tough to have the climbs towards the end .

    I've been comparing recent rides with my upcoming Wildflower century, and can see that I may be in trouble. At least the end is flat.
    Al, I think you'll find the first climb is doable with reasonable gearing. We were able to do it non-stop on our tandem and we're not very good climbers - got passed by a lot of singles on the way up. Just make sure to hydrate on the way up and hydrate prior to that second climb (which is not part of the 100K). It's my understanding that the second climb is easier than Honey Run (first climb), but is exposed and can be warm. I'm sure you'll get r done.
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