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Old 03-13-12, 12:02 AM   #1
icyclist 
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A California Century in a Day - Photos of the Solvang Century

It's not too difficult to make photographs of the Solvang Century from the back of a tandem, although I did have to put the camera away when we got down to business on the hills.

At 64, I felt great on the hilly ride - 5,000+ feet of climbing. My brother, Dan, felt good on the ride, too. Lots of training on steep hills gave us plenty of power, and we were careful to parcel out that power over most of the ride, finally cutting loose for real on the final big hill.



As usual, the scenery was sublime. The mountains of the Central Coast Range looked like the green hills of the Emerald Isle.



That's my brother Dan, in the captain's chair, me following close behind. We traded saddles every once in a while.


















There was plenty of good food.



I had to pass this beautiful cyclist to make her portrait. She was a good sport, smiling for the old guy on the back of a tandem.

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Last edited by icyclist; 03-13-12 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 03-13-12, 12:21 AM   #2
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Very nice! Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-13-12, 05:09 AM   #3
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Ya got swag!
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Old 03-13-12, 06:28 AM   #4
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Great pics.

To the lady in pic #6 with her jacket around her waist. Very dangerous. If it blows loose at any speed and gets in the rear wheel, she'll leave the bike. Last summer on a week long tour there was an individual killed when his jacket got into the back wheel and locked it up on a descent. He kept going.
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Old 03-13-12, 09:24 AM   #5
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Great pictures! My wife and I did the 100K on our tandem, did the 100 mi last year. The century is definitely more picturesque and I don't believe much harder than the 100K. The weather was perfect although I heard a few surprising complaints about the early am temps. This is a tandem-friendly ride and we saw more than one fat tandem recede into the distance.
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Old 03-13-12, 01:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for sharing, nice pics!!

I didn't know where Solvang was, but I do now. To far for a weekend trip, but really looks like a fun event with nice scenery.

Are there benefits to riding a tandem on longer rides? Can you ride faster with less effort? It appears to be a fun way to ride, but having never rode a tandem, I have no idea.

Last edited by GFish; 03-14-12 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 03-13-12, 02:20 PM   #7
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I'd like to do Solvang someday. I don't want to run my daughter off to college just yet, she has a ways to go to get there, but as soon as she does leave I'm off to ride the spring centuries in Cali. Maybe the Fall ones too.
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Old 03-13-12, 02:21 PM   #8
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Great pictures! My wife and I did the 100K on our tandem, did the 100 mi last year. The century is definitely more picturesque and I don't believe much harder than the 100K. The weather was perfect although I heard a few surprising complaints about the early am temps. This is a tandem-friendly ride and we saw more than one fat tandem recede into the distance.
Californians are weak when it comes to weather. They tend to be spoiled.
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Old 03-13-12, 02:31 PM   #9
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Those are spectacular pictures and very inspirational!
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Old 03-13-12, 04:02 PM   #10
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Are there benefits to riding a tandem on longer rides? Can you ride faster with less effort? It appears to be a fun way to ride, but never having rode a tandem, I have no idea.
You can ride faster on a tandem because there are two people with the profile of one person, so you can cut through the air much more efficiently. You'll often see single riders hanging in a line off the back of a tandem, particularly when there's a headwind.

Tandems go scary fast downhill, too. On one long, steep downhill, we hit 46 mph, and would have been faster except that I initially controlled our descent with the brakes, as I'm not that proficient a rider on a tandem.

Uphill, it's usually a different story. Tandems can be heavier than two single bikes, unless you want to spend a great deal of money. Also, most people can't stand up and pedal on a tender - it feels awkward. So you sit a lot and spin a lot, and go much slower uphill, losing a lot of the time you'd otherwise make up on the flats and downhills.

As it happens, my brother and I are still fairly strong, and are able to stand, singly or together, on hills, which makes us much faster than most other tandem teams, and faster than lots of single riders.

Trying to explain what it's like to ride on a tandem, though, is a little like trying to explain what it's like to ride a bike. Up front, you have to relearn how to steer - it's more awkward at first.

Sitting in back, you feel like you want to steer and lean this way or that, at least at first. Soon enough you realize you really are just along for the ride, and the extra legs, and you give it all up to the captain. As much as I like to sit up front, it's a joy, at least for me, to be the stoker, to be able to just sit back and enjoy the views, to sit up when I want, to make some photos, remove or take off a windbreaker, or eat an energy bar. Of course, I'm all business when we get to the hills.

If you ever get a chance, try it. I'm sure, after the first few wobbly moments, you'll love it.
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Old 03-13-12, 06:10 PM   #11
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My brother lives in Solvang and I flew down from the Seattle area for the ride this year. It was great to get a break from the "wet cave" climate we deal with here in March and enjoy the beautiful scenery, sun and food. Also managed to fit in a hike on Sunday in the Los Padres National Forest.

Beautiful countryside - visit if you ever get the chance.
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Old 03-13-12, 06:33 PM   #12
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Thanks, I'm jealous. Our club, Twin City Bike Club (TCBC from MN) started a week ride in Solvang the day after the century.
Maybe I'll make it out next year....
Bob
If you have more pics--feel free to post more
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Old 03-13-12, 06:58 PM   #13
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Nice photos. I shoot a lot off my bike and I'm always jealous of the attention a stoker can give their camera.
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Old 03-13-12, 08:04 PM   #14
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I'd like to do Solvang someday. I don't want to run my daughter off to college just yet, she has a ways to go to get there, but as soon as she does leave I'm off to ride the spring centuries in Cali. Maybe the Fall ones too.
My youngest daughter and I were in Solvang while visiting colleges in CA. No reason you can't combine a trip.

I highly recommend visiting Pepperdine, Pomona and UC Santa Barbara with her. And throw in a trip to Disney Land. They are all quite similar.
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Old 03-13-12, 08:09 PM   #15
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Thanks for the photo story - nice scenery!
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Old 03-13-12, 08:22 PM   #16
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Great photos - especially that first one.
I too am envious of the fine weather you have around Solvang oh how we could use some of that here in the Pacific Northwest. It's been a cold wet winter.
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Old 03-13-12, 09:23 PM   #17
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Californians are weak when it comes to weather. They tend to be spoiled.

That's a big, diverse place you are talking about. In CA one can ski on July 4 and go surfing without a wetsuit on Winter Solstice, and that's just SoCal. Venture into the northern portion and you can find just about any geography or weather you want (or don't).

Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I have appreciated the willingness of Californians to come outside in any weather much more than I ever did while I lived in CA. The reason is that the only people I ever see out enjoying a ride or walk in the rain in OR are other transplanted Californians. The natives talk about a "cycling season", as though we are playing football or something.
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Old 03-13-12, 10:01 PM   #18
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Yeah, it was a tongue in cheek comment. With like 38 million people there must be all types I'm sure.
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Old 03-13-12, 10:11 PM   #19
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Sitting here in Anchorage as envious as I can be, looks like a great ride!
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Old 03-14-12, 02:09 AM   #20
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If you ever get a chance, try it. I'm sure, after the first few wobbly moments, you'll love it.
Thank you very much for the thorough reply, much appreciated!!

If I ever have the chance, I'll be sure to try a tandem, sounds like fun.
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Old 03-14-12, 09:32 AM   #21
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Century in a day and I thought you were offroad with the Tandem.

Not that I could do a century right now but it will come by the end of the summer.

To those of you that think Tandems are cheating---two sets of legs and you can take a rest ETC.---Try one. An accomplished team will not find them any harder than a Solo-But they definitely are not easy.

Well done on the ride- but you ought to try it with a bit effort next time. If you had time to take pics- one of you was not working hard enough
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