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Thread: Solvang Century

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    Senior Member SYV Rider's Avatar
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    Solvang Century

    Here's the place to post your ride reports if you were one of the lucky ones to ride yesterday's Solvang Century or Half Century. The weather was much better than last year's.

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    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    Just posted this on the Southern California forum. Since I am from Northern California, thought I should put it here also.

    I will let the Red Rider throw her two cents worth later. We started out from the Flying Flags at 7. The tandem wanted to go so we opened it up after a little warm up. We averaged 23 mph on the first leg. It was a perfect run. Topping the hills and looking out over the valley with the sun peeking through and the valley filled with fog was awesome. We left the second sag and started climbing Harris grade, passing people working hard. Almost at the top I shifted into the small chain ring and jumped a ring, jamming the chain. We had to stop and I spent about 10 minutes getting the chain unjammed without breaking it. After that we had a lot of trouble. The chain kept skipping in the cassette so that all I had was the lower two and upper two gears in the cassette in any chain ring. It made things difficult but once again the tandem ruled the downhills. At Sag two, the bike mechanic was not there (found out later from a ride official at breakfast that he was just late). We limped out of there into the teeth of the wind and slogged it out at 12 mph. We passed a few people having trouble with the wind and after a bit we were passed by a paceline moving nicely. One of the riders was someone we had just passed and after a bit she got dropped. We continued to slog it out with a very limited gear selection. As we passed her I told her to grab onto my wheel. She was happy to have the pull and stuck with us. Half way to the 3rd Sag I looked back and noticed we were pulling over twenty bikes sucking on our wheel. Almost to the sag, one of the wheel suckers asked if we were tired of pulling a crowd in the wind. I said if anyone wanted to pull for awhile, come on up. He did and then as we got a little slack from the wind he dropped us. Got to the 3rd sag with our train and got the bike fixed. I lost some chain and still couldn't use all my gears but overall gained a bunch back. We lost about 25 minutes there. After that it was pretty much us cranking it out into the wind. Got our max downhill on that next leg as we got the tandem up to 48. The long climb was tough after the against the wind limp but we made it and zoomed into the last sag. The wall always looks harder than it is. We have tougher climbs at home. We screamed to the switchbacks at Ballard Canyon, grannied up them and hauled booty to the finish. We ended up matching our overall ride time from Palm Springs at 7 hrs. 20 min. We were happy with that time cause it is a harder ride and we lost a lot of time with the chain issues and limping into the wind. I have the worlds best stoker and had a great time. We got home today and did a 35 mile "recovery ride" on our singles. I am now officially tired. I hope to see some of you guys at the Chico Wildflower in April. We are doing a century a month. Vacaville is having a century ride in May. It has lots of good climbs and beautiful scenery as it winds through Solano, Napa, and Yolo counties. The hill climbs were on the Amgen tour. Go to www.Monticellocycling.org for info. Come on out and ride.
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    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    cgallagh & I had an fan-freakin'-tastic ride on our tandem yesterday! We missed all our S. CA BF buddies as we & our friends parked their RV at Flying Flags campground in Buellton, we turned in early on Fri. night & left about 7 in the morning.

    Yeah, the fog, the cold, but NO hail, rain, sleet, snow, t-storms, etc. Once we reached Lompoc the sun was shining brightly, we shed our extra layers and went to town.

    Half way up Harris Grade we threw our chain & bent a link, so all the middle sprockets were useless. We rode in our middle chain ring, in a fairly easy spin, from there all the way to the 3rd SAG, where we found a kindly mechanic who fixed us up. That whole way was into the steeking wind, with Cap'n Chris & I pulling who-knows-how-many half-bikes. Oy.

    After the repair we were back in fine form, racing right along. That steep pitch at the top of Foxen gave us the challenge for which we'd been preparing, and I have to say that we gained a measure of satisfaction as we spun & slogged up that hill while people on better bikes walked.

    We finished the ride in the same time we finished the Tour de Palm Springs -- 7:20 total, including a 20 min. stop for the chain repair. Yesssss!

    After we arrived back home we went for a 34 mi. Winters Loop on our singles for a recovery ride. Couldn't let another brilliant day go by without a ride to celebrate.

    All in all we had a fun ride & look forward to doing this again next year. Maybe next time we'll see more BFers on the road.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    This was our first Solvang Century on our tandem and it was great. The weather was perfect for cycling and typical for wine country – cool, with early morning fog warming up rapidly . We started around 8AM with wind breakers and knee warmers. By the first rest stop, we got rid of all the extra clothes and we were down to jerseys and shorts and it was warming up fast! We turned into the wind and started climbing Highway 1. Well, this set the stage for the rest of the trip to Santa Maria – strong headwinds, hills and vicious cross winds. There were times that I had to turn the bike into the wind to counter the cross winds . In general, we rode this solo, no drafting or we led a pace line. I have aerobars on the tandem and spent significant time on the bars into the wind. We picked up a team of three other strong riders and we had a very good rotating pace line for about 20 miles. Once we made the turn at Santa Maria, we had the wind at our back or cross. The first major climb was well suited for a tandem, with a moderate grade and the wind at our back but very hot; 84 deg F. As we climbed mile after mile we were passing a lot people who were struggling with the climb, the heat and the previous whipping the wind gave us. Then the “derailleur god” decided to punish us . We were unable to shift into our granny gear for the top steep section of the long climb and had to climb in the middle chain ring which was extremely annoying but not awful. The descent to the next rest stop was exhilarating and we stopped to refuel at the rest stop for the final major climb. With a little TLC, we got the granny gear to work and rode up the hill. The final descent into Solvang was a lot of fun and we finished strong. We both felt great and went for a recovery ride on Sunday. One interesting note, our GPS recorded 8000 feet of climbing in 100 miles versus the 5000 feet indicated in the brochures.
    Last edited by Hermes; 03-12-07 at 08:52 AM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member BigSean's Avatar
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    I had 5200 on my GPS, although Motion Based said 6700.

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    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    I think you & a line of half-bikes passed us at a good clip while we were still crippled. Silver Santana, right? Whizzing along like we were standing still? Good job. We had speed envy.

    One of the people we pulled for that long, brutal stretch between SAGs 1 & 3 into the wind was waiting for us at the finish to thank us for the pull. Only one other rider thanked us for that, too. Those acknowledgments were very exhilarating. We were stoked & can't wait to do it again.
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    sounds like you guys had great weather. I am definitely going next year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider
    I think you & a line of half-bikes passed us at a good clip while we were still crippled. Silver Santana, right? Whizzing along like we were standing still? Good job. We had speed envy.

    One of the people we pulled for that long, brutal stretch between SAGs 1 & 3 into the wind was waiting for us at the finish to thank us for the pull. Only one other rider thanked us for that, too. Those acknowledgments were very exhilarating. We were stoked & can't wait to do it again.
    Yes, silver Santana; I was watching for you. Sorry, we missed you ! I was concentrating on fighting the wind and the pace line so much, I did not have much attention left to look for people. Also, the bicycle der/chain gods were not nice to either of us .

    The people we rode with were very nice and in general thanked us / commended us for any pace line assistance. At a rest stop, a woman who arrived after we did, came over and thanked us for the help against the wind toward Santa Maria.

    We really liked the ride and it is one to do again. The weather was fantastic, the police and organizers did a great job and the route was very scenic and not boring with very few required stops.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    DoubleTrouble cgallagh's Avatar
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    Great riding on the silver santana. We watched you guys buzz by us twice. First time you were pulling the train, and the next time you guys were in the middle. I asked why the tandem was in the middle since all I had seen all day was tandems with 1/2 bikes sucking wheel. We were on the black raleigh. I forgot to mention Red Rider insisted on getting a (as I previously called it) dork bell. She used it with great frequency warning riders of our approach from behind. After that ride I will not make fun of her bell again. It worked very well even though some riders were completely oblivious to proper etiquette. She had so much fun with that bell I thought she was going to wear it out.

    Dork bells, Get one.
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    Senior Member Rushfan's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting about the Vacaville Century. I'll be there for the full or metric depending on how my training proceeds. Interesting that it's the day after the Davis Double.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgallagh
    Great riding on the silver santana. We watched you guys buzz by us twice. First time you were pulling the train, and the next time you guys were in the middle. I asked why the tandem was in the middle since all I had seen all day was tandems with 1/2 bikes sucking wheel.
    Twice I must have really been focused at the time. In the pace line you observed, the lead position was constantly rotating. The line was fun and was formed initially by us pulling a group into the wind. After a couple of miles, I called back and asked if there were any "domestiques" available to come forward. One of the guys came foward and took the lead. He was very strong and picked up the pace a little and we got a rest. We overtook another strong rider who joined the three of us in rotation. Soon we added a fourth. We were averaging 22 - 24 mph with this group rotating position. Up to the formation of this paceline, my heart rate was averaging 145. After we formed the pace line, I went to 150 to 165 which is too fast for me for 100 miles (with each rotation, the speed increased slightly - not necessarily good). After a few miles, we let those guys go to allow the HRs to return to sustainable levels.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member BigSean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Rider
    I think you & a line of half-bikes passed us at a good clip while we were still crippled. Silver Santana, right? Whizzing along like we were standing still? Good job. We had speed envy.

    One of the people we pulled for that long, brutal stretch between SAGs 1 & 3 into the wind was waiting for us at the finish to thank us for the pull. Only one other rider thanked us for that, too. Those acknowledgments were very exhilarating. We were stoked & can't wait to do it again.

    I remember seeing the silver Santana and passing you, but I dont recall where it was. I was wearing a Roadbike Review jersey.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSean
    I remember seeing the silver Santana and passing you, but I dont recall where it was. I was wearing a Roadbike Review jersey.
    Do not remember Roadbike Review. Which bike were you on?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member BigSean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes
    Do not remember Roadbike Review. Which bike were you on?

    A Madone 5.2SL with Easton wheels.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSean
    A Madone 5.2SL with Easton wheels.
    Great bike. Did not help jog my memory.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member dauphin's Avatar
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    Sean..the pics over in the SoCal thread looked like you guys had great weather.

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    Senior Member BigSean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dauphin
    Sean..the pics over in the SoCal thread looked like you guys had great weather.

    It was perfect as far as I was concerned. A bit windy, but it didnt seem to bother me much.

  18. #18
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    cgallagh, Red Rider and Hermes, y'all should do the Delta Century, lol...dead flat 'cept for overpasses. Find some other tandems going your pace and then see what towing a train really is. My oldest boy and I will be out there on our tandem, so we'll wave as you folks pull through.

    Tho' I didn't do this year's Solvang, I rode last year's, and I gotta say it was kind of interesting riding in the rain and sleet and stuff. The middle-latter part of the day was actually pretty nice, imo, and it was made nicer still when we deviated from the ride route and did our own little ride coming back into town by way of 101 dropping down to the road that took the riders out to the horse stables early in the AM.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv
    cgallagh, Red Rider and Hermes, y'all should do the Delta Century, lol...dead flat 'cept for overpasses. Find some other tandems going your pace and then see what towing a train really is. My oldest boy and I will be out there on our tandem, so we'll wave as you folks pull through.

    Tho' I didn't do this year's Solvang, I rode last year's, and I gotta say it was kind of interesting riding in the rain and sleet and stuff. The middle-latter part of the day was actually pretty nice, imo, and it was made nicer still when we deviated from the ride route and did our own little ride coming back into town by way of 101 dropping down to the road that took the riders out to the horse stables early in the AM.
    Interesting...will discuss.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  20. #20
    Don't mince words Red Rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by t4mv
    cgallagh, Red Rider and Hermes, y'all should do the Delta Century, lol...dead flat 'cept for overpasses. Find some other tandems going your pace and then see what towing a train really is. My oldest boy and I will be out there on our tandem, so we'll wave as you folks pull through.

    Tho' I didn't do this year's Solvang, I rode last year's, and I gotta say it was kind of interesting riding in the rain and sleet and stuff. The middle-latter part of the day was actually pretty nice, imo, and it was made nicer still when we deviated from the ride route and did our own little ride coming back into town by way of 101 dropping down to the road that took the riders out to the horse stables early in the AM.
    Where can we find details?

    I remember being cold & amazed & fearful -- I'd never ridden century, never ridden in less than 45*, h*ll, if the wind blew I'd skip my training ride & hit the gym instead. I was such a wimp. Ha! Solvang '06 cured me of such foolish notions.

    ITA re the 2nd half of the ride. It was beautiful. Your route sounds charming. Nice country, isn't it?
    When my feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says, "Oh, *****, she's awake!"

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  21. #21
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    Here's some info on the 2007 Delta Century over in Lodi:

    http://www.sbclub.org/sbc/2007DC_app_web.pdf

    It seems to have a cap at 600, and it does actually seem like that's how many people ride it (i.e. not many). The past couple years I've done it on our tandem, once with an adult, and last year w/ my oldest son (12 at the time). It's a pretty simple little ride, flat, goes through some charming and historic towns in the Sacto delta, and has a little something for everyone. For tandems, though, it's going to be about as fast was you're willing to go due to the lack of elevation. Back 25+ yrs ago when I was still in school, my housemates rode the very same tandem with me sucking their wheel on a single and we completed the ride in under 5 hrs. Not blazingly fast by some standards, but fast enough for us. Anyway, it's a charming ride, and would make for a good "cooldown" ride if you went and hammered the day before. Just keep in mind that it's on a Sunday.

    Yeah, re: the Solvang ride, it really is very pretty country out around there, so there's always that temptation to go wandering off the route (because I gotta tell ya, when you do the run back on Hwy 46(?) it is just such a drag, imo, that it just kills the end of the ride). What some friends and I did was at Lompoc we took Hwy 1 south to Hwy 101 and rode on it for the couple miles up to some pass (where there was snow when we went over it earlier in the AM) and a brake check area. Well, at the top, there's a connecting road and it takes you back down into the valley and puts you on the road that eventually leads straight to the Royal Scandinavian (or the host hotel, whatever its name). So yeah, it goes right by the horse stables where everyone rode out to at the very beginning of the ride, but then they have you turn around and head back the other way! Anyway, if you ever get a chance to explore that country road, I recommend it. Quiet and very scenic (and it's mostly downhill if you're headed for Solvang).

  22. #22
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
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    Ok, so I'm a little late. But I guess it's better late than never!

    I started out by driving down Thursday evening, so I can work Friday from LA, then drive up to Solvang (after eating dad’s cooking for dinner). I didn’t get on the road till about 5:30 PM, which in retrospect, may have been a mistake. I made the mistake of driving through I-10, then hitting 101 ... right through downtown LA, then making my way through SF Valley. That was rough! I don’t know what I was thinking ... next time, go up through Pasadena, and take 134 to 101.

    Finally, got to Solvang around 8:30 PM, and registered for the ride the next day. Checked out the bike fair in the parking lot, and Team Toyota United was there ... and I got to shake Ivan Dominguez hands (for those non-cyclists, he won stage 7 of the Tour of California). Cool guy. And he’s not very tall ... little taller than me, but definitely more fit.

    Started the ride on Saturday a little before 7 am. Saw Lynn there, and said hi to her. I couldn’t hook up with anyone I knew, so I just went on my own.

    The first 25 miles was nice. Got to the first rest stop, and all I could see were outhouses, and mechanics ... didn’t find food or water, but it had to be there. I just decided to continue on.

    As soon as we continued on Hwy 1, the winds picked up. It was fierce. I had to really concentrate to make sure I didn’t get pushed into traffic ... then, we made the right turn ... INTO THE WIND, and up the hill. That’s where I expended probably too much energy. Getting into Santa Maria, I saw someone with my Monrovia bike club jersey. That motivated me to go chasing ... geez, where did I get all that energy. I did make it to Santa Maria, but I can tell my energy was not there. It would get the best of me on the Foxen Canyon climb. The combination of wind and heat in the 2nd half of the ride took its toll on a lot of riders, as I can see the typical line of riders resting along the side of the road.

    I knew the final 1/4 mile was coming up, because the road really started bending, and looking to the side, the road was not completely horizontal! That got me to get off my saddle, dance on the pedals up to the top of the hill, then get ready for the fun downhill.

    After climbing the wall, I started to get my second wind back. Funny how picking up speed, and spinning can really boost your morale. As we approached the last downhill curve, I saw a sight I didn’t want to see ... ambulance, taking care of a downed cyclist. It was only 2 miles from the end, so that made it even worse.

    What I really liked on this ride was the escorts at every intersection. CHP or Sheriffs were there to let us pass on through. Didn't have to worry about stopping at stop signs, or putting your foot down. All I can say is, it was well worth the trip.

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