Solvang's spring century was fantastic! A little windy (15mph with gusts up into the 30's all day long, we had strong winds right from sunrise). In addition to all the TnT folks we were riding with, I got to catch up with some old friends and riding buddies, including LanceOldStrong (whose wife was on our team). Dan not only did the century, he then rode the route backwards to finish the ride with Julie, accumulating 130 or so miles in the process. I think he's ready for the Double.
The temps were nice - high 40's in the morning, getting up into the 60's in the afternoon. A little chilly for some people, these were ideal riding conditions for me (well, except for the wind. Did I mention that it was windy?). We started at 6, just before sunrise, to ensure we would finish with the sun still well up in the sky (I was coaching the slowest group from our TnT team). This century is the flattest I've done in California, with only 5k or so of climbing. There are a couple of challenging climbs towards the end, but they're not super steep (my computer said 8% max.) or really all that long. If you ride around here, this is a century that you can do no problem.
We finished in 10 hours 45 minutes - which really surprised me (in a good way). I was figuring we'd be out there 11 hours if conditions were good (really not bad when you consider that no one in my group had even ridden a bike in more than 10 years back in November). Considering that we were fighting those winds all day, the time is really impressive. Lots of other riders that thought they'd do a sub-8 hour ride were out there more than 10 hours. Even better was that my group listened about minimal stopped time - our rolling time was 9 hours 32 minutes, so not much more than an hour for SAG stops, regroups and a couple of unscheduled potty breaks.
We stayed together in a good paceline all day, and at one point had about 20 riders tagging along as we worked into a strong headwind. Wonder what they would have thought if they'd known they were wheelsucking the slowest TnT ride group? The big race teams (Colavita was the group I really remember - about 30 strong riders pushing hard) would take up an entire lane, but they left plenty of room when they passed and we even heard a few "Go Team!"s as they went by.
Support was good, with well-placed SAG stops and phenomenal police support (most intersections had an officer directing traffic and waving us through stops signs and red lights). The food wasn't anything special (pbj's and bagels, along with lots of fruit and cookies) but fine for a ride.
Ok, the pics - absolutely stunning scenery!