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  1. #1
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Solvang Spring Century (& Half) Ride Report

    I thought someone else would've posted this by now, but since not, I'll do it...

    Drove up Friday late afternoon. No real problems with traffic (amazingly). Arrived in Solvang around 6pm. Parked down Alisol and in the back where they put overflow "Event Parking". Walked back to Scandanavian Inn to register. Line around the block to get in. So I hop in line, and a few minutes later (the line went fast, actually), I have my packet of materials. I meet up with Michael and Lynne, have a smallish dinner, enjoy conversation, and pack it in to the hotel. This was Michael's 2nd century, and he was prepping like he was doing a double. (I did the same exact thing on my second century .)

    Morning dawns, we're up at about 5:30. Get dressed, out the door, continental breakfast in the hotel lobby, and ride over to the start.


    The weather is very interesting: cold and foggy:


    We waited at the south-west corner of Oak & Alisol for any BFers, but nobody showed. So we make our way over to the start and get ready to go. The fog has already started to clear.


    We leave at 7:08am. The air is extremely cold. Our fingers were begging for long-gloves, but I'm glad we didn't bring them as it definitely warmed up.

    My goal for today is to use this ride as training for the KOM. I can complete any century with 6K of climbing or less, but I'd like to get used to the distance and increase my endurance over the same. So, the name of the game today is push for a quick (but not PR-setting) time of 5-1/2 hours or so. A side-effect of this is that I didn't take too many pictures as I was pushing most of the day. Sorry.

    So, with my goals on my mind, I slide right in to the first group that goes by. We're setting a nice 20-23mph pace for the first 7 miles or so. At a stop light, another group catches us and passes. I jump ship and join this faster group. Now we're pushing 25mph pretty consistently. I take a turn or two at the front to help out. Michael is behind me, (seemingly) doing well, except for cold fingers .

    Then, on Santa Rosa Rd., we begin to hit the first climbs. Some of the early ones, I maintain contact, but then we hit a couple that are a little steeper and longer. I fall off the back a bit, and have now lost contact with Michael. We knew this was probably going to happen, so I continue on, thinking to meet him at a SAG stop. Eventually, I would see Michael again. Unfortunately, it wasn't until the finish. I catch back on the group and this cycle repeats two more times, before I finally can't catch up and ride on my own. The rest of the day, I find groups going my speed, and sit in.

    The wind was pretty bad on the way out, especially approaching Santa Maria, so group paceline riding was the order of the day. The only consolation was it turned into a tailwind for the 2nd half of the ride (most of it). Gripe #1: Pacelines were also necessary as police were out in force using their car speakers to tell us, "Single file. Ride single file." Of course, they made no mention of the fact that it's illegal to pass a moving vehicle on a double-yellow line (which they did all the while).

    At about the 60-mile mark, I end up riding with Chris and his wife, Casey.

    They're both strong riders and we help shelter eachother from any of the sporadic headwinds. They've both ridden this before, so they give me a few tips, especially when the major climb up Foxen Canyon is quickly coming (conserve energy). The climb itself wasn't too bad (1/2-mile, 7%), but the 5-mile run up to it is a gradual climb (1.8%). By the time you get to the "actual" climb, you've spent alot of energy, and it just is a nasty sting in the tail.


    Chris, Casey and I trade pulls for the remaining 15 miles, mostly downhill with a couple little reminders. First is a 0.7-mile climb at 6.5% immediately following a SAG stop. I had stopped to get more water and so had a quick rest and had no trouble spinning up this hill. (Very windy at the top!!) Next was the Ballard Canyon Rd climb: 0.4-miles at 6.4%. It was a nice little climb on a narrow, winding road through over-hanging trees. Last was Chalk Hill Rd, 0.4-miles at 4.5%, about 2 or 3 miles from the finish.

    At the finish, I happen to see a very familiar face with a beautiful hairdo (new?) through the crowd:


    About an hour later, Michael comes in and is looking none-the-worse-for-wear.


    Final numbers:
    101 miles
    5hrs, 20mins ride time.
    5hrs, 47mins total time.
    4,964 feet of elevation gain.

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  2. #2
    It's ALL base... DScott's Avatar
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    Great report!

    I did the fall century this last year and loved it. It was hard, but good. Being was my second, I ALSO packed like I was mushing a team of dogs over the Yukon trail. Never got hungry, though!

    Congrats!

  3. #3
    Embracing the fredness herbm's Avatar
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    Had a nice relaxing drive up on Friday...Spent the night in Lompoc....
    Sat AM...Met up with my friends Linda and Debbie to caravan to Solvang... Tracy was a bit behind us as well.
    Major fog on 246 into Solvang...We figured the century riders were riding right into this but maybe it would be clear in Solvang...it wasnt....as we hit Buellton, we saw lots of century riders...most of them looking pretty cold...we hoped it would warmup a bit for us....
    Markg called and said he and Jackie were going to meet us, Seamus called to say he and his wife were rolling early...we figured everoyne else would meet at the arranged spot...
    Traffic wasnt to bad, and we parked a few blocks away...registration was very fast....
    The hard part was trying to decide how much or how little to wear...I knew it would get warm...so I decided to got light...arm warmers and a vest...turned out to be the right decison.
    So off to meet everyone...Mark and Jackie arrive, but here comes Tracy and Wayne holding the front wheel of their tandem...it kept blowing tires off...wayne wasnt sure what was going on but hoped there a mechanic at the start who could help them...I felt that there was a chance they couldnt ride...
    no on else showed up...as I found out later...Asia and Billy all rolled a bit early...
    So the 6 of us took off...cool, but not too cold....and the fog was burning off!!!
    Onto Santa Rosa Rd and Mark,Jackie and I picked the pace up a bit...we figured since it was only 50 we would push a bit..Once we hit Santa Rosa Rd it was beautiful and sunny...
    What a great ride that road is....did the climbs..saw many people walking...
    started to get some headwinds..but when we hit the climb just before the turn on Hywy1 the winds became very very strong...luckily we only had to fight them a little bit...
    The down the hill to the rest stop...we didnt hang too long...off on the loop of Lompoc...a bit after we left..Linda called to say they had just gotten to the rest stop....on the back side of the loop you pass by the RS on hywy 246...so I seem Linda and Debbie still there...I called them and to make sure they were ok...Debbie was still stretching...she hangs way too long, I cant convince her that shorter stops are better and she wont get stiff if she keeps moving....

    A few minutes after that Trac calls and says they got the wheel fixed and were at RS1 also...they skipped the Lompoc loop...Trac doenst have alot of miles this year, and they really hadnt dont too much riding on the tandem...

    So we are crusin down 246...its now actually pretty warm....it a pretty road, but he shoulder is generally wide...Mark is crusing and Jackie and I are trying to hang on....agian passing lots of people stopping on the hills...
    As we get toward Buellton, Jackie gets in front and starts pacing us at about 24mph...she was flying...
    Mark says she hasnt been riding that long....yeesh...she is going be bad***** very soon....

    I look forward to riding with them again at Stagecoach!

    Back in Solvang...waited for Linda and Deb and Trac and Wayne...got to see mkadam68 and Asia...
    Then headed home...luckily traffic as not bad and I made good time!!

    Observations: The downside of 50 mile rides is the amount of less skilled riders....there were a few groups pace lineing and calling out obstacles, moving to the right...but the majority just dont have a clue...even on busy 246, they would not move over for us to pass....
    I love riding Santa Rosa Rd...as for 246....I always wanted to ride that...once...now I have....
    I actually think the Prelude route was much nicer and maybe a bit harder...
    49.7 miles
    1910 Elevation
    15.1 Avg

    Pix are here

    Sorry ME..neither Mark or I could get our cameras out for the Ostrich farm pix
    Last edited by herbm; 03-09-08 at 10:56 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Thanks, Herb.

    When we rolled through Santa Rosa Rd., we had about 50 feet visibility due to the fog. So I didn't get to see nice views like this:

    (Of course, I have no idea if this is Santa Rosa, but hey, why not?) Foxen Canyon Rd was equally as nice, but as we were pushing the pace a bit, I was hurting too much to snap pix

    We had to contend with alot of new(?)/squirrely riders as well. As we rode past in a paceline, more times than I can count did somebody take up the whole road. We'd shout, "On yer left!" and most would at least move over. But more than once, we were forced over the yellow line. Luckily, we could see in front of us so there wasn't any danger. But still...

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  5. #5
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
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    Fog in the morning ... I think that's pretty typical for a Solvang Century in March. I don't think I've ever started a Solvang Century where it wasn't a bit foggy. Looks like it was a great day for a ride though, as soon as the fog burned off. Looks like you had a lot of fun.
    I'm in it to finish it.

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  6. #6
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    Thanks, Herb.

    When we rolled through Santa Rosa Rd., we had about 50 feet visibility due to the fog. So I didn't get to see nice views like this:

    (Of course, I have no idea if this is Santa Rosa, but hey, why not?) Foxen Canyon Rd was equally as nice, but as we were pushing the pace a bit, I was hurting too much to snap pix

    We had to contend with alot of new(?)/squirrely riders as well. As we rode past in a paceline, more times than I can count did somebody take up the whole road. We'd shout, "On yer left!" and most would at least move over. But more than once, we were forced over the yellow line. Luckily, we could see in front of us so there wasn't any danger. But still...

    Wow that is a beautiful view...it makes me think of the Road Cycling Forum intro..."there is nothing like riding a nice road bike, on a nice road..."

    That is a very nice road...

  7. #7
    Embracing the fredness herbm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alicestrong View Post
    Wow that is a beautiful view...it makes me think of the Road Cycling Forum intro..."there is nothing like riding a nice road bike, on a nice road..."

    That is a very nice road...
    It is one of the nicest roads I have ever ridden...and there were vineyards everywhere....some horses and cows....it doesnt get much better than that...
    Certainly a change from the last time I road this road in the hailstorm!!
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    WOW - What an absolutely awesome ride!

    Great job on the ride report Mark.

    The 101 North was completely blocked off Saturday morning, and traffic was being routed off of the freeway onto Ventura Blvd. for a 2 or 3 mile section. That caused me to get there a bit later than expected. Hadn't checked these message boards, so I still thought the group was leaving at 8:00.

    I started the ride at 8:30, and kept an 18 MPH pace with a small group for a little while, but I mostly rode on my own.

    Those PB&J sandwiches at the SAG stop really hit the stop. I have the stomach of a Billy Goat, but just couldn't bring myself to try anything called "Spiz". Sounds like something a high school student would do with a mayonnaise bottle in the boys room.

    I definitely need to carry some more water with me on the next ride. I only have room for 1 water bottle holder on my frame, and that ran out well before the SAG stop and well before the finish.

    I was wearing my David Beckham jersey, and received a lot of comments on it - mostly from people passing me.

    Anyways - finished strong keeping a 20 MPH pace on the last few miles, and finished in just over 3 hours.

    I saw Asia in a Bicycle Forums jersey just as I was about to leave, so I stopped by and introduced my self - Well met!

  9. #9
    Spinning like a gerbel spingineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post

    Anyways - finished strong keeping a 20 MPH pace on the last few miles, and finished in just over 3 hours.
    I hope it was the half century you did. I'm thinking, 100 miles in just over 3 hours ...
    I'm in it to finish it.

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by spingineer View Post
    I hope it was the half century you did. I'm thinking, 100 miles in just over 3 hours ...
    Yes - it was the 50 miler!

  11. #11
    Gravity Rocks mtnmn's Avatar
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    Sorry no pix to post. I got in and settled at Lompoc by 1PM, it was time for a ride. I previewed some of the Century. Took H st to Purisima and back to 246, a pretty ride with long rollers to Solvang, onto Alisal and from there the country was simply beautiful, sort of tempered rain forest in appearance and feel. Hit Old Coast Hwy to 101 for a short jaunt and onto Santa Rosa in the afternoon sun, a beautiful ride.

    As I was on 101 I was looking at pretty high stuff off to my left, wondering what I'd gotten myself into but Santa Rosa turned out to be cut on their northern slope with a valley to the right. Sometimes I was at floor level others I'd climbed several feet above. It was quite a ride, I was ready for dinner and feet up for the night.

    Not much that I can add to previous posts on the century, they cover the good and the back quite well. I hung at the start cruising around looking for a familiar face or jersey, did find someone that I knew, reset my counters and on the road a bit after seven. I had a great ride, formidable winds made pace lining the order of the day. The day continued great until just before the 4th SAG. I started to sense cramp onset. Took longer break at 4, my drive train needed a little tweaking. On the short steep of Foxen, I had already been getting solid cramping of both sartorius muscles, standing relieved but on Foxen, catch 22, when I stood both medial quads locked. I had to stop for the first time in my illustrious 3 century career. Some more short climbs and some fantastic downhill bombers, at some point b4 or after that area I clock for me an amazing max of 47.2mph.

    Still had a great ride all in all:
    Stopwatch-7:01
    Time- 6:12:18
    Avg Spd- 16.99

    Got got figure out this electorlyte business though. I was well hydrated, approx 2.5 scoops of hammer perpetuem to the hour, tried Spitz? toward the end too. It seems time to add something like Hammer Heed or prob Endurlyte.

    Recovered fine, if it did not require getting up a 4:30 to get there from Lompoc I have looked for merider and the gang for a ride to Griffith.

  12. #12
    Embracing the fredness herbm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyB View Post
    WOW - What an absolutely awesome ride!

    Great job on the ride report Mark.

    The 101 North was completely blocked off Saturday morning, and traffic was being routed off of the freeway onto Ventura Blvd. for a 2 or 3 mile section. That caused me to get there a bit later than expected. Hadn't checked these message boards, so I still thought the group was leaving at 8:00.

    I started the ride at 8:30, and kept an 18 MPH pace with a small group for a little while, but I mostly rode on my own.

    Those PB&J sandwiches at the SAG stop really hit the stop. I have the stomach of a Billy Goat, but just couldn't bring myself to try anything called "Spiz". Sounds like something a high school student would do with a mayonnaise bottle in the boys room.

    I definitely need to carry some more water with me on the next ride. I only have room for 1 water bottle holder on my frame, and that ran out well before the SAG stop and well before the finish.

    I was wearing my David Beckham jersey, and received a lot of comments on it - mostly from people passing me.

    Anyways - finished strong keeping a 20 MPH pace on the last few miles, and finished in just over 3 hours.

    I saw Asia in a Bicycle Forums jersey just as I was about to leave, so I stopped by and introduced my self - Well met!
    Darn...Sorry Billy...we missed you by only a few minutes...
    Yeah..we heard from some others about the 101....a few even bailed it was so bad....
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  13. #13
    Senior Member heresy's Avatar
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    This was my first time to Solvang, and a couple friends and I did the century. I thought the overall organization was great. Check-in was quick, SAG stops were well stocked, and I liked the police blocking traffic for the riders.

    On the down side, the wind was brutal. Worse yet, what is the deal with those roads? I don't have to leave Pasadena to ride on crummy roads. I think a few molars were shaken loose.
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  14. #14
    no more nellie
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    Nice reports and pics, guys! Glad everyone had a great time. I did think yesterday while out riding that I could be riding the Solvang century (although I was enjoying my company and ride I was on). I do still love to ride up those lovely hills!

  15. #15
    Climbing better scvroadie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merider1 View Post
    Nice reports and pics, guys! Glad everyone had a great time. I did think yesterday while out riding that I could be riding the Solvang century (although I was enjoying my company and ride I was on). I do still love to ride up those lovely hills!
    With the winds we were running into going into Santa Maria, you would have probably turned around. But since Santa Maria is the halfway point you still would have gotten 100 miles in. By the way the winds on the top of the wall, were as strong as they day you turned around on GRR last year.

  16. #16
    no more nellie
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    Quote Originally Posted by scvroadie View Post
    With the winds we were running into going into Santa Maria, you would have probably turned around. But since Santa Maria is the halfway point you still would have gotten 100 miles in. By the way the winds on the top of the wall, were as strong as they day you turned around on GRR last year.
    Maybe. I don't like super high winds for sure. But at this time of year, they are just about eveywhere.

  17. #17
    Float, HAMMER, jog markg's Avatar
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    Just got back to San Diego. We stayed over last night and went to Hitching Post with a couple of TCSD friends that did the century, then went for a 7 mile run around the town of Lompoc this morning before getting cleaned up and heading back. I'll write up something after I get to rest for a bit.

  18. #18
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Great reports everyone!

    I started from Buellton (Motel 6!) at 7:00 AM, finished (in Solvang) at 1:00 PM. I skipped the first checkpoint, was fueled by Chocolate Spiz all day.

    Pretty quick in and out of checkpoints except the 2nd to last, where I talked to my buddy Vince from KHS for quite awhile.

    Total bike-time (including my ride back to Buellton into a horrible headwind): 5:55:09 ride time.
    17.3 Average
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    Saw lots of Rebels, but no forumites.

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  19. #19
    Senior Member squeegy200's Avatar
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    I usually launch from the schoolyard on Elm street. I avoid the crowds and traffic.

    I did see a few crashes but nothing serious throughout the day.

    My stronger friends hooked up with the Toyota United riders. I could not keep up and rode my own.

    My ride time was 6:17 minutes averaging 16.0mph. The brutal winds were also flowing at around 20-25mph in some areas. It was awesome when experienced as a tailwind.

    I was surprised at the extent of the poor road conditions. Fortunately, I rode the old Italian Steel which smoothed out the rough tarmac. I could hear my buddies gasping and complaining on their stiff modern material bikes as the poor conditions intensified.

    Great day of riding in beautiful Southern California.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by merider1 View Post
    I did think yesterday while out riding that I could be riding the Solvang century (although I was enjoying my company and ride I was on).
    Me too

  21. #21
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
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    Just got back from a great weekend up in Solvang. I rode as a mentor for team in training after doing this ride with TnT for my first century last year. My group has been a blast all season and were great riding partners again on this ride (5 smart, fun and hot women, I think I'll be doing this again next year ) We finished in about 8 hours (6:45 ride time) which was the same pace I rode last year. However, this year the ride was a breeze for me, my heart rate was in the red zone for about 10 minutes so I really got to enjoy the day.

    My 'heroic' moment of the day came at the bottom of the switchbacks around mile 90 or so. I was energized from the calm pace all day, so I decided to hammer the switchbacks for no good reason. I think I was inspired by the TOC time trial or something. I started at the back of my group and sprinted past all them, they started cheering me as I hit the hill and started passing people on the hill. The switchbacks were a little longer than I remember them, so as soon as I got out of sight of my group, I completely blew up and had to resume normal climbing speed, oh well I waited at the top and the group. They were of course, totally impressed by my attack

    As last year, the best part of the day was watching my teammates finish the ride. Finishing a century is always a great feeling, but to share the moment with teammates who you've trained with, laughed and cried with is unbelievable, even for this cynical guy.

    I saw Karen (she's easy to spot!) near the end and Asia at the end. Great seeing both of you!
    just being

  22. #22
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    I found it a beautiful ride, but Hard. Very, very hard. It started off cold and foggy, and stayed that way for the first 15 miles, by which time I was shivering. Then I got a flat (first one ever on a century). It took me more than a half-hour to change it, I was so cold. Then the fog burned off, to be replaced by very high winds--bad headwinds for about 20 miles, then, as the course shifted direction, really scary crosswinds for about 15 more. Locals estimated between 25-30 mph winds. Apparently not typical this time of year.

    Quite a few climbs during the first 25 miles, but the winds really compromised the "easy" mid-part of the ride. I was pedaling to do 10 mph against the wind with a 1-2% downhill grade, and once couldn't get much over 15 mph on a 4% downhill! By the 70-mile rest stop I was really tired. A young guy I was riding with had been talking about sagging out at that point, but we both decided to try to finish, even though it was getting late. His legs started hurting him terribly ten miles into the long, gradual climb up Foxen Canyon. I kept going, at what seemed a reasonable clip, but I was rapidly running completely out of energy, and nothing seemed to help--food, water, nothing. Every mile or two I'd have to stop and rest.

    Finally I faced two facts: I wasn't enjoying myself at all, despite that Foxen Canyon road is one of the most beautiful roads I've ever seen; and, at the pace I was making, counting breaks that I just couldn't not take, I wouldn't finish until well past dark. So when the sag wagon came by at mile 85, I hitched a ride.

    I admit that I feel bad about not finishing. I'm 2 dnf's out of 6 centuries so far. I need to ask some hard questions about training and nutrition if I'm to do a century like Solvang again and enjoy it at all.
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  23. #23
    okay, maybe... tprevost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernmart View Post
    I found it a beautiful ride, but Hard. Very, very hard. It started off cold and foggy, and stayed that way for the first 15 miles, by which time I was shivering. Then I got a flat (first one ever on a century). It took me more than a half-hour to change it, I was so cold. Then the fog burned off, to be replaced by very high winds--bad headwinds for about 20 miles, then, as the course shifted direction, really scary crosswinds for about 15 more. Locals estimated between 25-30 mph winds. Apparently not typical this time of year.

    Quite a few climbs during the first 25 miles, but the winds really compromised the "easy" mid-part of the ride. I was pedaling to do 10 mph against the wind with a 1-2% downhill grade, and once couldn't get much over 15 mph on a 4% downhill! By the 70-mile rest stop I was really tired. A young guy I was riding with had been talking about sagging out at that point, but we both decided to try to finish, even though it was getting late. His legs started hurting him terribly ten miles into the long, gradual climb up Foxen Canyon. I kept going, at what seemed a reasonable clip, but I was rapidly running completely out of energy, and nothing seemed to help--food, water, nothing. Every mile or two I'd have to stop and rest.

    Finally I faced two facts: I wasn't enjoying myself at all, despite that Foxen Canyon road is one of the most beautiful roads I've ever seen; and, at the pace I was making, counting breaks that I just couldn't not take, I wouldn't finish until well past dark. So when the sag wagon came by at mile 85, I hitched a ride.

    I admit that I feel bad about not finishing. I'm 2 dnf's out of 6 centuries so far. I need to ask some hard questions about training and nutrition if I'm to do a century like Solvang again and enjoy it at all.

    Sometimes its better to call it quits than be miserable... I know what you mean about feeling bad... I did at Stagecoach last year (I was frozen solid!). You may need to rethink your training, but when it ceases to be fun it isn't worth it! We just did the 50, I haven't been riding so we rode the tandem (almost didn't even get to do that... see Herb's report!) but we had a great time! I knew I was in no shape to do the 100, even on the tandem so I was more than happy to do 50... however, given how the morning started, when we decided to cut out the Lompoc loop and just head down 246, I was fine with that... I think we ended up doing about 43 miles on our 5th ride on the bike... great ride, and at least I got to see a few BF friends!!!

    So, don't feel bad about sagging... if you're going to keep doing the centuries, figure out where you were off and go from there! Looking forward to seeing you on a ride soon!
    Almost new 2005 Ksyrium Equipes; less than 1500 miles, PM me...

  24. #24
    Member joker70's Avatar
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    This was my first century and had a great time. Big thanks to markg for organizing our training rides.

    The Mrs. and I arrived into Solvang Friday night in time for the start of registation. We met up with heresy and quickly picked up our bibs. Dinner at the Hadsten House Inn with some fellow Tri Club San Diego members and off to Lompoc and our luxurious Motel 6 room. My best friend James and his family arrived shortly afterwards.

    Woke up at 4AM and had a peanut butter bagel and Gatorade (thanks heresy) showered and loaded up our bikes and off to Solvang. It was warm at 5AM in Lompoc so I thought I wouldn't be wearing any cold weather gear, but at Buellton/Solvang it was very foggy and when we went to pick up James' bib I noticed that all the riders were in arm/leg warmers and most wore jackets. We went back into the car and pulled out the bikes and got ready. I decided to wear my jacket and also my full finger gloves over my cycling gloves.

    We started at about 7:05 and I was happy with my clothing decisions. I started with sungalsses on but the fog kept collecting on them and with the early morning light made seeing road hazards very difficult. So I had to stow them until the fog lifted.

    I thought the aid stations were awesome. The lines to the food, water and porta potties were really quick. I heard a few people gripe about the SPIZ and lack of Gatorade-type drink, but shame on them for not researching the SCOR website nor getting advice from bikeforums.

    Heresy, James and I rode a nice and easy pace. I resisted the temptations to jump onto a pace line and I kept telling myself I was saving it for Foxen Canyon Rd.

    At the start of Foxen Canyon Rd I wanted to kick it up a notch or two and I joined up with a really strong guy who physically looked like Thor Hushhovd and another smaller rider like myself. We hammered with Thor doing most of the pulling. We were doing about 25 MPH in the flats and I tried to help pull in the inclines. I don't know what happened to Thor, but I ended up by myself about two miles before the "wall" towards the end of Foxen Cyn. Rd. I/we averaged 19MPH on Foxen Canyon Rd. but I should have taken it easier when I was alone because that !@#$ hill hit me hard. I swear I was barely going faster than a guy walking it. I saw quite a few people stop to work out cramps. But I kept grinding (not spinning!) 34x23 and made it to the top and let out a big "wooooo". I made it to the mile 92 rest stop shortly followed by heresy and James.

    The rest of the ride was a lot of fun. I hit 50.7 MPH on the descent from Balard Canyon Rd! and the rest of the climbs and the twisty rollers were a blast, knowing I was so close to finishing. I actually got surprised that the end came so quickly, the route slip said the finish was at 104 miles but when my GPS said 99 miles, I suddenly realized I was in Solvang and the ride was about to end. But overall I had a great experience.

    Riding time was 6:21 and total time was 6:55. Avg speed 16.0 MPH, Max speed 50.7 mph, Avg Hr 132 BPM.

    1) James and heresy going up Santa Rosa Rd.
    2) Yours truly at rest stop #1
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    Last edited by joker70; 03-10-08 at 08:07 AM.

  25. #25
    Yeah, it's a freewheel... RideMore's Avatar
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    WOW
    What fun!
    Lynne and I drove up Friday night. Met Mark (mkadam) at the registration area & just enjoyed a simple evening finishing with ride prep. OK, OK, so I was prepping too much. Mark's big smile as he watched me was a good clue! Ended up packing two Powerbars and 4 gels- still more than I needed. I like to do everything the night before as I'm lousy at early morning stuff. So while everybody slept, I pinned my jersey numbers, tagged my bike and helmet, and reviewed the just received route slip. *Not* happy about that; I really liked the Palm Springs route slip being online, with a readable ride profile.

    Up early enough to take advantage of the nice buffet @ Holiday Inn Express: tiny omelet, granola, yogurt, juice, coffee - about 500 calories before 6:30. Nice relaxed morning, so far...

    Then we mount up and it is F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G-!! Low 40s. I'm layered, but c'mon! I didn't want excess shed-ables to lug so I was at my minimum: base layer, jersey, arm warmers, plastic bag vestliner, full leg pants and bib shorts! And fingerless gloves...

    Mark and I start out: It's 7:08 and the fog is falling lightly as we ride. My fingers were really complaining but I soon had no time to think about it because I'm trying to hang on to Mark's wheel! I'm about a 16 mph finisher, and Mark is shooting for a 5:30 ride time. Does anybody see a problem with this?! Looking at the profile I thought, 'Well, it starts with a downhill, at least to the first break. Mark will probably spin a bit easy to get a good warm up... OK I'll hang on at least to the 1st break.
    We are riding with the 'passing lane' riders. and we are moving: well over 20 mph, steady, and gaining momentum. Mark pulls up parallel to the lead pair of riders and says something. I hear something like "Be my guest" and Mark pulls up into lead spot and I'm about to tuck in behind him... and he adds 2-3 mph! I'm out! That was over my top and I knew it so I eased off and found myself with the back of that group for the next ten miles.

    The fog clears about 8am and it is gorgeous! It's still very cool but my fingers are thawing and I'm feeling fine. I'm mostly alone at my pace. I'm passing twice as many riders as pass me, but the ones passing are 5 mph faster: I can't hang on them. Turn onto the highway and I feel really warmed up and ready to go ... so my tire blows out.

    [SKIP THIS PART IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HEAR A TUBULAR GLUE SOB STORY]

    Before the Palm Springs Century I had these wheels trued (good) and the shop reinstalled my tire (ahem) Now it usually takes me 7-8 minutes to get back on the road after a blowout. Whatever glue the shop used... I couldn't pry it free! I will go to the shop and find out what they used so I don't use it again! I'm sure it's fine for track where spare wheels are sitting there. My spare wheels are in the car 20 miles back down the road. 15 minutes to tear the old tire off. It's 20 minutes before I'm on the road again and I'm cooled down I love my tubulars and this doesn't change that!

    [We're back]

    Turns out I flatted about 500 yards from the 1st ride stop! I had planned this to be top off water and run, but the tire took so long that I hit the restroom, get a banana and 2 cookies and go. I'm riding with no computer so I am tracking my break time for my ride average, being conservative. My goal is to maintain my Palm Springs average (16 mph) with this course having 50% more gain and possible wind.
    I'm riding along trying to be conservative of my energy. For me that means keep rpms up and don't really look at the speed. I hit grades and feel slow, but 1/4 of the way up each and every hill I'm passing all but the 5 mph+ faster-than-me crowd. This feels good.

    Occasionally, a line of riders will pass me at 2-3 mph; I speed up and hang on to them. Nice break! I have no shame in being a wheel-sucking ... I will spend 10% of my ride like this.

    40 mile break: Grab water & go!

    It is gettin' windy as we approach Santa Maria! I add a tactic: I find riders that are 1-2 mph slower than me and suck in *hehe*. I'm a bit slower but using minimal energy. When the road turns I say, 'thanks for the pull' and take the lead - they are welcome to hang on. Only one lady did; a very fit gal on a tt frame/aero wheels. She latched on all the way to the 60 mile break. I peel down here and eat (not tons! I learned that lesson last time ). Roll up my gear and take off. It's a beautiful day and the wind is there so I look for more people to hang behind. I'm blessed with plenty of people now; I will see the same 50 riders for the rest of the ride. We group and regroup. Every third hill or windy corridor I'm with the same group. It's like musical chairs, but nobody sits down!

    73 mile break: I roll up and see a gaggle of riders all in 53x11 coffee jerseys. Obviously together and with a tandem in their midst. Hmm... They are about to roll so I grab my 2x caffeine gel and down it, thinking this is a good group to get me through Foxen canyon. I hang with them for a bit but it turns out they were not the same kind of erratic as me . I come across another tandem with a single rider in tow and hook up with them. Ahh... perfect speed, cadence, laughter all the way to the climb out of Foxen I coudn't even tell you if there was any wind. Wow.

    Freezing and all at 7am, I'm glad not to have left any later. I feel we missed worse winds with that start time.

    We hit the hill and soon the tandem is but a memory. This is a slog going up this grade. I'm practically stair-stepping when I get out of the saddle. I see one guy walking his bike. Now, I'm not that competitive, but my inner... something... said, 'You are NOT doing that.' I focus on keeping a better forward momentum. I wonder if I should have brought a granny gear.

    [Tech talk: feel free to skip]
    41x24 is my low: 46 chain inches. If you have a 53x39 like a normal person that would be your 23 tooth.
    If you are compact 50x34 that would be your 20 tooth (sic).

    Then it's over! Great downhill; I tag chase two guys all the way to the stop. Way fast, great sprint - close to 30 mph. 93 mile break is refill and eat half a Powerbar. I'm about to go when I spot only the third bike that day with friction shifters; a Pinarello. I take a look and it has 36 spoke 4-cross lacing... tres cool & muy macho! The guy is the original owner; new in '82. Lookin' good!

    Back to it! Immediately hit another tough grade, just do the work and, wow! What a great view! Really picture perfect. I would have stopped but for two things. I was feeling like I had a good ride average going, and I was afraid of getting blown off my bike! R-e-a-l-l-y windy with strong gusts. I tucked in to my top tube and hung on down this beautiful canyon.
    Everything is dialed in. I've got cadence, speed (OK, some speed), good energy, sweating lightly and just propelling myself along! More hills, at this point the humor comes out in the riders. "Who ordered one more hill? Who forgot to put this on the map? No, really, you can have this one all to yourself!" Blah blah blah. I ask a rider what mileage does he show? "102". Huh? Just then we see a sheriff type pointing right and we're in residential. Two or three more turns and we're done! Probably lost a minute getting to the finish line, but I check my clock: 2:12. I do the math in my head and realize I'm under six hours ride time, over 17mph! Un-believable! (I'm very pleased).

    Found Mark at the post-ride Barbeque, chatted, relaxed and basked in the sunshine with no wind! We're in a protected area. (Yes that's me in Mkadam's pictures) Perfectly glorious! Meet my girl Lynne who finished the 50 mile ride with good energy. She is getting strong! Ran into Edina, a racer who rides with our club. She was very happy with her 5:40 time (I think I got that right!)

    My totals come from hand calculations!
    7:04 total time
    5:54 ride time
    17.5 average
    Lots of elevation gain
    Lots of wind
    ('Lots' is a technical term - don't worry about it)
    "Character is what you are in the dark" -Dr. Emilio Lazardo

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