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Virtual Solvang Double Century


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Don’t let the name virtual Solvang double century throw you off.  We rode every mile on the roads and streets around Phoenix.  The virtual name started in May.  The California Triple Crown double centuries were either being postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.  By early May some rides were getting approval to be done on Zwift.  As we got into June they expanded the virtual to mean any route that was at least 200 miles long, and had a certain amount of climbing, which varied according the amount of elevation gain for the actual route.  Once you had done the ride you send your Strava, Ridwithgps, or Garmin Connect to prove you did the ride.  CTC would count that the same as if you rode the actual ride.  I got in 3 doubles this year, meaning that I can continue my Triple Crown standing.  Dennis and I rode a virtual Grand Tour from Port Hueneme CA in June, then we rode  a virtual Beach City DC on a route from Flagstaff in mid -September.  The virtual Solvang route was from north Phoenix. 

Dennis lives 30 miles from me, and rather than drive to the start of the route he rode to a point on the route where we would meet.  We met at 6:00 from a Circle K at Jomax and Tatum.  We went east, climbing for a while until we descended 9 mile hill.  It has cooled off some in Phoenix, but, not as cool we would have liked. It was about 68 when I left home at 5:00.  At the bottom of 9 mile hill (and it is about 9 miles long) we turned south to head to Fountain Hills.  We saw quite a few cyclists and groups of cyclists on the road.

From Fountain Hills we rode on AZ route 87 to the Bush Hwy, and then past Saguaro Lake.  The section on the Bush Hwy past the lake is the most beautiful on the route.  After climbing Usury Pass, we had a 10 mile downhill false flat thru Mesa before turning onto Rt 87 again to return to Fountain Hills.

We took a lunch break at a Subway at about 102 miles, then left for the last half of the ride.  Fountain Hills is well named, btw.  There was a nice descent for a few miles through Scottsdale, then we started a long 1-2% climb to Carefree/Cave Creek.  We lucked out in having a nice tail wind for that climb.  The temps were warm but not terrible;  I am guessing about 90. 

We next headed west on Carefree Hwy , then north to New River.  We got to the I-17 frontage rd between 5:30 and 6:00, and turned our lights on (my headlight had been on blink since sunrise; more on that later).  It was 5 miles to Anthem AZ, where Dennis lives.  He was going to ride a couple of loops around town to get in his 200 miles.  I continued south to Phoenix.  I turned west at Pinnacle Peak rd, and started really watching my elevation gain.  I needed 7500 ft to qualify.  I stopped at a park to drink the rest of the Coke I bought in Cave Creek, and to eat a Stroopwaffel.  That gave me some needed energy and I headed out again. At 75th Ave I turned back east (in the Valley, there is a Central Ave, and all north south streets west of it are avenues, and all east are streets; I live near 13 street). I called my wife to give her an idea of when I would be home. I had wanted to finish the ride in 15 hours overall, but I was not going to make that.  In the last few miles I could see I was going to make the 7500 ft of climbing too, without having to do hill repeats.  I got home a little after 9 PM, making it a 16 hour day.  I was tired but felt good, all things considered. 

As for the headlight, it still seemed to be putting out good light.  I figured I would leave it on for the next ride.  This afternoon I decided to put on my other light battery, then hook up the battery used Saturday and run it for a while until it ran down.  It look less than a minute for the battery to run down!

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Great write-up!

13 hours ago, az_cyclist said:

As we got into June they expanded the virtual to mean any route that was at least 200 miles long, and had a certain amount of climbing, which varied according the amount of elevation gain for the actual route.

Seems like 7,500' is not that much for 200 miles of riding (still more than "average").  I think I hit 1,000' per 30 miles of my flat rides, so that's pretty close to 7k for 200 miles.  Solvang seems like it would actually be a pretty darn hilly ride over 200 miles, so I'm surprised the "virtual" number was that 7,500'.  Still 200 miles AND 7,500' is not very easy for most folks!

Again, nice PICS and write up.

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4 hours ago, Razors Edge said:

Great write-up!

Seems like 7,500' is not that much for 200 miles of riding (still more than "average").  I think I hit 1,000' per 30 miles of my flat rides, so that's pretty close to 7k for 200 miles.  Solvang seems like it would actually be a pretty darn hilly ride over 200 miles, so I'm surprised the "virtual" number was that 7,500'.  Still 200 miles AND 7,500' is not very easy for most folks!

Again, nice PICS and write up.

Good discussion point, Razor.  The actuall Solvang Double Century route is about 194 miles and has about 7500 ft of climbing.  That is where they got the target elevation gain. 

  In July when I was riding in Minnesota, it seemed the rides were flat but I would have 900+ ft of climbing for a 36 mile route.  More rollers I guess.  On the ride Saturday we had climbs that were several miles in length.   At 70 miles we had a 3 mile climb that was 3-6% for the first 2+ miles.   Sometimes the grade was not bad, but it was still 17 miles straight at 1-2% grade.  That, to me, is the difference.

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Completing a double is an accomplishment, but three...

in a year...

year after year...

<doffs hat to AZ>

I especially liked the third picture.  One thing I noticed your area seems to predominate with browns and tans, whereas my area (except in winter) tends more toward greens.  Probably not remarkable at all, except that it seemed so different than what I'm used to.

Congratulations on a fantastic ride!  And my thanks, too, for an excellent story!

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10 minutes ago, Thaddeus Kosciuszko said:

Completing a double is an accomplishment, but three...

in a year...

year after year...

<doffs hat to AZ>

I especially liked the third picture.  One thing I noticed your area seems to predominate with browns and tans, whereas my area (except in winter) tends more toward greens.  Probably not remarkable at all, except that it seemed so different than what I'm used to.

Congratulations on a fantastic ride!  And my thanks, too, for an excellent story!

it is especially dry now, and has been since last winter.  For most of the state it was the driest summer (monsoon season) on record, and the hottest.  One of the nice things of riding the doubles in California is that it is more green there.  I should have posted some pics from our double we rode from Flagstaff in September.  Plenty of ponderosa pine up there. 

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