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Square Wheels Cycling

Spring Solvang Double Century Ride Report

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My long weekend started last Thursday.  The Tues-Thursday group ride was flat, easy, and relatively short..35 miles or so.  Over half of us on the ride were going to be riding Solvang.  During the ride one of the guys mentioned there NOAA forcast for Saturday was temps in the 50's and scattered drizzle.  This meant I needed to pack a few extra items, just in case.

I was going to be driving alone since a few other guys had already paired up to car pool, and others were going a day or so early or staying a day later.  Not a big deal, but I didnt buy a GPS until last Monday and I didnt have much time to learn it.  I could get a route to the destination, but not the route I wanted.  It was not bad driving on Friday.. and it is a pretty straight shot  on I-10.  I stopped in Highland (between Redlands and San Bernardino) for lunch and to fill up again.  not 30 minutes later, between Fontana and Azuza, I got stuck in  a traffic jam due to an accidant near Arcadia.  It took me an hour and 45 min to go 20 miles.  I did make it to Buelton (where the ride started and our hotel was) just in time to join the guys for dinner.

I got up at 3 Saturday morning, the temp was 50, and there was no rain or drizzle around. Great start!   I decided to wear my wind vest rather than the jacket (which I rolled up in my camelbak) and wool arm warmers.  I didnt wear my knee warmers but did take them.    I met the other guys (9 of us ) and we went over for the 5 am start, the earliest you could start. There must have been 40+ riders starting that early.  My new Ay Up lights were great.  You start climbing after about half a mile, and it got steeper.  Our first turn was on Foxen Canyon Rd, which was on the route of the Tour of California last year.  We had 2 climbs in the first 20 miles, then a nice decent (which we would have to climb at the end of the ride).  We also saw a calf that had gotten on the wrong side of the fence and was running along side of us My shoulders and chest got fairly cold on the decent, but after that I felt fine, temperature wise, the rest of the day.  It stayed overcast until about 10 or so, when I switched to my sunglasses.  The first sag was at 39 miles, and the second at 80 miles (in San Luis Obispo).  I was still feeling good and strong.  Just as we pulled into the second sag my arms were starting to feel a bit warm so I took off my arm warmers then. 

After the second sag it stayed sunny the rest of the day, and we had some rollers and relatively short climbs from there to Morro Bay, where we turned back south again.  The lunch stop was at 108 miles, on the other side of San Luis Obispo.  I had an auxiliary batter for my Garmin, but, it shut down when I plugged it in.  It recharged enough to finish the ride, but, it started a new ride. It would have been better if I could have had the entire ride together, but , no biggie.  We had turkey subs from subway for lunch (Planet Ultra, who orgainzes the ride, has great products at lunch and the sags).  One guy with us had started falling back on the hills.  At lunch he told us to go on;  that he could make it but he needed a slower pace.  

About 18 miles after lunch we had a nasty little climb aobut 3/4 mile long.  Last year I was in the small ring of my triple (a 29).  This year I would be climbing it in the 34 of my 50/34 compact, but my 10-speed cassette has a 28 for the largest cog, which was good enough. After that climb it was just some rollers with a bit of a tailwind, then a few miles of a crosswind before the first sag after lunch, which was after only about 30 miles (the sags are closer after lunch).  I still felt good, other than my sitbones were a bit sore.  After a few more miles of crosswind, we had a nice 15 mph tailwind all of the way to the last sag at 163 miles. 

The last sag is where I hung it up last year;  I was just losing energy and could not force myself to eat,so I knew I was starting to bonk.  I didnt have that problem this year, and after a cup of noodles, a coke,and a v8 (and more chamios buttr), we rode out for the last 29 miles.  Riding up Foxen Canyon was an attention getter.  I found out later at dinner that climb is called the Wall.    At this point 3 of our group were smelling the barn, and the guy who is our nominal leader (72yo, has ridden 53 doubles) told them to go ahead.  One other guy was struggling, another rider stayed with him, and three of us waited at the top of the Foxen Canyon climb.  After a short regroup (shoot, a couple of times on that climb I was down to 6 mph), we headed out again.  It was still light, we were going downhill,and the country was beautiful. 

We had 2 more climbs on Foxen Canyon Rd (fortunately short) then it was downhill back to the start.  We finished , 192 miles, in just over 13 hours.  We were about 10-15 minutes behind the  other 3 Bulls, and 3 of the wives were there at the finish to cheer us on.  It felt great to finish the ride!

About 30 minutes or so another group of Bulls finished.  That group of 4 riders started at 6:30, so they finished in 12- 12.5 hours.  They are obviously stronger than us, and one of them was completing his 100th double.  The people from Planet Ultra had a big banner, which we and the other riders signed, and some cake. 

Dinner was part of the deal, so after a shower we met back at the Marriott (where the ride was organized).  We had several choices, but beer with a huge burger was the most popular one!  It was a great time socializing after the ride.

We met for breakfast the next morning at Paula's Pancakes in Solvang.  They feature Danish pancakes.  I think all of us had almost the same meal:  two eggs, two pancakes, either sausage or bacon ( I had bacon).  This is my standard breakfast the day after a double.

The drive home has great, in just under 9 hours.



The Hemet double is up next, in April.

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