OK now that I'm up out of bed let's start reports from the Solvang Century; here's mine.
Matt's words of "If you're late, you're chasing" rang in my ears as I drove 90mph over the pass this morning and I arrived in Solvang at approximately 7:25, so had plenty of time to figure out how to dress and what food to carry before heading out. A group of what, 30-40 of SB's finest gathered on Mission St. in Solvang and rode off promptly at 8:01:00. Someone rode alongside me remarking this looked like our Saturday SB ride and I wondered if anyone was left in SB for the Saturday ride.
The morning in Solvang dawned under fog and colder temperatures than expected, so we rode out of town a bit briskly in the effort to warm up. We climbed out of the valley a bit and back into the sunshine and warmth. A nice paceline developed early on, but by 25 miles in a structure to the ride had crystallized: Aaron Olson was at the front and willing to pull the group to insure he got a good workout from the day. Right about that time my strategy for making it through the day as quickly as possible also crystallized: get on Aaron's wheel and don't let go! So, for the next 40 miles I sat on Aaron's wheel and never looked up as he contentedly pulled us over hill and dale and into the fierce winds that crop up around Vandenburg AFB. Only Kim Anderson got between Aaron's back wheel and my front wheel - I thought it only right to allow her in. A real genetic freak, new to my acquaintance, would come from behind me to offer Aaron respite: Chuckie V (http://www.solvangtriathloncamps.com/about.htm) from Solvang would jump around me, Kim and Aaron and take some MONSTER pulls too. Grazie Chuckie! Multo Grazie Aaron!
So this scenario continued all the way through Santa Maria where I finally looked up, looked back, looked around. The group was now about 8 people. By the time we hit the Sisquoc course it dropped to Aaron, Marco Fennelli, M. Krieke, Ben the Hammer, Dubberly and me as we lost a few leaving town and Kim suddenly sat up. When Aaron noticed Kim was missing he sat up to check on her (aww!) and I chased back onto the group on the descent of that infamous Sisquoc climb. Yes, your author was starting to find himself in a spot of bother when trying to go uphill, the rollers were working me. By 80 miles I was unable to hold onto the back of Marco, Krieke, Ben and Matt, so accepted my fate dropping from ~26mph to 23mph along Foxen Canyon Road. I kept them in sight until we hit the last stretch of Foxen Cyn. before the bigger hills start. The two big climbs on Foxen Cyn. on the way to Los Olivos forced me to ride smart, grab the 39X23 and just spin easily up, but I could still work the downhills/false flats that followed! I kept looking down at the computer amazed it had a number that started with a 3 on the speedo! Thank you Zipp 404s!! Although, cresting the last climb on Foxen, that big bugger before plunging into Los Olivos, I had a strong side gust of wind nearly rip the handlebars out of my hands! Glad I didn't put the 808's on today!!
I should mention that coming into the first big Foxen Cyn. climb Aaron came flying past me secure that Kim was doing OK. I only had time to spit out "Thanks for the tow!" before he was gone! What a motor! It's amazing to be reminded just how fast the boys (and girls) go in the Big Leagues. Aaron pulled the group for, I'm guessing, 60 miles total and he never looked like he was working!
So after that last little leg buster in Los Olivos (I kept picturing Jens Voigt climbing it on his TT bike last year) I again had a blast on the descending rollers into Solvang. Well, except for one very humbling moment actually. I couldn't hold the wheel of a recumbent bike while descending. I kept catching this dude on his 26" wheel recumbent (aero forks too I noticed) when the road tilted up and he would DROP ME on the gentle descents. I hesitate to even type this...but trust me I was still doing 28-31mph when I got dropped!! A recumbent! It goes against everything I understand and believe in and he dropped me going downhill!! Ugh! Fortunately the road tilted up long enough I dropped the recumbi and promptly found Krieke in front of me. He jumped on my wheel and we kept a quick pace rolling into Solvang where we caught Matt and Ben soft pedaling the last mile or so before the finishline. Fennel had kept the pace going. Stud points to him and then triple stud points to Aaron who had caught all of us before the finish and then (we think) turned back to ride in with Kim!
Epilogue: I'm tired. My accelerator foot (which also serves as my brake foot) cramped on the way home while heading down the 154. I learned to left foot brake today. A hot soak, 2 hour nap and an espresso puts me into the present tense. I'm planning a walk downtown with the wife to bring some blood flow back into my legs. Does anyone know how tequila works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant? Computer reads 102.4 miles, avg. speed 23.2 (max 52!), riding time 4:24, avg. HR 158 bpm, max HR 182 bpm, 4000 calories burned. Made for a memorable day!
"bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people." Chip Brown
Photos ala Matt
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