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Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...(24 posts)

Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...Humma Hah
Mar 11, 2001 4:38 PM
... when viewed about 2.5 miles from the end of the century. You look down from one turn on the road, and see this pretty little village nestled in the charming valley, and the most charming thing is IT IS ALL DOWNHILL!

What a gnarly ride on a cruiser! I finished -- started having knee problems about halfway, bought some Advil around mile 60, took three over the rest of the ride, didn't help much. By the top of the big hill I'd lost my ability to stand-climb due to the pain. I'll admit to walking all the steep parts after that. Everyone else passing me as I pushed was slow enough we could have long discussions as they went by.

Early on, we had brutal headwinds, going slightly downhill felt like climbing 3%, and every time we turned, we still seemed to have a quartering headwind. And I've never gotten the bike so muddy on asphalt.

I enjoyed it enormously! ;-)
re: Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...Skip
Mar 11, 2001 6:06 PM
Congratulations! I wondered off & on this weekend how you and Doug made out. Well done.

re: Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...Eames
Mar 11, 2001 7:00 PM
So after all this talk about raingear for the century did it actually rain?
re: Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...Scy
Mar 11, 2001 9:47 PM
It did not rain and it was a beatiful sunny (after about 11 o'clock) day. Road was wet in the A.M. and everyone got muddy.
How'd you do?Humma Hah
Mar 12, 2001 12:10 PM
That was your first century, right? You picked a beaut!

That was a huge load of mud on Santa Maria Rd. I can't remember the last time the cruiser was that muddy, and its seen a lot of MTB miles. And just after we finished that stretch and joined Rt. 1 (before Lompoc) there was a small but deep patch of greasy mud that nearly wrecked me -- I imagine it sent some roadbikes tumbling.

Then after Lompoc, we actually continued to descend slightly but the headwind made it feel like a 3% climb. What an ordeal!
Beautiful ride, dissapointing riders.Scy
Mar 12, 2001 8:29 PM
The short story: beautiful town, beautiful ride (even with the mud), was humbled by my finish time (8 hours total, 6.5 hours saddle).

The long story:

As you may remember, I decided to camp at Lake Cachuma. I picked a beautiful spot by the lake. It only rained when I was setting up the tent. Got up at 5 A.M. to get ready for the ride b/c I couldn't sleep.

I went on this trip solo and have never ridden in a group so I was hoping to catch my first paceline. I was dissapointed because hardly anyone rode in a PL. The PL I saw were either too core for me or consisted of one or two persons pulling two or three others without rotation. Couldn't seem to find a PL that was do-able for me (b/c I'm too slow I guess--but it seemed like I passed about 5 riders for every one that passed me).

At mile 30 I caught a paceline going about 22 mph doing 30 second pulls. My heart rate was over 170. I did four pulls when I decided that I had better not over extend myself. After that I ended up drafting a few groups that did not rotate on the pulls before passing them (I tried to pull ahead to lead them, but they never seemed interested).

I heard on this forum that 6 hours would be a good time and that's what I shot for. I also planned to keep my SAG stops at under 5 minutes each. Boy, was I optomistic. Did the century in 8 hours total (13 mph average) and 6.5 hours saddle (16 mph ave.).

At about mile 80, the time in the saddle combined with the very rough pavement created a pain in my ass that I have never before experienced. I actually looked forward to the steeper sections where I could stand.

Looking back, I would have enjoyed it more if I became less focused on my time and just tried to enjoy the scenery. Still, it was a great experience and I'll be back next year. . .now it's time to get the mud off my bike.

Thanks for all the advice Humma Hah
Sounds like excellent time to me ...Humma Hah
Mar 13, 2001 10:27 AM
Doug Sloan said it took him about 6 hours and he's a Cat 4 racer. My best time on a century, a much easier one last fall, was 8:02 total, and I probably could have done 15 minutes faster if I'd not lingered over the ice cream at the last SAG stop. But Solvang took me about 9:47 total, an embarrassment. That run doesn't compare to really difficult rides like the Death Ride, but it is NOT an easy run, and I'd be surprised if anyone cracked 5 hours.
Rained the night before, not during the run.Humma Hah
Mar 12, 2001 6:24 PM
There was a front that moved thru, and soaked the area pretty well then night before. The ground was already sodden from several inches of rain the previous week, and as a result, many of the roads were quite muddy. Santa Maria Rd. was the first long road on the route. It parallels a river thru farm fields, and parts of it were covered with half an inch of mud. The cruiser has done a lot of mountainbiking, but rarely has it been more covered with mud than it got going down that road.

I think there may have been one or two drops of rain all day. It was cool and partly cloudy, with some wind as we left Lompoc, but otherwise was pretty decent weather.
Kudos to you Humma.....Cora
Mar 11, 2001 8:13 PM
For even attempting Solvang on a single spd. no less completing it.
This was my first century and I used ever one of my 18spds. I concur that the wind made the first 50 epic - and the mud in the first 10 was unbelievable. All in all a great ride and a great town.
Wish I would have seen you!MeDotOrg
Mar 11, 2001 8:45 PM
I kept looking for a single speed, but to no avail. This was my first Century (heck, my first big organized ride) and I never saw so many Colnagos, Merlins and Litespeeds in my life. Seemed like every few minutes I would be passed by a team of identically-dressed cyclists on titanium frames...

Because it was my first century, I went out slow. Suffered through the mud and those headwinds going into Vandenberg AFB. Once the sun came out and the day got warm, it was a really pleasant ride. My cyclometer was working erratically, so at one point I was showing 64 miles and asked another cyclist for their reading and they said 80!

Everyone kept talking about the "wall of death", the hill after the last rest stop, but I thought the hill BEFORE the last rest stop (I think the locals call it "Cardiac Hill")was tougher, maybe because it's at the end of a long section. Anyway (for me) the "Wall of Death" was anti-climatic.

Kudos should go to SCOR. I thought the ride was very well organized, and the CHP and local police did a great job at all the intersections (at least while I was there). A great day.

I drove back to San Francisco today and felt good enough to take a 42 mile jaunt up to Fairfax and back!

Sorry you had trouble with your knees. Do you every think about a derailleur bike for these long rides?
Yes, right on the moneyMorgan
Mar 12, 2001 7:54 AM
This was also my first century, but it won't be my last. One of the best organized events I have ever attended. We started out at 7:00AM. We saw tons of people in the first 20 miles pulled over fixing with flats. As stated we hit heavy mud on the road in the first 10 miles But they were prepared at the first SAG with a bike wash. The line was long for it, and I did not want to hang around and wait. The next leg of the century the cross winds we encountered were a real bear. We were very thankful that good weather prevailed. I was amazed and how big Vandenberg was. It offered a nice long climb as well as a nice down hill. Again I was shocked by the amount of food they had at each SAG. At the second SAG the ground was soft and got packed into my Speedplay show cleats, For the rest of the event I had trouble clipping into my pedals. Some of the roads were in very rough shape and there were time when it felt like my bike was comming apart. I agree that for me the last couple of climbs were also anti-climatic. Solvang is a beautiful town and it was great to be welcomed as we pulled into the finish. Also thumbs up to the $5.00 massage idea. One thing I plan to do differently next year is not to pack so many power bars and gel packs. They are just not needed for this event.
I kept offering to trade bikes ...Humma Hah
Mar 12, 2001 10:12 AM
... with passing riders, but got no takers.

Yes, every time I do a hilly century on that bike, I understand exactly why you guys like your 16-pound zillion-speed bikes. Around mile 80 I start questioning my wisdom. But as long as I can finish on that old thing, I think maybe its good for me to try. Possibly, if the knee problem recurs, I'll have to use my gearie and save the cruiser for flat runs.
re: Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...terminaut
Mar 12, 2001 7:42 AM
Humma, I missed ya at the ride but did run across DAS. I was able to complete the ride at a 14MPH pace geared at 2.1 to 1. By the grace of the bike gods I managed to pull off the ride without having to stop/walk any hills, but my leg muscles are paying for it still. ;-)

These are pictures I took during the course of the ride and are in sequence as they occurred. You might recognize the DAS in one of the shots towards the end.

The rest of the pics...terminaut
Mar 12, 2001 7:46 AM

great picsDog
Mar 12, 2001 8:41 AM
That's almost a movie of the ride. Thanks, I may steal some of those and keep them.

BTW, HH and I have a conversation going about the ride under the Rides and Clubs forum

Thanks for the great photos.

Mar 12, 2001 9:47 AM
Hi Doug,

Feel free to any pics... if you want 'em in the original (1600x1200) resolution I could email you specific ones. I don't normally read the roadie boards or I'd have made an attempt to meet some of ya...

Those pics almost make me cry!!JBergland
Mar 12, 2001 10:05 AM
I would love weather like that in March. I thought yesterday was great at 28 degrees in Minn!! To get an idea of what some cyclists do in the 'winter' go to Click on MBRC. This is a local club that has some very good cyclists... they ride year round!!
Which one are you? <nm>Lazy
Mar 12, 2001 11:26 AM
If you're referring to me...terminaut
Mar 12, 2001 12:20 PM
I'm the guy riding the singlespeed Bontrager cyclocross bike.

Which one are you? <nm>JBergland
Mar 12, 2001 2:58 PM
I actually do not ride with this group. I had considered them when I first movd to the Cities because their shop is within walking distance of my work. I found a group/club closer to home.
Hey Terminator ...Humma Hah
Mar 12, 2001 11:41 AM
... good Lord, that post about choked my DSL line with all the picture links! For some reason, I couldn't reply to it there.

Sorry I missed you ... from the pix, you must have been somewhere ahead of me and pulling away. Sounds like you did a great job. I averaged 12.5 saddle time and started at 7:33. The girls with the flowers growing out of their helmets started at the same time I did, got a little ahead, but I occasionally caught up with them at SAG stops.

I met DAS coming into the 45-mile SAG stop, and he and another rider gave me a pull to the 60-mile stop. We did about 16-17 mph thru that stretch, a brisk drafting pace for me, and easy spin for them. I yakked too much on that stretch, didn't keep up with the gel and hydration, and kind of blew up for the next 10 miles until I could get some fuel and water in me again.
Mar 12, 2001 12:17 PM
Yeah, bummer we didn't get to meet this time but there'll be other opportunities I'm sure. Anyways, I started at 7:15AM and ended up hanging out at the first SAG stop for about 40 minutes due to a stomach ache. I'm surprised we didn't see each other there.

After that first SAG things went pretty smoothly. I just chugged along, snapping pictures as I went. DAS caught up to me at around 80 miles and we rode together for a while but his pace was slightly faster so I faded back (which was inevitable anyways with all my photography going on). I ended up finishing a little before 4PM then immediately took off out of town. Next year we'll have to plan a little better so we can meet up. This year I waited to see how the weather was going to be before deciding to go, so it was somewhat of a last minute ordeal.
Latte Fade Paint Jobs and 104.4 mi. of PB & Jgrz mnky
Mar 12, 2001 3:04 PM
Thought the Solvang ride was pretty nice. The wifey just about freaked out having to go through the mud at mile 15. I tried not to let her see me secretly laughing. Not being a total dope I waited in line at the bike cleaning station at the first rest stop. People thought it was a bit odd when I swapped her bike for mine and got hers washed and left mine dirty - anything for a bit of domestic harmony. Now I've got a slew of bikes to clean.

I was pretty dissapointed in the lack of originality in the food dept. - every single stop was the same thing: apples, oranges, bananas, Mother's cookies, PB&J, some gorp, and yucky chocolate drink mix - how many PB & J's can one adult eat? Probably the worst food effort for any century I've ever riden - glad I do these things with a self-support attitude due to my diet restriction. Have some varriation and themes at the rest stops is nice. No gells, mix or powerbars. The only power bar was in the the finisher's bag. And what's up with charging for the post ride feed? Seems like with over 3000 riders at $40 to $50 a head for a total of over $120,000 raised they could do a little better. Some people that paid in advance for the dinner and finally finished (latish) only to find that they had run out of food. What a drag. Word is that the Chico Wldflower Century is quite impressive in the food dept.

Pretty impressive display of hardware - lots of eye candy. Saw one guy run a stop sign at the front of our little group infront of a CHP. The cop called out over his loud speaker "Why don't you stop?" The wifey said he got pulled over and ticketed - he was also wearing headphones. For the next bunch of miles this group thought of smart-alecky replies that of course none of us would dare repeat to Mr. CHP.

Although it was a tad breezy and a few hills, it wasn't anything like what one can sometimes run into in the SF Bay Area or the Sierras. Riders may want to use that as a reference point.

Found it a bit disturbing (as usual) by the number of riders with very poor pack riding/paceline skills. On several occasions someone who had been following along and getting the benefit of the draft would try and pass the pace line on the shoulder, all while the guy coming off the nose was sliding back! the guy must have been thinking, "Geez, I'm way stronger than these bozo's - I'll show 'em" Only to find that when he got out into the breeze he'd rapidly slow down, and eventually get blown off the back. I did see two riders go down when someone tried to pass on the shoulder. In fairness there are a lot of clueless people that think it's ok to ride in the middle of the road.

Seems like we have some rules and norms on how we drive our cars, why is it that riding bikes in groups has to be such a free for all and potential to crash? I know it's not a race, but common sense says that movement in tight quarters should be deliberate, slow, and predictable.
re: Solvang is the prettiest little town, especially ...Skip
Mar 12, 2001 7:00 PM
Nice photos, except for the mud, looks like a great ride. Wish all the photos would load - must have overloaded my server, only about 1/2 came up. Thanks.