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Solvang Century this Weekend........(15 posts)

Solvang Century this Weekend........Bike Bum
Mar 4, 2003 10:13 AM
This is my first experiance with a 3,700+ cyclists event....could anyone who has attended this Century or one like it have any words of wisdom or advise. The ride itself isn't a problem it's just the idea of all those folks with families is pretty amazing (I'm from a small town can you tell...?).
I plan on checking-in the ride packet the nite before...but Im guessing this'll be a zoo on the morning of the ride.....

Enlighten me, Obe-One
funDougSloan
Mar 4, 2003 10:22 AM
It's a staggered start, not mass start, so that helps thin out the herd. Nonetheless, there will be large groups around you at all times. It will be almost a solid string of riders from start to finish.

Relax and enjoy it. Don't go for a PR or race the darn thing. Talk to people. Admire the bikes and the scenery.

Pay attention to other riders. I've seen several accidents, almost always from someone overlapping wheels and then going down. Never allow your front wheel to overlap a wheel in front of you, and try to ride steady. If you are around other people who are doing this, fall back or speed up and don't ride with them.

Obey the traffic laws. They have enforcement out, and they will cite you. This means usually ride single file unless on the shoulder or passing, and STOP at stop signs. Just because a group may blow through doesn't mean it's ok for you. For police controlled intersections, though, they may waive you through without stopping.

Don't get with a group over your head. There will be anything from slow casual riders to hard core Cat 1's out for a quasi-race workout. If you push too hard early, you will feel it later. Especially in this event, you can always find another group to latch on to, if you feel you must draft (by the way, it's OK to ride solo, too).

Don't linger too long at the food stops, or you stiffen up. They have giant tables set up, so get you food and move on. Don't be the idiots who linger right in front of the food, blocking it for everyone else. There are plenty of port-o-potties, too.

The hills are very long, but a few are pretty steep. May want to take that 27 cog.

Like I said, enjoy it. It's one great event.

Doug
correctionDougSloan
Mar 4, 2003 10:24 AM
The hills are NOT very long...
ain't no big thingmohair_chair
Mar 4, 2003 10:24 AM
I don't recall a lot of folks with families, but 20 of the first 25 miles goes on roads that hardly see any cars, so there's plenty of room to spread out and avoid any undesirable hordes! The last 20-30 miles is basically the same way. Few cars, lots of room.

The middle portion is usually very windy, so ad hoc pace lines form automatically. You don't see a lot of people going it alone from Lompoc to Vandenberg! I'm always amazed to pull off the front and see 15-20 people hanging off our original line of 4 people! If you pass people here, you'll pick them all up. To a lesser extent, the same thing happens going across Vandenberg.

One really cool aspect of Solvang is that the police are out at all the major traffic intersections, and bikes will almost always get right of way. That means no stopping!
two more things...mohair_chair
Mar 4, 2003 10:35 AM
Solvang usually starts out freezing and gets downright hot later in the day. Expect 40 degrees at the start and 70-80 degrees at the finish, so don't overdress or you will suffer. I typically go with shorts, short sleeves, knee warmers, vest, and a jacket (windbreaker). The jacket comes off within 10 miles.

Also, the hardest hills come late in the ride, so definitely don't burn yourself out early doing macho pulls in a paceline. A good chunk of the elevation gain comes in the last 30 miles, when it's usually hot. Keep yourself hydrated.
IndeedNo_sprint
Mar 4, 2003 10:49 AM
I wore my team shoe covers last year and they were an ace in the hole and the envy of hundreds. I went with them, bibs, short sleeve, knee warmers, arm warmers and vest. Everything stayed on til the finish, vest unzipped. I worked very hard the entire route. Had I cruised it, a touch more clothing might have been nice (long sleeve underarmour shirt, leg warmers).
re: Solvang Century this Weekend........No_sprint
Mar 4, 2003 10:41 AM
It's very well organized. You'll not find it to be completely chaotic at the start. Sure there are a lot of people and 'you' may not know where to go for what, but everything is set up great. No need to get all worked up at the beginning, take it easy, start when you want. Getting your race packet the night before will not 'save you' in the morning. They've done this 100 times if not more.

Pace yourself if you haven't done one before. The last climb from Buellton to Solvang will seem deadly if you've gone 110% and are improperly nourished/drunk. It's a lot of fun.
Sounds like the Seagullpmf1
Mar 4, 2003 11:18 AM
They have 5000-6000 people at the Seagull Century here on the East Coast. Its not my favorite ride in the world, but its a tradition (10 years in a row).

Probably the earlier you start the better. It'll probably be a little tight in the beginning, but it'll spread out pretty quickly. While I don't generally like crowds, I find the Seagull kind of fun. You see every type of cyclist and the rest stops are great because there's always lots of high end bikes to drool over.

Don't worry about it -- have fun.
you guys are torturing me...spc15
Mar 4, 2003 11:18 AM
It's about 15 degrees here with 8 inches of snow on the
ground and salt completely caking the road surfaces...

tell me why I moved to the east coast again?

Have a great ride!
oh my. I feel your pain. (no I don't). :-| nmDougSloan
Mar 4, 2003 11:40 AM
We're just kiddingNo_sprint
Mar 4, 2003 11:41 AM
It's really about 30 degrees with freezing rain here. It sucks. SoCal is completely over-rated. Don't move here!
We're just kiddingspc15
Mar 4, 2003 11:48 AM
Funny you should say that, I actually grew up in SoCal...

How does that song go?..."It never rains in California"....

Have fun...

SPC
Thanks for the InfoBike Bum
Mar 4, 2003 12:37 PM
Again thanks for the info and ride description....this is my second century and my riding partner's first.

I didn't know what to expect and didn't have a clue as to how to pace myself. This helps alot.

.....Thank You, Obe-One(s)
The motels in Lompoc are servicable ...Humma Hah
Mar 5, 2003 6:53 AM
I ended up in motel rooms the nights before and after the run. The closest thing available was Lompoc! And that was for a run where a lot of folks were no-shows due to the possibility of rain.

Be prepared to sleep some distance from the start, maybe 20-30 miles or so.

Otherwise, take comfort in the fact you'll never be riding alone.
The motels in Lompoc are servicable ...Bike Bum
Mar 5, 2003 12:00 PM
Yep, Last month I got a room In Lompoc for the nite before and after the Ride.......It was the closest available Lodging (18 Miles away according to Yahoo Maps). I found that Solvang is booked full a year inadvance for this ride.....