Monday, March 29, 2010

Solvang Double in the bag

I'm like a kid who knows he has to go to the dentist, but it's his birthday, and Christmas too. He's been called to the principal's office, and there's a bully lurking, but the girl he has a crush on just smiled at him. That was me the night before and morning of the Solvang Double Century.

Just getting all my junk together was a chore. I was so afraid I'd forget something I organized myself into disorganization. When we got to the motel I was sure I'd left my cycling clothes behind and started to panic. Tricia had brought them into the room and I was too wound up to see the big box they were in. It went on like that.

But shortly after 5 am I rolled out with my crew, with all the crap that makes a pretty bike look like a skid row trash pile: Lights, GPS, route sheet clipped on the cables, two water bottles and a huge ugly (but necessary) seat bag.
The morning ride out of Solvang in the dark was amazing. We looked like an endless trail of ants marching with candles in a religious procession as we wound our way through the hills.

I had a cold start, but used a tip I'd read somewhere. I wore an old sweatshirt I planned to abandon. It kept me warm even though my fingers froze. I dumped it at rest stop 2 and stopped looking like a total fred.

Here are a few of my disconnected memories of the ride
  • The 3:30 AM call from my riding partner LanceOldStrong (Daniel) telling me he checked with the desk and that since I gave him a ride I was clear to park in the hotel lot, thereby saving me from obsessing over where to park.
  • The amazing dawn as we rode through... I have no idea where we were, but it was amazing.
  • Riding with "Big Georges." I was so beat I kept thinking I was with Big George Hincapie and maybe he'd give me some bike clothes.
  • Almost missing a turn in the dark and thinking the change in road color was a cliff.
  • The speed run pace line that ran at 22-24 for quite a while. I'm not used to that and it was a blast.
  • Getting way too much info about LanceOldStrong's last check point break (ask him, or better yet, don't.)
  • Riding behind LanceOldStrong after Pismo Beach for miles and miles at an amazing speed. That guy can crank.
  • Being thrilled that the alleged 8-mile climb at the end was really only 2. What a deal.
  • Telling Dan to "Light it up" with about 3 miles to go and watching him explode downhill.
  • Seeing the cool poster Dan's kid's made him at the finish. Way sweet.
  • Having MyLilPony sneak up behind me and rub my aching neck at the ride finish.
The best part might have been after the last rest stop. There was a climb, and we'd heard it was the big climb of the day. It was 2, 4 or 8 miles, depending on who I asked. It was steap, and over a really bad road. I was thinking it was going to get really old if it went on for 8 miles. But suddenly we were at the top. It was actually really short, and the summit that was marked on our cue sheet was really just a small rise near the finish.

Finishing stats via the Garmin and Assent:
Moving speed: 15.1 mph
Average speed with stops: 13.4 mph
Rolling time: 12:47
Total time out: 14:20
Climbing: 8020 feet
Pain: Monday, a tired neck and a tight right calf. Could be worse.

Elevation profile. Click map for large version

Map. Click map for really large version

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Solvang "training" report and jerk encounter

Deborah and LanceOldStrong climb Morgan Territory Road
I've been negligent in reporting my recent rides, so I'll toss in three in this post.
What with the Solvang Double just two weeks away I've been concerned — not really worried — but concerned about the lack of major mileage I've put in this year. The big problem is that it's been wet most weekends. I do have my daily bike commute that I never miss, and that helps, but it isn't exactly long distance. Over the last three weekends I've at least put in some mileage, though not the kind that really gets one ready for 200.

Feb 28, 80 miles guided by LanceOldStrong and accompanied by the usual Bike Forums gang. The route included a good climb up Morgan Territory on the back of Diablo followed by a climb up Redwood Rd in the Berkeley Hills. It was the first good weather day in ages.

March 6 Tricia and I rode Morgan Territory for 50 miles. That gal can climb. It was a beautiful day until we hit the summit and dropped into the clouds and cold. That ride back toward Danville can be demoralizing. A slight invisible uphill with a headwind made us feel really weak for a bit. But eventually we got back to the sun, and a downhill and all was well again. And it's Spring again, so all is right with the world.

BlastRadius of Bike Forums was our Daylight Savings Time leader for the day

March 13 I rode with the Bike Forums gang from SF over the Golden Gate and out to Point Reyes Station for 75. The pace was leisurely, with frequent stops, but it was fun and 75 miles is 75 miles. The ride was to celebrate daylight savings time, and encourage Pete Taxi777 to ride with us. Daylight Savings Time worked out well, but Pete didn't make it. We were sad.

Jerk Report
While we were having lunch at Point Reyes Station we all leaned our bikes on a wall. A moment later another cyclist got his bike from the wall and in the process knocked over three of our bikes, including mine. When my bike fell it broke my water bottle cage. I pointed it out to him, and he just shrugged it off and walked away. Nice guy. My riding mates insist karma will get him.

Photo of Curtis by BlastRadius