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.
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