The forecast was partly cloudy with highs in the low 70s so we were a bit surprised to wake up to heavy fog and mid-40s. I met up with my friend Sandra and her triathlete buddies who are in training for a tough event later this year. At about an hour or so into the ride the sun burned off the fog and we ended up with the great day we expected.
We started off through Solvang and into Buellton at an easy pace since we could only see about 20 feet ahead; noone had lights, and the roads were unfamiliar. After about 10 miles I did the typical over exertion for the next 50 miles. The rest stops were welcome sights along the way since I was working fairly hard on the ride.
Even with about 3000 people on the century ride I was only able to find one good paceline to jump onto which was led by a couple of WebCor guys from Palo Alto at about mile 50. I stayed with them for about five miles until two San Jose Bike Club riders took the lead and pulled the paceline away from me.
Throughout the day it seemed like I was like a magnet. Every so often I’d look back and there would be as many as 10 riders on my tail but only one of the guys all day came up to do some pulling. I was reluctant to drop to the back of the paceline since I didn’t know any of them and I’ve made the mistake of getting behind dangerous riders in the past. Those groups typically broke apart on climbs and always at rest stops.
Occasionally, a guy in a lime green jersey would pass me on the climbs and then I’d pass him either on the descents or the flats. At about mile 70 I caught up to him again and struck up a conversation. His name is Greg, a stock analyst from Palos Verdes and this was his second century. If he rode as many centuries as me he’d probably be doing them in under 5 hours, the guy is strong for only one prior century. It was great to have someone to talk to, especially during those last painful miles, and especially the way Solvang was laid out with most of the climbing at the end.
I’m planning to ride this one again next year. Solvang is a great town, I hope we get the same excellent weather again.
Photos from this ride are here. . .