After a great Solvang Century in 2008 I thought I could make an even better go of it. In 2008 I completed the ride in 6 hours, 30 minutes; 5:50 in the saddle. A combination of less power in my legs this year and strong headwinds it took me over 7 hours total time and 6:18 in the saddle. Shows I need to rev up the training rides as much as I have the distance rides.
Millie and I drove to Lompoc Friday afternoon for a night’s stay in the Day’s Inn. The hotels in Solvang were nearly fully booked several months ago with the only rooms being much more expensive than they were worth. After arriving in Lompoc I drove the 20 miles to Solvang to pick up my registration packet. The crowds were huge with at least 3000 of the 4000 people arriving at about the same time. However, it was very smooth and fast. I spent a few minutes checking out all the booths of the cycle stores, health food vendors, and a variety of other interesting cycle-related businesses.
After a surprisingly restful night’s sleep we loaded up the car at 6:30 Saturday morning (Millie loves that part of my rides) so I could get on the road before 8:00. At around 7:30 I launched from Solvang with hundreds of the other 5500 riders. My pictures show what a great day it was for us but only one photo shows how windy it was out there.
The 100 miles were pretty much uneventful with only the occasional close call with crazy riders from hardcore bike teams and a few minor accidents that seemed to be mostly the fault of the cyclist involved. As usual I came across a few of my friends from here and there as well as some really nice people to talk to which helped to break the monotony of non-stop pedal pushing.
While I was out on the road Millie spent time in one of her favorite cities. There are a bunch of craft stores and shops with the kinds of knickknacks she loves to collect. I don’t even want to know how much money she spent.
Solvang is one of my favorite centuries that I’m sure I’ll ride again, hopefully even faster. I probably could have pushed harder but I always worry about running out of gas with miles remaining to ride. As usual, I had plenty in the tank but that feels better than being completely wasted prior to a 250-mile drive home and a 10K run the next day. . .