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Solvang Double Century Road Ride 2008

March 29th, 2008

It was a beautiful day of riding through the Central Coast, filled with vinyards, wildflowers, coastal views and ocean breezes. 


Mile 0, 5:40 AM

The ride started out at Solvang at 5:40 AM and went through the eastern Santa Yanez valley via Foxen Canyon, along dozens of back roads through Santa Maria, Edna Valley, and San Louis Obisbo, to Morro Bay, and looped back through Shell beach, Pismo beach, Guadalupe, and Los Alamos. I started the ride at 5:40 AM and finished at 8:40 PM. The course (with 6.5 miles of "extra credit" due to getting lost-- see Lost.jpg) was just over 200 miles.

Mile 25

Heading up Foxen Canyon to the Fess Parker winery just after sunrise.



Mile 30

View of the Santa Barbara mountains from the top of Foxen Canyon.



Mile 70

Country roads make for difficult navigation at times. Thanks to this sign I did 7 miles of extra credit! Combined with getting sick from the polluted tap water at rest stop #1 I really felt like quitting at this point, but quitting was not an option! Later I would meet a rider who had a saying that would be echoing in my head later in the ride: EFI! "If I have to walk the last ten miles I will finish this race" he said. "How? In your riding shoes? You can't walk in those." I responded. Mr. EFI exlaimed, "I'll take them off and walk barefoot!"


Mile 100

After a strong headwind on PCH leading into Morro Bay (big thanks to the tandem that let me draft 1/2 of the way) the skys opened up and shined down on Morro Rock. From Morro Bay I scouted the harbor patrol office for my Uncle, who ends up was camping and not in town, and I departed south via South Bay/Los Osos to checkpoint #3 in SLO. It was low tide and the ride across South Bay was sunny and warm.


Mile 122

Riding through Shell Beach was amazing, and the 15mph NW tailwind was nice too.






Mile 130

Pismo Beach.jpg Some goofly biker with Piso beach in the background. Took PCH all the way through Pisomo to Guadalupe.

Mile 164

Vinyards.jpg Approaching Los Almos to checkpoint #5 via highway 135. Every mile after this point up to checkpoint #5 seemed like 100 miles. The wineries and cattle ranches seemed endless. Saddle soreness, numb feet, jello legs, aching wrists, neck, and back, all seemed to blend together. Funny story: When I pulled off the road to snap this photo two rednecks wearing quilted flannel jackets in a beat up '80s Ford stopped next to me, and the passenger, who probably had been drinking, antagonized "hey man, I question your sexuality with those tight shorts you're wearing." Dumbfounded I replied "Sorry dude, but I don't have time to address your concern, I've been riding since 5:40 AM this morning." The redneck's jaw dropped, he looked at his buddy, who look back at him blankly, and after a few seconds replied cold sober "holy ****. God bless you man!".





Mile 190

Sunset fell on checkpoint #5 as I pulled in for one final rest. The temperature was dropping quite rappidly and a cup of warm soup was a real treat.

A few of the riders who had been struggling the last ten or so miles waited it out for a ride back to the start. I wasn't going to quit being only a few miles from the finish.

Before leaving I didn't have the foresight to put on my arm and leg warmers, figuring I'd be at the finish in no time. Was I ever wrong. The next section of the ride was a climb up "Bull Canyon". At the top of the last climb I popped a wheelie, eager to begin the long bumpy decent back down to the main highway. The dropping temperature and wind chill left me numb and even more exhausted by the time I reached the main highway well past dark.




Mile 200.2

Finish.jpg Its finally over! And I have the bloodshot eyes to prove I did the whole course and then some!

Although the official routesheet was only 193 miles, the 7 miles of extra credit in Santa Maria makes for an even first double century.

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