Friday, March 20, 2009

Solvang Century Ride Report

**A Joint Ride Report by Sarah and Carmen and Sarah** (mostly Carmen because Sarah is getting lazy about blogging)

Carmen says:

The first highlight of the trip is the night before the ride. We stopped in Pismo Beach for dinner, just in time to see a breathtaking sunset off the Pacific Ocean.


We then went to Splash Cafe and had what had to be the best Ahi tuna fish tacos in the world. We split our orders so we could each have one taco with this tangy Citris salsa and the other with this spicy horseradishy green sauce. YUM!!

Splash Cafe

Sarah says: This place is NOT to be missed if you’re going through Pismo! It’s on the main drag heading toward the pier. You can’t miss it b/c it will be packed with people!

Carmen says: After dinner we headed down to Solvang to get our ride packets. As usual, there was a product expo where we spent more money than we planned. Sarah nabbed this super cute “Cycling Diva” t-shirt, a TriDiva hat and a pair of sunglasses. I (finally) got the Bento box I’ve been needing and a new pair of sunglasses.

It was nearly 10 p.m. before we got to the hotel in Lompoc. Not much to say about Lompoc, but the hotel experience was classic! We hijacked a luggage dolly and loaded it up with our crap and then rolled it and our bikes up three stories and, of course, all the way to the other side of the hotel. We couldn’t stop laughing as we looked at this thing piled high with gear bags, overnight bags, and groceries. Seriously. We were there for one night but could have stayed a week with the amount of stuff we had!

The next morning we got a little bit of a late start but managed to hit the start line just in time for the cut-off (8:00 a.m.). (Sarah says: really, Carmen? There was a cut-off? I had no idea. :P If it’s not a race…I’m not in a hurry…no stress…and I knew we’d be fast anyway!) It was a bit on the chilly side as we started out but the place was packed with riders and we were excited to get moving. The first group of riders we ended up with had two younger ladies in pink/lavender clothes with a "HOT" sticker stuck to their rear-ends. At first, we were like, "that's cute." But after awhile, they were driving us bananas. Speed up, slow down. Speed up, slow down. By the time we got to the first rest stop, we made a decision to simply roll through and left our little group behind.

BEFORE we left, though, we met Batman and Robin who were riding on a tandem bike. Apparently last year they rode as the Tortoise and the Hare. These two guys were cracking us up - and they were fast! We kept seeing them throughout the ride and yelled, "HEY BATMAN!" (Sarah would like to note that at one point Batman said “You can call me Bruce, too…” and I didn’t get it until about a minute later…DUH…BRUCE WAYNE!)

Batman and Robin
Miles 40-60 were probably the best miles of the ride.

Carmen mile 50

We caught a group of riders a couple of times and were SPEEDING along at some crazy paces. Sarah hung on longer and probably could have stayed all day - she was doing AWESOME! Sarah also had this amazing pull down this busy stretch of a road. Every time we looked back, more and more people were jumping onto the pace line. That's kind of what's neat about these rides. You don't know anyone but pretty soon little groups form and you all work together to get some good miles in.
Mile 60-ish was a low point for me. All that fast fun took a toll and eating was at a minimum because my stomach was revolting. Sarah finally said, "You NEED to eat." She was right. After stopping briefly to eat a half a PB&J, I felt like new and off we went.

Another low point was miles 80-86. Why? Because everyone kept telling us there was this "huge climb" at mile 80. So Sarah went ahead at her own pace while I took it easy to save some legs for the climb. But then mile 80 went by, 81, 82, 83, 84....still no climb. We were like what the heck? Where IS THIS CLIMB? Sarah joined back up and we were for some reason really pissed off by the fact that "big climb" wasn't where everyone said it would be. Can't really figure out why it bothered us so much but I suppose it was just that we were taking it easy to save our legs and it just was nowhere in sight! (Sarah says: I was pissed because at the mile 72 rest stop Carmen had taken off ahead of me since this ‘big’ climb was coming and she figured I’d catch her. So I passed her around mile 76 and thought “well I’ll just keep going and wait for her at the top of the climb.” But mile after mile…this climb wasn’t coming and I felt bad for leaving my friend to ride alone. LAME!) Finally, at around mile 85/86, the "big climb" came. It wasn't really a big climb. These people need to come to Sonoma County - we'll show them a big climb! Nonetheless, I stuck it in an easy gear and went up while Sarah breezed her way to the top.

The landscape for the first 80 miles was bleh. Nothing too exciting, especially when you compare it to our beautiful Sonoma County. But the last 20+ miles were very nice.

Top of climb

Sarah continued to ride strong and I was getting a second wind and feeling great. In fact, after the fun times at mile 40-60, the last 20 miles were the next best miles. Great views and strong legs.

We finished in 5 hours and 50 minutes. Sarah could have gone faster but she graciously waited for me. Even so, I felt like I had a pretty good showing for my first Century ride!

After the ride, we stopped at a Danish Bakery and had the BEST Danishes and coffee. Although it could be that everything tastes better after you've ridden 103 miles. One thing we noticed, though is that Solvang is kind of an eerie town. It's suppose to be really cute with all the Danish architecture but, hello, we're in the middle of California. EVERYTHING has a Danish spin to it. It kind of felt like the twilight zone. Beautiful, but strange.

All in all, it was a great day!

Sarah says: I think Carmen did an awesome job with this ride report, so I don’t feel like I really needed to add much. Or I’m just lazy. ;) But seriously…while not the most scenic century I’ve ever done, definitely one of the BEST!!

First, I had great company (yay, Carmen!).

Second, I felt like I kicked ASS all day long. And when we finished I thought “ya know…I could ride another 30 if I wanted to.” My nutrition was solid all day and I never felt too tired or like I wished I could just get off my bike and curl into a ball. THAT is an achievement for me! All I can say to people is EAT, EAT EAT!!!! Gotta keep eating on those long rides even if you’re not hungry.

Third, it felt so awesome to pull a train the way I did. I was scared to look back and see how many people were on the back but when Carmen told me there was a huge long line behind me I just smiled this big smile and kept on pedaling. Yeee haww!

Fourth, it felt awesome to join up with a train of guys at mile 70 and be going at 28 mph. We were FLYING! Love love love love that.

Fifth, I was so proud of our ride time and really proud of Carmen. I think she had a spectacular first century – and she’s only been riding for about a year now!

Thanks, Carmen!

Enjoy our photo album from the trip…


PunkRockRunner said...

Congratulations to Carmen on her first century!! It looks like a scenic and fun ride although I would not "complain" about the lack of BIG climb at the end (ha). Great purchase at the Expo, the glasses are really cool! Fun stuff.

Carolina John said...

Sounds like a great ride! glad you felt strong and had fun, i think that's the key.

i've got my first organized ride like that (60k) next weekend, i hope it turns out this good.

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

Hey, you've given me hope that my first century will be doable! Go Carmen!

Love that you led a train Sarah...what a blast.

Rainmaker said...

The sunset: That's certainly one thing I miss with being on this coast - and not being by the coast - the sunsets.

Nice dualing-person post. Although for some reason I kept forgetting it and thought "Wow, Sarah is talking in the 3rd person about herself...interseting." ;)

Looks like a great - and relaxing - ride.

Jennifer Harrison said...

AWESOME job! :) I had fun listening or reading the dialogue! haha...and doesn't everything taste better with a baked good! :) hee hee!