Monday, March 26, 2012

Solvang Double Century with a twist

On Saturday the 24th of March I crossed the start line of the Solvang Double century bike event at 6.30am with my good friend Ray and set off on a cycling adventure which would take us through some beautiful high roads and bye roads!
Rene, Myself and Ray before the event

Now normally I would advise a cyclist to be smart and train for a double century but Ray and I decided to sign up for the double as a training ride we probably have more running miles than cycling miles in our legs so the challenge was daunting.
It is hammer time
It was pretty dark in the early hours and we needed to have a head light, rear light and ankle reflectors all highly visible.
Williams Wheels
I used Williams Wheels 38mm and they rode like a dream, they kept me straight for 219 miles, did I say 219 miles!!!! Yikes I thought I said I signed up for 200 miles to be exact 197.5 miles!! But due to a wrong turn would end up with a lot more miles than 197.5! I never once had a flat tire in the 16 hours I was out on the road and at aid stations thank you Serfas Tires!
I started smiling 70 miles into the event
 It took me a few miles to get my happy face going, it was a little cold in the morning and I had a little trouble with my head light, the first 15 miles or so was a gentle up hill and spent 21 miles on Foxen Canyon road before finally getting to the first aid station at 41 miles, I composed my self grateful to see Ray, I refueled on Perpetuem, gel and endurolytes and we set off for another 45 miles, this would make 86 miles and was grateful to see this station, Ray had got there before me and was relaxing, there was cyclists lying on the ground and eyes closed I focused on getting my fuel ready
and shared a laugh or two with Ray.
Getting Hammer Fizz, the day would never get warm mile 86.1
After we left this aid station it was only 27 miles to the lunch stop, we went through some pretty country roads, lots of horses, cows, bulls etc all very rural
Ray cycles past cowboy boots on a fence open roads nice and quiet
We soon passed Los Osos and on to the lunch stop
Finally we reached mile 113.4 were Ray enjoyed his much anticipated sub way sandwich, there was a lot of cyclists here and we were all pretty happy as we only had around 80 plus miles to go and we had to make the next rest station by 5pm. We thought this is going to be all plain sailing from here, we had already took a wrong turn earlier in the course and added a few extra miles to the final count.
We took off for 28 more miles we thought it would be easy getting to rest stop at mile 141, but we had not anticipated a very nasty head wind! We passed San Luis Bay, Avila Beach drive and past Pismo, then we climbed up the steep hill to descend into Guadalupe, and this is where the fun began, with only 10 miles to go and 5 done really fast with rolling hills we met wind a strong head wind, I had missed the light Ray had gone ahead and I struggled alone for 3 miles at 8 miles per hour, I was truly miserable ths could not be happening but it was we had wind!!
here I am with Ray at mile 141 I wanted to call it a day as I did not want to cycle 25 miles into a head wind ....
We left Le Roy Park mile 141 at 5 15pm, into a nice head on wind, we just kept on pedaling, moving forward, I pulled a bit then Ray then we joined a group of cyclists who had a nice pace line going and we hung on for dear life taking turns in the headwind until we reached 168 mile mark were head lamps and rear lights had to be turned on and we could stop for hot food.....

The darkness came quickly and we only had 29 miles left to pedal, it was cold and the road at Colins Market near Los Alamos was full of pot holes but we survived, we made our way onto Aliso Canyon Road on to Foxen road, my feet were cramping badly so stopped to spray Kool n Fit and take anti fatigue caps and endurolytes, we continued and some how we missed the turn off to Ballard Canyon Road with only 7 miles to go we were heading in the wrong direction and we kept on cycling in the eerie darkness for many miles until we finally stopped and wondered why we were not near the turn off and realized we had done over 200 miles, this was not good we were terribly lost and would finally end up with 220 miles in total miles as Ray and I also took a wrong turn earlier in the day too! with 15 hours and 44 mins out on the bike it would put us past the 10pm cut off by 15 minutes we would be un official!

The out come was 15 hours 44 mins including rest stops, 220 miles in total and we would not be credited the double century! but we had had a hell of a ride and never quit when the wind became problematic, I need to get a head light on my helmet so I can see the miles on the computer and see the course map, it was easy to get lost in the night as it was total darkness and we were getting a little tired.
Foxen Canyon Road had been really dark and quiet with Owls flying across the road and a Cheshire cat moon and lots of stars in the sky.....but only a few cyclists took the wrong turn!!
We returned out numbers to the Check in and were tired so decided to go back to the hotel and stay the night before leaving in the morning.
New friends, there is always a chance to make New cycling buddies

 Solvang Double had not been easy, Ray and I never quit despite our lack of bike miles we had finished 220 miles of cycling beautiful roads, seen some great scenery made new friends seen old friends,

The morning after time for a good breakfast

Ostriches in Solvang!

Thanks to Polar I counted 7,000 calories I could afford a really nice breakfast and head home to see my husband AL and my little dog Hammer.

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