Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Solvang Spring Double Century

2012 started off nicely as far as the weather was concerned. The Camino Real Double was great both for the main event and our staff ride.

The forecast for the central coast of California on this particular weekend was for rain on the day of the event. As the week went on the chance of rain was pushed to Sunday so we were all very happy. Last year we had rain all day on the event which made for a miserable day.

I am always weary of the forecast though. You just never know. I was thinking even before the event that if the storm comes too close we might be in for some unfavorable conditions anyway.

Since my Brother in law Vince and I are getting back on the tandem for most of the doubles this year, we were really exited about this one. A perfect ride for a tandem. No major climbs and lots of rolling hills. Perfect tandem country.

We left home around 3:30am for the drive to Solvang and arrived in plenty of time for our start time of 6:30am.

We wanted to start a little later this time because we were hoping to do a good time and get done early. Planet Ultra has a number of different start times. 5am if you plan to do the ride in over 12 hours then later all the way up to 7:30 for the real fast racer dudes.

We got ready, took the bike to the start and hung out for awhile.
Vince and I all bundled up and ready to roll.

Teresa and Roland with the"Green Bean".
 While we were waiting to start we saw friends Roland Hoffman and Teresa Beck. They were doing it also on tandem. Roland had the same Cannondale tandem as me. He called it "Green Bean". It is a dark metallic green color. They headed out a little before us.

This year Planet Ultra was using there computer timing chip tracking system. It was cool!

Vince and I left in the early morning darkness and headed from the start in Buellton eastbound toward and through Solvang. It was in the mid 40's and we spun easy for the first few miles until we reached the little hill into Solvang. Then we picked it up into a nice brisk but not too fast tandem pace.

Heading up "The Wall" on Foxen Canyon Road

It was damp and cloudy and not too good for picture taking as we rolled through the Santa Inez Valley. We were not as fast as we used to be but the riding seemed almost effortless at this point. Just pacing ourselves. When we finally reached the summit of Foxen Canyon we really poured it on. Nice....non technical...descent into the town of Sisquac.

We were flying and picking up wheel suckers all the way as we passed people. (for anyone who doesn't know, a wheel sucker is someone who tucks into the large slip stream of a faster moving tandem or group of riders.) You can save as much as 35% of your energy by doing this.
Check point one: Sisquoc

Through the first checkpoint we went stopping a little too long. Now we had a slight tail wind as we moved into the flats before Santa Maria. Tail winds don't help a tandem much but I would take that over head winds. We then jammed on the rolling hills leading to Arroyo Grande and check point 2 in San Luis Obispo.

We were averaging close to 20mph at this point. In Arroyo Grande, the real fast group that started at 7:30 passed us. They were just flying and passed our group like we were standing still. A tandem was leading them with Doug Patterson at the helm. Some real fast dudes!
We caught up with friends Rick and Lou Ann. That's them on the left. They and their group rode with us to the next check.

We again hung around too long at the second check before heading out to Morro Bay and lunch in Los Osos. When we made the turn off of Hwy one in Morro Bay for our South bound return, we were averaging around 19.7 mph...moving time...not overall time. We had such a strong tail wind on that stretch of Hwy one that I new we were in trouble. We normally have a blazing head wind there.

My cousin Ken got this pic of us heading to lunch in Los Osos
As we were traversing over to Los Osos I saw my cousin Ken Meichtry who lives in Morro Bay. He knew we were coming and was hiding behind the big golden bear in the State Park. He yelled at us, took some pics and then followed us to the lunch stop taking pics along the way.

Lynn and Craig at lunch. A fast tandem team! Lynn's 98th double. Craig is over 130 I think!
Roland, Teresa, Vince, Me and Rick heading out from lunch.

We left lunch with friends Roland and Teresa on their tandem and a large group. The winds were almost immediately a problem as we made our way through Pismo Beach. In the distance you could see the sand being blown out to sea off the dunes between Pismo and Vandenburg AFB. Arrggghhhh we were in trouble.

It was not too bad as we made it to the foot of Mesa Grande and started the climb up the mesa. I raced to the top so I could get a video of Roland and Teresa as they came up on the tandem. We had so much fun with them.

We cruised over the top of the mesa much slower than usual due to the wind but made it to the descent down the other side where we usually have a crossing tail wind on this event. We had a crossing head wind and very gusty this time. At the bottom of the grade it was nasty and we traded drafting with Roland and Teresa. None of the single bike riders could stay in our draft at that point from the bottom of the mesa to the next check point in Guadalupe.

Once we left the Guadalupe check point and headed south east we really got nailed by the wind. It was steady at 15-25mph and gusting to 30mph.

That is when I had to dial it back and slow down some as I was getting cramps and having problems with my  back caused by my saddle. We just paced ourselves at that point all the way to the final check in Los Alamos.

Leaving Los Alamos I was feeling much better. We started the final climbing up Aliso Canyon and Foxen Canyon as the sun was setting.
Sunset on Aliso Canyon Road

Over the summit we went for the almost all descent back to Solvang and Buellton. There were a couple of hills to do but at that point they don't matter. We did have a head wind all the way down the descent which didn't help much.

We rolled into the finish a little after 9 pm.

Ride data available below:

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