Thursday, April 9, 2015

Solvang Spring Double Century 2015



I have done this event many times on my tandem with my brother in law Vince. Also many times on my single bike over the years.
This year I did it for the first time with my good friend Teresa. We have never done this particular one together on the tandem before. Teresa did it the last couple of years on different tandems. Last year with our friend Richard Hoff and before that with our friend Roland Hoffman.

This year I was recovering from allergies and an upper repertory bronchial thing that wouldn't go away. Teresa was off her bike for three weeks. She was on an amazing scuba diving trip to Indonesia.
The TIGER shark on the reef in Indonesia


Long story short.......we just paced ourselves and took it easy. I couldn't push that hard anyway because I couldn't breathe well.

We started the ride about 5:45 am in a cold misty fog. It was a damp cold but the damp air helped my lungs to loosen up a bit. (Not sure if it was good for me but it helped)

The event started in Buellton again this year and we rolled the few miles into Solvang on our way to our first climb, Foxen Canyon.
Sunrise on Foxen was spectacular as we climbed above the fog.



From the top of "The Wall" on Foxen Canyon




From the very start of the ride I had trouble getting the front gears to shift into the big chain-ring.

It has been an issue since I had some work done on it. Every time I would tighten the cable it would work for a little while and then stop working. It was a real pain.

For the first 60 miles I had to physically pull on the cable by hand to get it to shift into the big gear.
Not fun or safe on a descent. I finally gave up and just used the middle ring but it really slowed us down. We were not in any hurry anyway but it did tick me off.

Descending Foxen Canyon though.....I was able to get the big gear going for a nice gradually descending 30+ mph section trading pulls with another very fast tandem team. I let off when we got to the flatter sections before check point one though. I COULDN'T BREATH.......but I didn't mention it to anyone especially my rear engine.I felt strong otherwise.....I just couldn't get oxygen and it was slowing me down.

We rolled into check point one in Sisquoc for a quick stop before heading to the second stop in San Luis Obispo.

The next section was pretty fast and flat. We both felt like we were going fast but were humbled when passed by some of the other tandems. I guess I shouldn't feel bad though. I am over 60....bwaahaa!
Our little easy going train rolling through the farmland out of Sisquoc.
Teresa hamming it up for the camera again

We have been cartoon-ized


Richard and his friend flying by us on their tandem.





The other tandem train that \just passed us with Richard in the lead.

The wild flowers were abundant this year and so was the pollen. It was beautiful and wind free going into SLO this year. We rolled into check point 2 pretty early. I was not feeling too hot and it was getting warm. I was getting a little grumpy too as Tiger can attest so I think I need to eat more.
I stripped all the warm gear off, filled up with water and ate. Now I felt much better. I had the perception that I was working really hard and going really fast but actually our pace was not that fast. Hopefully I would get my usual second wind after the lunch stop in Los Osos.

After filling up and saying hi to many friends, we rolled into and through SLO to PCH.

Now came what would be the only head wind for us on this day. The roll toward Morro Bay. Our friend Kirsten passed us on one of the little hills getting out of town and we said hi. She was hammering the course and told us that she was going to make only 2 stops......wow.
I guess it worked because she had an epic time and was the first woman to finish. Kirsten is an asthmatic and usually a slow starter but....wow.....once she gets rolling.....look out!!
Once we started the long casual descent toward Morro Bay we spotted Kirsten up ahead. It took forever to catch her and we were on a tandem!!


Kirsten and Q's behind her in our little group
 We made the turn toward Los Osos where the lunch stop is. On this section we had a really nice section which is farely new to the course. We used to go all the way to Los Osos Valley Road but the last few years they had us turn on Turri Road. This section was so beautiful with rolling green hills and some great climbs.

We ran into our friends Rick and Tony on this section. They were both riding fixed gear bikes.


Here are some pictures of this section on beautiful Turri Road:





Margaret, David and John looking great on our roll into lunch.

We rolled into lunch and the first thing I did was found someone who could look at the tandem and see if they could figure out why it would not go into the large chain-ring in the front. Long story short....it got worse and now we could not even get the thing to shift into the low granny gear.
I ate lunch while I talked to the mechanic and we must have been there for 45 minutes it seemed.

We were going to have to finish the last half of the event with minimal low or high gears just the middle range. No problem on this ride but if it was something like Mulholland Double or Devil Mountain....we would be done.

Out of lunch we rolled and just took it easy for a while as the blood got back in the legs from the long stop. We rolled through, Shell Beach, Pismo Beach and Oceana before doing the first test of our legs without the granny gearing......the Mesa.
The climb was not bad at all. It was tougher on my feet thus creating more of the "hot foot" but we made it up fine and did well.

We rolled over the mesa at an easy pace before descending down to the farmlands around Guadalupe where the next rest stop was.

Rick with Tony to the rear on their fixed gear bikes.

Pismo Beach

Climbing up the mesa above Pismo and Guadalupe

Summiting the Mesa
We just stayed long enough to get water and use the bathroom. We now had a great tail wind all the way to the Vandenburg Grade area before breaking off to Los Alamos. I wish I was on a single bike on this section. People on singles were just flying on this section. It was not a strong enough tail wind to really help us much but it helped some. The singles really got a push!!

We made a stop at the check point in Los Alamos, filled with water and had some noodle soup before heading up the road.
The next section had us climbing Aliso Canyon between the 101 and Foxen Canyon. It was a beautiful climb. Wild flowers, green meadows and oak trees. Really nice and not too challenging of a climb on the tandem.

Aliso Canyon road

High 5's at the summit

The Arizona Bull-shifters regrouping at the summit of Aliso

We descended the north side of Aliso before turning east on Foxen Canyon backtracking on the mornings descent. It was a grunt of a climb at one point but we made it with no problem.
Now came a blazing fast descent down to Zaca Mesa Road before meandering back eastbound on the hwy to Foxen again.
Winery's everywhere

Sunset on Foxen Canyon


We cruised up the final switchbacks on Foxen canyon just outside Solvang before the final descent back into the town of Buellton on Ballard Canyon Road.
We finished with just a small amount of light left in the day but not much.
Picture time with friends Molly, Rick and Ron.

Picture time with friends Jim and AJ
We had a really nice dinner at the hotel and headed home. Wow.....as usual.....that was a long day!

Here is the link to our Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/725735068

Ride time:      12:15
Elapsed time: 14:19

Thanks to Planet Ultra and all the volunteers for a another great Solvang event.

Thanks to Teresa Beck for the great pictures from the back of the tandem and all the hard work plus the always positive attitude.

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