I awoke on Friday morning excited and a bit sad. I was ready to head up to Solvang for the Planet Ultra Solvang Fall Double, which I was excited to do, but this would be my final event for the year. There is only one double left on the schedule, which I am not signed up for. So I prepped my bike, and noticed my front tire was in need of replacement.
I packed up, and started north. Traffic slowed at the L.A. county line, big shock there, huh? But, really wasn’t too bad. I stopped in Newbury Park since I knew there was a bike shop there and picked up a tire. Oh, yeah it was lunch time and there is an In-N-Out burger in the same area. That had no influence on my decision. Well, since it was there and it was lunch time, and I was hungry.
I got up to Solvang checked into the Flying Flags RV Resort and found a spot for my Grand Caravan which would be home for the next couple of days.
I took the rear tire off my bike and put the new tire on, then rotated my old rear to the front, retiring the well worn front tire. Then took off on a 5 mile, 20 minute ride just to make sure the bike was okay, and ready for Saturday.
5:00 AM Saturday morning I woke up, had breakfast, kitted up, and headed by bike to the start 3.8 miles away. I got there at 5:55 for our 6:00 departure. Off we go in the dark, lights on, blinking taillights, solid taillights. I’m always amazed at the variety of light systems. Some riders have great set-ups, some riders I wonder if they really want to be seen in the dark?
We started with a few rollers in town, actually making several turns early before hitting Foxen Canyon. Somewhere I here someone call out ---- up. I know they didn't say car. I thought he said beer. A little early? I look ahead and realize he said Deer Up! A deer, in the road. The deer meanders safely into the woods and we continue. I've seen several deer on rides, but its the first time I've ever heard "Deer Up!" If you’ve read my previous blogs, you know one of Steve’s cycling facts. Roads named Canyon usually mean its time to climb. This wasn’t a big climb, but enough of an ascent to separate the field a bit, and of course, that meant Steve was dropping back some.
Looking forward to next year, I have been looking at simplifying my fueling. I decided after some research to work on using Hammer Perpetum as my main fueling source. This should mean little or no solid food, meaning less to carry, and quicker stops!
We hit the first check point at mile 41. 3 scoops of perpetum in one bottle, and water in the other. E-caps, and some Hammer gel. Back on the bike. Less than four minutes.
Mile 48.4 Bear Left onto Tepusquet Road. Looks pretty cool. About a mile in a get chased by a dog as the road begins to climb. A little ankle biter, a fake throw of my water bottle, he doesn’t go for it, and chases again. A give him a deep roaring WOOF! His tail goes between his legs, and he takes off into (his)? field at mach 1. Continuing on the climb up this really cool road, wooded, barely wide enough for two cars, smooth black top, no markings. Amazing! Then a descent to boot! It was technical, so no super speed, but really cool. If you’ve ever watched pro cycling in Europe, and you dream of climbing and descending some of those narrow roads, visit this area, and ride Tepusquet Road. I can only guess, but I’ll bet bikes out number cars on this road 10-1. There was a slippery when wet sign that had a picture of a bike on it!
Turn left onto Hwy 166 for Check Point 2. Nature break, Perpetum, water, quick tweet, and go!
Sat in a few times with a big group of riders from Arizona known as the Bullshifters, nice folks, I think as a group they probably pedal a bit stronger than I do, but I’d leap frog them at stops, then they’d catch up, go by, and I could usually hang on for awhile. Actually I could hang on until the road went up, then, I usually drop back.
104 miles was the lunch stop. I stayed with my plan, although I did have a V8, and pocketed another for the road. There was a lady rider from the Bullshifters that even mentioned to me, you are leaving already? I said, as a slower rider, the only way to finish in a reasonable time is to take short breaks. I also stiffen up if I wait too long, better for me to keep moving. She warned me of the climb ahead, said it got really steep toward the top. I figured, no problem I did White Mountain, I can climb anything. She was right, Prefumo Canyon Road got very steep. Get a sticker on your helmet at the top, a short descent then…..a dirt road. Time out, can I have my mountain bike? Bounce, bang, bounce, this is not a smooth fire road either. Okay, back to pavement, skirting the Pismo area on Shell Beach Road I felt hungry. Hmm, per Hammer’s recommendations, aha! I was taking on Perpetum at a rate of refueling every two hours, but in reality, I was refueling every 2.5 to 3 hours based on the distance of the checkpoints. I also needed a, um, nature break. I spot tennis courts and a porta-potty, so pull off. And happy that I was prepared! I had stuck a PB&J in my jersey just in case since I had only trained with Perpetum twice before this event. Perfect, back on the bike to Guadalupe.
I was getting tired, and I took a bit longer at the Guadalupe stop, probably about 10 minutes. I prepped for nightfall, put my helmet light on, and headed out.
It started to mist. I really don’t mind rain, mist, or whatever. The biggest challenge I have with it, I wear glasses. That makes it really hard to see.
The rest of the ride was focus, focus, focus. After the last checkpoint, I tried to keep riders in front of me, to follow the taillights since the rain made it so hard to see with the spots on my glasses. Other than that, lock it in, and get to Solvang. 14 hours and 47 minutes after the official start.
This was my seventh double of the year, and my fourth Planet Ultra, completing a Planet Ultra Grand Slam. I’m liking my new coffee mug!
Huge thanks to all the Planet Ultra volunteers. If I didn’t thank you when I came through, I apologize, and I give you sincere thanks now. Also thanks to Planet Ultra for putting on this, and so many of our double centuries.
So now the off-season. Yeah, right! I participate in the UMCA year-rounder, so I still want to put up a 100 plus mile ride every week.
But, I want to cross-train. As I plan my goals for next year my off season needs to be productive.
I would like to be a better climber. I’ll never glide up the climbs like the 130 pounders, but I know I can get better. How? Well, as Eddie Mercyk says, “don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades.” And if Eddie saw me, he’d say loose a stone or two.
I'm also learning how to swim. Hmmm bike, run, swim. Might Steve be considering a triathlon?
Yes, I think getting into an actual "race" will help me push and get faster. This will help me get to one of my big goals, either for 2011 or 2012, which is to do either the Hoodoo 500 or Furnace Creek 508. There I put it in writing.
If you read my previous blog, I am donating 10 cents per mile ridden in October to Livestrong. With this Double Century, my October mileage is now 616.11, I have also ran 10 miles. I should break 1,000 miles this month.
Equipment: Specialized Roubaix Expert, compact crank, 11-34 cassette, Specialized Roubaix PINK bar tape.
View the ride on Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/53412125