The Solvang Century
When planning an event as big as ‘50- States in 50 Weeks’ with a motorcycle and pop top trailer, some things simply must be done before leaving.
That would be the Solvang Century.
I wanted to do a hundred mile bicycle ride before our trip, and this weekend provided the opportunity. Perhaps I asked for too much.
I gasped and panted up the hill, a long, one mile stretch that had followed ten miles of gentle grade that followed seventy miles of ups and downs. My right leg cramped up and I resorted to walking. A woman cheered us on, from the side of the road; “You’re doing great! Keep pedaling!”
Dejected, I remounted and managed to get to the top. Eighty miles in, twenty to go; can I make it? I pedaled to the next SAG stop (Support, Assistance, Gear) and downed a banana, cookie and raisins. Hopefully the potassium would still the cramping. Lots of water, too.
While we biked past wineries, cattle and horse ranches ranches and gorgeous countryside, I struggled to stay focused on the mission. My legs ached along with my neck, and even the palms of my hands hurt from six-plus hours of riding.
Then came the downhill.
I pedaled down the hill to maximize speed (the faster you go, the sooner you finish, right?) and passed a fellow on the inside of a turn. Two sweepers later I passed a woman on the outside. What fun!
Funny how long and tedious the uphills are, and how short and fast the downhills fell, as they simply whisk past.
More ups and downs, a nasty headwind, as mile through the town of Solvang, and I coasted under the finish line banner.
What a great sense of accomplishment.
Congratulations to Lars and Mike, my riding buddies who rode quite faster than me, but waited patiently at each stop.
Back to the trip, the planning, the setup.
Tomorrow the Little Woman and I embark on a shakedown run to Lake Havasu City, Yuma Arizona and San Diego.