Friday, the final day with the gang from Cycling Escapes. Because they had a scheduled departure in the late afternoon, a nice recovery type ride of 60 miles was planned. Recovery rides around here are difficult to schedule without a monster climb and today was no exception. Harris Grade...yeah baby?
We headed out of Solvang at 8:30am and rolled through Buellton, making a left onto Santa Rosa Road and it's length of 17 miles past wineries, pecan tree groves, veggie fields and great scenery. I elected to hang back a bit, aware of what lay ahead. Meantime, Frank, Kelly and Clyde, the Englishman, pulled ahead and soon Clyde, showing he is rounding into form, took off on a long solo, arriving first at the SAG stop #1. We regrouped and headed into Lompoc with the ace ride leader Benny leading us through a somewhat complex series of turns that finally spit us out onto Harris Grade. While not steep, it nevertheless gains close to 1000' feet with an average grade of only 5%. To the west are fantastic views. Frank, Kelly, Clyde and I struggled (hey, it's been a long week) but eventually we reached the top and the SAG#2 at mile 30.
One of the ubiquitous ground squirrels leaped onto the table and grabbed a Wheat Thin, here, Frank pursues the creature into the ice plant as the 3 second rule had not yet elapsed. Frank loves his Wheat Thins.
A somewhat technical descent brought us to #135 and we took that east into Los Alamos, with an uncharacteristically light head wind. Todd Lee would have been proud of me as I drafted most of the way and with 50 yards remaining, shouted "Sign sprint" and took the coveted Los Alamos sign sprint title. I felt sorry for the gang as they had no idea my background as an unflinchingly, opportunistic KOM and city sign sprint hunter who has no shame.....much like several of my Ohio cycling buddies. Now, we headed up the dreaded Drum Canyon Road. It is here where the state of California sends its rookie pot hole fillers to practice before releasing them to the rest of the road network. Nothing but a patchwork of patches. This climb is around 600' with a couple of nice ramps in the 12+% range before crossing a cattle guard, signaling the top and then the descent. It's rare to dread a descent but having ones' body pummeled over a 5 mile stretch, even if mostly coasting, is not fun. Clyde, Frank, Kelly and me arrived at #246 and took that home, 61 miles and 3100' of climbing. The four of us had a nice lunch at a cafe and then bid farewell. My cycling camp continues for a few more days. HEY, the crummy weather (today being no exception but at least the rain held off) inhibited my willingness to take images but to see what this area normally looks like, check out my March, 2010, August, 2010 or March 2009 reports.
Had a nice ride on Saturday and will report, e