Good day for a bike ride and heading out to Jalama Beach, probably the area's classic ride, next to the climb up Figueroa. We left at 8:30 to Buellton, left on Santa Rosa Road and quickly were in the vineyards and farms with little road traffic. Eventually, it was the couple from Cleveland and I. Talking to the Cat 3 woman, turns out she knows Ginger Ballard, having raced against her in a cross race or something...small world. Frank, her husband, is very strong and also carries a 3 handicap at golf. I can't comprehend how much time is needed to maintain pretty good cycling fitness and be a 3 in golf (average score is 3 over par in 18 holes). I gapped them on a 1900'+ climb that is a little less than 2 miles. Gosh that hurt, a lot.
Couple of climbs later, broke through the hills and had this view. Then, a couple of pedal strokes later....
....saw the object of today's ride, Jalama Beach State Park. Unusually quiet as the usual scene is a campground packed with RV's. This is home to the world famous Jalama hamburger and I was not going to eat the cold cuts laid out by the Cycling Escapes tour. If one suffers to get out here one must eat the burger and so, I did. Gosh it was fantastic.
On the ride out, I had convinced Frank & Cat 3 that they too should eat the restaurant food. Having finished mine, I caught up with the group setting up the sag food and joined them. Frank came strolling out with a burger and also a chicken sandwich to be polite and eat with the group. Having set the food on a picnic table, he walked over to grab a drink and in that instant, a flock of seagulls swooped in and made off with the chicken sandwich and burger! We yelled and one gull dropped the burger. Frank was pissed, grabbed the burger off the ground, slapped it on a remaining bun and ate it. The 3 second rule applied, no matter that included time in the beak.
The culprits with Benny, one of the tour guides who is driving today on the right. Interesting guy. Retired doctor who rides 13,000-18,000 miles a year. Set a goal a couple of years ago to climb 1 million feet in a year and I think made it. Described coming across a woman during a ride out of Palm Springs who had passed out while on the bike, careened into a rock pile and was unconscious when he came across her. Recognized she was having a seizure and cleared her passage to prevent death. We eventually left and retraced our route out Jalama Road and then Santa Rosa again. The good thing about group riding is it forces me to ride harder than I otherwise would. Once I gap Cat3, I have to keep up the pace to stay ahead...she is relentless. On the last long climb of the route, I had gotten ahead and began day dreaming, heard a noise, turned to find her closing in only 15 yards back. Holy Crap. Anyway, we rode the last few miles together and once the head wind picked up, you can guess where I found myself, yes drafting.
Ended up with 75 quality miles and 5200' of climbing but that was not quite enough so I continued and ended with 93 miles and 6100' of climbing. Looks like tomorrow is a rain out but then things start to improve. The area was in severe drought a couple of years ago but with this year so far being 180% above normal rainfall and last year's rainy season, the area's ponds, lakes and reservoirs are overflowing.