I can't sugar coat it...I am beat, cold and wet and beat and tired and somewhat beat. Cloudy at the start and a grim forecast.Hopefully the rain would hold off for awhile despite the sky suggesting otherwise.
The Planet Ultra touring group was riding their last day so I headed to Buellton to hook up with them for what was promoted as a century ride, starting at 9:00am. I walked into the hotel and announced I was taking Cindy B's spot, who had quit the tour the day before. Crickets chirping to my announcement, Then I said, she was the Shorty from Ohio who fell climbing up Figueroa. Suddenly everyone knew who she was. A woman said Cindy was kind of a strong rider and I confirmed she had trained all winter for this and they caught Cindy at her peak, having watched Richard Simmons workout tapes all winter. This got quite a laugh. Unfortunately, the century riders changed the start time to 8:00 so I missed them but it was only 1-2 riders. What was left intended to do only 45. So, I headed out with them. We headed west on #246 and a right on Drum Canyon, the world's roughest road that gains around 800' before descending into the small village of Los Alamos. There I left the group and went north on Cat Canyon and another big climb before finally getting into Garrey and the store there, where I watched part of a movie while drinking a Monster and eating a Fig Newton. It don't get no better and the rain had held off, so far.
Then the rain stopped holding off but it was mostly a sprinkle with temps around 52. Headed east on Santa Maria Road and then hung a left onto Tepsequet Road (the above image is at the top of Drum Canyon Road with te road at the right and quite a view down canyon). This is a canyon road that gains 1000' as it reaches the top but it is a gradual climb of 9 miles. What I noticed was very pedal stroke brought more rain. Closing in (slowly) to the top it was raining hard. I reached the top, turned around and began coasting down. First thing I noticed was, DAMN it was cold and soon I began shivering uncontrollably. I braked to a stop under a tree, took off the rain jacket, put on that trusted wind breaker and then reapplied the rain jacket. That should do it and off I coasted. Soon, I began shivering uncontrollably. A very long 9 mile descent but hey, as I closed to the bottom through "Riverbench Vineyard" it stopped raining. I turned left on Foxen Canyon Road and was greeted with a blast of 20+mph wind.
The sign said 18 miles to the end of FCY. That stretch would qualify as a "Mother of all Longest Days" award. I remember being on a 3% incline and being in the 26 and thinking, "Gee, I suck" but you have to understand the wind and my outofshapeness to fully comprehend the situation. All along, trying to be positive, I kept thinking, "At least it isn't raining"....and then....it began raining. Drizzling at first then harder. This is a stretch, first by Foxen winery then Zaca Mesa winery that is a gradual up hill until you reach the brute of the road, a 400' climb which is ok because after reaching the top, there is a huge runout down hill.....except....I began shivering uncontrollably. Remember passing the Fess Parker winery on the left (yes, that Fess Parker who played Daniel Boone and other characters as a somewhat successful movie star but who passed away last year) and then hitting a stretch of road that is so rough that one has to rise from the bike seat and coast, allowing the bike to absorb the punishment. Then another 400' climb before descending into Los Olivos.
From there, up Ballard Canyon Road, joining the official Tour of California time trial route, and after 6 miles, coasting back into Solvang with 85 miles and 5500' of climbing. I was soaked, cold and did I previously say beat? Yes, 25+ miles into a ferocious head wind with driving rain will do that I guess. But amazing how great a hot shower feels and then out to Matties Tavern to watch some basketball and eat.