After yesterday's epic, I slotted in with the group ride out of Dr. J's bike shop. Comprised mostly of what we would consider "B" riders and a large quantity of tri-athletes, including a woman who when she walked, her leg muscles shot out in every point on the compass. I was afraid of her. The tri guys were kind of arrogant, not like our humble tri's like Andrew, Nathan and Belinda.
We headed out for a 50 mile ride but I think 2 flat tires kind of took the steam out of the group. We reached Foxen Canyon Road and passed Fess Parker's Winery. Yes, that Fess Parker who starred as Daniel Boone and then went into California real esstate where he was very successful with 2 resorts and other properties. He died last week at 85, His winery kicks off a 1-2 mile climb and the group thinned. Toward the top the climb got steeper and there were 3 of us, including the Amazonian woman. We regrouped at the top and the Amazonian went off to take a leak except she suddenly stopped with a "Wow, take a look at this." We walked over and there curled was a rattlesnake. Cool! We hit the down hill and enjoyed a very long coast where it was decided we would cut the ride short and eventually reached Los Olivos, a tiny town 5 miles north of Solvang. We regrouped and headed up a very steep and longish hill on Ballard Canyon Road. I felt good and kicked it in gear and went around the Amazonian who muttered something that I took to be a compliment. It felt good to reach the top first. Ended with only 40 miles but that was ok.
I drove to Santa Barbara to hit Fasttrack, a bike shop owned by Dave Literri, Armstrong's former mechanic. He always has some neat jerseys and today was no different. On the way, I passed fields of beautiful orange, purple, white and yellow fields of flowers and always, Figueroa Moutain dominates the landcape.
Armstrong and Team Discovery trained out here prior to each of his 7 Tour wins. They would climb "The Fig" at a relaxed pace, coast down the mountain and then turn around and hit it at race pace. I climb it at a relaxed pace, coast down and hit a local restaurant.
Fastrack is basically a hole-in-the-wall crammed with bike parts and clothing. Dozens of bike frames and a counter that is covered with bike parts. Without a doubt, it's the messiest shop I've ever been in but it has character, including numerous jerseys signed by Armstrong and at one time, Dave rode for the US Olympic team.
On the Santa Barbara side of the mountain range is the climb up Gibralter. It's length, average grade and switchbacks make it a twin of the "Alpe". Maybe better with views of the ocean all the way up.