Awoke Saturday to a forecast of 75, light winds from the west and sun, but a crisp start to the day, 45 degrees for the 9:00am group ride out of the Bulldog Cafe. Good group of guys including the guy on the left who flew in from Singapore, where he has lived for 20 years, spending a few days in Solvang then flying to Morocco for a couple of days then on to England to where he is moving. Guy on the right broke his arm last year during a race and the scars are nasty looking. As we waited, a guy with a long beard rode by at a pretty good pace and everyone yelled his name. He's going out on tour with Whitesnake soon as guitarist or drummer I think. I also hear Bo Derek lives nearby. Now that would be a great get, an image of Ms Derek, famous for her role in the movie "10".
18 of us rolled out, headed east on Mission Drive/#256. Once we crossed #156 and got on to Armour Ranch Road, the intensity picked up and we went single file. Followed a rolling route and I was happy I hung in with the front group as we rolled in to Los Olivos at mile 18, then out Foxen Canyon Road.
There had been some discussion and abruptly the group stopped. The absense of one of the usual participants seemed to motivate the group to change normal protocal. Usually, the group would regroup after a 300' climb a few miles down the road but now they decided to keep going, turn right at the bottom of the hill and copntinue on a 5-6 mile route that gains about 700' with a sprint finish at someones house. All this was static to me because I was surely not going to be in there for the sprint finish. We shoved off, hit the climb and I hung on about half way and spit out the back, hung on to a guy's wheel for half of the remaining climb, shot back and finished alone at the top, 12th in the field of 18. I thought not too bad for an aged, fat guy coming out of an Ohio winter. Upon reaching the sprint finish, which had long been decided, we reversed course and ended up back in Solvang but with only 40 miles and a good 3300' of climbing and an average of 18.5. I thought it odd that a Saturday morning ride would be for nothing longer than that but maybe when you live in a climate that allows for riding every day but maybe 4-5 days each year, they make up for it with quantity of rides?
Unfullfilled, I decided to head up the classic Refugio climb with its 3 miles of packed dirt, rocks, boulders and ditches, gaining 1600' then onto a paved road of 6 miles, gaining another 1500' with the best views in the area. My destination is an array of satellites that maybe you can see just to the right of the tree branch at the very top. More to come.