Ahhhh, the dreaded last day. Sometimes one is on a vacation and toward the end, can't wait to get home. For me, out here, I become somewhat melancholy on the final day and try to soak in every view and place in a sort of memory reservoir from which I can pull until I come back in about 6 months. Anyway, ran into a trail runner on the dirt section on Refugio who said there was a group ride out of El Rancho Market on Sunday mornings at 9. I had read elsewhere it was a favorite starting place for tri-types. Unfortunately, this group ride has dried up and no one showed. No worries, I headed over to Dr. Js for the 10:30 group ride.
A small group of 15 gathered and a mix of locals, tourists like me, young people, old people (one guy was 72), men and women. The ride leader is Dave Chavis, the owner of the bike shop. I've ridden with them before and they typically start with a grand ride and it gets whittled down and short cutted so..... MY KIND OF RIDE!!! Except, Dave announced we were only going to the base of Figueroa, 12 miles away. Normally I would have voiced dissent but Dave takes good care of my bike when I'm out there, putting the bike at the front of the line when I walk in with a mechanical, so I have to be very careful. Pace was so slow had time to take the group ride shot.
At the base of the mountain, back in the canyon, it was hot so we rested in the shade. Two couples came walking down a path, in a hurry, and said they had been chased by a rattlesnake that had slithered out on the path ahead of them and turned in their direction. I wanted to go and get an image for the blog but decided against it. The return was a sprint but most of us hung in there as we rolled into Los Olivos. A debate ensued with all but 4 of us taking the hilly route via Ballard Canyon Road and the rest taking the flat route. I won the KOM points up the big climb on BCR, nipping the 72 year old at the top. Woohoo.
Packed the bike and enjoyed hitting a couple of cafes, including the Bull Dog Cafe, which is the traditional start place for most group rides starting in Solvang. Inside there is a ton of cycling memorabilia, including signed jerseys from Armstrong and others. Monday morning, I got an early start to the drive back to Vegas to catch my flight. Made a couple of wrong turns and began to panic. Had to make a couple of calls to people who had internet access to help guide me out. Then arrived at the brink of the Mojave Desert and made the 180 mile run at warp speed. Highway patrol can't be bothered getting out of their cars in that heat if you aren't driving over 100mph so it's good. Actually made up a ton of time and arrived an hour early so hit the airport bar for a drink, naturally.
Trust me, its a real buffalo but saw it too late in the day to get a good shot.