Yesterday I rode the Solvang Autumn Double, giving me five count 'em one two three four five double centuries for the year. And so this was the second year in a row I joined the California Triple Crown Thousand Mile club, having ridden at least 1,000 miles worth of double centuries in one year. Yay me!
This ride was *not* easy, although I have to admit after riding the 508 a couple of weeks ago, I took it kind of lightly. My biggest problem was "cycling hotfoot"; for some reason (I think worn out shoes) my feet become sore and my toes go numb on these long rides. It has kind of happened before, and happened pretty majorly in the 508, but it was a huge problem for me yesterday. I kept stopping and taking off my shoes and massaging my toes; needless to say, I did not post the best time. However I did finish and overall it was a good ride.
A couple of really cool things happened. First, as a 508 rider you become known by your totem, and several people recognized me and called be "Rocky", and I found I had a bunch of new friends in the ultra peloton. That was really nice. I had a nice chat with "Butterfly" (Andi Ramer) and she introduced me to "King Cobra" (David Goggins). Maybe you've heard of David; he's a Marine and ultra-marathon runner, and does a lot of fund raising for the children of servicemen and women killed in combat. He's also an amazing athlete, and finished about fifteenth in the 508. So I discovered while talking with him that he has an Atrial Septal Defect, a little hole between the two upper chambers of his heart, just like my daughter Megan had before it was surgically repaired. We had a nice conversation about that (before he dropped me on the first climb :)
Later in the ride I paced through a flat section with a couple on a tandem. So I don't know if you know, but tandems are really fast in the flat; they do suffer on climbs, but can really power along. Drafting behind them at 35mph through the grapes was quite amazing, knowing that if I ever lost contact I'd never be able to get back on.
The climb up Perfumo Canyon was really something; I found myself literally zig-zagging back and forth across the road to keep moving, I don't think I've done that on a ride before. Must have been at least 15% for a couple of miles. At the top we were rewarded with an amazing view of the coast including Morro Bay rock, before heading South back toward Solvang.
And so ends (I think) another year of ultracycling; it is possible I'll do another this year, but I have no current plans. Take some time to relax and watch sports (and work and travel!), and then it's on to next year!