October 20th 2007
Well after a LONG drive down to Solvang, a quaint Danish village nestled in the country side of SOuthern California, Chris and I checked into the Planet Ultra Headquarters to pick up our race numbers and race start time. I was scheduled for 7am, Chris chose the earlier time of 6am.
This was to be my 3rd double century of the year with the finish line would be the opportunity to wear a Californian Triple Crown jersey; also I would add $1400 to the AVON against Breast Cancer appeal. The Triple Crown consists of 3 double centurys in the same calender year I had already completed Butterfield, The Grand Tour and was finishing off with a difficult one which accumalated 10,000 plus feet of climbing!
I was told to dress warmly so I set off to the start with thermal top and long leggings. I also had on my Brooks reflective ankle bands and rear light blinking. I took my last drink with a Hammergel espresso and set off.
Wow the pace was fast way too fast for me! It felt like I was doing a time trial and not a double century! The first small roller appeared I thought my heart was going to explode!! Okay I said to myself you have to slow down this is a long day in the saddle and as long as I can keep a few cyclists in my vision I will be fine!! With that I slowed down regrouped my feelings and heart rate and kept peddling as in this sport as long as you are turning the cranks you are making progress!!We are given raod maps but I would much rather follow another cyclist!
The first watering hole was at mile 41 in Sisquoc, boy was I grateful to see water, sustained energy and endurolytes!! I saw my friend Chris there then set off for another 22miles of rolling hills!!
Basically the whole 202 miles of the Autumn Solvang Double Century was either false flats or climbing which lead to fast snake like downhills! When you did get a nice flat part of the course you had horrible winds hitting you from every direction! In some parts visibility was reduced due to dense fog, and my rudy glasses would fog up! It certainly made an interesting day in the saddle. If you had time the scenery was spectacular and Planet Ultra certainly knows how to plan out 202 miles of pain mixed with beauty!!
The aid stations where in my opinion well manned. There was plenty of water and Hammer Nutrition products. I carried my own Perpetuem as I like to make a multi hour bottle of fuel up and extra endurolytes just in case! The lunch stop was mile 105, there was cyclists everywhere helmets off, feet up and laying down. I used the bathroom and washed my face I knew better that to rest too much I refueled ate a hammerbar, it was getting quite warm and there was a huge climb approaching. I set off quite happy that I was half way through the ride. I was cycling with another cyclist which made the miles go faster, then Prefumo Canyon climb came it was not a long climb (although it seemed like eternity while climbing) but was steep with a few nice switch backs. My legs were aching and I was wishing I had a different rear cog with a few more teeth to climb when the top appeared. I was given a sticker for my race number and began the descent this is where everyone was tested as there was 2.2 miles or dirt rough road to negotiate on my beautiful Carbon cannondale and spinergy wheels. To say it was bumpy would have been an under statement and I was thankful my bike was well put together and nothing would fall off like water cage, handle bars etc. After surviving that section the road became a great cycling road! And for the next 30miles the pace was fast! Cycling through Pismo towards Guadalupe mostly on Hwy 1, it was also windy and I nearly missed the aid station.
Looking at my CS600 POLAR computer it was telling me I was a 145 miles into the ride and I still had not needed my night lights gosh only 55miles to go.
It was getting chilly and I put on my pink hammer arm warmers and a packet of toe warmers into my cycling shoes.I sprayed my shoulders with Kool n Fit to take the ache out of them and set off I was even getting to understand the road map they give you for directions and was feeling good. The last 55 miles had there challenges a few nice climbs and the night setting in. I put on my niterider lights to discover the bracket had loosened a little in the off road section so I was cycling in my own beam! Not good but I was illuminated for all to see I just could not see ahead of me! I was only a few miles from the final aid station where I readjusted the bracket and had a measly 25miles left of this ride!
The final miles were fun, it is night there is hardly any traffic and the course is 16 miles on Santa Rosa road which will take me directly to Solvang. Then I sense a problem my rear wheel is flat. I stop and my fear is confirmed a nice flat tire! Schmucks! Get off the bike and change the flat. I am all by myself, but not for long! 2 other cyclists stop to help mainly with lights and I quickly change the tube and find a piece of wire stuck in the tire! I thanked the cyclists for stopping and continued the last few miles with them to the Royal Scandinavian Inn in Solvang.
The finish was sweet and I felt good. My total time was 14hours and 41 minutes, I was I think about 14th female. This is not that important more the overall experience of pushing your self through the comfort zone and mentally challenging yourself to the discipline of ultra cycling!
Now I can wear the yellow California Triple Crown jersey with pride and thank Deborah and Brian Bowling from Planet Ultra for a stellar double century!! It was a well thought out course great countryside and few cars.
My report would not be complete with out thanking my sponsors who make it possible for me to compete in these events: Hammer Nutrition, Spinergy Wheels, Profile Design, Kool n Fit spray, Polar Heart Monitors, Fuelbelt, Serfas tires, Rudy Project USA, my husband AL for giving me time to train, Brooks USA,Aquaman, Hawaiian Tropic, and AVON with their quest to find a cure for Breast Cancer
2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open
Wins also for Surrey Storm, Saracens Mavericks and team bath
photo Dan Vernon
Youtube Video Alex's Hidden Journey
2020 ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open