This year I headed to CA to ride with my girlfriend, Laura, and three teammates from my National Capital Velo Club road team, Tom, Rob and Rob, and Rob girlfriend (and my realtor), Tiffany. As we drove north from LAX to Los Olivos, it started raining and the weather report was for snow in the mountains surrounding the valley. I thought it never snowed in Southern California!
Our first day of riding, we set out for a 100 mile loop that took us up and over two significant climbs. We could see the snow off in the distance on the descent from this 15 kilometer climb:
|Heading down the canyon, snowy mountains in the distance|
|Stopping for a bite to eat after summiting Drum Canyon|
Unfortunately, the summit was snowed in still (lucky for me as the guys had to turn back and found me on the way back down - I'd hit a sharp rock and torn my sidewall - I was worried about a very long walk back home, but my Genuine Innovations inflator got me home - I have the Ultrainflate Plus, which is awesome for these trips because I can't always be sure which CO2 cartridges are available and it uses both threaded and unthreaded cartridges).
|Heading to Mt. Fig|
|The start of the climb, proper|
|Heading up to the mountain summit in the distance|
Day five was an epic route - huge climbing (the first one on dirt), crazy descents (one was a 10 mile dirt road descent) and incredible views. Old San Marcos Road into Painted Cave Road hurt me and it took awhile to recover, but hung on to get to the summit of the mountains overlooking Santa Barbara and the crazy descent down Arroyo Burro road to the (suspected) nudist camp and back to Los Olivos. Everyone looked a bit shelled after that 5+ hour loop.
|Looking back at Old San Marcos Pass road|
|The view from the heights of Santa Barbara|
|Descending Arroyo Burro|
You can check out GPS routes of our training days here on the Ride with GPS site.
I'm off to my first mountain bike race of 2011 in Danville, VA this weekend - the opener of the Virginia Off Road Series and promoted by the Southern Virginia Mountain Bike Association. It's a two day event, with time trial on day one and a cross country on day two (or an endurance race for those who are so inclined). The event also has a trail running race (Laura's joining me for this trip to do the half marathon to get ready for the Boston Marathon) and a free screening of the Ride the Divide movie about the incredible mountain bike race from Canada, through the US Rocky Mountains to the Mexico border. Ouch. I'm looking forward to seeing it!