Race Report: Solvang Century 2014

Solvang Century – a big day. I know it wasn’t a race, but it’s good to do a report anyways.


Mile 50 or so

Mile 50 or so

This was my first Century and represented my first go up around the Ironman bike distance (112 miles). It was an opportunity to train up to the 100 mile distance, gain confidence in my endurance on the bike, and as always to practice all the skills involved in completing an endurance event. I was fortunate to have Aaron Mcemrys as my riding partner and we rode well together.

Something like 3000 riders started the 50/62.5/100 mile event and as with running events every different body style was represented. Slow folks, fast folks, incredible triathlon bikes, killer road bikes, classics (Aaron drooled over a Raleigh Centurion), and a couple of people on fixies. Yes, one speed fixed gear bikes. For 100 miles. Whatever floats your boat I guess. A couple of times we hooked up with larger groups in the beginning and felt the promise of a quick day, only to have them drop us. There were quite a number of peletons that went by holding a fantastic pace.

Overall a well-run event, great volunteers and SAG stops, beautiful countryside in the beginning and second half. I spent the day chatting with Aaron and thinking on the meta-level about what implications this day would have on my Ironman Boulder 2014 (see below). A good day, tiring. Finished the day with a beer at the Solvang Brewing Company.

Garmin link: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/457424794

Distance: 98.70 mi
Time: 6:50:41
Avg Speed: 14.4 mph
Elevation Gain: 5,751 ft
Calories: 7,334 C

Things I did well

Hills. I prepared for the hills with lots of climbing on training rides, lots of training on steeper climbs. I’m still very slow on the hills but for all of them I could simply put it in low gear and climb without blowing up. The last quarter of the route included quite a few surprises for the uninitiated. As it turns out I’m a more confident descender than most and between my weight and a reasonable aerodynamic position I can fly by most people on the downhills. I even got a got a ‘nice descending’ comment from pretty blonde girl :-)


Nutrition and Hydration. Kept the food, water, and electrolytes going all day. I need to improve this by having much more set uptake intervals and amounts for both. I only felt myself going into negative self-talk (read “becoming a whiny little bitch”) once: that’s my indicator that blood sugar is way too low.

Mind. Mentally recovered from bad periods. Of course it helped to have a riding partner who was also out for a fun ride and not a race. Taking breaks helped a ton just to reset and get rid of the saddle soreness. We’ll see whether this is a strategy I need to use in the Boulder 2014 Ironman.

Things I did not do well

Elements #1. Failed to put sunscreen on arms and legs, some of face. Ended up feeling the sunburn by about the 70-mile mark, fairly red afterwards. Being freckled I always burn easily but I thought from the amount of time I’ve been spending on the bike I would be OK. That was not the case. Subtract 10 hit points for sun burn.

Elements #2. Intentionally did not bring gloves or arm warmers as I knew it was going to warm up and I didn’t want to carry them all day. The opening hour was painfully cold on my hands, enough so that it was hard to open the Clif bar packaging.

Body #1. I had a down time around the 50 mile mark, and Aaron and I both bonked some at the 75-80 mile mark. Rough surfaces, not aware that we were actually climbing, far into the 100 miles, and allowing the calorie intake to drop a bit were additive. This was my first time over 75 miles (and only my 4th time over 60), so definitely not enough preparation to have my body in shape to do the distance comfortably.

Body #2. Saddle soreness. Just need more TITS (Time In The Saddle).

Equipment. Should have had the drivetrain cleaned before ride for extra efficiency.

Finish Line

Finish Line

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