All Shook Up


Charles and I pulled into our hotel, the Marriott in Buellton (approximately 3.5 miles from Solvang), at about 2:30. By the time we got checked in and pulled all of our bags into the room, I had about twenty minutes to get changed and outside for the Shakedown Ride. The weather was much warmer than expected, and after all that gear planning I was struggling to find options that would work. With a little bit of cursing and an awful lot of rushing, I made it with at least three minutes to spare. Just in time to mill about lazily and wait for the latecomers. Sweeeeeeet. See how good they are at milling? It’s a skill.

Somewhere around 15 minutes past roll time, I’d tracked down Kate for pasta party tickets, heard at least six people’s “drive to Solvang” stories, and verified that the Garmin would work in Solvang…just not under the hotel’s awnings. Ten more minutes went by as Coach Matt gave us an overview of the importance of the Shakedown ride – namely where to spot the ostriches – and we were finally ready to hit the road. At this point, you may be wondering what the heck a Shakedown Ride is. Totally natural, as I haven’t actually mentioned shaking or riding up to this point. Basically, its a quick jaunt to town to confirm nothing on your bike was horribly damaged in transit – gears all shift, tires aren’t flat, brakes are intact, etc – with the added bonus in Solvang of ostrich farm viewing. (No, of all the pictures I took this weekend, none of them were of kick-ass giant birds. I suck.)

The ride was even shorter than I imagined when someone first explained it to me. We rolled passed the exciting part of the ride (birds) almost instantly, and were in the heart of Solvang in mere minutes. To be fair, the heart of Solvang is rather cute. If you’ve never been there, its this little Danish-esque town somewhere northwest of Santa Barbara. Supposedly there are lots of cute shops around, but we didn’t really get time to look around. Maybe after the ride was over…too much to think about beforehand!

Everyone grouped up at the site of the century finish line to socialize for a bit (check out my mentor and I ready to rock this ride in the pic on the right). The energy was palpable. People were excited and somewhat nervous. At least I was. Sometimes I project. Or so I’m told. All of the sudden all that training for months and months (almost years in my case!) started to feel real…like I’d actually given up all those Saturday mornings for something. Not to mention all the fundraising! Hard to believe in less than 24 hours it would all be over.

Angie and I hit the local bike shop on the way back. I was bound and determined not to beg for Cytomax unless I had to, and she had a hole in the sidewall of her tire. Not a good way to start out a 100 mile ride! She was able to get the tire replaced, but with all the other cyclists in town (estimates put total riders over 5,000 people) I was S.O.L. on sports drink packets. Looks like begging was in the cards for me. So lame! The two of us headed back to the hotel together, pumped and mostly prepped for the big event.

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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