Cycle California Blog Day 9: Solvang to Ventura
An English couple nearly joined us for the group briefing in Solvang as we stood outside the Wine Valley Inn. The morning sun was already baking as we passed the windmills on our way to our first climb of the day out of the Santa Ynez valley.
We were cheered on by a gang of lively foals in a nearby field.
The climb wound up through the woods but by this stage, everyone on the team was used to the familiar burn of a morning ascent. At the top we realized that Adrianne had both a flat tyre and her front brake had been on! Tom fixed the puncture whilst the rest of the group pushed on and to the second climb of the day.
We were now out on the highway and at the top of the climb, another puncture struck. During the descent the other side we stopped into a service area where a telling sign warned us of the dangers in the area.
Continuing along the highway, the team descended back down to the coast. A blanket of cloud hung over the ocean which made the riding slightly cooler than the previous day, a light wind also helped. Things were not going well on the puncture front as the team suffered another five in the next two hours! Unfortunately we were riding on the section of the road that is a magnet for glass, flint and even sharp pieces of wire (the culprit for two punctures alone!).
Tom had already run into the law by not wearing shoes in our restaurant at Ragged Point on the Big Sur. Unfazed, Sue was intent on breaking every Californian state law out there.
We were soon pulling off the highway and onto Hollister Avenue. We’d made it! With a total of eight punctures throughout the morning, everyone was glad to get off that road as we began to enter the city of Santa Barbara.
Danny stayed behind with Hector who’d had the final puncture of the day but quickly caught up with us shortly after. We stopped for lunch in Santa Barbara where a huge cruise liner was docked just off the shore. The team dispersed into various coffee shops and restaurants around the seafront whilst Tom and Danny watched over the bikes.
We restocked inner tubes then carried on south on back roads and the odd cycle lane after lunch.
Just as we pulled into a small car park the heavens opened – rain in California!!! It was shortlived as the team sheltered underneath the roof of a toilet. A couple of the group opted for inside the actual toilet, we must have looked like a really classy outfit.
We were overtaken by an elderly gentleman in scruffy clothes on a mountain bike. Tom had a chat with him, “I love seeing other cyclists on my way to and from work…I hang back for a while, tuck in behind them then speed on ahead…I like showing off my stuff!” he explained before zooming off ahead.
We were soon on a handy cycle lane that runs parallel with the ocean on one side and the highway on the other. The views were great, to our right the crashing waves, then to our left an impressive range of mountains soared above.
The cycle lane took us all the way to the outskirts of Ventura and we were soon pulling into our hotel as the clouds still hung heavy overhead. It was extremely humid and everyone was looking forward to a cold shower. Another day was done, the only thing left to do was to jump into the Jacuzzi!