Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Wildflower Century
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Every year the San Luis Obispo Bike Club hosts the Wildflower Century so we decided to give it a try this year. Shelley signed up for the 75-mile route and I took the century (actually 106 miles). These would be longest rides for each of us, by a little bit.

We drove up the night before, camped in their school grounds, and got off to a chilly start at 7:30. And we rode and rode and rode. And rode some more.

It turned out to be a rough ride, mostly because of the heat and the hills! Riding 100 miles in one place ain't like riding 100 miles in another place! Last summer, along the coast with only one big climb, 100 miles didn't seem like much. This time it was another matter, with hill after hill in the beating sun. I didn't feel so great at the end, although it took only an hour or so to feel mostly better.

Our journey took as through the rolling cattle ranch country of the rich and famous (inluding Alex Trebek's place), past zillians of young vineyards, and across some expanses of empty fields. We saw a lot of quail (and on the drive up, an antelope), but only a few wildflowers.

They said that last year it was 20 degrees cooler, all the grass was green, and wildflowers were out in force. Guess we'll have to try again next spring!

Some photos for your enjoyment:

Team Google pre-ride. Our jerseys attracted numerous compliments and were unique amongst the 1300 riders.

Pleasant road, some rolling hills, not too bad and fun to ride.

Rest stop #2 with plenty of cookies, brownies, bagels, fruit, water, etc., to keep you stoked. This is at mile 54.

Check out this guy's hydration pack! Can you see the hose running from the box to his mouth (like a waterpack) :-)

All the hundreds of vineyards that we saw seemed very young. Here's an isolated one with a windmill, of which we observed several at various points.

This is the long downhill part of the ride. It went for a few miles -- but always into the wind! Pretty boring to have to pedal downhill and have nothing interesting to look at.

Here's Shelley near the end of the ride. Her 75-mile route turned out to be 68. About this point I peeled off on a separate loop to achieve the century, where they put the biggest hill of the whole ride!

Some cows hanging out under a big ol' oak tree. Most of the ranches don't have names on the front, so that the rich and famous owners of the mansions atop the hills aren't proclaimed.

Poppies next to the parking lot; the best wildflowers we saw were on the ride's souvenier jerseys!

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