The chili is cooking on the stove and the corn bread in the bread maker, so I am compelled to write about my time in Solvang. My arrival to Santa Barbara airport was greeted nicely with sunny, warm weather. I had never spent time in Solvang besides the ToC time trial this year, so I was excited to check it out. I met up with Matt Shriver, our team liason, upon my arrival, and it was off to the Solvang! We arrived, assembled my bike, then decided it was time for lunch. We went to a local eatery called the Mustard Seed. I was instantly taken by their specials board offering "Lamb and Okra Stew". I viewed the menu but ultimately ordered the stew. I was taken back when the waiter (maybe owner/manager as well) asked me if I wanted to order soup with my stew. I could only muster one response, "Isn't that the same thing?" That pretty much ended that interaction. Lunch was good, and we headed back to the hotel.
After a little relaxing, it was time to chamois-up and hit the road. I was excited for the sunny weather and beautiful terrain. We did a little over 2 hours of riding and had a great time. At one moment, we saw this guy ripping on a dirt bike across some sweet trails. We stopped for a bit to watch the guy because it was super cool. Ironically, later in the week, the owner of the land met up with Shriver and told him that he had started a mountain bike trail system on his land, and the dirt bike was only to hard pack the trails after a rain. He offered for Shriver to ride them, which he excitedly accepted. The dinner that first night was at a brewery in neighboring Buellton. The food and company were both good.
The next two days were all about product presentations, bike rides, socializing, and good dinners. We did a great ride both days. The ride on Wednesday was quite epic really. We did a loop up Figueroa mountain. It was a pretty awesome climb. The climb was incredibly challenging, not only just because I am in bad condition right now either! The views on the way up and on the top were pretty awesome. And the descent was even pretty good; although, it was a little rough and narrow. I had good company in Shriver and Chris Horner, along with a few other dealers who were quite strong.
On Wednesday afternoon I met up with some guys from Spy to do some photo shooting. We accomplished a few shots on Wednesday afternoon/night and reconvened on Thursday to finish things off. We did a lot of still and action shots for the performance glasses, along with a few casual shots and interviews for extra stuff. The guys were great, and it was really fun. I am excited to see the results of the shoots and more excited about the new glasses. I am happy to be back in Las Cruces with Lisa and ready to start training again. I'll be doing a nice mix of road and mountain biking, mixed with some running, walking, and core exercises. It is time to get ready for 2012!