Day 5, Thursday May 18

This was our "short" day, only 48 miles, with two named hills: Heartbreak Hill and The Wall. We were riding from Santa Maria to Lake Cachuma, past Solvang. We headed south/west from Santa Maria, a mostly-flat road with not too much of a headwind. However, that soon changed to a not-too-steep yet constant incline, as we headed into the foothills of the central Californian wine country. I arrived at lunch at 9:30...well, it being a short day, lunch was only about 30 miles from Santa Maria, at the Zaca Mesa winery. No, we didn't get to drink any wine, that's sort of illegal and would have gotten us expelled from the ride. However, resistance was easy, as the winery wasn't open yet anyway. We then rode .3 more miles and hit Heartbreak Hill...which, if you're going to break, that comes at the .2 mile mark (it's a .4 mile hill). It was way steep, but by this time my legs are just loving the hills and just keep pushing away. 4 miles later comes The Wall, a .6 mile, 1-bend hill. Those 4 miles were great; either level or a nice downhill, but then you turn this corner and realize that the huge hill in front of you, which you can see all the way to the top of, is in your path. whoa. However, once again you just kinda sink into the "I'm just going to keep pedalling, at some point I'll get to the top, but I'm going to concentrate on each step" trance. I got up most of the way to the top when I realized that we had some sort of a cheerleader at the top.."What is *that*?". I get closer. "what *Is* that?". Turns out one of the rider's boyfriends had driven up to visit and cheer us on, and was doing a club dancer's routine dressed in a black bikini and high platform 6-inch heeled shoes, to a mixed sound track which repeated "do the wall, wall, wall, do the wall, wall, wall". Also, he had on a cleopatra-type wig, braided with beads, and 2 pom-pom type things. I very nearly didn't make it I was chuckling so much. However, I got to the top, *stopped* (I don't normally rest at the tops of hills), got out my camera, and took several pictures. *bounce* We then continued on, generally going uphill but nothing severely steep, for another 18 miles before getting onto Hwy 154. This is the high-speed bypass for those who don't want to drive into Santa Barbara on the 101, with a rather narrow shoulder. We did have one detour; construction people were repaving the eastbound lane for about 4 miles, so we took a 3-mile detour to minimize the amount of time we'd be riding on a one-lane road; you *really* don't want oncoming traffic in your lane while riding. Lake Cachuma was after about 4 more hills, the kind I hate: just below sitting-down first-gear, and just above standing-up pedaling...probably should have shifted into 2nd. However, we got there, and I was raring to go about 20 more miles (this was, after all, a short day regardless of the hills, and I reached camp about 12:30pm after spending a *long* time at lunch and SAG 4 and SAG 5, listening to their cheers and relishing the attitude-free zone). So, I get in, check my bike, and get my gear together and shower. Several people had gone into Solvang, but I've been there several times and decided to miss the pancake house. However, after I took an hour nap while trying to raise my tan lines a little bit, most everyone was in camp. I met a whole bunch of other women when 14 of us rented a patio boat (flat, motor, w/ canopy) and we tooled around the lake for an hour or so. Let's see: "Captain" Kitty, who'd bought a captain's hat at the lake's tourist store, was wearing that and a Harley Davidson shirt and just looked far too cute to not get that nickname; our Skipper, Julie, a bike racer from Chicago who got 4 gold medals in cycling during the last Gay Games; Linda, who's been friends with Kitty for a long time (they both live in S.F.), Angie, who'd been riding with Lise, and about 4 or 5 others. Later Kitty, Julie, Linda, Angie, Pat, and I played a few rounds of cancellation hearts before the 7:30 announcements. The band that night was *excellent*...a blues band w/ singers who looked like the Pepsi uh-huh girls. We stayed up a bit too late, didn't get to bed until 9:30!!

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