The Amgen Tour of California has selected the quaint Central California town of Solvang to host the all important time trial for the last three years (07, 08, 09). The course is a wonderful out and back loop that covers short climbs, quick descents, and peaceful country roads. With majestic scenery and quaint roads this is a need to do ride; to increase mileage and difficulty we have added an extra leg that changes the ride into a true must do ride.
The standalone TT course is suitable to riders of most abilities while the extension adds a level of difficulty that limits it to more experienced tandem teams. Either ride is worth the trip to Solvang.
For the full distance ride begin at Nojoqui Falls.
Park in one of the shaded spaces, suit up, and prepare for a 1 mile warm up followed by a fast descent into Solvang along a wooded single lane road.
From Solvang you enter the TT course with a climb up Alisal Rd. Navigate through the neighborhoods and cut out to Alamo Pintado Rd. About 2 miles up the highway you will see some optical illusions that are real; miniature horses. When we arrived the babies were out playing.
Continue on towards Los Olivos with a detour along less trafficked Baseline, Refugio, and Roblar Rds. Enter Los Olivos and swing left to the only real climb on the TT course.
Ascend the 500 ft and enjoy the ensuing descent back into Solvang along a quiet country road. Never knowing what you will see, we spotted baby deer and a Lamborghini; an interesting mix to say the least.
Ride into Solvang and hit the restrooms and fill the bottles because you are heading back to your car up Alisal Rd. Ascending straight out of Solvang you will climb a few hundred vertical feet.
The ride ends back at the park. Towel off, load up the car, and drive back down to Solvang for excellent dining or post-ride sweets.