Santa Barbara Century

Saturday was the 3rd annual Santa Barbara Century. It was the second year they held a chip timed team race up Gibraltar Road which is considered the Alpe d’Huez of Santa Barbara. After some heavy recruiting I was able to put together a team of seven riders: Lee Ziff, Jaycee Cary, David Stone, Doug Johnstone, Richard Fitzgerald, Mike Kludjian and myself.

We started under a heavy marine layer and light rain at 7:30 a.m. riding at a moderate pace to save our strength for the big climb ahead which begins at mile 39.

The climb challenges everyone which is about 7 miles long, climbing 2,700 feet with an average grade of 7% with some sections at 12 to 13%.
Needless to say it becomes a time trial and no one stays together.

Upon reaching the summit we regrouped and continued along the ridge. Thankfully I had my arm warmers and wind vest. The weather became cold, windy and very foggy which made it tough to see more then 50 feet ahead at times.

We enjoyed a great descent back off the mountain and through the technical descent of Painted Cave. Upon arrival at the 75 mile mark the weather was still overcast but much warmer with high humidity.

The competition had heated up this year with many more strong riders and teams entered. Upon crossing the finish line at Leadbetter Beach I headed over to see the results which were posted for the individual times and age categories, but only some of the teams had been posted.
Having not seen our team time, which they use the average time of the fastest
5 riders after handicapping for age, I was a bit concerned seeing some pretty strong results already posted by other teams.

I was able to grab my complimentary burrito and have just one bite as they announced the second place team.

Then the big news: This years winner is…………. VELO CLUB LA GRANGE!!

Everybody cheered joyfully and the team was very happy as you can see from the smiling faces in the team photo below.

As defending champions it was great to hold onto to the title one more year. You can see all the results at the website:

The event was extremely well run once again and the prizes keep getting better each year. All team members received 2 bottles of wine, a Rabo Bank Team Jersey and a bag of swag from REI. The money raised for the event each year is donated to feeding and educating over 1,350 students from the slums and impoverished villages of Uganda and Kenya which also feels good to be giving back to those in need.

It was my last big effort for the season. Now it is time for pumpkin pie, turkey, friends, family and all the other nice things that come with the holidays.

Happy Holidays!

Tom Hill

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