Three days of pain

The best race series in SoCal happens every year in the vacation resort cities of Buellton and Lompoc, nestled cozily in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County. The 805 Series is promoted by bike racer and all-round good guy Mike Hecker, and as with most bike races that are put on by actual bike racers, it’s a good one, and that doesn’t even get to the more than $38,000 on offer in cash prizes, plus over $7,000 in merchandise.

I’ve done the series the last two years and can vouch for the following:

  1. There will be wind.
  2. The races will run on time.
  3. The prize money is great.
  4. The vibe is even greater.

The 805 is run as an omnium and racers can compete all three days, one day, or two days. The last two years, the second day of racing has been run on the Avenue of the Flags in Buellton. It’s a breakaway course with a long finishing straight and is just moments from the Firestone Brewery, on of California’s best.

The third day’s course is in downtown Lompoc, a very cool little town that really supports this event. The course is technical compared to the typical four-corner crit, but by no means screamingly so. As with the races on Friday and Saturday, wind is always a factor.

Last year after the Saturday race I stopped into a shop for some coffee in Buellton and remarked to the clerk about how windy it was.

“Windy?” she said. “This ain’t windy.”

Maybe not, I thought, but it was blowing at a solid 20 mph.

The small town vibe is enhanced by the beer garden and wine garden that are usually set up across from the finish line in Buellton. From a racing perspective, the races are a fantastic change of venue from the usual, and the fact that the event is run as an omnium makes the racing especially fun.

Pre-registration closes Wednesday night. Don’t miss it!



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