Sunday, April 15, 2012
Tierra Bella 2012
When Tricia and I left the hotel in Gilroy, garlic capital of the world, to head for Galvin College to start the 2012 Tierra Bella Century ride, the sky was dark and the flags were standing straight out. It was...worrisome. But by the time we got to the college and had our bikes ready the day was a bit brighter and the college was in a wind shadow, faking us out into believing the wind would not be a factor.
Once we got to the road we found ride starts slightly uphill and into a headwind. What a nice way to start the day! But after a few miles we got to the first climb of the day, up around Gilroy Hotsprings. What a beautiful area. Everything was green and still wet from the showers the day before. We rode past cattle, and horses so big and beautiful Tricia asked me if I'd seen Daenerys Targaryen, Calisi of the Dothraki, in among them. I have to find an easy way to make photos when I'm cold and fully gloved. I was too busy staying warm to want to mess with my gloves, so alas, no Daenerys photos.
There was, however, a skeleton by the side of the road, holding a warning sign and cautioning us about the steep (and delightful) descent.
The Alamaden Cycling Club has wonderful support. Beyond the skeleton, they'd posted volunteers at many difficult intersections to help with traffic and point out tricky lane crossings. The route was very well marked. Well enough that even I didn't get lost.
After the Hot Springs climb and descent we got to my favorite part; endless headwinds. I just suck at headwinds. No one loves them, but I just don't have what it takes to power through them. If I hadn't been on Tricia's wheel I'd still be out there. Not only did I shamelessly suck wheel for miles, but at one point I looked back and she was dragging along about seven tough-looking guys.
All "fun" ends, and this did when we got to the Henry Coe climb. I'd so much rather climb than do flats. I felt great, passed a lot of folks and didn't get passed much.
Depending on where you start counting, Coe is about 3100 feet over 12 miles, and mostly double digits. And beautiful, with sweeping views of the valley. It was nice to climb, and get warm.
I saw a guy who must have a professional rider for Astana. He had their full team kit on, and I don't think they allow that if you aren't on the team, right? It is indeed a nice looking kit.
At the top we were at the 50 mile mark, half way done. Before we descended we bundled up again to counter overcast sky, cool temperature and the steep downhill. It was a cold day, and even with all the climbing we'd never become truly warm. Thus armed against the weather we started our screaming, face numbing trip back down, only to encounter a shirtless rider on his way up. Someone in this story has no clue, and I hope it isn't us.
We descended, fought too much headwind and eventually hit some more climbs. They don't look like much on the map compared to Coe, but as surprise climbs at the end of the ride they sure got my attention.
At last we hit the home leg — and a tail wind — where we got to ride at 20-24 for a while. Tricia just launched, and we ended up blowing the doors off a lot of other riders as we got closer to the start.
As a tri-geek said to me as we rolled past him, "She's really enjoying herself."
My Gamin died at mile 96, but the Sigma computer said 104 miles at the end. The Strava upload claims 8126 feet of climbing. We were toast. But happy toast.
Tricia said she was getting a bit concerned because I'd had seven blog posts without her in them. She'd suffered a cycling setback and just hadn't been out with me lately. So for those distant readers who might have been wondering, but were too polite to ask, yes, she is still, and always will be, my Calisi.