Sunday, April 20, 2008

Eighty-five percent of a century

I might have guessed the Tierra Bella Century was going to be "special" when I:
  • Couldn't find my camera charger the night before.
  • My bike computer went all finicky and wouldn't work right.
  • Discovered I failed to place my prescription lens insert in my cycling glasses
None the less, at 7:35 we launched from Gavilan College with our friend Mr. Pete (Taxi777) into a cool morning and a mild headwind.

By the second rest stop the day was turning warmer and starting to feel hopeful.

Tricia and rode through Morgan Hill, did a short but steep climb and then dropped down Anderson Lake County Park. That's where the big climb of the day was going to start. Then...

Tricia threw her chain. She popped it back on and started uphill, and dropped it again. She executed a no-speed fall over, banged her knee tweaked her wrist a bit. When we flipped her bike over to try and figure out what was going on we realized she was missing three inner chain ring bolts on her triple. No wonder she was having problems. (Note to us: check those hard-to-see bolts)

We were now in a low spot, and either direction was a big climb. We did the sensible thing -Called SAG.

After much discussion of possibilities, the SAG drivers, who I swear were Bartells and James, the two goofy guys from the old ads, picked us up and gave us a scary ride. Cliffs on the left, cyclists on the right, two happy goofballs in the front.

They took us to the Sunshine Bicycle Shop in Morgan Hill. The great guys at the shop popped on new bolts and didn't even want to charge us.

We realized we weren't that far from the route, and tough Tricia decided we could just rejoin our ride, and so we did. We got to ride through a very beautiful section near Gilroy Hot Springs, surrounded by green, a river and some delightful rolling hills with a few climbs.

Coming back was another story. By the time we had 20 miles to go the wind had kicked in. We rode straight into a huge head wind that lowered our speed to 9 mph for miles. Then we turned and had it from the side. Twenty to twenty-five mph with gusts. I could actually see Tricia leaning into the wind to stay upright.

It was a relief to turn on the last leg and get all that as a tail wind. Zoom zoom zoom, and back we were. We ran into Mr. Pete and had a good post ride dinner (with pie and ice cream!) We ended up with 85 of our planned 100 miles.

I awarded Tricia a new jersey, purple heart, and new gloves in honor of her swellness and toughness. They do have about the best looking ride jersey I've seen, and Tricia will look extra swell in it.

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