Sunday, May 11, 2008

Tierra Bella Double Metric-2008

(April 19, 2008) Tierra Bella Double Metric, Gilroy, CA. (122 miles, 6940' climbing, 15.9 avg, w/ Jack and Professor Dave.)

This is a ride supported at the highest level by the Almaden Cycling Club, its only failing was a route that included many suburban ugly sections, paying $$$ to ride through industrial parks and subdivisions dotting the way North to San Jose didn't make up for the nice portions.

Unfortunately three things conspired to hold down club turnout. Last year we had lots of Diablo Cyclists registered and it stormed--so many people either didn't show up or Big Mike, Dave and I were caught out in the heavy rains after mile 40. So after last year many people didn't register again. Second, a major route change was in the works so no one knew how the new ride would take shape. Finally, the forecast called for cold, high (14-16 mph) winds--I think the ride was already full but this precluded anyone trying to sign up the day of.

Quick report-THE NEW COURSE IS A WINNER!!! Instead of heading North to San Jose you loop between the hills in the east and west of Gilroy-Morgan Hill. About 40% flat ag belt, about 40% rustic rollers and NEW (which caused some grumbling but climb isn't that bad) a 10 mile climb to Henry Coe State Park. Many of the old favorites are still in the ride Uvas Reservoir, Coyote River Park, Gilroy Hot Springs, but are now "out of order" for those who remember the old route. Mini mansions galore while, in Morgan Hill, the biggest group of day laborers looking for work I had ever seen, provided a stark contrast.

It wasn't that windy but COLD when we started a little after 7:00--Donna hitting the road a half hour earlier. The Almaden's Cycling Club attention to detail is immediately obvious by the porta potties they put on the first turn to make up for the lack of open bathrooms at Gavilan College. Wimpy me almost froze to death while Dave made a quick pit stop so when we started up again and rollers appeared I hammered. That and needed to get away from the college which had "warning-mountain lion sanctuary" signs posted about. A recumbent draped in an American flag fairing shot by on a flat section, insisting that he stay in front. Dave, who has done the Death ride on his recumbent joked "wait till Henry Coe." We didn't have to wait, on the first series of uphill rollers we all took off with one strong rider from the pelaton. This would seemingly be repeated all day.

Jack and I did a good job trading pulls all day--me leading out more at the beginning and Jack going balls out at the end of the ride. I think Dave scouted the course out the day before, he's indicate he wanted to help out, and ever time he went charging up on his recumbent an uphill section would appear--neutralizing his attempted assist.

We rode clockwise, skipping the Coyote Park Reststop, as it was only 13 miles away from the last one. We lost Dave on a series of rollers before the turn in to start the Henry Coe climb (at mile 38) , so before we began Jack and I went into a small alleyway and did circles--effectively killing our average speed. Dave came back but the climb suddenly started on a rustic, curvy road. Up to this point the wind had been fine but on the higher we got on this east side climb a cold wind was evident. jack and I kept together until a few people came through on a roller where I managed to repass all but one. Attention getting but not bad, even the part that said "steep hill ahead," which was superfluous as the steep section was in plain view. Later Donna would tell us that a woman got off her bike and cried when seeing this part.

Anyway cold and windy at the top--a trash can fire was lit that was just blowing smoke about. Some vault toilets were nearby--no signs that prohibited their use, but later a guy dressed as a psuedo super camper came over and wouldn't let anyone use them (never got the straight dope on that.) Jim/ Jeannie came up--tall Jim did a great job as a wind block. Dave finally arrived and it the downhill was miserable--cold and windy my upper back tightened. I was freezing though I was wearing (2) two vests and glove liners. Saw Donna coming up from the other way and she looked happy.

Back in the flatlands I was planning to stop to take some clothes off but a fast moving paceline, about a dozen riders who no doubt had passed me on the downhill, was forming and taking off with Jack. I caught the tail end and amazed Dave as I took off both vests and glove liners while moving, figuring we had another climb coming up. After awhile I moved up the paceline and took a long pull on a slightly uphill section with a tailwind, my favorite. After a few miles time to drop off--to my surprise behind me was only Jack, Dave, and a guy from Colorado.

We met a few nice folks who rode with us on sections, and the guy from Colorado really opened our eyes to what we have out here. He came out to California on a two month sabbatical and signed up for as many Century rides as possible, as the variety of rides in Colorado paled in comparison to what we had in California.

Series of off the beaten path uphill rollers to Gilroy Hot Springs and I was having fun hammering this section, I felt great on the terrain I like the most, and it was warm again. Beautiful rest stop where I had too many roast beef/ ham wraps (Doug--no veggie wraps for me.) Someone commented that my head band made me look like Keith Richards.

Professor Dave (of English), Keith Richards, Professor Jack (of long distance riding) thanks to Bob Thompson who takes photos of all riders coming in.

Leaving the rest stop a woman with a Domo Farm Frites tagged on, which was cool as I was wearing my modified "Domo Diablo Cyclist Farm Frites" jersey. She was doing another century tomorrow so didn't follow us to now tag on 25 more miles on a counterclockwise inner loop. Going west there was a slight headwind but it wasn't that bad as we made out way to the Machado School where two years ago Steve B. surprised everyone new to our group with his Karen Carpenter routine and last year Dave Mike and I decided to turn around here while huddled in the schoolhouse wet with no heat.

Jack met another guy from Canada who rode in with us. More importantly the wind had now picked up, but was now a tailwind that would push us over all of the rollers. For the last 20 miles Jack hammered back to the college with everyone else usually in tow.

Back at the college Donna waiting, she decided against the extra 25 miles due to the headwind and time of day, and believed me when I joked that ending meal was garlic fries as we were in Gilroy. It was actually a nice tamale meal. Met up with long distance rider (Grandma) Joanie who told us that her and Doug decided not to do the extra 25 miles as they left after 8- and the headwinds had picked up. After 8-?, OK, they get a pass as they have to come in from Sacramento, which is twice as far as East County and it took me 1 3/4 hours. Later I ran into Douh and he filled me in , they stayed overnight in Gilroy and still ran late. Big chuckle. Now I know the rest of the story.

No comments: