Tierra Bella 200K
The day's biggest adventure would strangely happen to occur even before I started riding. Despite setting an alarm to wake me at 4:00 AM, I slept in and didn't wake until 6:15 AM. Cursing as I hastily got dressed (thank goodness I pre-prepped everything else the night before), I hit the road from Oakland at 6:30, the time I had hoped to arrive Gilroy.

On top of that, I didn't have anything to eat before leaving, nor any cash to spend at a drive through on the way down, nor the time to really even look for a bank off the freeway. All told, I didn't really have any to eat at all that morning until I was 40 miles into the ride. Despite a stressful and very unwise start, I managed to get through the day pretty well... a lucky wonder of sorts.

So the ride itself had huge potential to be a great one, but it was merely OK. Oddly circuitous and confusing route, most of which was surrounded with really beautiful scenery no less. I rode alone most of the way--by choice. Many pacelines I encountered were way too dangerous (two near pile-ups in a 5-mile stretch ought to be enough warning, screeching tires and the whole lot). Even worse, many of these people who caused the danger had absolutely no class nor manners.

The slug up Metcalf at 80 miles was a doozy! It felt like El Toyonal from Inspiration Point in the Berkeley Hills: a 1,000+ foot rise in less than 1.75 miles. Ouch. A strong tailwind during the home stretch was an absolute blast: I was solo'ing on the flats at around 29mph on a 52x13 -- incredible. Easy cause to pretend being Ludo Dierckxsens for a few miles.

No, they didn't run out of food at the rest stop before Metcalf this year. At the finish, though, they were serving what appeared to be roasted half-chickens. Sadly, mine was also half-cooked.

So goes my first and lackluster experience with Tierra Bella. No regrets, but I probably won't do it again next year unless friends riding it manage to convince me otherwise.

Distance: 132 miles (incl. missed turns) | Elevation gain: 5,735' | Ride time: 7h51m
Info: actc.org
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