It was just as well the Tierra Bella was sold out before you could register… turned out to be kind of a wild day. On top of the morning rain and some rather strong afternoon winds, this is what happened:
- I get to the start late because I didn’t have my act together and instead of packing the night before, I packed my car on Saturday morning… this plus being rather slow in putting my bike together caused me to start 45 minutes later than I had planned.
- At Mile 0.5, I briefly get off course because one of the staff said “turn right” and I didn’t hear her say “Red (for 200k) go straight” right after that…
- At Mile 2, I get a flat tire. One of the SAG vehicles passes by me at that point, and after I put in a new tube I borrow their floor pump, but it took us awhile to get its chuck to seal on my valve stem… Anyhow, this all took about 20 minutes, so now I was over 1 hour behind most of the 200k riders already.
- Not being able to follow other riders meant that I had to use the map (especially since the road wasn’t marked very well at all… instead of painting distinct arrows, they just drew straight lines with a spray can, which wasn’t always too noticeable especially since construction workers had painted their own symbols all over the roads which looked very similar). Hence I got off course about 10 times for a total of ~6 miles.
- In the meantime I snapped about half a dozen pictures before I realized I had no film in the camera.
- I needed to get to the checkpoint at Mile 80 by 2:00 p.m. in order to be allowed to do the rest of the 200k course… unfortunately, I missed it by half an hour. So I had to bypass a 18-mile loop and join the other riders.
- At least then I stopped getting lost. However, with 10 miles to go, I get another flat. This one I had to patch because I had only brought one spare tube.
- With 50 feet to go to my car, I crash. It was my fault and I didn’t hit anyone; it’s just that I was a little too focused on my car and was being inattentive, when all of a sudden I see a car pull out. This startled me and I slammed on the brakes, instantly going down. Wasn’t hurt though the impact did break off part of my shifter.
To summarize, I did 115 miles (127 – 18 due to missing the cutoff + 6 due to getting lost), and although I wouldn’t qualify it as a disaster, it could have gone smoother.
- 109 mi + 6 miles getting lost = 115 mi
- 7:45 a.m. start, 5:00 p.m. finish—9:15 hours
- Average Speed: 14.1 mph moving, 12.4 mph overall
- Max Speed: 41 mph
- Total Climbing: rolling, with only significant climb being Metcalf Rd. (which I had to bypass)
- Scenery: 4 Very green due to the recent rains.
- Support/Organization: 2. To me, road markings were terrible.
- Food: 4. However, I didn’t get much chances to stop and enjoy it due to time constraints.
- Weather: 2. Some rain, lots of wind.
- Relative Difficulty: 3
- Overall Rating: 4 Nice, but poor road markings made ride agonizing sometimes.