Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Tierra Bella…..a perfect day….

So, this was the third anniversary for me and the Tierra Bella. Our relationship almost ended badly when halfway through the first year’s ride it started raining…and by raining I mean, Noah and The Flood type of rain. Rain so heavy that the road up to Hot Springs looked more like a water ride at Great America than a bike route….

Luckily, I found it in my heart to just chalk it up to experience and give her another chance. She really is beautiful this Tierra Bella. With nice roads, very little traffic, some pretty views and well supported rest stops……although her ability to give directions could be better…..of course she’ll say we weren’t paying attention…which may be partly true….

Saturday, Chris Nordby, his buddy Rich and I started out on the metric century. Chris on his fixie, me on the SS and the other Rich on a classic Motobecane.(before the name was owned by bikesdirect)
It was cool in the morning, but destined to be a beautiful day.

We were riding along and chatting and pretty soon we noticed there wasn’t anyone in front of us and only a few others behind. Usually this is a sign that you might be lost, but instead of turning around and trying to find the route, we, being adventurous (some might say bull-headed), continued on determined to find our own route.

Chris has ridden this area a few times before and I’ve done this twice, so being only half clueless, we had just enough of an idea where we were headed to get good and lost. And with two strangers who for some reason actually thought we knew where we were following us…we pushed on. (some people will follow anyone...)

We turned left and right and up over the overpass and down a nameless farm road and sure enough we eventually found ourselves on the map and later on the actual route. We rejoined the route at the base of the climb up to Hot Springs and prepared for the only real climb of the day.

With a single speed, the key is finding your rhythm and a pace that you can sustain without blowing up. I know what my rhythm is and just how hard I can go without dying. And, as long as I don’t have to talk or anything, I can usually keep a pretty good pace for a good distance.

The other thing is I really prefer to suffer in silence so I quickly distanced myself from Chris and Rich and settled in to suffer my way to the top….and it was working. I had a good pace, I was blowing pretty hard, but not redlining and I was working my way to the top….until this guy pulled up alongside and started wanting to chat…..hey is that a single speed – yeah. Is it fixed or freewheel – freewheel. How hard is that right now – hard. Why do you do it – dunno.

I’m not an anti-social person. Normally I love chatting with people, but as I said, I was in a rhythm and I prefer to suffer in silence…..I assumed he would take my one word answers and my gasping for oxygen as a sign that I didn’t want to talk, but of course he didn’t…..thinking I could probably get away from him, I cranked it up a notch…now I’m redlining and he just downshifts and stays next to me….so, are you dying right now – yes. Are you faster on that than gears – dunno. Is it more fun – no. Why do you do it – dunno....

Finally upon getting to the top I pull over under the guise of waiting for my friends, but really to try to shove my lungs back down in my chest and thankfully he waves and continues on….

The rest of the ride was beautiful and uneventful. It got warmer, but never too bad. Rich and I had the entertaining task of watching Chris’ legs go 1500 rpms as he sped down the hills and we coasted along nicely and before we knew it, we had finished yet another Tierra Bella metric….what a great day!

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