Tierra Bella #TierraBella is one of the most beautiful Grand Fondo rides I have done so far.
You have amazing mountain scenery, reservoirs, creeks, trees, and nice neighborhoods with some unique houses. You can chose between a relatively easy 100 km ride (3,000 ft climb), fun 100 mile ride (6,400 ft climb), and a challenging 200 km ride (8,200 ft climb). I have done climbs on all of these rides and I can attest that Hicks Rd Los Gatos Climb - is the toughest climb I have ever done.
I really like the people who work this event and who ride this event. You can clearly see they love this ride, so they do it year after year. This time I met a 71-year old woman who completed a 100 km ride.
Tierra Bella is a special event for me as well. It was my first long ride two year ago. I did a 100 km ride (the photo on the right - above). It was my first real climb, which I ended with pushing the bike uphill. I was on my first road/adventure bike that I bought a month prior - 29-pound Specialized Tricross. It was a very tough one, but I finished it.
Tierra Bella also has been my longest ride so far. I rode 200 km last year at Tierra Bella 2014.
This year it was a social ride with 5 friends. It was the first metric century that felt like just another ride. We rode really fast, passing 99% of other riders, climbed well and descended fast. We spent a good amount of time at rest stops socializing and goofing off. Here is my Tierra Bella Strava Link from this year.
The weather was awesome for riding. We started on a chilly side, around 45F. By the time we got going, it was time to climb. By the time we muscled through it, it felt hot. So I shed a layer at the first rest stop and it was comfortable again.
Then it was a steep and fun descent. When we got leveled, it was about 55-60F. At the second rest stop, I shed the vest and it was a really pleasant ride till the end.
A few words about the second rest stop - it as a really nice one -- with a sax player, good food, amazing views of the mountains, reservoir, and hills. It felt like you are on a vacation. Our friend Tyler couldn't help himself and showed off his (very impressive) skills as well.
Once we finally left the second rest stop, we skipped the last one and finished strong. We spent more time after we finished -- catching up and enjoying the unexpectedly beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing Gavilan College in Gilroy, where the ride started and ended.