Day touring the Diablo Range
Sure, purists will argue that unless a cyclist has camping gear strapped to their frame, or at least plans to spend one whole night away from their own bed, their ride is not a tour. But the way I look at it, bicycles are the ideal exploration vehicle, and any ride conducted with exploration in mind takes on the best characteristics of a bike tour: gawking at scenery, connecting geographic puzzles, snacking on potato chips and purple Gatorade on a weathered picnic table in front of some tiny backroad bar. "Day touring" is also a great way to cover some new ground relatively close to home, that one might overlook if planning a longer trip.
I had to resort to stiff, brake-throttling coasting down the first miles of the descent just to recover from the shattering climb, all while stuffing my face with jelly beans because I had really let my blood sugar crash. But once my legs came back around I felt surprisingly strong — proof yet again that the feeling of being broken is usually a wrong assumption pushed by the mind in moments of weakness. The 18 miles down into the Santa Clara Valley followed by 18 "commuter" miles across San Jose passed in what felt like a few minutes. Strava even took me on a pleasant route through the city, following quiet neighborhood streets and connector roads with wide bike lanes. Thanks Strava! Final stats were 135 miles with 11,159 feet of climbing, and 10:16 moving time (Strava estimated 10:09 — impressive accuracy.)
Beat finished his 50K, which had 8,000 feet of climbing and was just as hot, in 6:50. He was fifth overall. And felt good. Of course. He seems to have discovered the secret to near-endless endurance, which I'm still trying to crack.
Now that I've discovered this route building tool, I'm excited about the prospect of designing more new-to-me bike tours and local link-ups. Next up, I'm thinking "A hundred miles of Santa Cruz Mountains" mountain bike tour. Oh, the possibilities.