The plan for the day was to do 100 miles of riding around the outer edge of San Jose's urban core. Following the turn by turn directions exactly would result in riding 102 miles, so probably a few people would deviate from that for one reason or another. There had been three test rides, so everybody that wanted to look at the ride ahead of time had done so.


Virginia and I got to the City Hall Plaza in plenty of time. We were milling about waiting for the start when I saw this slice of pizza on the back of Nicolette's bike. Gotta say, I like that way of adding reflectivity. Light weight, interesting use of color, and a good size for the spot. She saw me taking the picture and said "I got it online. Came plain with stickers so I could add the ingredients I wanted." Looks like reflective peperoni, mushroom, and onions to me.

The first scheduled thing was a group shot at 7:55 AM, but everybody wanted Luke, our fearless leader, to be in it. He wasn't quite there yet. Jacky called him. He didn't answer. We were wondering if we should start without him when he got there. Yay! Group shot by Lloyd worked out great. Then we hit the road.

This is the closest thing I got to a group shot. I hung back a bit from everybody else at the first stop light where we had to wait. People were still streaming into the shot until the light changed. I took the picture as soon after that as I possibly could. You can clearly see that only Cameron and maybe Arturo already had their feet off the ground. Then we started pedaling for real. The next light cut some of the group from the head of the pack. A few miles down the road we were almost invisible, a few riders at a time, mostly riding legally.

Ten miles later, Virginia and I were riding south with barren hillsides on one side and technology campuses and fancy housing on the other. There were a few other riders visible as small figures in the distance, but mostly we were just pedaling alone.


A bit after that Peter (the guy in the red and white shirt) caught up with us. He explained that he'd gotten to the start and everybody had already taken off. We were the first BTL riders he'd caught up with. He rode with us for a while and then pulled away from us.

Kent and Shree rode with Virgina and me for twenty or thirty miles. Something about riding with other people makes the miles pass more enjoyably. There are jokes to share and many little ways we can help each other out. Somehow we found a pace we could all do and let the chips fall where they may.


Frederick caught up with us while we were snacking at Pearl and Nancy's first regroup. It was a table of foods anybody pedaling hard would love to eat. Boiled eggs, cut fruit, bananas, muffins, chocolate, potato chips, and energy bars. A salt shaker for those that wanted that. Their attitude was "help yourself." I had a lot of pineapple and a bagel with cream cheese. Then I had a crepe with some nutella like stuffing. Across the street was a bakery/cafe with clean bathrooms. It was everything a rider could ask for. After 31 miles of pedaling we really appreciated the break.  About ten minutes later we got back on our bikes and continued on.


One of the things I'd done wrong last year was not eat enough along the way. This had made me very slow towards the end. I'd wanted to eat something like 200 calories of good food every hour or so, just to keep enough food energy in my system. Virginia and I pulled over to get some chain oil at Bicycle Outfitters in Los Altos, where we also sat down on the bench to eat peanut butter sandwiches. Not long after we got moving again I was glad for the lubrication. Should have done that the previous evening, we would have had more zip in our first 44 miles.


By the time we got to Mitchell Park we were quite tired. Virginia was talking about just going home. I said "How about we make it to the regroup since they are waiting for us there?" Nancy and Pearl had promised us they wouldn't bail before we got there, so it seemed like a fair idea to me. She agreed. We pressed on, certain we were the back of the pack. Even Frederick (the official sweep) must have passed us while we were oiling the chain and resting at bicycle outfitters.

When we got to the regroup the scene was about what we expected. Pearl and Nancy were hanging out with an awesome spread. They also had news of the rest of us. Many groups had passed through. Ronnie Twist, Mike Tam, and Wagner were the first ones they saw, or maybe they were the ones that didn't stop. Many more had made the first regroup than the second. Fuzzy on the details because I was busy enjoying the tacos they gave me. It was nice to be eating hot food after 70 miles on the road.


About then Jacky, Tom, Kent, and Frederick showed up. Turns out they had gotten lost on the way through Stanford. Then they got lost again going through Palo Alto. Jacky was driven. She didn't want to sit down and get comfortable. After she heard that Virginia and I were bailing after the stop she got the rest of us on their bikes and headed out. Managed to hold them just long enough to take these group shots.

We sat for a bit and then talked about what to do next. Virginia didn't want to do any more hills. I wasn't ready to call it a day yet. We decided to just roll down the Guadalupe Trail to the end, knocking the hills along the east bay part of the route out of our plans for the day. Once we got on the trail we found out that instead of the headwinds we'd been dealing with all day there was a nice tailwind. Not only that, but there weren't many changes in elevation. It was smooth sailing on a trail with a great surface.


By this time the shadows were long. We'd been pedaling for most of the day. Excuses to stop for a minute or two got easier and easier to find. The statue of a woolly mammoth was one of those. It's one of San Jose's more iconic sights, tucked away near Trimble just off the trail.

Yup. That's the handy parking by the airport's (SJC) main terminals.

We reached the after ride food scene after eighty miles of struggle. By this time there were only a handful of riders still hanging out. After parking and getting beers I just sat and listened to the talk for a bit. Didn't occur to me to take any pictures until Deepa and Nicolette got there, after doing the entire course. Gotta honor the effort they'd put out by joining the paparazzi honoring the moment.

Deepa had also gotten lost at Stanford and California Ave. She was like "I did the test ride. I don't know why it didn't occur to me to go through the tunnel, but it didn't happen. I looked at the 'turn right toward N. California Ave.' and 'turn left toward N. California Ave.' and got confused."

Turned out that Jacky, Tom, Kent, and Frederick were still on the course. We hung out and talked while waiting for them to show up. They listened as we explained that we'd taken a short cut to get to the end before our bodies gave out. They teased us for that. After a while Frederick tweeted about "Where's the after party?" Several answered, but it must have taken too long to realize he'd asked. We waited for a while before concluding he wouldn't get there. In the end, Virginia and I decided to pedal home instead of taking transit. When all was said and done, we'd ridden at least 95 miles. For me, that was probably the fifth longest single day self powered trek of my life.