2 hours, almost 30 miles, over 1500 feet elevation gain on today's route.
I left work a little early today and walked back to the hotel. I had talked to a road bicyclist at work about his favorite local routes. One he pointed out to me was a route along Lucas Valley road, and a big climb up to "big rock". On the other side he said were redwoods and cows. (The famous Skywalker Ranch forks off from this road. Was this valley actually named after George Lucas?)
It was a difficult climb, I'd say about 600 feet. The road got curvy and started to switch-back. There were designated pull-outs for slow vehicles along the way. Oddly enough, there was quite a bit of traffic, though the map really doesn't show many towns or settlements. I sort of got the feeling though that many people were driving this road for pleasure.
Going down was quite a thrill. I stopped in a patch of redwoods for a quick drink. No ewoks were spotted. The sun was low and I worried about getting back before dark. Although the sun was shining, it was low and quite dim in these deep forests. Consulting the map I realized I underestimated the distance. What seemed like a 20 mile ride was really more like a 30 mile ride. It was about 5:45PM and I had about an hour before sunset.
Since I was in a valley again, I knew that upon returning I'd have to pass the same ridge. Yet again, the road turned to switchbacks. The speed limit of 55 dropped to 25 near the top. I was determined. On the way down my decent was quite fast, though there were plenty of cars and lots of big rocks in the shoulder lane to make me nervous. Probably going about 25-30mph, though, I found myself passed by a cyclist: Of the cyclists I had seen, there were about three very serious looking roadies, which put me and my $3000 bicycle to shame.
Eventually, the road turned into a major thoroughfare into Fairfax, San Anseimo, and finally San Rafael.