Monday, April 28, 2008

Chico's Wildflower Century

"We belong among the wild flowers, we belong somewhere we feel free."

What a beautiful day. Even though I always forget how far away Chico is the Wildflower Century was worth the drive.

We started at 5 AM, loading the bikes and grabbing the free breakfast the motel. We managed to actually get on the bikes on the road about 6:15. With the sun peeking over the horizon we and up headed out of Chico up our first climb, up the very very bumpy Humbolt Road. It's a demoralizing climb because it doesn't look like a climb. Tricia asked me if I'd lubed her chain with glue. But 700 vertical feet later we got to turn around and fly down Highway 32. A delightful 3.4 miles of smooth downhill with barely a turn.

A bit later we rode up Honey Run. I'd heard it was nice, but it is nicer than nice.

Depending on where you measure, it's about 1700 feet in 10 miles with a number of 11% and 12% sections. But it's all protected, out of the wind and shaded. The trees and plants smell wonderful, and the views off the edge are grand. It's a slow enough climb that you can read the road graffiti and fine out who in Chico loves who "4 ever."

After another smooth, delightful decent we hit the 100-mile add-on section: Table Mountain. It had become a good deal warmer, and the climb, though not as high, had steeper sections.
As we rode up there were numerous cyclists stopped, walking or just hiding in the shade. It was like in a war movie where the troops are marching past all the fallen soldiers on their way to battle. We refused to stop and peddled on.

From the top it was a winding, fast downhill over some potholes I glad I didn't hit at 30-plus.

The remainder was a pleasant roll through the crop lands of Chico. Pleasant until Tricia took a bee strike to the head. Somehow the little kamikaze managed to get under her shades and sting her on the side of her head. As always, she bounces back faster than I ever would, and we rolled on to the finish. I'd been hearing a Sierra Nevada Brew calling my name for the last 10 miles, so I was very happy happy to get back to the staging area and find that beer.

Our friend Joyce (Saint Joyce for the rest of the week) got us a shower at her friends house. MMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmm.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:43 PM

    Saint Joyce? It's got a nice ring to it. I think I'll remind you of this often. Go in peace, my son. :)


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