Today we rode in the Chico Wildflower. We didn't do the whole 100 miles, but we did 73, making it a "seventy-three-tury". We completed the two hard climbs, and they were the most rewarding part of the ride.
We woke up at 5:45 and headed down for breakfast at the Holiday Inn. We had a good helping of carbohydrates and some really bad coffee. Luke warm, watered down Folgers. Bad coffee to a cyclist is like garlic to a vampire or wolfsbane to a werewolf. There were a lot of cyclists running around the hotel ready to go before the sun was even up. There was a slight drizzle of rain outside, but it appeared to be stopping!
We got to the fairgrounds at around 7:40. We had already checked in yesterday, so all we had to do is park the car and ride. We spent the next 15 minutes debating what to wear on the ride. We were trying to figure out how to stay comfortable all day long through changing conditions. We looked around, and some folks were dressed in winter gear while others were wearing shorts. We finally dressed in more layers than a Taco Bell burrito. We were comfortable all day. Toasty when it got cold, and cool when the sun came out. The temperatures were all over the place today! We brought knee warmers, arm warmers, wind vests, and rain jackets. All were very appreciated. I think we both could have used some toe warmers though.
I think my favorite part of the ride was the Honey Run Climb. It was narrow, steep, twisty, lots of riding graffiti on the road, with misty cloudy skies. The most rewarding climb was the Table Mountain loop. The climb was long and steep, but the scenery was beautiful. We were both really glad to see the top and we both had a great sense of accomplishment that we conquered the climb. They had a shuttle taking some cyclists to the top. I can imagine that climb being overwhelming for folks that haven't had enough time in the saddle this year!
After Table Mountain, it was mostly downhill or flat. We had a pretty good lunch around 2:00, and then put in some pretty good miles before reaching the last rest stop. We had already gone around 60 some miles at this point. The course had another 20 miles left on it, but we were pretty wiped out. We took Jones Avenue back towards Chico, and rode through several miles of fruit trees. The traffic was light, and there were few cyclists. It was a good cool-down to end the ride with.
There were all sorts of cyclists on the road today. Men, women, and children. There were mostly road bikes, but we saw a few mountain bikes, and even a couple single speeds! We didn't see any wrecks thankfully, but we saw about a hundred roadside flat repairs! I can't imagine what was causing the flats. I certainly didn't see any road hazards. Maybe it's a good rule of thumb to put some new tubes in before a big ride like this.
They had a decent looking buffet setup in a cafeteria-like setting back at the fairgrounds, but we were ready to head to the Sierra Nevada Brewery. We went back to the hotel for a bath...for some reason there wasn't enough water pressure for a shower...and then headed down for some beer and pizza. We both had a pint of the draft style pale ale, and then we shared a stout which also went very well with the brownie for dessert! It's nearly 9:00 P.M. and we are both ready for some sleep! Tomorrow we'll head back over Donner Pass for home. And a day off work!
The full set of this weekend's ride is HERE.