Wednesday, May 6, 2009

60 miles, 7 hours and 5 rest stops……the Chico Wildflower….

I haven’t been writing much lately….it seems like work and life have just gotten crazy busy lately and I don’t have time for much of anything….last weekend probably would have been a good day, but I decided a nap with my grandson was a much better way to spend Sunday afternoon.

A couple of weeks ago now, my brother, my sister, my brother in law and I did the Chico Wildflower. Actually we did the Flat Flower which is the 60 mile/no hill version of the Wildflower.

This is a pretty special ride in that the Chico Wildflower was the first time in my life I had ever ridden 100 miles. That year, my sister and her friend actually came down from Tahoe and did a portion of the ride with me. It was a total blast!

So, last year, after talking to my brother about how much fun Maureen and I had, we convinced him to join us on the Flat Flower. Evidently the bad decision gene runs in our family, because Bob agreed and not only did he agree, he thought it would be even more fun to go out and do it with absolutely no training. And he made it

This year, Bob actually called me a couple times over the winter to make sure we were doing the ride again.
The crazy part is that since he was able to finish the first year with only a moderate amount of discomfort, he’s decided that not training and just suffering through, is the best way to deal with this once a year ride.

So, on Saturday afternoon, I picked up Bob in Fairfield and we headed out for Chico. (figured if I picked him up, there was no way he could bail at the last minute) We got into town that afternoon and hooked up with Maureen and Craig.

Downtown Chico is a cool little town with some nice bars and restaurants and tons of people out walking around town. We immediately found a cool little bar with outside seating that had Sierra Nevada on tap for $1.50 and proceeded to get the carbo-loading underway….afterall, we are riding tomorrow, we should stock up ahead of time.

After a few beers it dawned on me that we should probably eat something. Afterall, breakfast was early that morning and too many Sierra’s on an empty stomach is never a good idea. So, we made a loop through town trying to find something to fill our bellies…and we hit the motherload….the Madison Bear Garden.

This place is really cool. The décor is crazy with the most eclectic crap hanging from every wall and the ceiling….granted, this being a college bar in a college town, we were probably some of the oldest people in the place, but it was still fun and the Sierra kept flowing.

I had The Great Bacon Burger – yes, that’s the name and why it’s capitalized. It was fantastic. Maureen kept raving about how amazing the Turkey Burger was, but to be honest, I don’t think any of us really believed her….turkey burger? Seriously????

Well, after dinner we found the truck and following Craig I was able to find the hotel where we finished off the evening with a Corona and were dead to the world by 9:00pm….yep, definitely getting old

Now, I don’t normally drink very much. Two beers on a Friday night with my pizza is a pretty typical weekend….so, several pitchers of Sierra and a Corona as a nitecap left me feeling a little um…..fuzzy... on Sunday morning. And, when our neighbors at the Motel 6 decided to get up early (5:00am) and wake the whole floor…well I was less than happy.

So, a nice hot shower and Bob and I went in search of coffee….and greasy bacon. Luckily for us Denny’s is right across the street. A few cups of coffee, a waffle and some nice greasy bacon and I was almost feeling human again.

Turns out Craig wasn’t going to be able to do the whole ride with us as he had their dog in the truck and didn’t want to leave him there all day. So, he and I rode together for the first section and it was great. I haven’t sat and chatted with Craig in years and I really enjoyed the time we were able to spend together.

After parting ways with Craig, Bob, Maureen and I proceeded on the route. As I’ve stated, the route is completely and totally flat, but the scenery is really quite pretty.
For the first part of the ride you’re riding among orchards and ranches. It then changes to rice fields…..miles and miles of rice fields, before switching back to orchards, then some lowland river areas before finally heading back into town. We took our time, discussed everything from our kids, to the politics of the world. It was really nice to be able to talk ands spend time together.

The Chico Wildflower is actually known for being a very well supported ride and this year didn’t disappoint. Over 60 miles there were 5 rest stops. All with fresh fruit, snacks, trail mix, and some of the best raspberry and apricot bars I’ve ever had in my life!

At the end of the ride we hooked up again with Craig who had loaded up the truck and trailer, they actually picked up a couple cords of wood this weekend as well, and had a beer in the parking lot before saying good bye to Maureen and Craig.

Bob and I went in, where we had a delicious tri-tip lunch and reluctantly got on the road for home. Once again, Bob did fine this year, further reinforcing his training theory of ride once, suffer once.

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