It's raining, I'm a pretty hungover and the wind is picking up.....I paid money to do this???
It's Sunday morning and I'm with my brother, brother in law and sister in Chico for our annual bike ride. We've done this almost every year now for several years and it's always a fun weekend.
The weekend traditionally starts on Saturday with dinner and beers at one of Chico's many good restaurants. This time we started at the Beach Hut Deli enjoying a few of the local brews during happy hour. From there we moved to Woodstock's Pizza where the pizza was amazing but was only a detour, barely slowing the ingestion of the fermented hops and barley. Note - Sierra's Torpedo Extra IPA is one of my current favorites.
We always end the evening staying up late and catching up on each other's lives, kids, etc and this year was no exception as we moved to a little restaurant near our motel for pie....thankfully beer doesn't go well with pie or I would have felt even worse.
Sunday morning, we were a little slow rolling out, but eventually Bob and I wandered around the corner to the local mini-mart for a jug of coffee and a pastry....it was when the pastry hit bottom that I knew it was going to be a rough morning....it almost came back, but thankfully didn't. That and the headache led me to believe I might not actually survive the upcoming ride...
Eventually, we made it to the start area and well after most of the metric century riders but right in the midst of the family fun ride group so the first few miles were slow and easy as we cruised along the bike path dodging families and kids like a real life game of Frogger (you youngsters will just have to look that one up)
As we got to the first rest stop at mile 12 or something, I was ready to try food again and after a couple of tylenol was almost feeling human....until the rain started...
Thankfully the rain was just a drizzle and didn't last long and soon after we made a left and headed south it came to an end....but of course, having forsaken my vow of sobriety, my penance continued as a the next several miles would be directly into a headwind....yay, I love this biking crap!
Leaving the first rest stop we could tell we had missed the mass start for people doing the metric century and for the next couple of hours actually didn't see anyone else. It was really pretty nice riding the farm roads surrounding Chico with no car traffic and no other bikes or people to be seen.
Maureen and Craig turned off at about mile 15 since they still had to make it back to the start area, go get a load of firewood and then drive all the way back to Tahoe. Something they didn't want to do in the dark, in crummy weather, with a trailer full of firewood.
As Bob and I continued on, the headwind became either a tailwind or at worst a crosswind. This, combined with the fact that the sun came out (and my headache going away) actually made the second half of the ride really pleasant. Our pace didn't improve much since we were talking and had planned on making today a nice, easy ride, but my attitude improved dramatically and I was really thankful to be able to spend time on my bike and with my family....what could possibly be better than that?
As we cruised, the open farm lands and rice paddies turned into orchards and vineyards and just past the half way mark we merged with the riders that had done the full century so we had more and more people surrounding us as we rolled back into town.
The Wildflower is probably one of the best supported rides I've done and the post-ride meal didn't disappoint. Tri-tip and chicken, pasta, veggies and a delicious salad combined to make me one tired, fat and happy, no longer hungover survivor of another year's celebration of family and biking.