WILDCAT BOOGIE

A couple of my buddies have mentioned that a blog is boring if it doesn’t have some pictures. Well, this past week I didn’t get many photo opportunities so I’ll keep this one short for those friends of mine with shorter attention spans.

With the Wildcat 125 coming up last Sunday, my mid-week riding wasn’t very exciting.  A couple easy, mellow road rides are only notable thanks to a new friend I almost ran over on the Bear Creek Greenway.  Pretty sure it was a gopher snake, but I don’t know for sure.  It was a good 3 feet long though.  Big enough to stop and look at.  Not small enough to get any closer than necessary for a quick pic.

I also managed to sneak in a little bit of climbing in Jacksonville on Wednesday.  Just a quick run up Twin Peaks and Atsahu before blowing back down the hill and calling it a day.

A little circuit race spectating at the drag strip Thursday, an easy spin on Friday and I was ready to head to Chico for the Wildflower ride.

For the second year now, I decided I would ride the Wildcat 125 option.  It adds about 3000 feet and 30 miles to the original Wildflower course for a total of 7600 feet and 127 miles.
Last year was a miserable ride.  A steady rain for the first 4 hours.  But this year was much better.  My buddy, Alan, and I started out just after 6 am with temps in the low 50’s and the sun already up and promising a warm day.
After a short climb up pothole filled Humboldt Road, we were rewarded with a 40 mph descent back down to the valley before making our way over to Honey Run for the first big climb of the day.
With 4000 people doing one variation of the ride or another, there is always a bunch of people on bikes to navigate around.  Kinda cool, and definitely fun as we ended up weaving our way through about 300 riders on our way to the top.  
Alan did great on his first super-century, riding the entire 127 miles.
 

Besides the Wildflower giving you a reason to ride around the foothills of the Sierras, Chico Velo, the ride organizers, always feed the riders well with lots of well stocked rest stops and an awesome after ride meal.
 
Having downed some calories, it was back to the climbing.  From Paradise, we gained another 1900 feet over the next 17 miles on our way up to Stirling City and another welcome rest stop.  Last year, it was sleeting when I reached this point.  Much nicer this time around!
 
Another big descent back to the valley floor and it was into the wind for about 10 Miles to the Thermalito Forebay before heading into Oroville and up Table Mountain.
 
Table Mountain is kinda steep, but it really isn’t that bad.  The thing that makes it hard is you are climbing a thousand feet in about 5 miles and you’ve already ridden 80 miles before you start the climb.
Luckily, we hit the top before the temperature got into the 80’s.  After maybe the best descent on the whole ride it was nothing but 30-some-odd miles of fighting headwinds all the way back into Chico.
While not a race, the 2013 Wildflower was only the second century I had ever ridden and I keep going back to it.  This was my third year riding in the event and I feel like it was the most fun.  If you are looking for a first century to push your limits, this is one of the better ones to start with.
The ride was a great workout and with just a few weeks before my second double century in the California Triple Crown, I feel like I’m on track and ready for it.
Ride on!

Aaron

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