Rice Valley 91 - Ride Report with Pictures
Four of us (2 singles and a tandem) met in lovely Gridley CA for a very flat 90 mile ride. The four of us are in training for AIDS/LifeCycle in June and felt we wanted distance with no hills. We got it.
The first 50 miles is really pretty uneventful, almost boring, if we weren't on bikes and getting to know each other (I had never met the tandemites). When I say flat, I mean not even a freeway overpass with which to contend. Most of the rice fields were flooded and rain was forecast, so we saw farm houses with (temporary) lake fronts and great clouds. There was a breeze, which of course, was in our face. This area can get VERY windy, so we felt lucky to have something not horrendous.
The route is a tortured figure 8. As we hit the second loop, the Sutter Buttes come into view. The Buttes are the worlds smallest mountain range. Here's a shot of my buddy heading toward the mountains.
This crop duster was doing amazing acrobatics and got much closer to us than this picture shows. I was riding my bike when I snapped this.
Our route took us by the outskirts of a number of little farm towns, never close to mini-marts or anywhere to get food. Fortunately, we were prepared for that, but I never take a ride with out getting a coke somewhere. Our rest were taken anywhere we could find a wide spot, albeit we did sit on some one's lawn once. There were cats, chickens and peacocks everywhere.
After leaving the little town of Sutter (mile 60) , we encounter the only terrain on the ride. A 2% grade over "the pass", followed by a much longer, gentle downgrade. Not surprisingly, the tandem enjoyed it. Rain continued to be on our minds, but the scenery was fantastic.
This next picture is the "back side" of the Buttes. This is a popular ride in North Central California but even though it was a Saturday, we saw only a couple of other riders.
At mile 76, we got our first tailwind -- for four miles. Then again at mile 85, a 7 mile tailwind to the end of the ride. We made it to our vehicles without the rain ever hitting us, although it seemed to be all around us. The captain of the stoker insisted we got no rain because he brought all his expensive Gore rainwear.
The day ended with a Mexican dinner and beers at Casa Lupe. I had an hour drive home, which is exactly how long my cigar lasted.
What a beautiful area and a great ride. Thanks for sharing.
We did the Rice Valley Tandem Rally century in February. Sounds like almost the same course with a few miles added on. If we were to do this again I'd skip the sodden rice paddies on the northern loop and just do 100K. Sutter Buttes was kind of cool, but after you've ridden 40 boring miles and your stoker's a$$ is hurting the splendor of an extinct volcano looses its luster.
Nice ride + report, Mojo. After this weekend's ride, I could use 80 or 90 miles of flat and light breezes.
Well done on the training, and good luck on the forthcoming ride.
Looked to be a beautiful time to be out that way. I be the winds could be a real challenge-glad you caught it on a reasonable day.
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