Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 35
  1. #1
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    The Wildflower Century and the Meaning of Life



    What's the point of an organized 100 mile ride? Why would I ever fork over my hard-earned money to join 4,000 other mostly lycra-clad cyclists, when I usually like to ride alone?

    Why did I pay to suffer – not too much – up steep, long climbs, in the unshaded heat of the mid-day sun? And why did I drive 480 miles to suffer on the Chico (California) Wildflower Century?

    One answer: Tradition! This was my tenth go at the Wildflower, and there is something to be said for repeating the rituals of a ride that takes a commitment of time and physical effort to make. Especially at my age, now that I'm a card-carrying senior citizen.

    The other answer? Riding a century, for me, is a good way to connect, on a deep level, with other people and the world around me. It's a chance to ride and see old friends (a long time ago I lived in the town of Chico for a few years), to make new acquaintances, and to test myself against gravity and – this year – heat. It's a time to forget about aches and pains that come with the aging body.

    It's a time to plug into something greater than myself, even as I am a part - a very small part - of that greater something. While I'm nominally an atheist, there is something biblically rhythmic – no matter what the religion – in a long ride's beginnings and endings, in the sense of renewal (symbolized both by my ability to make the same journey yet again, despite my age, and by the returning wildflowers), and in the communion of the road.

    That's why I'll shell out money to share the road with thousands of other cyclists, as we ride through an ever-changing and mostly natural and beautiful landscape.

    The ride from Los Angeles to Chico is long, and, especially in the northern half of the state, scenic. I made the trip with my brother, Dan, and my good friend, Rick. We stayed with friends from my days at Chico State, who still live in town.



    Arriving in Chico, we parked at the Silver Dollar Fairground for registration. It's a good time to check out some of the bikes.




    With temperatures predicted to reach into the 90s, we were up well before dawn, eating breakfast and putting on sunblock.



    After riding a few miles through the pleasant, tree-lined streets of Chico, we began the first climb of the day, up the oft-patched, always uneven pavement of Humboldt Road.



    While the ride up Humboldt is long, it's not steep. It's followed by a super-fast descent back into the Sacramento Valley via Highway 32, which is both steep and straight-as-an-arrow.



    We rode beneath one of the two Steve Harrison Memorial Arches, dedicated to a local bike activist and vice president of the local Sierra Nevada brewing company (I'm a huge fan of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale).



    Another six easy miles took us through Butte Canyon, where miners dredged for riches during the state's famous Gold Rush in the mid 1800's, and to the wonderful Honey Run Road Covered Bridge, spanning Butte Creek. I recall kissing my girlfriend, Nancy, one dark winter night under the roof of the bridge. We walked out onto the span, the sound of our footfalls echoing beneath the roof, the waters of the creek burbling below. And when we kissed, the night went suddenly silent.



    Past the bridge, the road narrows like a coronary artery clogged with plaque. The angle of the pavement shoots up, too; so does my heart rate.



    From the bridge, it's four twisting, uphill miles until the road mercifully tops off in the town of Paradise. Along the way, there are occasional views across the canyon to layers of lava that flowed from a monster Cascade Range volcano eons ago.

    I wonder each year if I still have what it takes to climb roads like Honey Run with any vigor. Although most of the faster riders left earlier than we did, my brother and I managed to pass, without trying to race, at least a couple hundred cyclists on the way to Paradise. That's what lots of miles and thousands of feet of climbing up the steepest streets in Los Angeles did for me.



    My friend, Rich, reaches the heights of Paradise on his old Serrota Atlanta, which drew many admiring glances. From there, it was a few rollers to reach the first rest stop.

    ~ I'll add a few more photos, including those of the crux of the ride, up Table Mountain, further down this post. ~
    Last edited by icyclist; 05-05-13 at 02:18 AM.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  2. #2
    Member C0500's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    25
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I rode the wildflower/Wildcat this year. It's my third trip to Chico for this ride and it is really a good one. This year was a bonus with light winds for the last 30 miles in the valley. I highly recommend this ride.

    Tom
    Central Oregon 500
    mbsef.org

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
    My Bikes
    Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
    Posts
    19,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sun-Scenery and a few slopes.

    What's not to like. By the look of things only the state of the road in that 4th picture.

    Insert "Green Envy Emoticon" here.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  4. #4
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Sun-Scenery and a few slopes.

    What's not to like. By the look of things only the state of the road in that 4th picture.

    Insert "Green Envy Emoticon" here.
    It's fairly cool where you are, isn't it? Around 10 C for the high for your day? It was about 29 C in Los Angeles, today.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  5. #5
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)



    The first rest stop included fruit and pastries and water and energy replacement drinks.





    We left Paradise via a series of short uphills and some fast descents, and then a miles-long, 40 mph run past the massive Oroville reservoir. Above, my brother, Dan. He looks likes he could ride the Tour de France - he's 61.





    We dropped out of the pine forest and into the oaks and orchards and pastures of flatter lands.



    After another rest stop, Table Mountain loomed above us.



    Se began the long, hot climb up Cherokee Road, the major climb of the day. The road was steep in places, and mostly exposed to the heat of sun.



    Muscle, bone, blood, breath - bit by by, pedal stroke by pedal stroke, I made my way toward the top of Table Mountain, a vast plateau. Some cyclists pedaled faster than others, some were forced to stop and rest or even walk.





    "...when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning” - Hesoid, ancient Greek poet. Above: the eagerly anticipated rest stop at the end of the climb up Table Mountain.





    We returned to Chico and the fairgrounds, partook of the finishers' dinner, and then, as the day had cooled, we pedaled a few extra miles through Bidwell Park, the town's civic pride and joy.



    It was time to say goodbye to my friends and to my college town, to Table Mountain and the Sacramento Valley, to the Covered Bridge and Paradise. While it was time to break the physical connections I'd made long ago, I have my memories, and I plan to reconnect in person, on the next Wildflower Century.
    Last edited by icyclist; 05-06-13 at 01:05 AM.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
    My Bikes
    Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
    Posts
    19,915
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
    It's fairly cool where you are, isn't it? Around 10 C for the high for your day? It was about 29 C in Los Angeles, today.
    Warming up a bit but the problem is the cooling wind that can make it cold. Today is forecast to get into the 60---make that high 60's for a spell- so it is warming nicely. My problem in 90f would be that we are not used to it but it would be nice to experience how you suffer in the heat.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  7. #7
    Senior Member northbend's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    North Bend, Washington State
    My Bikes
    Bruce Gordon (Vintage); Merckx MX Leader (Campy 10); Schwinn Paramount (Fixed gear); Fat City Yo Eddy (MTB), Alex Singer (allrounder)
    Posts
    1,137
    Mentioned
    11 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the great ride report and really nice photos. I rode Wildflower about 5 years ago. Beautiful route and such a departure from the cool wet pacific northwest springtime weather I am used to.

  8. #8
    Beicwyr Hapus Gerryattrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    In Penury
    My Bikes
    2 rideable, 5. in pieces
    Posts
    663
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Looks like a great day out.

    Well done on doing it on an old-school mtb as against what looks like the vast majority on road bikes.

  9. #9
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Loovul
    My Bikes
    Bacchetta Giro ATT 26; Lemond Buenos Aires
    Posts
    6,291
    Mentioned
    15 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Most excellent!

    Did you GPS this? I'd love to see the route.

  10. #10
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Pensacola, Florida
    My Bikes
    CAAD 10 4
    Posts
    6,951
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    That is an excellent ride report and some neat pictures, I enjoyed this thread, you did an excellent job of giving us your feelings on the ride. How are you doing now? I seem to remember you had a hard get off a few months back, hope everything healed up well.

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

    Community Guidelines, the FAQ is off line right now:http://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html Read this sometime, it can answer a lot of gripes and save you from some assumptions.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    6,427
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Great photos, and I love the Memorial Arch.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  12. #12
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Basking in the Sun.
    Posts
    4,146
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Very nice photos. It was a bit warm for the ride!
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  13. #13
    Senior Member climberguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    central ohio
    My Bikes
    better than I deserve
    Posts
    266
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Very nice ride report--well written--and lovely photographs. Thanks for sharing your experience and your feelings.
    And I did it all clean.

  14. #14
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    SoCal
    My Bikes
    2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 2001 Fasback Comp; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport
    Posts
    2,582
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Another six easy miles took us through Butte Canyon, where miners dredged for riches during the state's famous Gold Rush in the mid 1800's, and to the wonderful Honey Run Road Covered Bridge, spanning Butte Creek. I recall kissing my girlfriend, Nancy, one dark winter night under the roof of the bridge. We walked out onto the span, the sound of our footfalls echoing beneath the roof, the waters of the creek burbling below. And when we kissed, the night went suddenly silent.
    ^ That is great prose, sir. In fact, the entire write up is great!

    I've done the SLO Wildflower, but not the one in Chico. After seeing/reading that, the Chico wildflower is on my list.

    Quote Originally Posted by icyclist View Post

    We left Paradise via a series of short uphills and some fast descents, and then a miles-long, 40 mph run past the massive Oroville reservoir.



    Not to be a creeper or anything, but she is beautiful! Kinda epitomizes a ride on a warm summer day.
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
    www.photo395.com

  15. #15
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    SoCal
    My Bikes
    2008 Scott CR1 Pro; 2006 Schwinn Fastback Pro and 2001 Fasback Comp; 2003 Univega Alpina 700; 2000 Schwinn Super Sport
    Posts
    2,582
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hey ... wait a minute. Other than the obvious answer (42), what's the meaning of life?
    Proud parent of a happy inner child ...
    www.photo395.com

  16. #16
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Whittier, CA
    My Bikes
    GT Edge Titanium, Mercian Vincitore, Masi Gran Criterium, GT Zaskar, Hercules 3-Speed, KHS Flight Team
    Posts
    5,318
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Biker395 View Post
    Hey ... wait a minute. Other than the obvious answer (42), what's the meaning of life?
    42 is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything!

    Rick / OCRR

  17. #17
    Senior Member Rwc5830's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Harlingen, TX Warmshowers Host
    My Bikes
    Fuji, Specialized, Surly, BMC
    Posts
    435
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    icyclist, really enjoyed the pictures and the prose. Thanks for posting, made my morning
    Cycling is an addiction that is worth having; let's go!! South TX Randos www.rgvrandos.org

  18. #18
    Erect member since 1953 cccorlew's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Antioch, CA (SF Bay Area)
    My Bikes
    Roubaix Expert, Motobecane Fantom Outlaw turned commuter, Cannondale F500 Mtn bike, Some old French thing gone fixie
    Posts
    6,563
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for this. Nice photos!
    WANTED: Not a darn thing. I've got it all. Life is good.
    Website at curtis.corlew.com —— Bicycle blog at ccorlew.blogspot.com

  19. #19
    Senior Member volosong's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Antelope Valley, SoCal
    Posts
    2,507
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
    Typical for California! Re-pave the car lanes, but leave the shoulder where bicycles ride unpaved and rough.

    I really enjoyed your travelogue and photographs. You're quite the romantic.
    Deut 6:5

    ---

    "Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is 'never get involved in a land war in Asia'".
    - Vizzini during his "battle of wits" with the Man in Black

  20. #20
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerryattrick View Post
    Looks like a great day out.

    Well done on doing it on an old-school mtb as against what looks like the vast majority on road bikes.
    I'll pass your compliment onto my brother - he was on the mt. bike (although I've made that ride on my own mt. bike, too). He looks better than me in photos, anyway.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  21. #21
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Most excellent!

    Did you GPS this? I'd love to see the route.
    Here's the original route that I usually follow: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2051745

    The organizers this year offered several other routes: http://www.chicovelo.org/main/century-series
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  22. #22
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    California, USA
    My Bikes
    1961 Follis Road Bike, 1992 Specialized Allez, 2008 Specialized Roubix
    Posts
    2,373
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    That is an excellent ride report and some neat pictures, I enjoyed this thread, you did an excellent job of giving us your feelings on the ride. How are you doing now? I seem to remember you had a hard get off a few months back, hope everything healed up well.

    Bill
    Hi, Bill,

    I'm good. I did an impressive flip over the handlebars in November - broken wrist and collarbone. Both have healed as well as they can, at least good enough to let me ride my bike and post on BF.
    This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.

    Icyclist, the blog considered too areodite for bikeforums

  23. #23
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Btw the Mohave desert and AREA 51
    My Bikes
    Scott Spark 20, Orbea Orca
    Posts
    5,210
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Sweet report and pictures! I appreciate your thought that there are "no athiests on group rides." The outdoors, community, common effort and feeling more alive are great spiritual events.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  24. #24
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Omaha, NE
    My Bikes
    1990 Schwinn Crosscut, 5 Lemonds
    Posts
    3,761
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for a great post. Any idea how much climbing there was?

    There is a time to resign oneself
    to old age and infirmity. You first.
    My Cycling Blogspot

  25. #25
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Btw the Mohave desert and AREA 51
    My Bikes
    Scott Spark 20, Orbea Orca
    Posts
    5,210
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You face kinda looks like "Clay" (Ron Perlman) from Sons of Anarchy!

    cast-Perlman.jpg
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •