Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Don't kid yourself - this is a race...

THIS SUPERBOWL SUNDAY TRADITION has been a staple of the Chico Velo Century Series from the beginning. The "no support, on your own, we give you a map and a paceline" ride usually draws about two hundred riders when the weather looks favorable. Fifty or sixty will show up regardless of the conditions. How many actually finish the hundred miles is any body's guess.The route is essentially flat, with some rollers through the edge of the foothills after Paskenta through Black Butte Lake. There is a five mile stretch of gravel road that is very rideable. Most of the flat tires are experienced on this stretch by single bikes trying to stay on a tandem wheel. The gravel road begins few miles out of Paskenta where the century route turns left . If you miss this turn you begin the climb over Mendocino Pass, an impossibility at the end of January due to snow.The riders leave the One Mile Area of Bidwell Park at 8 AM, proceeding out the Esplanade, north to Hwy 99, takes a scenic and traffic avoiding turn onto Meridian Rd to Lassen Rd on the east side of Hwy 99. Lassen Rd crosses Hwy 99 and becomes Rowles Rd.If you miss the mass start you can hook up with the group by staying on Hwy 99 out of Chico (there is a good shoulder) direct to the Rowles Rd left turn off of Hwy 99, right on the Vina Rd to the stop at A-9, South Ave, turn left, cross the Sacramento River at Woodson Bridge. There are toilets at the park just before the bridge on the right. A nice place for a rest, something to eat if you've got it. If you need to buy food, continue on to Corning by turning right on Hall Rd. If you're doing the fifty miler, turn left on Hall Rd and follow the map back to Chico.Going into Corning, Hall Rd turns left and becomes the Corning Rd, through town, over the I-5 freeway bridge past the National Forest Ranger Station on the right where a group usually meets at 9 AM to ride a 50 mile loop to Paskenta and back. Continue to Flournoy where the store may or may not be open, so load up in Corning cause it's a long way to Orland and the next services. If you're riding the 75 mile route, turn left on the Black Butte Rd. 4 miles out of Corning.Paskenta used to be much more a destination. As of this writing (Nov-96) there are no services in Paskenta. The mill closed down, the Cafe burned (no insurance) and the store closed. The roads out of Paskenta into the coast range are steep but enjoyable later in the year. They are paved to the top of the first ridge.The century route heads toward Covelo/Mendocino Pass, but turns left onto the Newville Rd at the bottom of a short descent, so don't miss it. The gravel stretch follows, to Newville where a road heads south to Elk Creek. A short scenic diversion down this road (2 miles?) to Burrows Gap affords one a great view of the North end of The Unknown Valley. The century route continues to Black Butte Lake. The 50 milers who started in Corning turn left on the Black Butte Rd . The 75 milers who turned left out of Corning turn left and rejoin the century riders.Continue to Orland, over the I-5 freeway overpass to the stop at Hwy 99W. Turn right, then left at the signal and continue on Hwy 32 to Chico. The most direct route to One Mile Area is to stay on Hwy 32 into Chico, it becomes Nord Ave then Walnut St. Turn left on 5th St, continue through downtown, 5th St ends at Bidwell Park, enter the Park and cross the creek to the start area. You can hook up with some local riders to find low traffic alternatives.With SuperBowl kick off usually at 3:20 PM, you'll probably be back in time. If not, big deal eh?


Auffderbach said...

that's one of the most supported "non supported" rides (race) I've ever encountered.
Last year I drove sag and it was a friggin' zoo! 15 to 20 plus cars following, one pickup in particular handing off to anybody and everybody, one chick in a van trying to motorpace her boyfriend off the front, and more than once it almost came to blows by folks trying to jockey their cars into position.
A total blast that I'll have to miss this year.
Oh, yeah, the field of 50 or so riders blowing through the traffic lights in whatever little town about 20 miles before the finish got the old adrenaline pumping as well!
Good times I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

How can we get blown up photos of your viewer submitted pics?
My magnifying glass doesn't work too well on computer moniters!