Wildcat Fever

I think I may have figured something out last week.  Call it an epiphany.  I dunno.  Maybe call it what it is instead.  Check it out.  I’ve finally decided to listen to ALL the people that have said the same thing to me over the last few years: “you ride too much.  you need to rest your legs” and “you’re too serious.  you should ride for fun.”

Yes, you were all right.  This past week, I realized it’s time to give up quantity and go for quality.  My biggest problem with buying into that way of thinking was that the QUANTITY was bringing me the QUALITY I was looking for.  Right now, there’s no way I’m going to stop riding a lot of miles.  But, I AM going to stop riding AS MANY miles.  And, I’m going to ride with people I enjoy riding with.  I’m going to start riding because I want to, not because I think I have to reach a mileage for the year.

So, I began my epiphanous week, Tuesday,  with a group ride that started at Cycle A and hit up a few of the flats and a couple of the hills on the west side of the Valley.  There were sprints for fun, regroups for socializing, and hammerfests up the hills for some pain.  We squeezed a little of everything into just about 20 miles.  It was a fun bunch of peeps to boot!

1 Tuesday Night

Wednesday, I was back in Jacksonville for a little mtb action.  The Wednesday night shop rides have been drawing a consistently decent amount of people and this week was no different.  Between the climb up Twin Peaks….

2 Grizzly

3 Heather

….and a rip down Boulder and Ol’ Miner’s, the dirt fix for the week and been satisfied.

Focusing on quality over quantity, I managed to keep myself off a bike until Saturday morning rolled around.  That’s when Ruth and I found ourselves in Redding looking for a ride but having no idea where to begin.  I knew about the Sundial Bridge and had seen it from a distance, but had never been across it so that’s where we headed.

After battling some traffic and the Cool April Nights crowd having a shindig nearby, we found the bridge with little difficulty.

4 Sundial

We headed north from there along a sweet paved bike path that follows the Sacramento River all the way up to Keswick Dam.

5 Rail

 6 Bike Bridge

I’m not sure if it goes further.  We decided lunch was a better idea than going past the dam so we headed back for some tasty Mexican food!

7 Dammmmn

After mowing down some Chile Rellenos and Taquitos, we were off to meet up with a group from Southern Oregon that were in Chico for the Wildflower Century.  Chico Velo puts on an awesome event with lots of choices when it comes to routes.

We all decided to do the Wildcat 100.  It has a bit more climbing than the regular Wildflower route and is, by far in my opinion, much more scenic.

The first climb is up the moon-cratered Humboldt Road.  It couldn’t be more aptly named as it reminds me of almost every road I’ve ever ridden in Humboldt County.  It was on this first climb that I realized I had forgotten my phone, and hence, my camera back at the car.  Thanks, SO MUCH, to Ruth for the pics.  They’re all I have from Sunday.  They kinda make all of mine look bad…..anyway….

From there, it’s some easy rollers to the bottom of Honey Run.  Now, that’s a climb.  If you hammer up it, there’s a good chance you’ll wanna toss your cookies at the top.  Don’t ask me how I know.

8 Path

9 Honey Run

Climbs, flats, rollers, flats, WIND, rollers, and you’re at the last big climb of the day, Table Mountain.  Every year, the Table Mountain climb knocks my you-know-what in the dirt.  The day has usually warmed up by the time I reach it at right around the 80 mile mark of the ride.  Any headwind I had been riding in always seems to disappear on that cilmb as well.  It’s a great place to overheat!  This time, after Dave and Sheri left us on the climb, I had the pleasure of suffering the rest of the way up with Ruth.  She has a bum knee.  I have the ability to come up with excuses for myself.  It was the heat!!  I mean, 73 degrees is a scorcher!  But, I survived.

10 Dave and Sheri

Really, after that climb, all that’s left is an awesome, but way too short descent, 20 miles of demoralizing headwinds, and the promise of a good meal and possibly a beverage at the end of a long day.  I know it’s only Coors, but a man has to hydrate and after water, this is probably the closest thing around, right?

11 Panache

So, a solid week overall.  Still a decent quantity: 163 miles.  And, really, it’s impossible to argue the level of quality.  So many rides with so many cool people.  I think I can get used to this.

Aaron Mock

Local cyclist, crazy mofo, and good-natured masochist, Aaron Mock, is a Team Cycle Analysis rider with a penchant for taking the road less traveled. Sometimes, that isn't the best choice. Follow his weekly blog series for the latest on his never-ending escapades and exploits!

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