Chico Stories and Tips

Wildflower Century Ride

Blazing Yellow Photo, Chico, California

The Wildflower Century Ride, sponsored by the Chico Velo Cycling Club, started in 1981. There are some people who have ridden every ride since then. The ride offers a full century (100 miles), with an elevation gain of 4300 ft. If you're not up to riding a full 100 miles in a day, there are other possibilities; the Mildflower (65 miles), the Flatflower (35 and 65 mile alternatives with no hills) and the Childflower (15 miles on bike paths, especially for families). More than 3000 riders participate in the ride.

The registration was very well-organized, and efficient with lots staff available, all with computerized participant lists. Unfortunately, the ride itself was not as well-run. The route markers were sometimes obscure, leading to at least one unfortunate person missing the turn for the 65-mile Mildflower and ending up on the route for the 100 milers. (They start together, then the 100-milers split off on a separate loop.) People were also confused about where the rest stops were. A route map was provided on a bandanna, which was a good idea because paper route maps become sweaty confetti in no time.

The start point for all is the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds. For the 100 and 65 milers, there is a long and somewhat steep climb up Honey Hill Road, which quickly separates those who can make the entire ride from those who should have stuck with the Flatflower. Full century riders then go through Paradise and Oroville before heading back to the fairgrounds for the finish. There weren't many actual wildflowers to be seen along the route, but it was still scenic and rural.

At the end of the ride there was a big pasta feed. They served meat and vegetarian lasagna, salad, bread and ice cream, with fruit juice and soft drinks. After a ride like that, food (of any quality) is the #1 priority. Well, maybe a shower is priority #1, and they had those at the campground area of the fairgrounds -- with plenty of hot water -- which was a great amenity!

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