Day 56 – Ask Me How My Butt Feels – Portola to Chico, CA

Miles Biked – 120. Approx Total Miles Biked – 2815. Day until party in Seattle – 19.


Waking up in Portola before daylight we were faced with two choices.  We either had to bike 120 miles to Chico, where Sierra Nevada and a place to stay, do laundry, and take the day off awaited OR we wouldn’t make it all the way and would have to stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere.  It was one of those days that you just had to be in it to win it.  We packed up our stuff quickly and headed out to the local diner for a hearty breakfast to get us through the day.   It was tasty eggs and pancakes but we had to eat quickly and hit the road.

Our first stop of the day was 30 miles in at Quincy, the town we’d hope to make it to the night before.   We found a cute little coffee shop and sat down to second breakfast – slightly dreading the next 90 miles.  We’d been told that most of our ride would be downhill through a canyon straight to Chico but the first 30 definitely we not all downhill.  It took us about 2 ½ hours and at that rate we’d never make it before dark.

The one thing that was on our side was that the scenery was beautiful.  After over a week in the desert, we were still totally enamored with the green trees and winding hills.  It was so different from riding through Nevada and being able to see 20 miles ahead.

Leaving Quincy, we finally reached the Feather River Canyon, the long down hill we’d been promised.  It was about 50 miles following the water, some times along cliffs, sometimes over bridges, sometimes through long tunnels with no lights.  It was an amazing ride.  We averaged around 18 miles an hour, but only because we had a warm headwind blowing on us the whole way, otherwise we could have gone even faster but even then it was awesome.  We dropped most of the 5,000 feet that we’d be hovering at since we’d arrived in Colorado and all in one day.

Heading out of the canyon we had a 5 mile climb that we crawled out of with relative ease, considering how many miles we had on the bike for the day.  We got to the top of the last pass and that flew down into the valley, dropping the last 2,000 or so feet at around 40 miles an hour.  An amazing decent.  The last 15 or so miles into Chico was some rolling hills and then some flat bike paths through orchards.  It was just getting to sunset and there was a vicious headwind battling us up the valley but we had down the almost impossible and made it to Chico before sunset so we felt victorious.  We rolled into our home for the night just before the it got dark, where our hosts for the night, a beer distributor we’d met at CanFest and his wife (Larry and Karen) had bought us pizza and left us a note to make ourselves at home because they were out for the evening.  It was perfect!  We ate, had a few beers (since Larry had an amazing selection through his connections, and sat down to watch Empire Records on DVD.  As always, no matter what the day is like, it always ends perfectly.

Biking over the Sierra Nevadas

Biking over the Sierra Nevadas


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