What a difference a year makes!  This past weekend was dedicated to the “Unofficial, Unsupported” Paskenta Race in Chico, CA.  Last year, despite my better judgement, I stayed the night before the race with a longtime friend.  Suffice it to say that was a big mistake.  I spent the whole race hungover, dehydrated, and fighting 20 mph winds by myself for 80 out of the 100 miles because I couldn’t stay with the big group.

My goal this year was to not do that.  I succeeded!!  This year, I stayed with the main peloton for the first 50 miles at which point a 5 mile stretch of nasty gravel, filled with washboard, began.  I decided to get off the bike for the first time in 2 – 1/2 hours and take a quick “restroom break”.  By that, I mean on the side of the road while a hundred people ride/drive past you. 

Done with that and having lost the peloton, I figured I would just fight the winds (not as bad this year) on my own and finish with a respectable sub – 5 hour century.  Didn’t happen.  Once out of the gravel, I was caught by a group of 3 riders in a paceline, which I happily joined as they passed.  Eventually, the paceline grew to 7 guys, hammering out the final 40 miles at about a 22 mph pace. 

As the finish line appeared, a feeling of euphoria set in with the realization that my poor legs could finally take a break.  They did.  With warm up time, race time, and riding back to the car time I finished with 105 miles in 4:54:38.  We were moving!!

3 hours of driving later I was sitting in my living room, eating pizza, drinking a hard cider, and watching 2 teams I don’t care about battle it out for football world supremacy.
This next week’s forecast calls for a lot of rain.  Good for the reservoirs.  Not good for my training.  We’ll see what I manage to do.  With 6 weeks before Joshua Tree, I need all the miles I can get right now!

-Aaron

Paskenta Weekend

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