One of the things I love about the Redding area is the fact that runners, cyclists and other outdoor athletes train and compete all year long. The calendar always contains local events, formal and informal training groups continue to gather, and people keep cranking out the miles.
It’s not that our weather is terribly accommodating – not with four or five months a year of bone-chilling rain, snow and general dampness, and another four or five months of blazing heat. Plenty of areas with weather better than ours have definite off seasons for running, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and similar endeavors. But not here.
I was reminded of this on a recent sunny yet chilly Sunday. While making the short drive to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area for a trail run, I passed lone cyclists three times on either Swasey Drive or Highway 299. All three were bundled up as they pedaled, but you can get only so comfortable when you’re generating 15 to 20 mph of wind on a 40-degree day. No doubt, some motorists thought these bike riders where nuts. I found them inspiring.
What did I find when I got to Whiskeytown? A parking lot full of cars and trucks with empty bike racks. Never mind that snow and ice were lingering nearly to lake level. Everybody had already hit the trail.
• December 11: Run for the Needy, Red Bluff. The 10K and 5K runs and 1-mile fun run/walk benefit the local Salvation Army. All three courses start and end near the Red Bluff diversion dam on the Sacramento River. Entry form: Run for the Needy.pdf.
• December 12, January 9 and 16: Ride on Race Series, Redding and Red Bluff. The cyclocross series that began in October has three races remaining. Each event offers races of 60-, 45- and 30-minutes on 1- to 2-mile loop courses. Expect muddy conditions, obstacles and at least one short hike-a-bike section per loop. Details: Ride on Race series.
• January 8, 22 and 29, February 5, 12, 19 and 26: Frosty Fun Runs series in and near Redding. This is the wintertime cousin of the popular Sunset Through the Trees series and uses some of the same courses, but the Frosty races mostly stay on the pavement. Each week, you have a choice of a short course of 3K (1.8 miles) to 2.5 miles, or a longer race of 6K to 5 miles. The races cost only $2 each, and runners in the longer events compete for an overall points championship. Details: www.midniteracing.net/Frosty.html.
• January 15: Frost or Fog 5K and 1/4 Marathon, Chico. These races use mild trails and roads in Upper Bidwell Park. A quarter marathon, by the way, is about 6.5 miles. Details: www.underthesunevents.org/frostorfog.htm.
• January 16: Redding Marathon, relay and 5K. As it has the last few years, the point-to-point course travels from the Shasta Dam overlook on Highway 151 to the Sundial Bridge by way of the rail trail along Keswick Reservoir and the Sacramento River bike path. If you didn’t start training for the 26.2-mile race a couple months ago, it’s probably too late. But the three-person marathon relay with legs of 11, 8.2 and 7 miles, respectively, is an excellent option. Details: www.sweatrc.com/Redding_Marathon/index.html.
• January 29: Trinidad to Clam Beach Run, Trinidad. This one is a little out of the way, but the classic 8 3/4-mile course is legendary, especially the crossing of Little River and the finish on a sandy beach. There are shorter races, as well. Details: www.trinidadtoclambeach.com.
• February 13: Rice Valley Tandem Rally (The Love Ride), Gridley. You may pedal a single-seat or two-seater for this relatively low-key century bike ride in the Sacramento Valley, which has 34-mile and 40-mile options. Details: www.chicovelo.org.
• March 5: NorCal John Frank Memorial, Redding. The 10-mile run on the Sacramento River bike path always draws elite athletes from the Bay Area and Sacramento. There is also a 3-mile race and a 1-mile kids run. The 10-miler serves as the final race in the Frosty Fun Run series. Details: www.sweatrc.com/NorCal/index.html.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and co-author of Guide to California Planning, a reference book and college text. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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