The recent return of winter after a four-week hiatus has made training for the spring running, mountain biking and cycling season a bit more challenging. It’s been cold, it’s been wet, and snow lingers at surprisingly low elevation. And it sounds like there’s more on the way.
But, as I always say, there’s nothing that will spur motivation like the filing of an event entry form. Spring and fall are the big running and pedaling seasons in these parts, and spring events start the first weekend in March (even if the calendar and weather still say winter). So don’t slack off now. You need to get prepared for the upcoming good stuff:
• March 5: 41st NorCal John Frank Memorial 10-mile, 3-mile and kids’ 1-mile runs, Lake Redding Park, Redding. Many locals don’t care for the featured 10-miler, partly because it’s one more race on the Sacramento River bike path, but mostly because they get dusted by faster runners from out of town. The event is part of a U.S. Association of Track and Field’s Pacific regional series and it pays real money to top finishers. Naturally, it attracts super fast runners, even in the age groups. Still, the 10-miler last year had more than 300 participants, including locals, and the 3-miler drew another 200-plus. The 1-mile run for kindergarten through eighth-grade students is a big highlight that awards $1,300 in gift certificates to further school running programs. Details: www.sweatrc.com/sounds/NorCal_2011.pdf.
• March 5: 35th Bidwell Classic half marathon, relay and 5K, Bidwell Park, Chico. I’ve run this two-loop half marathon through the lower part of Chico’s big park more than any other race. The course is flat, fast, scenic and ideal for a personal record. Sign up by February 28 and you’ll still get the early registration discount. Details: www.chicorunningclub.org.
• March 5: Tar ’n Trail 6-mile run, Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon. This is a fairly low-key event, but there’s nothing subtle about the hilly course through and near Lithia Park and Hald-Strawberry Park. Details: www.roguevalleyrunners.com/images/TNT_app11.pdf.
• March 12: Shamrock 5-mile run and walk, Crater High School, Central Point, Oregon. Organizers have moved the course to the newly extended Bear Creek Greenway. Details: http://sorunners.org/PDFfiles/shamrock_run_2011.pdf.
• March 19: Redwood Wild River Run 15K and 5K, Jedediah Smith State Park, Smith River. This one is a bit far afield, but the event is rather legendary for being, well, far afield. Both courses are out-and-back affairs on gravel roads through the redwoods. Details: www.6rrc.com/RWRRregi2011.pdf.
• March 26: Dog Island 5K, Dog Island Park, Red Bluff. The flat course follows paved roads and dirt trails along the Sacramento River at Dog Island (AKA Samuel Ayer) Park, just north of downtown Red Bluff. Details: www.sweatrc.com/sounds/Dog_island_11.pdf.
• March 27: Tour of the Unknown Valley, Glenn County Fairgrounds, Orland. The 77-mile bike ride has a new course this year, but it still sticks primarily to country roads and highways in Glenn County west of Interstate 5. Not a lot of climbing, but the wind could provide plenty of challenge. Details: www.chicovelo.org.
• April 2: Run 4 the Wild 5-mile run, 2-mile run/walk and quarter-mile kids run. This annual fundraiser for Shasta Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation sends runners and walkers onto the roads and trails of Anderson River Park. Details: www.shastawildliferescue.com.
• April 3: Trail Less Traveled 1/4 marathon and 5K trail races, Lake Oroville. These runs incorporate a nice variety of fairly hilly trails at the state recreation area. Details: www.underthesunevents.org.
• April 9: Pear Blossom Run 10-mile and 5K, downtown Medford, Oregon. Now in its 35th year, the Pear Blossom bills itself as “Rogue Valley’s Number 1 Athletic Event.” About 3,000 people usually participate in this rite of spring. Details: www.pearblossomrun.com.
• April 9 and 10: Black Butte Triathlon Series, Black Butte Lake, Orland. The weekend offers four events in the form of Olympic and sprint distances with a road ride, and Olympic and sprint distances with a mountain biking component. Details: www.blackbuttetriathlon.com.
In a future column, I’ll go over events scheduled for the second half of April and early May. At this point, I’ll simply leave you with some important dates to keep in mind:
• Tehama Wildflower Trail Runs, April 23, Red Bluff.
• Lemurian mountain bike race, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, April 30.
• Jamboree Century ride, May 1, Redding.
• Wildflower Century ride, May 1, Chico.
Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and has given up trying to keep his feet dry. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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