Something about going home always leaves you warm inside. Of course, going home to a ranch near Redding, California in the middle of summer will most definitely leave you warm, actually quite hot. I would never want to admit it, but I think I have become slightly acclimated to the cooler temperaturees in the Bay Area.
It took me the first two days up north to reset and get back to my roots, learning to embrace the heat and love it. I had some training to log, and did some epic riding. Redding will give you one option—climbing. What better way to prepare for Cascade though? The first ride started in Millville and went up to Black Butte, then down to Darrah Springs Fish Hatchery, and back up to Shingletown, finished back up in Millville. The 20 minute threshold test went better then expected, as I told Charlie to note the 115 degree average temperature during the interval and not the low power. With that ride done, you can imagine I was looking for something a little cooler. On the fourth, we started in Millville and basically climbed for 4.5 hours straight up, in a meandering sort of way, to the summit of Mt. Lassen. We started at sea level, and ended at 8,950ft. By days end, we had 81 miles with 10,000ft of climbing. Started at 105 degrees, ended at 60 degrees and snow. Incredible. I am fortunate to have supportive family, a family that not only encourages me to follow my dreams, but even follows me on most of my bike rides. It is a team effort. From the sharp mountains in the distance, to the rollers on the fringe, to the flats in the valleys, Redding is a land of many opportunities—at least for a cyclist.
Home. Watermelon, corn on the cob, beef and garden vegetables. The only way it can get better if you can just stay there, and live in that warm moment. Let your feet soak in a pool for just a second longer, immerse yourself in the nostalgia, and take everything in and not forget one thing.
Leaving Redding, I still carry that little bit of warmth with me. A great long weekend spent with the people I love the most, including everything from riding, eating, sleeping, and lounging. The warmth could still be some remnants of that hot sun, blazing temperatures, or it could just be from the times shared.