A couple of weeks ago, I was in Chico, CA to run my first ever trail race and attend one of my favorite NorCal events, the Sierra Oro Passport Weekend. Though I could write a ton about the weekend, I’ll spare ya and keep it fairly brief. Photos are worth a 1,000 words anyway, right?
Passport Weekend is a great ag-tourism event in Butte County. Ag-producers from all over the county open their doors for tastings and tours of their facilities. Producers include everything from wineries to citrus orchards to olive oil producers. It’s a great opportunity to sample and purchase locally made products that aren’t widely available outside of Butte County.
After a quick coffeneur on Saturday morning, I met up with my parents. Having grown up in wine country, my family is big into wine. Appropriately, we planned to visit the majority of the wineries that were participating in the Passport Weekend. After a bit of discussion, we headed south to the Oroville area. We managed to visit six wineries and an olive oil producer on Saturday alone!
After getting back to my parent’s home on Saturday night, I was a little worried that drinking wine all day before a quarter-marathon trail race was going to turn out to be a bad, bad idea. When I woke up the next morning, though, I was relieved that I felt great! I was rested and ready to set-off on my first ever trail race.
I only recently started trail-running, and honestly, I knew that the length of this race was going to be a challenge! Running on smooth, flat, paved roads is so SO different (and much less tiring) than running on rocky single track trails. I knew that even though I had run longer distances in road races, it was going to be a lot tougher on the trail. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this race as my first trail-running race experience, but because it’s part of the Chico Running Club’s series, I *had* to complete it. I really want the jacket that comes with completing the 4-run series!
As I lined up at the start, my nervousness grew and I started to worry that I wasn’t going to do well. I told myself that my goal really was to just finish. Before I had another chance to question myself, the horn blew and we were off!
The race began in Hooker Oak Park and wound its way through Upper Bidwell Park along the middle trail. This trail is incredibly rocky and I definitely had to keep my eyes on the ground for fear that I would tumble over one of the large rocks littering the trail. Around mile 2, the sun was starting to beat down. The majority of the Middle Trail is exposed and even though it was October, the day was getting hot! Thankfully, I knew that the route would soon hook us onto the Yahi Trail, a lovely creekside trail with plenty of lush tree cover to provide shade! Halfway through the run, I could feel myself getting tired (probably due to all that wine the day before!) and my pace began to slow down. I pushed on, but by the time the route made it back to the Middle Trail for the final 2 miles of the race, my legs started to feel like lead. I kept on but with about 1.5 miles to go I had to walk for a bit. As I walked back toward Hooker Oak Park, I reached deep and found the motivation and strength to continue running, and as I neared the finish, the cheers and support of other runners, spectators, and my parents kept me going until I crossed the finish line. Definitely a great experience for a first-ever trail run. It was tough but I kept going. By the time I crossed the finish, I felt amazing and incredibly proud of myself! I definitely have the trail running bug now and I’m looking forward to completing a couple of more trail races before the end of the year.
After the race, I headed back out to partake in some more ag-tourism with my parents. We visited several wineries, a nut producer, and even a sun-dried tomato producer. Yum! Unfortunately my phone froze up early on in the day and I missed getting photos at the 5 other stops we visited on Sunday 😦
All in all, it was a great time spent with my family doing the things that make me happy. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend. Plus, it’s always great to come home with a bunch of new, fun foodstuffs for the pantry.