More than 130 bike riders from across the state and beyond trekked the back roads of Colusa and Sutter counties on Oct. 8 as part of the 13th annual “Flat, Fast and Fun” Century Bike Ride hosted by the Colusa Lions Club.
The race offers three routes – a 100-mile century; a 100K metric century, which is 68 miles; or a 38-mile ride – that traverse through the towns of Meridian and Sutter, ride through the farmlands of the Sutter Bypass, cross the Tisdale Weir, ride along the scenic Sacramento River levee road and all the way around the Sutter Buttes for those attempting the 100-mile ride.
Dave McGrath, founder of the 3F Century Ride, said this year’s installment of the ride was a great event.
“It was a hot one, though,” said McGrath. “Lots of water and electrolytes were consumed.”
New this year, the Colusa Lions Club partnered with the city of Colusa to add a “Bikes, Brews and Beats” festival at Will S. Green Park in Colusa after the conclusion of the race.
Jim Pingrey, president of the Colusa Lions Club, said the club partnered with the city and added the festival in the hopes of integrating the community into the annual biking event while creating a better post-ride experience for race participants.
“Having more of our community present, they (the riders) will get to see what a small agriculture community is all about,” said Pingrey. “The bikers are always asking questions about what we grow, especially after the ride that takes them through our local farmland.”
In fact, Pingrey said his favorite part of the 3F Century Bike Ride is sharing stories with the riders and educating them about local agriculture.
“The post-ride atmosphere was great,” said Pingrey.
The festival included a “Bikes 4 Youth” booth where free bikes were available, two live bands, a children’s bike parade with a bike decorating station, food vendors and a beer garden with beer from Farmers Brewing in Princeton and The Colusa Taproom.
“Riders earned a free beer if they wanted one,” said McGrath.
McGrath and Pingrey said the added festival was a hit this year and both received positive feedback about the festival and century ride from both the riders and the local community.
“Lots of positive feedback about the rest stops, how well the course is marked, and the overall welcoming vibe of the ride,” said McGrath. “Many riders recuperated while eating a meal, having a beer and listening to the bands.”
This year, the ride’s primary sponsor was Granzella’s. Several other local businesses also sponsored the various rest areas along the three courses, including The Colusa Taproom, Farmers Brewing, JAR Farms, JRP Crop Consulting, TEP, CCFS, Reading Oil, Messick Ace Hardware, Wilsey and Woodring Insurance Services, Cortina Hulling & Shelling, and Morning Star.
McGrath said there were also several volunteers out at the rest stops to lend a helping hand, including Ryan Robison, superintendent and principal of Sutter Union High School, Dawn Carl, superintendent of the Winship-Robbins School District, The Colusa Cub Scouts, cheerleaders and football players from Colusa High School and McGrath’s sister Shannon and niece Loren Piner.
“The ride wouldn’t be possible without all the volunteers,” said McGrath.
According to Pingrey, the Lions Club has partnered with the city on other community events, including the annual Christmas Tyme in Colusa event, with great success so it is the hope of club members that this new partnership and festival will draw more riders to future century rides.
According to Pingrey, the 14th annual “Flat, Fast and Fun” Century Ride will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.
Each year, proceeds from the race are used by the Lions Club to continue funding youth activity programs in the Colusa Unified School District and other activities with the community of Colusa.
For more information, visit www.3fcentury.com/index.php.