Training for 100K (60 miles) of cycling coming up in April (Steven in Indonesia, Sally in CA), we decided to test out our tolerance for such a long ride on the “3F ROUTE: Fast, Flat, Fun”. The route circles the base of the Sutter Buttes through the wetlands, sloughs and Sacramento River Delta. The only elevation change was riding up and over sloughs and levees. Really flat. We picked a perfect Spring day, our road bikes were in perfect condition, and we had on our diaper seated bike shorts for protection of our tender buttocks…our previous long rides were half that distance.


The Sutter Buttes are eroded lava domes arrayed in a circle, rising 2,122 ft. above the flat plains of the Sacramento River Valley. They are referred to as the world’s smallest mountain range. They are named for Captain John Sutter, who received them in a Mexican land grant. The lower reaches support grassland (and thus, livestock: lots of goats, sheep, and cattle) and oak woodland. For two years until decommissioned in 1965, 3 Titan I Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles were in place at the Buttes. Although the State of California purchased 1800 acres on the north side of the Buttes for a State Park, they have been unable to purchase an easement so there is no legal access to the area, and it remains unuseable (and protected) for the unforeseeable future.


The Native American Maidu and Patwin cultures are not in evidence other than a casino (with free parking and good security for RVs) near our ride start in Colusa, CA.  The local culture seems to be touting the, “Good Life on the Delta”, evidenced by the unique billboards noted above and below.


Local culture includes humorous (we hope), “No Trespassing” signs, including the one below that gives a two-for-one: violent death and burial services included. Such a deal!


Wonderful birding (Snow Geese, White Chested Geese and below, the Sandhill Cranes, we last saw stopping traffic in Homer, Alaska) due to multiple migrations in progress…


…almond (pronounced like “salmon” by the farmers) trees in full bloom surrounding the Buttes…


…and flooded wetlands filled with happy ducks.


Notice how we haven’t mentioned much about the ride itself? Owwwwwwww! Oooooooow! Eeeeeeeeeh! After one pleasant hour, four hours of torture ensued. How many ways can you change your posture on a bike to relieve the pressure on your pudendum? Not so many, it turns out. How many stops (to lay down in olive groves, almond orchards, and bridge abutments) does it take to finish a 100K? How much Ibuprofen effectively treats inflamed genitals, knees, shoulders, necks? I have to ask, “Just what is the point of a nice bike ride in such a pretty place when 4/5 of the ride is focused on pain management?” Maybe those recumbent bikers have figured out the answer…

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About Sally

A Studio Artist and painter trained at Stanford university, Sally has since then graduated from a long career as an Attorney with the Public Defender, and returned to painting. Living in Mexico with her son for a year, they adopted a feral dog, Lety. Sally's son left for college and their dog adopted her new best friend, Steven.


  1. Irene Thomas and Frank Howard

    yes, what IS the point? Go have a beer along with that ibuprofen and leave the biking to the foolish young! Irene


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