Renowned Chico mountain bike race pushed to summer due to excessive snow melt
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A new date — July 20 — has been set for the 2019 Bidwell Bump, a favorite event in cross-country mountain bike racing circles. Just a week before its original date of April 20, the venue’s Big Chico Creek rose higher and colder as the snowpack in nearby mountains melted. It simply became too dangerous to navigate the creek, which forced Bump organizers to reschedule.
This isn’t the first time Bump officials have had to reschedule the popular event that has been taking place in Chico’s Bidwell Park since August 1976. The past few years have been tough due to wildfires, and last year the event was outright canceled because of the devastating Camp Fire. (That said, a group of die hards ran an underground Bump to keep the streak alive.) 2019’s plan was to move to April from late September/early October to trade places with Redding’s Lemurian Shasta Classic whose course suffered in the Carr Fire. The new date moves the Bump from Chico’s fire season and gives Whiskeytown time to heal before October 12.
Back in 1976 future MTB Hall of Fame inductee Chuck “BodfIsh” Elliot was living in Chico. Elliot was focused on living green — growing organic food, not using a car. To get locals enthusiastic about cycling and walking rather than driving, he organized a bike race in Bidwell Park. The park runs along Big Chico Creek for 12 miles, and covers 3,670 acres. The lower and middle parts of the park were full of trees, but the upper park, where the road becomes dirt, is a harsher environment with less trees and more rocks. Off-road cycling was unheard of in 1976, and the term mountain biking didn’t even exist. Although only nine riders competed that day, Elliot’s toast at La Salles restaurant after the event to “… do it again next year,” ignited the tradition.
Don’t ya wanna Bump?
The Bidwell Bump has grown in size and popularity, expecting over 200 racers this year. With Sport, Expert, Pro, Intermediate, Beginner, and Kid categories, there’s something for everyone.
Learn more and register at bikereg.com/41875.