Frequently Asked Questions
How will the drought affect the California 100 this year?
Why is the race 100 miles? Will there be a shorter race?
Why is the race entry $200? Is that per person, even for relays?
How do I train for 100 miles!?
What type of hazards are on the course?
Do I have to wear a life jacket?
Will there be other boat traffic on the river?
Can we stop?
How much food do I need?
How do I race through the night?
What if I can’t make the Friday check in and safety talk?
Where should I stay Saturday night and Sunday night?
Where do I leave a car on Friday?
Where do I leave a car at the race start?
How do I get back to my car at the start?
Is there on water support or a sweep boat?
Are there driving directions between checkpoints?
The Sacramento river is a primary supplier of water to the Central Valley and Southern California so as long as farmers are irrigating and Southern California needs water, the river will flow at a suitable level for paddling. The California 100 is timed at the peak flow for delivering water to Central Valley farmers each year. The chart here:www.dreamflows.com/ shows the spike in flow every year in May, June, and July. Every other river in the state can be dry, but the Sacramento will be flowing because of the agricultural and urban needs.
At flows as little as 3,500 cfs, the river is still very runnable and quick. Check realtime flows here: www.dreamflows.com
There are many paddle sport events throughout California, from 300 yard long slalom races to 5-20 mile events, and several events up to 25 miles, but there is no ultra marathon paddle anywhere on the West Coast. Rivers for Change decided to fill that gap. The California 100 is a unique experience that will push many paddlers to their limit and will be equally rewarding. Race entrants will enjoy a quality event that benefits the mission of Rivers for Change, which is to connect more people to their rivers, connect adventure to conservation and promote an understanding of rivers from source to sea.
It’s possible that in future years we will decide to add a shorter course to race concurrently with the Cal 100.
First and foremost, the Cal 100 is a fundraising event that supports the non profit organization Rivers for Change and allows RFC to continue it’s programing in public outreach and source to sea literacy.
The Cal 100 passes through four separate counties, multiple city jurisdictions , all requiring separate permits (with fees) at each place it touches ground- the start, finish, and three checkpoints, for a total of 5 locations. Each of these locations requires infrastructure, volunteer and paid staff, support, communication, transportation etc. Race fees also cover insurance costs.
The race is continuous and travels into the night. Our priority is everyone’s safety and enjoyment. Dozens of volunteers will be up around the clock to make sure everyone has a successful race. Even though our Cal 100 team is largely volunteer, it is a full time job to develop a race like this and there is a cost to supporting volunteers and racers.
For an event that spans 100 miles, 10-20 hours of paddling, includes three staffed checkpoints with water resupply etc, a race shirt, a brunch on Monday with free raffle for paddlers, silent auction AND supports an organization that is promoting river health and access for everyone, the entry fee will be well worth it!
Even though relays and teams make up only one boat, they add to the number of actual participants we need to plan race infrastructure for (ie- how many porto-potties, how much food, etc.), so we need to charge on a per person, not per boat basis.
We can help. Visit our Race Clinic page for more info on multiple training clinics leading up to the race.
There are many training strategies dependent on what your goals are. All of them include at least one longer paddle for beginners. This is a paddle of at least 5 to 6 hours after a training in the boat with shorter distances. It is very common for the 1 to 2 hour workouts several times a week to be the bread and butter with a few 3 to 4 hours ones tossed in on the weekend here and there.
California 100 Training clinics offer an awesome opportunity to explore water ways in your area and meet other paddlers in training. Mix up the longer weekend paddles and find some new places to explore with friends. Having fun with the training is key above all else.
The most hazardous thing you will encounter are semi-submerged trees or shrubs, the second biggest hazard is the cold water. Expect water temps to be in the high 40’s or low 50’s. Avoid any overhanging vegetation on the banks of the river and anything sticking out of the water. These branches can create a sieve that your boat may pass through, but you might not, or your boat may “wrap” around them and get pinned. It is the #1 most dangerous feature on the course. Knowing how to maneuver your boat around these hazards should keep you safe.
The sections of class II riffles may be intimidating to some folks used to paddling flat water. Check our Training Clinics page for info on a clinic designed to help with the small whitewater. If you can’t attend a training before the race, we suggest you seek out comparable rapids in your location and go with a group of experienced paddlers to practice maneuvering through them. Below is a photo of some of the turbulent water you will go through.
YES! It is required that you wear a Coast Guard type III approved inherently buoyant vest style life jacket throughout the entire race. (This means no inflatable life vests).
UNLESS, you are paddling a prone paddleboard. Prone paddlers have been granted an exception and may wear inflatable type III pfd’s.
This is a holiday weekend; expect to see a lot of boaters on the water. The density will be greater near the population centers and the launch ramps. It will be a mix of motorized boaters, paddlers and some fisherman. The river is not very good for wake boarding- so hopefully there won’t be much of that, but there could be some around Chico. The water will be cold so that may keep a lot of boaters off the water. If the snow pack doesn’t increase soon, the flows will be reduced, which can slow down motorized boat traffic.
Yes! To finish with a good time, you have to finish. For most people this means taking breaks. Take as many breaks as you need. It is common and you will see other people resting too. The Check points are a great opportunity for a rest. Simply floating in the current for 5 minutes here and there is another, but always pay attention that you are not drifting into a snag or tree!
Note- if you decide to drop out of the race you MUST notify a race official immediately or you may be charged for a search and rescue mission. Phone numbers will be provided in your race package.
It is critical to make sure you eat and drink through the duration of the race. For most, this is the single most critical make or break it factor. Make sure you have several food options for re-fueling either with you on your boat or meet your support friends at each check point. You will be surprised at what you end up craving and what you simply can no longer get down. Water will be available at the checkpoints. Some food will be available, but don’t rely on those snacks. If you have a support person, make sure they bring you a meal at the finish!
See the list of required lights under Race Rules.
We strongly recommend you have a bow light as your primary light and have a headlight for secondary use. If you rely on a headlight only you could have bugs and bats swarming your head. Glow sticks must be on at dusk and remain on at all times while on the water. Lights must be on at dusk as you exit and enter checkpoints or the finish. Be sure to have spare batteries and at least two lights.
Notify us immediately at cal100 [[at]] riversforchange [.] org
The check in and mandatory safety meeting is in Redding at the race start area. We recommend staying in Redding Saturday night. There are many hotels near the race start and nearby in Redding and we recommend:Towne Place Suites 2180 Larkspur Lane Redding, CA 96002 (530) 223-0690 www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/rddrd-towneplace-suites-redding/ Oxford Suites 1967 Hilltop Drive Redding, CA 96002 (531) 221-0100 www.oxfordsuitesredding.com/
For more information on the Redding area, go to www.visitredding.com.
There are a few RV sites near Redding, but the only tent camping location near Redding is about 30 minutes west at Whiskeytown Reservoir at the Oak Bottom marina Campground. This is a beautiful spot to camp if you are going to hang out Saturday and relax.
The race ends in Chico.
There is camping available next to Tehama County River Park at the Woodson Bridge State Recreation Area.
Be sure to join us on Facebook to get all the updated info!
- Cars may be left at the takeout, Bidwell – Sacramento River State Park, Pine Creek Access. If you are leaving a car at the finish you will need to park it at a designated location in the park. Please print out and leave a
- on your dashboard. Rivers for Change & The California 100 cannot be held responsible in the event of a loss or damage of property.
- We will direct you to a parking lot near the City Civic Center after you drop off your boat at the race start. You may park here overnight if needed. Again, this area is relatively safe, but we, nor the City of Redding will be held responsible in the event of a loss or damage of property. Please print out and leave a
- on your dashboard.
- The Cal 100 is not providing a shuttle. We encourage you to get on the
- and meet fellow paddlers to coordinate shuttles.
There will be on water safety vessels for emergency response only. There will be a safety sweep behind the last boat.
Yes, a PDF with driving directions is here: (to be updated…)