Looking for a spirited ride? Training for a race? Raced in the past and want to use those bike handling skills you worked so hard on? This is your group.
One unique feature of our group is the number of accomplished racers we have on any given day. World champs, a few national and lots of state champions in various disciplines are regulars on these rides. We also have a high number of ultra-distance racers here. The RAAM 4-man relay record has belonged to Bakersfield between one of two teams for over a decade.
During the week riders are up against schedules, thus many rides may find you fixing your own flat and riding home alone. These weekday rides roll out easy then the fun begins! These rides have start times in the morning during the hot summer months, both to beat the heat and because there is light. And 12:20pm start times during the fall and winter.
To be clear, these are fast rides for strong riders. These riders need to ride hard and fast to get their workout and these are the rides for that. Due to the speed and nature of these rides and their inherent danger, a rider lacking bike-handling skills may be approached and told of his deficits. This is born of self-preservation rather than a we-are-better-than-you attitude. These rides are done at close quarters and unless you are one of the truly strong, you’ll need to pace line to keep up. It is not uncommon to have 20-30 riders riding 20-30mph elbow to elbow. If you need help….ASK! There will be someone happy to help folks interested in bettering themselves.
A good rule of thumb for any ride, but especially these, is to talk to folks as the ride is forming up, let them know if you are new, if you have questions, or if you need help with bike handling etc. Each route has regroup points, ask and find out where these are and how long folks will wait. If you don’t ask, the group will assume you know what you’re doing. This is where most fast groups get the reputation for being elitist snobs, they figure someone riding with them knows the route, the etiquette and has the bike handling skills. If you get dropped and didn’t talk to anyone, the group will think you chose to ride a different route or that you wanted to ride home alone. Speak up, make sure someone knows you may have trouble up a hill or down a hill and that you plan on doing the whole route, as with most things communication is king.
From the groups email list:
While it is fine if you feel the need to ride hard from the start to finish of a lunch ride, just remember that the group has customary regroup spots. While you may think you are just so fast that the group couldn't catch you, it is really just that the group waits for the last person to get back on before continuing. These customary regroup spots are as follows:
1. The top of Jost Hill before descending to Goodmanville Road and on into Hart Park.
2. The "U" turn onto the bike path by the soccer fields before climbing Rattlesnake Grade.
3. The Top of Rattlesnake Grade.
4. The top of the 178 climb.
5. Bottom of Fairfax, at the turn onto Alfred Harrel Hwy. (before the China Grade Bluff climb)
1. Before descending to Poso Creek (by the Mailbox)
2. Before climbing out of Poso Creek
3. The top (the Mailbox) after the climb.
Note: If you are on a time restriction on the day, just let the group know that you have to keep moving and there will be no hard feelings, but this is a mid-week group ride and not a race from start to finish. Generally, all the riders on these rides are strong enough to hang in the draft if we just let them get on before ramping it up. Also, if you are not sure that you can get up the Poso climb in a reasonable amount of time so as not to keep the group waiting for too long at the top, it might be better to turn around and get going up the hill before the main group starts the climb.