General Information On Group Levels: Each of our group rides, open to women 15 and older (for 15-18 year old we do require a guardian to ride with them), will be broken down into multiple ability groups to allow riders to choose the best group for their level. The group rides start at 6 p.m. and typically end around 8 p.m., however this is not all ride time. The ride time will vary depending on the trails chosen and the abilities of the riders in that group. Each trail and venue has its own unique features and levels of difficulty, with some trails being flatter and faster while other trails will be hillier and slower. It is always OK to walk sections that are too difficult for you, as one of our race team members says, “When in doubt, chicken out”. A very good lesson to follow for anyone! If you find yourself at the front of the pack of your ride group, try moving up to the next level at the next group ride; it will challenge you more and you may be pleasantly surprised by how well you do. Please feel free to ask the WMBA ride leaders if you are undecided or unclear on which group to ride with for that particular trail and we will help guide you to the appropriate group.
Beginner: This group is ideal for a rider who has little experience mountain biking on trails. The beginner group will ride at a slower pace and cover less mileage than the other groups. The trails chosen will be less-technical; however there may be some sections that the rider chooses to walk due to the grade, width or rockiness of that section. Within this group there will be a fitness group and a skills group. Fitness will be for those who choose to get a little more riding in, more mileage with less stopping. Skills will be for those who choose to work on technical areas and stop to session or work on areas to better skills.
Intermediate: This group is ideal for a rider who feels comfortable riding a mountain bike on easier trails and wants to be challenged with a higher level. The intermediate group will ride at a faster pace than the beginner group and cover more mileage, with some trail sections that may be technically-challenging. This is a good place to start for road cyclists or others with decent fitness but little technical skills that want to experience mountain biking. Within this group there will be a fitness group and a skills group. Fitness will be for those who choose to get a little more riding in, more mileage and less stopping. Skills will be for those who choose to work on technical areas and stop to session or work on areas to better skills.
Advanced: This group is ideal for a rider with fitness and experience riding moderately-technical terrain. The advanced group is the fastest group and will cover the most mileage, while seeking out some technically challenging areas.
Still not sure about group rides? Check out board member, Jen Zink’s first group ride article in our April 2013 newsletter. Also, don’t forget that you can come check out a group ride for free and then decide on membership afterwards. We allow up to three group rides before we ask that you join to help support our organization’s programming.
Skills Rides: A skills ride generally stays in one area to practice skills and complete drills that help with bike maneuvering. WMBA offers three skill specific rides a year- two in May and one in July. We also have the wonderfully talented Alison Dunlap who leads a skills clinic on June 16. Space is limited for these rides and an RSVP is required. Alison is a World Champion, two-time Olympian and a fantastic teacher. You’ll have the opportunity to practice in a grassy area doing drills that everyone from the most beginner rider to the most seasoned expert will have heaps of fun at (and get better at riding their bikes at the same time). We especially want to encourage beginners not to be intimidated; we’ll be doing all these drills in a flat grassy field. We hope that learning and practicing skills and drills will make you more confident on the bike trails!