Words by Alison Tetrick
What is your favorite Steinbeck novel? Normally I would say East of Eden, but in the vineyards of Bakersfield, I will say Grapes of Wrath every single time. Grapes of Wrath, produced by SamBarn Promotions. What is Grapes of Wrath? The best bike hangover you will ever get. Riding all day with your friends, eating all the food around the bonfire, and letting your wild and crazy redneck self fly free in the fields. You know what they say in Bakersfield… YeeHaw! This is hands down my most favorite weekend of the year. It just might take me another full year to recover from it.
Click “Full Ride Details” above to see Alison’s complete ride data on GPS Root
The ride is 138 miles with 10,600 feet of climbing. There is a 36 mile climb on the dirt up from the flat farmlands of Bakersfield to the Sequoia National Park. Yes, I was climbing for a little over 3 hours! Along the way, we all enter our own places of darkness along the steep lower pitches of the climb. But with a few good stories and a catchy song or two, we find our rhythm and friendship in the madness. The road goes on forever and the party never ends.
We crest the top of the climb at about 90 miles in 7 hours. You think to yourself, how on earth can I ride another 50 miles. Then we bomb back down the paved descent back into Bakersfield to finish the last 50 miles in under 2 hours!
The ride isn’t really a race so my max power was 643 and my normalized power for the day was just shy of 200 watts at 193 watts. Think of a great low and steady burn! Until the guys got a little “barn sour” as we got closer to home. I only complained a little bit.
I burned 5,451 calories and my heart rate max was 174 bpm but my average was 140 bpm. With a ride like this, I was definitely eating all the BBQ. The next morning, we ride for Neil Shirley’s birthday, wait, when is his actually birthday? Can I make my birthday a part of the Grapes of Wrath ride? Breakfast is chicken fried steak, biscuits, gravy, and maybe a beer. You need it. It’s a bike party all in it’s own league. Ride bikes all day, have fun all night, the road goes on forever and the party never will end on the streets, I mean, vineyards, of Bakersfield.
During the Grapes of Wrath, it is probably 30% dirt and 70% pavement. A road bike with 28mm tires is sufficient. I rode a Specialized Diverge with 28mm tubeless tires and a SRAM eTap group with a 52/36 and 11/32. I used road shoes and Speedplay Zero pedals. Of course I was navigating with my Lezyne Mega XL GPS and had hours of battery runtime to spare.