July/August Rider of the Month - Cheryl Lamberson

Cheryl Lamberson started riding with the club last Fall, and has been riding regularly now since April and loves it more each time.  Her sister introduced me to mountain biking when visiting her in Tennessee a couple of years ago, and upon returning to Bakersfield she was looking for somewhere to mountain bike, and came across the SSFTA.  Her first bike was an old beat up Rockhopper that someone’s teenager had outgrown, but Cheryl currently rides an 8 year old Specialized Stumpjumper that she has nicknamed the Demon bike she flipped off of it the first time she rode it (and a couple of times since).  She's still working out her dream bike (although disc brakes are a high priority!)

Cheryl's favorite trails are Sand Canyon and Cactus and she also enjoys The Playground.  What she enjoys most about mountain biking is the challenge both physically and mentally.  'When I’m on the trail the only thing I’m thinking about is how to get up the hill (or how to get down) plus taking in the terrain so I can make good decisions about how to get around or over obstacles.  I learn something new every time I ride.  And the more I learn the more I enjoy riding'.

Cheryl's mountain biking goals for this year are to keep improving her technical skills, conditioning, and confidence ('I dream of being able to bunny hop and pop a wheelie').  She would also like to learn more about bike maintenance and simple repairs to handle situations that may come up while riding.

Cheryl would like to thank all of the club members for being so friendly and helpful.  One of her biggest fears when she first started mountain biking was not being able to keep up and having other riders get impatient with for holding them back.  She is happy to say that hasn’t been the case at all ('I mean, I slow them down…but no one has been impatient').  She has found all of the ride leaders and experienced riders to be nothing but helpful and encouraging. 


June Rider of the Month - Ken Ferguson

June Rider of the Month is Ken Ferguson from Tehachapi.  Ken rides regularly in the Kern Canyon area, and enjoys meeting club members when they head up there.  Ken started riding about 7 years ago, he'd been hiking several times a week to get into shape, but after severe hip pain, he pulled out his kids old mountain bikes from the garage to find a way to stay in shape and was able to ride without pain.  Currently Ken has two bikes, a geared Lefty Cannondale Scalpel and a Tomac Flint 29er single speed.  His dream bike is a Specialized SWorks Carbon Stumpjumper.

Ken's favorite trail is the Portuguese Pass in the Kern Canyon during the summer.   The thing he likes most about mountain biking is great people involved in the sport, but the least, is the pain from crashing due to riding beyond his skill level.  His plans for 2011 are to ride every available weekend in the Southern Sierra's.

Now that Ken's daughter has started riding in the foothills on Sunday afternoons, he's looking forward to meeting more club members.

Thanks for riding with us Ken!


May Rider of the Month - Steve Messer

The May Rider of the Month is a friend of SSFTA - Steve Messer.  Steve is a very dedicated/die-hard mountain biker, who has been riding in the Kernville area, and all across California for quite a number of years now.  Steve is very dedicated to trail maintenance and bicycle advocacy - and was a huge contributor to the success of the Keyesville Classic and the new single-track at Keyesville.  Steve's mountain bike story is a very interesting one....

Steve Messer began cycling on the dirt in mid-seventies Australia. A modified three-speed cruiser on dirt trails led the way to dirt bikes and later, bmx bikes. He left Australia a few weeks after graduating from high school, sailing the globe. After nearly three years away from bikes, he came to California in 1984. He began commuting by bike, road riding and within a year, racing triathlons. But the call of the dirt was too strong to ignore.  He got a GT mountain bike in 1987, and has never looked back. He helped organize mountain bike races and duathlons from 1986 - 1990 in Los Angeles, and has been riding the mountains of Southern California since then.

In 1993 Steve began guiding whitewater rafting trips on the Kern River, and from that grew his love for the Kern Valley and the Southern Sierras.  Guiding trips in the daytime, and riding from the guidehouse in Lake Isabella to Keyesville in the afternoons or on days off became a regular ritual. About the same time he joined the fledgling Over the Bars mountain bike club in Los Angeles, after finding a flyer announcing the club's formation at a local bike shop. OTB has been doing about three rides per week continuously since then. Steve brings the OTB crew to the Kern Valley several times each year. He still gets out on the river occasionally, but these days spends much more time on the trails when in the valley.

One particularly memorable ride was during the El Nino year of 1998. Steve and a small group of river guides and Kernville locals headed to Sherman Pass to do the Cannell trail. They were expecting to see some snow, but didn't expect to be post-holing for endless miles, to run out of food, water, light and warmth. They lost the trail in the snow, and ended up emerging cold and hungry in Weldon a few hours after sundown.

In 2004 Paul Ferguson, another Kern River raft guide and good friend of Steve's, started importing mountain bikes from Germany. Steve bought the first Bionicon in the U.S. from Paul in 2004 and still rides it. Bionicon was based out of Ridgecrest for those first years, moving to the Kern Valley in 2009. Bionicon sponsored the Keyesville Classic in 2008 and have taken the reigns of the event since 2009. Each year since then Steve has volunteered behind the scenes, helping Paul from planning and promoting through to race day operations.

Steve helped design the new courses for this year's Keyesville Classic XC and DH races, and routed approximately two miles of new singletrack to minimize the time spent on Pearl Harbor Drive. He also helped bring the So Cal High School League race to Keyesville. For the high school mountain bikers, he laid out a shorter course that included some of the new KC singletrack. Paul and Steve hope to have next year's Keyesville Classic off Pearl Harbor Drive completely, with plans for additional singletrack in the works. They are working with the BLM to add more singletrack to the Keyesville trail inventory.

After being a CORBA (Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association) member for several years, Steve began volunteering for the trail crew as his raft guiding days slowed down and opened up his weekends. He joined CORBA's board in 2009. This year CORBA became an IMBA chapter, coming full-circle as CORBA was one of the founding clubs of IMBA. Now he serves as CORBA's Vice President and a volunteer trail crew leader.

These days he averages between 150 and 200 miles per week, with at least half of that on either his original Bionicon Edison or a Supershuttle. The high point of his mountain biking life was riding the Colorado trail in 2006, from Denver to Durango. He won't commit to a favorite trail as there are "too many that I have yet to ride," but Cannell, Tahoe Rim, the Colorado Trail, Soquel, and Mt. Wilson Trail rank way up there. On any day you'll likely find him either riding to a trail, on a trail, or talking about trails and bikes.

Steve - thanks for all your efforts to build new trails, and keep the mountain biking community active.  We really appreciate all that you've done for the Keyesville Classic and the new course - thank you!  SSFTA members look forward to joining you at upcoming CORBA events - especially the Fat Tire Fest in October!

Check out Steve's amazing bike pics:!/Stephen.Messer?sk=photos


April Rider of the Month - Mike Noel

Our April SSFTA Club Member featured as rider of the month is Mike Noel.  Mike was the fastest male SSFTA cross-country rider at the Keyesville Classic - completing 3 laps of the 8 mile course in 1 hour, 59 minutes 45 seconds, and finishing 5th in the Expert Men 40-40 category.  Way to Go Mike!!!

Mike has been mountain biking for 22 years - he got started when he was in college and his dad got a mountain bike.  Some of the local Bakersfield road riders were doing mountain bike rides in the winter and Mike borrowed his dad's mountain bike to go out with them when he was home for winter break.  After that he was hooked and saved up and  to buy his very own mountain bike and has been riding ever since.  Mike's bike has come a long way since then - right now he rides a Santa Cruz Tallboy which is the carbon 29er from Santa Cruz.  It is a pretty amazing bike (he thinks its by far the best mountain bike he's ever had and lighter and stiffer than anything he's had before).  Being 6'4" tall, the 29er format works well for him.   I always ask the Rider of the Month what their dream bike is - and Mike think's the Tallboy is pretty close for him - he thought maybe the tallboy with custom geometry and some way of protecting the carbon so he's not so worried about hurting such a sweet bike in an accident!

Mike has spent a lot of time riding, enjoyed many trails in the Western US - his favorite trail is a tie between the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Colorado Trail (trails many of us aspire to ride).  His favorite kinds of rides are the big rides with long climbs and technical downhills at high elevation where the only people you see are the friends you're with.  His least favorite part of mountain biking is the danger involved with crashing - especially when in the middle of no where.  Mike has some big riding plans for summer 2011 - he'd like to get back up to Downieville, Lake Tahoe, Bass Lake to ride to Shuteye Peak, 007 and the Willow Creek trail, plus he plans to ride Cannel Trail, Camp Nelson, and trails at Santa Barbara and Pasdena area... wow... so many trails, just not enough summer time...

Mike wanted to express his gratitude for the SSFTA as a great organization with a lot of quality people and events.  He's been busy road racing with the I have not participated in many of the events the past several yearsBolthouse Farms/AIAGE Cycling Team so far this year, but it is pleased there are so many people participating in the SSFTA and enjoying mountain biking. In a few months when the road racing slows, and the snow melts in the high country - Mike is looking forward to more time on his mountain bike.  Once his son, Eli (4 years old), gets a little older and starts mountain biking, he's looking forward to getting back involved with club events more.  Mike - we've loved seeing you out on your bike riding aroud the Keyesville course with Eli on the green bike seat on front of your bike, or watching him race around in the dirt on his little bike - looking forward to watching him take on the dirt too some day!  Ride on - all the best with your racing!



March Rider of the Month - DJ Billiard

Rider of the Month for March is DJ - new club member, and one of the Monday night ride leaders.  DJ has been coming along to the board meetings, and also raced in the Foothills Race and finished 2nd in the beginner men's category he raced in.  DJ is 29 years old, he was born and raised in beautiful Bakersfield. He has a beautiful wife, Nikki, and two perfect boys, Hunter and Brayden. He rides only for the joy of riding and hates "Miracle Whip. " :-)

DJ has been mountain biking for a little over a year, and was introduced to the sport by his Dad. His Dad has always been a great athlete and riding bikes is a great activity that DJ can share with him, and hopefully one day with his kids.  Currently, DJ rides a 2010 Cannondale RZ120, and his dream bike would be a Trek Scratch Air.

Even as a newer mountain bike rider - DJ already has a great respect for the sport.  What he likes most about riding is that it is something that can be enjoyed alone or with others, and it is a year round sport. The thing he likes least about riding is falling. 'Its not if you fall, its when you fall.'  DJ's favorite trail so far is the Aliso Wilderness Trails in Laguna Beach - you can ride for days without riding the same trail.  Hopefully you'll lead a ride down there one day for us DJ.

After an impressive start to 2011 in the Foothills Classic Race, DJ's goals for 2011 are to race his first Xterran Mountain Bike Triathalon, and ride at least 10 new locations.  DJ would like to thank the SSFTA for making it so enjoyable to belong to a group, and making him feel welcome as a new member.  He's looking forward to seeing the high school team become the new face of mountain biking!

DJ - we're honored to have you as a member of the club, and really appreciate your efforts in leading the Monday night ride, and shaping mountain biking in Bakersfield!  Ride On!


February Rider of the Month - Susan Bowen

Susan Bowen started riding with the club in 2008, and has been powering this season - plus she's also volunteered for several club roles - we're excited that she has recently developed the new design for the latest SSFTA jersey, and she has taken over as one of the ride leaders for the Monday night rides, keeping the ride going over winter.  She began mountain biking after being introduced to the sport by a friend, and despite bonking on her first ride along the Freeman Creek trail (which she highly recommends), she kept going - and sought out the SSFTA to ride with the club.  Even though she missed the group on the first ride she tried to join at Keyesville, it was the enthusiasm and guidance of veteran club members such as Todd Berlingeri that got her out and helped her develop her skills.

Susan now rides a Gary Fisher 29er Superfly - which she says is her dream bike!  Her favorite trail is the Kern Canyon Trail (all the way), and she doesn't have any trails she doesn't like.  The challenge, comraderie and just being in the outdoors are what Susan loves most about mountain biking.  She's been kicking butt out on the trails recently, and had a great ride at the Rio Bravo Rumble in January - look out for Susan competing in the Foothill Classic Mountain Bike Race this month, and at the Keyesville Classic in March.

Thanks for all your support for the club Susan, and for your dedicated riding style that keeps us all working hard on the trail, but still keeping it light-hearted & fun out there.


January Rider of the Month - Jake Mendrin

Jake Mendrin is one of the newest members in the SSFTA, and he started riding this summer after Jim McWhorter took him up to Lake Lopez - he was instantly hooked and rode the whole time he was there.  Jake is a freshman at Stockdale High School, has played baseball since he was 4 years old and rode BMX's until he was stolen (now he's just glad to be out riding again!).  He loves to play video games and fly fish, but most of he loves to MOUNTAIN BIKE!!!!

Jake rode with the club for the first at the camp-out at Mt Pinos in July, and although a little timid at first (even crashing into a tree), he was doing jumps with Michael before the day was out.  Jake currently rides a Kona DH and he dream bike is a Trek Remedy 9.9 - he's doing all kinds of odd jobs to earn money for this bike (do you need your lawns mowed or bike cleaned??).  After the camp-out, Pinos is definitely on Jake's list of top trails, along with 007 at Bass Lake and of course, everyone's favorite - Toad's.  He loves the challenging climbs and fun downhills, along with the many great friends from mountain biking, but his least favored moments are when his bike breaks, he's grounded (is that a fall, or being banished to his room?) or when he can't ride.

Jake will be racing in the Bakersfield Rattlesnakes Mountain Bike Racing Team in 2011.  Thanks for riding withe SSFTA Jake - its very inspiring to see your passion, and also your progress over the past 6 months!


Helmets are required on all rides because mountain biking can be a dangerous activity, even while just hangin’ around before or after a ride!

The SSFTA is a fun social group and our invitation to ride is not an assumption of any liability whatsoever on the Club’s, member’s, sponsor’s, or affiliate’s part. The terrain and group-ride dynamics can be extremely variable and can possibly exceed any rider’s ability at any time. The SSFTA is not responsible for accidents or ignorance on yours or anyone’s part.

Your decision to show up and ride with SSFTA or any of its members, affiliates, sponsors, et al., expressly waives your right to blame anyone else for your or others poor judgment, mishaps, equipment failures, dumb luck, or any other “lame-blame-game” or excuse you or others may harbor or concoct.

Speaking of equipment failures, if yours does, someone else might be able to fix it but you should be prepared to deal with it without counting on others. Wear proper clothing and by all means come prepared to hydrate and nourish yourself before and during the event. You should also consult with a physician before attempting any exercise (and you should consult with a psychiatrist if you have any other issues). Always carry clear identification and insurance cards.

“Remember, in man vs oak tree the oak tree wins” C.K.


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