Ride Levels

Petunia Mafia welcomes women cyclists in a wide range of ability levels. We offer leader-appointed rides labeled as Green/Blue/Black. We borrowed the idea from ski resorts, who break down slopes into beginner/intermediate/advanced terrain. In cycling that translates to the skill and pace of the rider compounded by the cycling route.

At the green level the pace is slower and climbs are rolling. On the other end of the example spectrum, where our “5 the hard way” ride consists of individual blue routes – NCAR, Flagstaff, Sunshine, Lee Hill, Old Stage – the act of stacking them all together in one day makes it a black level event. We do our best to help members understand what the color designations mean within ride descriptions.

Sometimes rides fall somewhere between levels.  We don’t want to discourage a lower level rider from trying something a little more challenging. It’s how we advance as athletes.

Remember, intimidation has no place next to the likes of you. Don’t underestimate your ability. Memories aren’t made from the couch.


To enjoy your experience at Petunia Mafia, have a few years of cycling and a base of fitness under your belt. Green rides are no-drop. There will be an official leader and most likely a sweeper. You can specify that you’re pulling off early if you want to head back on your own or prefer to not make others wait on you (we’ve all been there), but please do tell us so no one’s afraid you’re lost.

The team offers free and low-cost skills clinics, bike maintenance workshops, and talks by pros such as sports psychologists, trainers, coaches, nutritionists, etc. While we love you just the way you are, we’ll enable you become a better cyclist. It’s more fun, trust us. You don’t have to become a hard-core badass. However, you should show up with knowledge on how to fix your flat (go to aforementioned clinics) and have a bike in proper working condition (ditto).

Roadies: you like a pace of about 10-14mph average on flat or rolling road rides, and/or are just beginning to get used to riding in a group.

Typical green road rides: Hygiene, Eldorado Springs, east of the Foothills

MTBer’s: the terrain this is slightly more technical than a hilly gravel ride but doesn’t include drops much bigger than a low curb. You may go on a blue ride and walk over the scary parts; no judgement from us. You’re learning how to corner, climb and descend. A 6-8 mile ride is ideal.

Typical green mtb rides: Marshall Mesa, Betasso, most of North Table Mountain, Moab’s Dead Horse State Park


You’ve identified as a cyclist for a while and are comfortable riding in groups. You like a workout versus a cruise when you ride and are game to push yourself on occasion.  While the pack may re-group at crossroads or natural gathering points, blues can be drop rides. The goal isn’t to drop anyone, however the possibility exists if you’re waaay off the back. It’s rare.

Roadies: the pace averages 15mph on a rolling ride but can reach higher. These rides generally include more climbing and descending than green routes. The leader may try to organize a peloton paceline on straightaways if the assembled crew is known to be more experienced group riders.

Typical blue road rides: Carter Lake, Jamestown, Ward, Four Mile Canyon, even Mt. Evans at your own pace

MTBers: you’re comfy on varied, somewhat technical singletrack. A 15 mile ride sounds great. You have decent bike handling skills on dirt, gravel, roots and small-to-medium rocks but may not be launching it yet. You know how to be prepared for mechanicals on the trail. You may walk sections that are more technical than 80% of the trail.

Typical blue mtb rides: Springbrook, Heil, Hall from Antelope, Moab’s Navajo Rocks


You’re pushing the pace, training for a race, want to get your heart rate up, have expert skills, and/or are an experienced cyclist. Black are drop rides.

Roadies: You’re on a group ride and your instincts want to organize everyone into a pace line. Long mountain passes make you drool and 18% grade sections are a red badge of courage. You’re a past or present racer of crits, hill climbs, and/or TT’s. ‘Nuff said.

Typical black road rides: Mt. Evans at a fast clip, Triple Bypass, Sugarloaf to Peak to Peak, Magnolia, TT or crit race training

MTBers: You’re a past or present racer. You’re in a flow state while riding, and braking/cornering/shifting is intuitive. Advanced technical skills or strong endurance on difficult terrain can both land you in this category. Therefore you choose the ride based on the trail review, but chances are you’ve already ridden it.

Typical black mtb rides: Up the rock garden at Hall, Captain Ahab (Moab), Apex, Porcupine Rim (Moab)