Climb to Kaiser

Fresno Cycling Club has been putting the Climb to Kaiser ( on since 1976.  Cyclists ride from Clovis, Ca. (Elev.: 325 feet) to the top of Kaiser Pass (Elev.: 9200 feet) in the middle of the Kaiser Wilderness area above Huntington Lake, Ca.  One hundred and fifty-five (155) miles, with 13,500 feet of climbing. (Closer to 16,000 feet by some GPS calculations.)  Bicycling Magazine has rated the Climb to Kaiser as one of the most difficult rides in North America.
From the 1996 Climb to Kaiser entry form
The ride is usually held on the last Saturday in June to take advantage of the long daylight hours.  Every year the cyclists endure steep climbs, narrow roads, high altitude, and extreme summer temperatures.  On any given year, the cyclists may also encounter any of the following: driving rain, forest fires, boat trailers, cattle, log trucks, lightning strikes, large motorcycle rallies, gravel, sand, and/or rock slides, snow, chemical spills, motor-homes, wild animals, erratic drivers, and riding after the sun sets.

The Climb to Kaiser begins in Clovis with a mass start at 5:30 am.  It is not a race, but it is a timed ride (with timing chips being utilized for the first time in 2014).  The faster cyclists complete the course in about 9 hours or less, returning around 2:30pm.  The last riders still pedaling are coming in off the course at 10:00pm.

Along with the Climb to Kaiser, the Fresno Cycling Club also puts on two other rides at the same time: the Tollhouse Century (100 miles) and the Millerton Metric (65 miles).  With few exceptions, both of the shorter rides are run on the same roads as the Climb to Kaiser, staying in the lower altitudes.

SAG support usually consists of 20-25 vehicles, with motorcycles making up about 40% of them.  In the morning, the cyclists are grouped together so SAG support can be made up of only a few vehicles.  Many of the Metric & Century riders are done or are nearing the end of their rides by noon.  By 2:00pm, the fastest riders on the Climb to Kaiser are also nearly complete, however, many riders Climb to Kaiser have still to make it to the top of Kaiser Pass.  All this means that by noon, there are cyclists spread over nearly 100 miles of roadway.  Between noon and about 6:00pm is when the most SAG support is needed.