The Appalachian Mountaineer

Brought to you by Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing, The Appalachian Mountaineer is a ride, not a race, created to get us out, challenge our mental and physical fortitude, and to explore the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Year one of the event saw a covid-conscious version of the event with staggered starts and a proof of concept course. The 2021 year took all of the best parts, added professional timing, start categories and times, and swaps slower chunky course segments for some grade A gravel riding.  Look for more improvements in 2022.

The Mountaineer is a cousin to The Appalachian Journey,  in that it is also in Virginia, run on gravel, and built with the same stoke and fire you expect in Floyd in the spring. But that’s where the similarities end.  In Floyd you roll along through the soul of Appalachia farm land, with punchy climbs and amazing descents. In Craig… things get a little bigger.  The courses feature three unique routes, each adding mileage, difficulty, and more unique terrain spanning National Forest gravel roads, gradual old rail grades, winding rural farm roads, and an optional river crossing within a half mile from the finish.  There are three route options to choose from: (1) 85 miles with 7800 ft of elevation gain; (2) 67 miles with 6600 feet of elevation gain; and (3) 22 miles with 2500 ft of elevation gain.  See profiles and maps below.

What’s the ideal bike set-up for this event?  The debate between cross/gravel bike and mountain style bike is an honest toss up. There’s a lot of efficiency to be gained on a gravel style bike but a hardtail will make the long descents and climbs perhaps a little more bearable. If you’re looking to go fast and have 38c or bigger tires, a gravel rig is probably your best bet. If you wanna carry a little extra rocket fuel, or just ride along, then a hardtail mountain bike will be a great choice!November weather in the region can be chilly, especially a the top of the biggest climb which peaks at over 4k feet, so be prepared with layers.

One of the best part of the event for all riders all riders is the after-party with a hot meal (chili w/cornbread – veg or meat), a cold beer, live music, and a place for the whole family to celebrate together over the weekend on Wilderness Adventure’s 500 acres of creek-front property in Craig County, VA.

This is a great event to make a weekend of.  Wilderness Adventure has 500 acres of field, forest, stream, and mountain to explore. When not riding, take time to hike our trails, rent a canoe, fish in one of our two ponds, take thrilling ride down our zip line, or simply relax with a warm cup of tea along the banks of Craigs Creek.  The venue offers an excellent array of indoor hotel options and Campgrounds.

unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley

The inaugural event held last year was a big success.  600 riders fell in love with the route, Lewisburg and the weekend festival atmosphere.  This years event will expand to 800 riders on the two unPAved courses and 400 for the two SOMEpaved courses. Each route showcases some of the best gravel riding Pennsylvania has to offer, first heading West from Lewisburg on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail and into Bald Eagle State Forest.  While the Plenty and Proper courses are big rides, the Full 120-mile unPAved is a rugged challenge of stamina and skills. “The Difference” section packs four mountain passes, one gnarly downhill trail, and three seemingly endless descents into a 30-mile loop from the GU Energy Labs Oasis and back again.

A unique aspect of this event is that you choose your own start time, but can still participate in the race.  There are 6 timed segments representing 43 miles of the full 120 mile route.  There is also an overnight category allowing you to start the ride on Saturday, camp out in Poe Paddy State Park, and complete the ride on Sunday.  The event operator will transfer your gear for just $10.

There is good fun to be had the entire weekend in Lewisburg.  There is a Fall festival on Saturday and a DONEpaved party following the ride.  If you aren’t familiar with the region, the Susquehanna River Valley offers an authentic rural Pennsylvania experience:  Breweries, award-winning wineries, great dining, wildlife, outdoor recreation of all types, and great hospitality.

While the Plenty and Proper courses are big rides, the Full 120-mile unPAved is a rugged challenge of stamina and skills. “The Difference” section packs four mountain passes, one gnarly downhill trail, and three seemingly endless descents into a 30-mile loop from the GU Energy Labs Oasis and back again.

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo

Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo is a signature cycling event in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The event is produced by Muddy Squirrel, an organization dedicated to helping individuals and families break free from their “technology-driven” life and connect with the outdoors with meaningful and challenging events.  New for 2021, the event is partnered with the Gran Fondo National Series, a producer of premier one day events including the official USA Cycling Gran Fondo Championship.  What’s unique about GFNS events is that they offer a mix of personal challenge and serious competition on roads with challenging climbs and incredible scenery.  Each rider is assigned an electronic timing-chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for best time through highlighted sections of the course.  There is not start to finish as in traditional racing formats, but rather timed sections count towards a rider’s competition time.

The Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo will feature three different routes — 33, 45, and 75 miles. Each route has been carefully crafted to showcase Botetourt County’s rich scenic beauty and it’s warm & welcoming communities. Riders will enjoy the area’s natural beauty including the rolling terrain, open farmland, forested mountains, and the James River. Each route also features memorable aid stations and charming small towns.

 

MoCo Epic

The famous MoCo epic is back in fall 2022 for its 12th edition. The epic takes place in Boyds Maryland and features some of mid-Atlantic’s best single-track.  The Epic is not a singular mountain bike race but rather more of a festival spanning the entire weekend of October 8th-9th.  Saturday features multiple festival family-friendly rides for the kids including a 4 mile and 11-mile race, and finally a ‘gravity soul pump and jump competition for everyone.’ When it comes to the proper events (non-child), there is an 11 mile, 15 miles, 30 miles, 40 mile, 55 miles, and a considerable 75-mile event respectively.  Being such a well-attended event with many great sponsors, the festival boasts fully stocked aid stations, great food after the races, and music. The MoCo Epic is sure to impress the offroad enthusiasts and gets the Strambecco stamp of approval as being one of the premier mountain bike weekend festival in the Mid Atlantic and the United States as a whole.

Muddy Tire “Sick Six Hour”

The Muddy Tire Sick Six Hour was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid, but looks for a strong return in Fall 2022.   Located in Middle Island, NY, this Long Island location is the perfect outlet for the New York tri-state area to have for a close endurance race. In past years Muddy Tire ran adjacent to the C.L.I.M.B. Fat Tire Festival, so this leaves a wonderful weekend event for the pro racer or the entire family, with elite categories down to the child races, and of course the fat tire categories. The race event information is by no means up to date on giving course information. So excuse the lack of course information but I would assume a smaller track that is looped up to a dozen times for the course of the 6 hours (with plenty of mud). This endurance race and mountain bike festival weekend is the perfect race and family affair if you live in or near the tri-state area and is a great way to finish off the mountain bike season.

Garden State Fondo

Formerly known as the New Jersey Gran Fondo, The Garden State Fondo was rated one of the top 3 Gran Fondos in the USA for 4 years in a row by Gran Fondo guide and rate #1 for 2019. The event start/finish is Morristown, New Jersey, just 45 miles from NYC. Offering a choice of 6 routes ranging from 18-125 miles for riders at all levels.

The Gran route (105 Miles; 7,900 Elevation Gain) is made of quiet back roads, shade, and scenic rolling hills. The route includes 4 timed climbs that aren’t terribly long but with relatively steep grades that reach 15% in spots. There is also an “Estremo” route that stretches to double-metric century length (125 Miles) and total climbing of 9,700 feet.

Highlands Gran Fondo

Highlands Gran Fondo is a Gran Fondo National Series event, a producer of some of the best US cycling events.  Just 35 Miles from New York city, this ride from Butler, New Jersey is a great way to experience the landscape outside the New York City metro area. With remarkably quiet country roads, shady tree canopies, and a downtown start/finish/party at High Point Brewery, this beautiful and challenging ride is well worth the trip.

The hilly Highlands region outside of Butler features great climbs and ascends to the highest point in New Jersey. A great event for all-around cyclists who can power up short climbs and still have the energy to push the pace in a group. The Gran route, 101 Miles and +7400 elevation gain, crosses the Appalachian trail eight times and showcases some spectacular terrain. There is also a Medio route (60 Miles and +4300 elevation gain) and a Piccolo route (34 Miles and +2450 elevation gain).

With proximity to huge cycling communities in New York and New Jersey, the Highlands Gran Fondo attracts a large and diverse peloton of competitive, supportive, and fun-loving cyclists of all ability levels. A great opportunity to make a family visit to NYC and get in some great riding!

The GFNS event series was established in 2012 and comprises 12 European-style ride/races staged in the United States. Every GFNS event offers courses covering 30, 60 and 100-mile journeys through some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in endurance sports. Timed sections allow riders to compete in specific segments of the course, while casual cyclists can ride at their own pace. Participants can ride as individuals or on teams. GFNS awards special prizes to the top riders in every age and gender category. Each rider is assigned an electronic timing-chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for best time through highlighted sections.

For the most dedicated athletes who participate in at least 3 events, GFNS offers the chance to win a National series championship based on your performance in the cumulative events.  The competition spans all rider categories.  

Gran Fondo Maryland

With proximity to huge cycling communities in Washington and Baltimore, and an early fall spot on the calendar, Gran Fondo Maryland is where cyclists go to celebrate their summer fitness before the cold weather sets in. Some ride hard, and others just cruise, but everyone wants to get back to Frederick to enjoy a gourmet lunch from renowned chef Bryan Voltaggio!  Highlands Gran Fondo is a Gran Fondo National Series event, a producer of some of the best US cycling events. 

You may not associate Maryland with climbs, but Gran Fondo Maryland has one of the highest ratios of elevation gain per mile of any Gran Fondo National Series event. But don’t worry, the perfect pavement and cooler early fall temperatures make this one of our most popular events. This is one of 4 events in 2020 to have the elevated SuperGran route.

The Gran Route is 97 miles with +9100 elevation gain through several different state parks, municipal forests, protected watersheds, and the Catoctin Mountain National Park. After exploring this incredible region, riders will return back into historic downtown Fredrick and be welcome to well deserved festivities at the finish line, complete with great food, beverage, and more fun. The Medio route is 61 miles with +5700 elevation gain and the Piccolo route is 28 miles and +2300 elevation gain.

The GFNS event series was established in 2012 and comprises 12 European-style ride/races staged in the United States. Every GFNS event offers courses covering 30, 60 and 100-mile journeys through some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in endurance sports. Timed sections allow riders to compete in specific segments of the course, while casual cyclists can ride at their own pace. Participants can ride as individuals or on teams. GFNS awards special prizes to the top riders in every age and gender category. Each rider is assigned an electronic timing-chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for best time through highlighted sections.

For the most dedicated athletes who participate in at least 3 events, GFNS offers the chance to win a National series championship based on your performance in the cumulative events.  The competition spans all rider categories. 

Storming Of Thunder Ridge

The Storming of Thunder Ride is an annual cycling event in the heartland of central Virginia. Hosted by the YMCA of Central Virginia, this bike event holds 5 distances for every level at 27, 45, 49, and 100 miles respectively. “The longer 75 & 100-mile routes test rider stamina with a 13-mile ascent to Apple Orchard Mountain, the highest peak of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. For an epic day in the saddle, the 100-mile route boasts over 9000 feet of climbing.” 2019 calls more than 600 riders and 2021 brought the Storming Of Thunder Ridge to new heights with over 800 riders and over 300 just for the century. With so many participants and more likely in 2022, The storming of Thunder Ridge is a premier Mid-Atlantic cycling event.