Shuttle Saturday #1 Recap!

On top of the world! (Reddish Knob)

On top of the world! (Reddish Knob)

We are very, very excited to have launched our Bluestone Bike and Run Shuttle Series in January!! Though it was our first attempt at providing this service we were pleasantly surprised at how seamlessly the event went!

Hats off to all the riders who were on time, respectful of the place, and super eager to ride!!

The North River Ranger District of the George Washington National Forest is by no means an easy place to ride bikes. It’s rocky, exposed, and very fast. The reaction I got from everybody when we crested the top of Reddish Knob was enough to put into perspective just how lucky we are to live where we live.

Photo from one of our awesome shuttle riders!

Photo from one of our awesome shuttle riders!

Backcountry singletrack is notorious for dishing out harsh blows sometimes too. There’s a certain feel to being in a remote place on hard, technical terrain that is super inspiring though. I know personally I’m always wondering if the terrain is within my capabilities. With this in mind, I could feel the anticipation and excitement building in the van as we climbed up Reddish Knob. With each pass up the mountain I would remember my first time climbing up and then of course bombing down! I definitely was anxious.

When I would pick everybody up at the bottom at different times throughout the day I was inspired to hear stories of sweet moves or a crash, a flat tire, or a broken pinky. Everybody was very stoked. Being around enthusiastic, passionate people is almost as exciting as the riding itself.

Because the shuttle takes about 35 minutes, it gave us a nice window for everybody to get to know one another, swap stories, and of course, talk about bikes!

Rider photo of the shuttle van getting loaded up!

Rider photo of the shuttle van getting loaded up!

The drive up Reddish is unique in the fact that you can get a visual on the terrain you’ll be riding down. It was nice to have the time to talk about route options and also point out key places not to miss and fun little moves to explore.

Some folks would sit a lap out, enjoy their lunch at their pace, and hop on the next shuttle back to the top. The weather was beautiful so it was easy to sit out and enjoy the day.

About eight of the twenty four riders were able to get three trips down the mountain. Some riders took one lap, some got two. Everybody left happy, well, maybe a little sore, but happy.

On behalf of everybody at Bluestone Bike and Run, We look forward to introducing more riders to our area as well as providing a service that gets folk out doing what they love.

Get your tickets for the February event now!

Great Divide Mountain Bike Route - Adam's Teaser!

We're hosting a Bikepacking & Beers talk about Adam's recent ride on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route. Join us on Tuesday night, February 20th from 7p-8:30p at Pale Fire Brewery in Harrisonburg. Until then here's a little teaser!

The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is a 3,000 mile, predominantly off pavement, bikepacking route connecting Banff, Alberta, Canada  to Antelope Wells, New Mexico. The route snakes its way through the great Rocky Mountains, traversing through Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and New Mexico. Frequently, like once a day, you can guarantee climbing up and over high altitude mountain passes on the Continental Divide. Cyclists should be prepared to ride through some of the most remote and beautifully vast river valleys, wide open basins, and breathtaking alpine forests on the North American continent.

 

Known mostly for the Tour Divide, an unsupported race that is held each June, the GDMBR has become very popular among touring cyclists as well. The Great Divide poses many challenging obstacles, however with the right amount of preparation and perseverance, you’d be surprised at how achievable such a goal may be, even with all of that climbing...

 

In August 2017 my girlfriend and I set off from Banff to give it a try. We spent 42 days on route and finished on the US-Mexico border mid-September. We rode an average of 72 miles per day carrying everything we needed on our bikes and slept under the stars pretty much every night. It was an unforgettable trip to say the least.

 

If you’re contemplating an attempt, there are a few things to consider.

 

Unpredictable weather, limited access to reliable food and water, and some basic navigational skills are just a few examples of things you need to be prepared for. Determining what time of year to depart from Banff is essential. Leaving in June, typically with the race, often means snow on many of the passes in Canada and monsoon rains which make the route impassible in New Mexico in July. Leaving late July or early August seems to be the sweet spot if going southbound.

 

We departed Banff on August 2nd and aside from wildfires in Montana were able to ride the length of the route with no complications. Like any trip planned in the American West, it’s important to be prepared for a wide range of temperature extremes and foul weather.

 

Set personal goals for yourself. We would tentatively plan three days ahead so we weren’t wondering, or worrying, about where our next resupply or water source was going to be. Each day will bring its own challenges both mentally and physically. Always carry more food than you expect you’ll need. On this type of trip, food equals happiness. Setting achievable daily mileage goals is key. Remember, if you’re touring the ride, not racing it, what’s the rush?

 

Know your gear. Be confident in your systems. Know where you’ll carry an extra liter of water if you need to or a handful of extra bars. Make sure your sleeping bag is rated to the degree that works for you and your shelter is a place of comfort. Feeling confident about your bike and gear setup is something that comes with time. Don’t wait till the week before your trip to set your bike up with the right bags or figure out what layers will keep you comfortable. The last thing you should be doing is worrying about your setup when you’re beat from riding all day. The more time you spend dialing your systems beforehand means the less time you’ll spend thinking about it on the trip.

 

Training beforehand is also essential. Knowing what your timeframe for completion is before you leave will dictate the amount of miles you will ride each day. Each day on the Divide will be different. Some days you can average 15 to 20 miles per hour and other times it will require everything you have to get 5 to 10 miles per hour. Feeling comfortable with being in the saddle for extended periods of time is a reality, but also something you’ll get stronger at as the ride goes on. Try to ride as much as possible before you leave. Don’t forget to load your bike down with the gear you’ll be bringing every once in a while. Becoming well acquainted with the additional weight and performance of the bike with the bags on will only help.

 

The Great Divide is an outstanding, relatively accessible adventure through absolutely beautiful country. With the correct amount of preparation and attention to detail you’d be surprised just how manageable such a long route can be. Take the time to learn the bike you’ll be riding and the gear you’ll take along. Set manageable, realistic goals for yourself and always assume it’ll be harder than you expected. Eat a lot of food whenever possible (and even when you’re not hungry). Pay attention to the weather. Last, but not least, remember you just took two months off to ride your bike in one of the most astounding places on earth. Live it up!!

Bluestone Weekly Video 1

Trying something new. A weekly recap/update video for the shop every Friday. 

Noteworthy comments:
Yeti Cycles in stock, demo SB6 and SB5.5 (both in a size large)
Events - Shuttle Series, Bikepacking and Beers Pale Fire Brewing Company, Gear Swap, Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) Monthly Social, FORGOT TO MENTION our Saucony Shoe Demo on Wednesday Jan. 31st
Shoes - Trail Running, New Kids and Youth shoes on the way
Service - Now's the time to bring your bike(s) in. It's too cold to ride and the turnaround is quick!
Go Dukes!

Please let me know your feedback. (In the future I’m going to shoot for a much shorter video.)

How To Dress When It Is Freezing Outside

Ice, Ice, Baby! It's freezing outside, so let's talk about preparing for a run when the temperature drops.

Here's our Head-To-Toe Must Do Check List

Head/Neck: You must cover your head and neck. We recommend wearing at least a Buff, which is a fabric tube that is designed to cover both your head and neck in many different ways. Other options are a stocking cap or ear band.

Body: Layers! We tell our friends that you should dress as if it is 10-20 degrees warmer than the temperature that you will be running in. Therefore, if it is 20 degrees outside, dress as if it is 40 degrees (if your body is typically colder than your friends are) and dress as if it is 30 degrees outside (if your body is typically warmer than your friends are).

30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long sleeve wool or performance fabric base layer and a light jacket. 1 pair of tights/leggings.

10-20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. Add a thicker top layer along with your base layer. Go for two pairs of pants, or at least some taller socks.

Hands: Don’t let your fingers get cold, we repeat, don’t let your fingers get old! We recommend a pair of gloves or mittens. Many new running jackets and long sleeve shirts have mittens built in, which is a bonus. However, we still suggest having a separate pair of gloves for your hands. Mittens tend to be warmer, as your fingers are note separated.

Feet: If your piggies get cold, you will want to turn around ASAP. If it is at all slushy outside, we recommend shoes with a Gor-tex material or at the very least where shoes that do not have a large about of mesh or holes. Secondly, you will need socks that wick away moisture. Wool socks are excel at in cold temperature!

Safety Gear: If it is dark, which is common during the colder months, you should definitely run in a reflective vest and lights.

Warm-up: Before you go out in the cold, do some jumping jacks, jogging in place, or similar to get your blood flowing, but do not break a sweat. This way the cold, will not feel so cold!

Change: After your run, do not hang out in your sweaty clothes. Be sure to quickly change into something dry and comfy, because your body temperature will drop significantly when you are done running!

Bluestone Bike & Run and our downtown shop, Bluestone Running, have all the cold weather essentials you need. Swing by either location and we will be glad to help you out!