Suggested Bike Rides

The Top of Reddish Knob

4,369 ft.

That's the elevation of Reddish Knob.

Bikes at the top of Reddish Knob.

To some people that may seem like a lot and others not so much. But no matter who you are, if you bike it or run/walk it, or really, even if you drive it, it is always an adventure.

As part of the George Washington National Forest, and one of the the few peaks of Shenandoah Mountain, I find myself ascending and descending Reddish a handful of times each year. 

 

Reddish Knob graffiti - a mixture of wisdom and poor decisions

Reddish is something that as a local or tourist you must see. The view at the top is a perfect 360 degrees. Interestingly enough, the VA and WV line cuts right through the paved section at the top - someone was even nice enough to paint the line on the road. Some other people have painted a whole lot of other things, most of which you should ignore. 

Skip over the graffiti and take in the views. Wow, you can see Massanutten Mountain on a clear day and Dayton's, Mole Hill is just a little bump on the Valley's surface. 

Harrisonburg to Reddish Knob is 27 miles. This past Saturday I rode to the top with one of my greatest friends. It was a slow climb up the mountain, but every rotation of the pedals was worth it. He now lives in New Jersey and a lot's happening in his life. It was great to catch-up in-between catching our breath.

At the top we thought back to other times we'd climbed this same mountain in years past. We've done it in the winter, spring, summer and fall and both at daytime and nighttime. No matter the time or bike, it is always a great sense of accomplishment.

Reddish Knob, it's hard to get to, but it's rewarding. I urge you to go see it for yourself!

I was happy for disc brakes on the way down! It took us a little over an hour to climb and a fraction of that time to be back at the bottom.

DuPont State Forest, NC - Kyle's Adventure Weekend

Looking for a new place to visit that is an easy drive from Harrisonburg? We've got just the place; a little over five hours south of Harrisonburg will put you in Asheville, NC. and Asheville should be at the top of your travel list.

I encourage the shop team to take long weekends for adventure at least once a quarter. Well I decided to take some of my own advice and chose to visit Asheville, NC this past weekend with Melissa. We had a blast doing all the "Asheville" things - breweries, drum circles, local food, tubing and sightseeing (including impressive people watching). However, one of my favorite parts of the trip was our time in DuPont State Forest. About 45 mins from downtown Asheville is Brevard, NC - where we entered DuPont State Forest.

DuPont has a crazy history, but it all boils down to being an exceptional state owned property. Some call it the "Land of Waterfalls" and it definitely lives up to its name.

Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC

On Sunday morning, my biking buddies and I set out to ride some of their favorite trails in DuPont. The girls were going to spend the morning drinking coffee on the porch and planned to meet us later for lunch and an afternoon waterfall hike. 

We arrived at one of the a few parking lots at around 10am to find probably 25 other people ready to ride. The car parked next to us was a family from Ohio, clearly prepping for a hike. The dad asked us if there was some sort of biking event today, my buddy Ulrick replied, "Everyday is a biking event here!"  and from my short time in the area, I'd say he was spot on. Everyday was a great day for biking and everyday you'd find a lot of people riding.

Even though there were many other riders in the parking lot we all seemed to take off down different trails. We took a short trail that more or less looped around the parking lot to warm up our legs and then set off to begin climbing our way up to a place called Cedar Rocks. It's one of the high points of the forest and has a ton of slick rock, which makes it look sort of like the moon's surface (if you look past the vegetation...). It was my first time seeing slick rock and it was really fun to ride.

One of the overlooks on our way up - beautiful!

Maddie was a little tired out after all the climbing. There were three separate trails down from here. I have to go back and try the other two!

At the top we picked some blueberries and choose one of three trails to head down. I was glad I brought one of the shop's demo Santa Crux 5010s as the trail was a little rough on the way down. The bike made both the ascent and decent effortless.

We eventually ended back at the truck and did a quick change into hiking clothes (which for me was a change of shoes and removing my bibs). My Endura Hummvee Lite shorts made for a great post ride short and ended up being a great bathing suit as well!

We connected with the girls and saw 4 waterfalls within a 2 mile stretch. At the uppermost waterfall there was a natural rock slide. I was hesitant to take the plunge at first, but after my first slide I was back for more. The water was extremely refreshing and the rock wasn't as nearly as rough as I imagined!

One of the tree water falls that make up Triple Falls in Dupont State Forest, NC.

Rock slide at High Falls!

After the hike we hopped in the cars for a short drive to Oskar Blues Brewery and enjoyed some burgers, peanuts, beers and live music. 

Although we were in town for just a little more than 48 hours every moment of it was an adventure and I can't wait to do it again. So take my advice and make a trip to Asheville and certainly make the drive to DuPont State Forest while you're there.

Stop in the shop for pointers in specific trails and sites to see!

New Wild Oak Trail - GO RIDE IT!

My buddy and I got out for a great mountain bike adventure this past weekend. We had our hearts set on riding some trails in the George Washington National Forest, so we took off from Harrisonburg at about 6:15 am.

We were headed to the North River Campground in the GWNF, which is a solid 45 min from the shop. It's just under 20 miles, but there are some slow and windy roads in the forest.

We parked at the bottom of the Hankey mountain road climb. This is a dirt road that eventually turns in to single track. It's a long climb, but totally worth it. You actually climb this twice in the local mountain bike endurance race, Shenandoah Mountain 100

We used the climb to catch-up. Ben and I both have young kids, so there is plenty to talk about. In addition to family and work updates, there are always bike stories to swap. More often than not, I'm the one who's jealous of Ben's biking tales.

Once at the top, we were in the shade and looking forward to the rolling single track of Dowell's Draft. After a mile or so we stopped at an nice overlook to enjoy the view. Ben's birthday was earlier that week and to my surprise he had brought along some Shoofly pie. I'd never had a piece of Shoofly pie, but I can tell you now, that it is awesome! I think it is a safe bet that we are the only two people to ever have Shoofly pie at the Dowell's Draft Overlook.

Dowell's Draft Overlook, GWNF

After our fair share of pie we dropped back on the trail. Having recently undergone a bunch of trailwork and a light rain a few nights prior the trails were in unbelievable condition.

We ripped on towards a trail called Magic Moss that would eventually lead us to the newest reworked section of trail in the GWNF, Wild Oak. Magic Moss was a really cool trail; off camber in places and with plenty of rocks and roots. You eventually come to a T with the Wild Oak Trail. Head right and you'll go straight up the mountain, it's STEEP. Thankfully that wasn't our plan. We took a left and found the downhill portion of Wild Oak.

This new section was fast and designed to really flow. Needless to say I enjoyed it, like a lot. The single track also has a few features to test your skills. In the video above you can see Ben cross a long log that connects a big turn. He makes it look easy, it's not. (Thanks to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition for all their hard work on this! - Learn more about the project and other projects on the club's website.)

The trail eventually ends and if I didn't have to be home for lunch I would have totally voted to ride back up the trail to do it all again. However, we had other plans. We took the gravel road back to where we parked. In our amazement the whole loop was only two hours, so we had some time to do a little more riding. We made a quick decision to ride the Lookout Loop.

We headed back up Hankey Mountain, a little faster than the first, as our legs were nice and warm. Lookout is a great trail with lots of rocks, ridge riding, fun descents, and the occasional punchy climb. We had roughly an hour and 45 minutes to do the trail, so we skipped the overlook, but I can assure you it was a beautiful view because the air was so clear that day.

The final section of Lookout before the swinging bridge is a rock garden on top of a rock garden, ha. Ben took it with no trouble on his big travel Santa Cruz Bronson and I actually rode it quite well on my smaller traveled Cannondale Habit. However at the very end I made a mistake and bottomed out the suspension a little too hard and created the first mechanical of the day.

After a quick assessment of the issue, we figured I was safe to ride back to the car and just deal with the bike when I got back to the shop. In no time we were back on the paved road riding back to our cars. On the road we ran into a friend from town, Bart C., as he was starting his ride. It was good to have his fresh legs give us confidence on the ride back to our cars, as we'd just finished roughly 25 miles on the trails. 

Rolling back to our cars was a great feeling. I don't think there is any better way to start a nice weekend than with a big ride early in the morning. It wasn't even 11:15am and we'd covered a lot of ground and got some great exercise - and had fun doing it!

This is a must do ride, either part or in full. Here's a Strava link to see it for yourself.

Help us get more trails like this, DONATE to the club today!

Stop by the shop for more specifics, if you'd like. 

PS, my bike is all good. Erik had it back to party mode in under 5 minutes. Good thing for great bike mechanics!

Two Hour or Less Mountain Bike Ride Near Harrisonburg - May Suggestion

There are hundreds of riding options in and around Harrisonburg, Virginia. But today's suggested 2-hour or less mountain bike ride is a simple out and back on Dowells Draft.

To get to the ride, you'll need to drive about 30 minutes southwest of Harrisonburg. Take 81 South and get off just before Staunton, VA, onto Woodrow Wilson Parkway. You'll eventually exit off the parkway onto 250 West. Turn right onto Braley Pond Road and in less than a half mile the trailhead will be on your right. There is a great parking spot at the the bottom of Dowells Draft trail, which can hold 2-3 large cars. If that is full, you can park along the road in one of many pull-off locations.

What makes this trail so special is a bunch of upgraded trail at the top of the ridge. The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition worked hard to get what used to be a very, very technical trail section rerouted and turned into an awesome section of flowy, yet rocky trail.

You'll climb ~3.5 miles to the top and on a clear day will see a nice view through the trees. The climb up is steady, with a few punchy sections. Once you point your bike downhill be ready to move! The new trail at the top is amazing, with some rollers and bermed switchbacks. It is much more sustainable than the old trail and a lot less gnarly (in the bad way, like steep and fall on sharp rocks, bad).

After the new section, the trail continues to provide miles of smiles. However, a word of caution, as the trail is off camber at sections and if your front wheel gets off the trail, you're going down. Just manage your speed appropriately and mind your front wheel, so you can stay upright. All trails have their risks and that contributes to the adrenaline rush, which makes mountain biking so much fun. 

Once you reach the bottom you'll want to do it all over again! If you have more in you, there are plenty of other ride options right off of Braley Road, but if you're ready to head back to Harrisonburg, stop at the Tasty Freeze on the way back to town or take the scenic route back on Route 42 as a reward for a great ride.

More Ride Details can be found here:

http://www.mtbproject.com/trail/7000634