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Thread: Epic Va rides?

  1. #1
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    Epic Va rides?

    I am looking for suggestions for 40/50ish mile ride in VA (or all day ride). I've ridden in the Damascus area, but from the looks of my Mount Rodgers map, we would be hard pressed to get a long loop in that area. A group of us would like to come up to VA over the Oct. 23 weekend from Charlotte. I dont think we want to drive much more than-4 hours, so that may limit our possibilites. Any suggestions or websites to research would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Ok. so maybe all of the trails are not on my National Geographic map (Damascus). How reliable and good is the information on this site: http://www.bikeguy.net/

  3. #3
    Fat Boy Deluxe
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncbiker
    Ok. so maybe all of the trails are not on my National Geographic map (Damascus). How reliable and good is the information on this site: http://www.bikeguy.net/
    When I think of 50 mile long mountain biking rides, I don't usually think Damascus. You could definitely put something together in the Shenandoah Valley though. that's where they do the SM100. If they can put together 100 miles with fire roads, I bet you can put together something 50 miles with mostly singletrack...

    DT

  4. #4
    cuban b
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    shenandoah mountain touring

    The Shenandoah valley has some great riding and an interesting community to boot. If you can make it here, there is a trail with your name on it. Contact these guys if you need some assistance or questions.

    Chris Scott, who puts on the SM100 has his own touring company.
    http://www.mtntouring.com

    The local bike shop can show you some longer rides, as well as sell you the maps.
    http://www.shenandoahbicycle.com

    cheers.

  5. #5
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    "Southern Traverse" IMBA Epic

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    Posts: 123 Southern Traverse-Harrisonburg ????

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    Planning a trip to ride the IMBA epic Southern Traverse near Harrisonburg in the George Washington National Forest. Will be there June 11, 12, and 13. Any tips on how the riding is? Tire size or type that is best for the area? Advice on which direction to ride the traverse or side loops to take? Shop to check out? Hotel in the Harrisonburg area, clean, bring bikes in room, and biker friendly? Thanks



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    05-18-2004 #2
    MrXC
    formerly Giantxc




    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Posts: 317 The Harrisonburg area has some of the best riding in the mid-atlantic and maybe anywhere. It has a little bit of everything, but expect long climbs that reward you with epic downhills. Use tires that can handle rocks - my preference for this area (and just about everywhere) is WTB Mutano Raptor 2.4's in the front and IRC Mythos XC in the rear.

    I've always camped when in the area so I can't help you with the hotels, but for side trips and trail info check out the Shenadoah Mountain Touring Company at http://www.mountaintouring.com. The guys who run it are as great as their local trails.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffSkisMontana
    Planning a trip to ride the IMBA epic Southern Traverse near Harrisonburg in the George Washington National Forest. Will be there June 11, 12, and 13. Any tips on how the riding is? Tire size or type that is best for the area? Advice on which direction to ride the traverse or side loops to take? Shop to check out? Hotel in the Harrisonburg area, clean, bring bikes in room, and biker friendly? Thanks




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    05-18-2004 #3
    rpiontek
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    Posts: 83 I rode the southern traverse a couple of years ago, guided by Chris at www.mtntouring.com. It was great, and definitely worth the money. I believe we rode north to south, not sure, though. It gave us a long fire road climb, and a singletrack descent. We had a car at each end. I also rode the Mtn 100 last year, which I think includes parts of the Southern Traverse, and I agree that it can be pretty rough and rocky in the harrisonburg area, but I don't think that the Southern Traverse is all that bad. I did it on a rigid, and didn't think it was too challenging, technically. That being said, it is a tough ride. Lots of climbing. Remote. Long.



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    05-18-2004 #4
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 Appreciate the information

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    MrXC & Rpiontek: Thanks for the information. Looking forward to the trip. If we were to camp is there a spot that you like? Probably will swap out my front tire to a Maxxis High Roller 2.3 for the trip. Noticed one of you used to be Giant....Recently bought a VT 2 and am enjoying it very much. Thanks again, Jeff

    p.s. anyone else out there want to add some more thoughts it would be appreciated.



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    05-18-2004 #5
    winstonc
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    Posts: 6 Good Advise so far

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    I rode north to south and really enjoyed it - long fire road climb and then basically ridge top trail with some rocky sections and then awsome long smooth downhill. I didn't use a shuttle and the ride back on pavement didn't take much over an hour (I think). My 2.3 Maxxis high rollers are about 1000 grams and I think that is overkill. I'd use something like Continental Vertical Protection 2.3, Nokian 2.3 NBX or Mutanoraptor 2.24.
    Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg is the bike shop to go to or call for info.
    Dothat State park is a very cool place to ride that is close



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    05-19-2004 #6
    IAmCosmo
    Fat, but working on it...


    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 165 How would you all rate the trail(s) on this trip? I'm considering doing it next year, but not sure if I'm capable. I am a clydesdale, after all....



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    05-20-2004 #7
    puddintitties'
    cuban b


    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 27 H-burg all up in the mess

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    As far as tires go the popular local setup is the huge Geax Blade up front, and a Trail bear in the back. In so many words the bigger the better. The southern traverse is much more rolling and flat than the rest of Harrisonburg riding, but is a blast nontheless.

    Shenandoah Bicycle Company is the place to be for trail info, lodging, and in general good times. www.shenandoahbicycle.com 540-437-9000, ask for Thomas. He is the co-owner and besides being the nicest guy ever, is excellent with all things trail oriented. Hope you come up.



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    05-22-2004 #8
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 Thanks,,,,we are coming!

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    Thanks for more information. Just printed directions to Shendoah Bicycle co. Do you think we can ride the Southern Traverse North to SOuth and return on road in 5 to 6 hours? If so that will be our plan for day one of the trip. Day 2...not sure yet what the agenda is...and suggestions? We might just ride the Southern Traverse again!



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    05-25-2004 #9
    AllRounder
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    Posts: 24 You mentioned that it is an IMBA Epic Trail, so you are probably aware of this, but there is some great info on the IMBA site:

    http://www.imba.com/epics/harrisonburg_va.html

    Join IMBA! (Whew, got that out of my system!)

    I'll be riding this trail in Mid-June, if anyone would like to set up a shuttle. I'll post back later and see if there is any interest in setting up a group ride.

    -AR



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    05-31-2004 #10
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 Hey all..............Thanks

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    All Rounder, Puddintitties', Winstonc, Rpiontek, Mrxc: Thanks all for the information. 2weekends away from the trip. Looking forward to going. JSM



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    06-01-2004 #11
    Spookykinkajou
    me




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    Posts: 711 Just got back from the harrisonburg, va area. rode there on saturday, sunday and monday. Let me first say shenandoah bicycle is a lifesaver and the two owners are amazing! without the friendly owners i wouldn't have been riding this past weekend!


    you'll enjoy the trails! i really liked the shenandoah mountail trail but be prepared it's major backwoods.



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    06-04-2004 #12
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 I am a IMBA Member

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    I am a IMBA member. Thats how I heard about the "Southern Traverse". Plan on riding the R3 IMBA Epic in Rothrock State Forest PA also....



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    06-06-2004 #13
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 It is confirmed....anyone want to join us on the Southern Traverse?

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    OK it is now definite. We will be down for sure. Should arrive Friday 6/11 about 1 pm at the trail head as described in Shendoah Mountain Bicycle's directions. We would be glad to ride with some others. We will be taking our time as it is our first time on the "Traverse". If you are interested reply on this thread/board(will check daily up to Thursday). Planning on riding Saturday too. Not sure if we will ride the "Traverse" again or try Dothgat. Jeff



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    06-08-2004 #14
    Bird
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    Posts: 189 I live just 30mi north of harrisonburg and have ridden every local trail a dozen times or so and must say douthat may well be the best riding east of the mississippi.I camp there several times a year and ride until i'm sore and silly.Check it out!



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    06-13-2004 #15
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 IMBA EPIC was EPIC!!!

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    Well, the IMBA does not use the word EPIC lightly when it awards that moniker to a trail. In the case of the "Southern Traverse" aka "The Shendoah Trail", the word EPIC is well deserved. It turned out to be an EPIC event for myself and a friend this Friday June 11th.

    We arrived late to the trailhead at FR 173 due to a massive pile up on 81 near Harrisburg Pennsylvannia. We started at 2:30pm. About one mile in we took the wrong forest gate and proceeded to do a 7 mile warmup on the wrong trail. The warmup was 3.5 miles up hill, where once we realized we had made a mistake it began to pour! We had a slippery blast down back to the point we had made the wrong turn.

    Undaunted, we began once again at the correct forest gate. This section of the trail is exactly as described by the guys at Shendoah Bicycle Company, up hill for 4 miles. The rain began to slow about 2 miles into this climb. Once we summited, it began to rain again.

    We quickly set off on the Shendoah Trail heading south to avoid getting to cool after the climb. Soon we realized we would be climbing another 1100 feet to summit the "Bump". About 1 mile into the single track we came around a corner and a large bear was sitting with his back to us. Once it realized we had arrived it quickly exited over the ridge. From this point forward I whistled prior to every corner to avoid another bear encounter.

    Just as we got into a pretty decent rhythm of riding and got used to the steep drop and slippery rocks n logs, lightnening struck fairly close by. Definetely put us into a paranoid state of mind. We kept riding although the rhythm was completely gone for about a mile. The lightnening strikes ended after about 10 minutes but the thunder could be heard for the remainder of the ride at various times.

    Leg cramps got my friend about 22 miles into the ride. They were severe and allowed only walking for about a half mile. Luckily they subsided and we were able to ride again.

    We finally arrived at the bailout point, Jerkemtight Road, that the darkening conditions forced us to take. This bailout was described as an old Jeep trail that was a steep descent for 5miles. It was extremely steep and tough due to water running along it most of the way down.

    We arrived on the road in the dark. Found our car after riding north for approx 5 miles, it was now 9:00pm!

    Did I mention that both of us endo'd at various times on the ride? In addition, I fell 3 other times when I slipped on logs or rocks. Oh yeah, I flatted at about the 18mile point also!

    All in all sitting here writing this I still enjoyed the ride. Learned some good lessons about starting to late and using a topo map vs written directions. Recommend that you ride this trail with no fewer than 3 people and start it early morning to guarantee enough light. Also connect with the crew at Shendoah Bicycle Company and Shendoah Touring prior to riding. The HarrisonBurg area is a great spot to set up base camp to ride this part of Virginia!



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    06-13-2004 #16
    Spookykinkajou
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    Join Date: Jan 2004
    Posts: 711 Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffSkisMontana
    Well, the IMBA does not use the word EPIC lightly when it awards that moniker to a trail. In the case of the "Southern Traverse" aka "The Shendoah Trail", the word EPIC is well deserved. It turned out to be an EPIC event for myself and a friend this Friday June 11th.

    We arrived late to the trailhead at FR 173 due to a massive pile up on 81 near Harrisburg Pennsylvannia. We started at 2:30pm. About one mile in we took the wrong forest gate and proceeded to do a 7 mile warmup on the wrong trail. The warmup was 3.5 miles up hill, where once we realized we had made a mistake it began to pour! We had a slippery blast down back to the point we had made the wrong turn.

    Undaunted, we began once again at the correct forest gate. This section of the trail is exactly as described by the guys at Shendoah Bicycle Company, up hill for 4 miles. The rain began to slow about 2 miles into this climb. Once we summited, it began to rain again.

    We quickly set off on the Shendoah Trail heading south to avoid getting to cool after the climb. Soon we realized we would be climbing another 1100 feet to summit the "Bump". About 1 mile into the single track we came around a corner and a large bear was sitting with his back to us. Once it realized we had arrived it quickly exited over the ridge. From this point forward I whistled prior to every corner to avoid another bear encounter.

    Just as we got into a pretty decent rhythm of riding and got used to the steep drop and slippery rocks n logs, lightnening struck fairly close by. Definetely put us into a paranoid state of mind. We kept riding although the rhythm was completely gone for about a mile. The lightnening strikes ended after about 10 minutes but the thunder could be heard for the remainder of the ride at various times.

    Leg cramps got my friend about 22 miles into the ride. They were severe and allowed only walking for about a half mile. Luckily they subsided and we were able to ride again.

    We finally arrived at the bailout point, Jerkemtight Road, that the darkening conditions forced us to take. This bailout was described as an old Jeep trail that was a steep descent for 5miles. It was extremely steep and tough due to water running along it most of the way down.

    We arrived on the road in the dark. Found our car after riding north for approx 5 miles, it was now 9:00pm!

    Did I mention that both of us endo'd at various times on the ride? In addition, I fell 3 other times when I slipped on logs or rocks. Oh yeah, I flatted at about the 18mile point also!

    All in all sitting here writing this I still enjoyed the ride. Learned some good lessons about starting to late and using a topo map vs written directions. Recommend that you ride this trail with no fewer than 3 people and start it early morning to guarantee enough light. Also connect with the crew at Shendoah Bicycle Company and Shendoah Touring prior to riding. The HarrisonBurg area is a great spot to set up base camp to ride this part of Virginia!


    Glad you enjoyed it as well. I had a blast and will definitely be heading there again before the year is over. Considering hitting it the first'ish week of july either on the way to pisgah or on the way back.

    We started our ride around 10am and finished in the late evening if i remember correctly but luckily saw no bears nor had rain One heck of a ride! Definitely one of the more rugged, backwoods trails i've ever ridden! How did you like all those off camber descents and climbs in the rain??? bet those were nasty!



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    06-14-2004 #17
    rpiontek
    mtbr member


    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Posts: 83 Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffSkisMontana
    Well, the IMBA does not use the word EPIC lightly when it awards that moniker to a trail. In the case of the "Southern Traverse" aka "The Shendoah Trail", the word EPIC is well deserved. It turned out to be an EPIC event for myself and a friend this Friday June 11th.

    All in all sitting here writing this I still enjoyed the ride. Learned some good lessons about starting to late and using a topo map vs written directions. Recommend that you ride this trail with no fewer than 3 people and start it early morning to guarantee enough light. Also connect with the crew at Shendoah Bicycle Company and Shendoah Touring prior to riding. The HarrisonBurg area is a great spot to set up base camp to ride this part of Virginia!


    Yeah, I had considered suggesting you get an earlier start than 1pm, but that probably wasn't possible. Sounds like a ride you'll remember for a long time to come, though!



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    06-14-2004 #18
    JeffSkisMontana
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    Posts: 123 Off Camber....Is that what you call it!

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    I thought I was getting a case of vertigo while riding the off camber sections for at least the first 45 minutes. Felt like I was going to tumble upward! The rain made the rocks and roots, already covered with moss and lichens, extremely slippery. I didn't want to discourage my buddy so I did not say much until I fell for the 3rd time. He quickly admitted to the same issue. We did overcome it eventually!

    We are planning on coming back down in late Sept or early Oct to ride it again, this time earlier start, hopefully at least 3 of us, and better equiped and conditioned to ride vertical gain.

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