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  1. #1
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    Harrisonburg, VA vs. Asheville, NC

    I visited Asheville a while back and fell in love with the place. At the same time, I kept thinking, gee, this reminds me a lot of Charlottesville, Virginia, where my parents live, but Asheville has just done a much better job of exploiting its raw potential and developing a robust biking scene. Then I learned that Harrisonburg, Va is emerging as a hot spot, and has been designated as an IMBA "ride center."

    Which (finally) brings me to my question: Is Harrisonburg the real deal? How does it measure up to Asheville/Pisgah? From what I can tell online, it looks like the Shenendoah Valley Bicycle Coalition is working to develop trails around Harrisonburg, but there aren't as many established trail networks as the Asheville area. If it turns out that Harrisonburg is or soon will be a real biking epicenter, I'd take a long hard look at moving back home to the area when the time is right.

    Thanks for you input.

  2. #2
    bikeboatbrewski
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    Harryburg is the real deal not only for the rides nearby but its proximity to super*****in rides in WV.

  3. #3
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    Good to know. What WV rides did you have in mind? I just looked up some of the WV trail reviews on here and folks were a little down on some of the rides because they were so raw and poorly maintained.

  4. #4
    yelgatgab
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    I'd be much more inclined to live in Staunton than Harrisonburg. Less girls with words written on the asses of their pants, but I still prefer it.

  5. #5
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    Asheville is awesome, with amazing trails, rafting, etc etc and a great downtown for nightlife if you're into that. I grew up in NC, so I'm biased (in MD now), but if I ever move back, it will be to Asheville.

  6. #6
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    The burg is one of the best bicycling communities you will find anywhere. Just a few short miles to the West are hundreds of miles of first class singletrack. Go ride Dowels Draft, Braley Pond and Wolf Ridge and you will quickly see what all the talk is about. This is home ground for the Shenandoah Mountain 100.

    Just a couple of miles to the East is Massanutten Mountain and all the goodness it provides. A NORBA XC race (Hoo Ha) is held there.

    In town at Hillandale Park are the Rocktown trails.

    With one of the best bike shops around, the influx of youth from JMU.....it's the real deal IMO.

    -mtnpat

    PS: There is a reason World and National Champions call Harrisonburg home.....just saying.

  7. #7
    another bozo on the bus
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnpat View Post
    The burg is one of the best bicycling communities you will find anywhere. Just a few short miles to the West are hundreds of miles of first class singletrack. Go ride Dowels Draft, Braley Pond and Wolf Ridge and you will quickly see what all the talk is about. This is home ground for the Shenandoah Mountain 100.

    Just a couple of miles to the East is Massanutten Mountain and all the goodness it provides. A NORBA XC race (Hoo Ha) is held there.

    In town at Hillandale Park are the Rocktown trails.

    With one of the best bike shops around, the influx of youth from JMU.....it's the real deal IMO.

    -mtnpat

    PS: There is a reason World and National Champions call Harrisonburg home.....just saying.
    Let's also not forget some of the best technical riding 30 miles to the in Wolf Gap/ Big Schloss and all of the trails on the ridge above Fort Valley that make up "The Ring." Top notch for sure. I'm making the move by Jan 1.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalking_horse View Post
    I just looked up some of the WV trail reviews on here and folks were a little down on some of the rides because they were so raw and poorly maintained.
    "Poorly maintained" is probably just smooth trail riders not being used to tough and hardcore miles. But don't get me wrong, Pisgah is great. I'm just defending some of the best riding on the east coast.

  9. #9
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    I've lived in Charlottesville, ridden extensively in Harrisonburg, and have spent a fair amount of time down in Asheville as well. Harrisonburg is the real deal, but in a less 'Blue Ridge Outdoors' magazine sort of way. It doesn't get all the glossy publicity, but the riding is on the same level. The trailheads and trail networks may be a bit harder to find, and they don't see near the amount of traffic as Bent Creek, Fish Hatchery, Mills Creek, etc., but they more than deliver on top notch backcountry riding.

    I'd move back to Charlottesville in a heartbeat if the opportunity was there. The riding options are down right endless. Great local spots right in and outside of town, Sherando Lake/Big Levels 45 minutes away, Richmond spots 1hr. away, Harrisonburg 1 1/4hr. away, Lynchburg (Liberty Mtn.) 1 1/2hrs. out, Carvin's Cover 2hrs. out, Asheville 6hr drive.

    Like was said above - do some of the 'must rides' in the GWNF outside Harrisonburg - Dowell's Draft, Ramsey's Draft, Chestnut Ridge, Wolf Ridge, Narrowback, ST, stand atop Reddish Knob and you'll be hooked!

  10. #10
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    the 1st rule of fight club is......

  11. #11
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pisgah View Post
    "Poorly maintained" is probably just smooth trail riders not being used to tough and hardcore miles. But don't get me wrong, Pisgah is great. I'm just defending some of the best riding on the east coast.
    West Virginia miles = Carvin's Cove miles x 2, or 3

  12. #12
    bikeboatbrewski
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    Fify


    Quote Originally Posted by bagtagley View Post
    i'd be much more inclined to live in staunton than harrisonburg. Less girls with words written on their asses, but i still prefer it.

  13. #13
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    Wow, guys, pretty convincing stuff. Obviously, at the very least, I need to plan a trip to see the folks and carve out some riding days.
    "Harrisonburg is the real deal, but in a less 'Blue Ridge Outdoors' magazine sort of way. It doesn't get all the glossy publicity, but the riding is on the same level."
    That's kind of what I was getting at, and what I was hoping to hear. Asheville seems to go out of its way, at the city level and through official tourism channels, to tout its outdoorsy creds. I haven't seen the same kind of stuff come out of C'ville or H'burg, but that doesn't mean it's not there.
    My only concern is that I work long hours, so I really prize close-to-town riding. Looks like Massanutten is close enough for weekdays, and the other rides are good for the weekends.

  14. #14
    featherweight clydesdale
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    If in doubt, just show up to one of the Stokesville festivals, like the one coming up October 5th weekend. SVBC has its stuff together for sure.

    If Charlottesville is in play, while we lost Panorama in 2005, four other venues have come up or are currently coming up, in it's place. Public ones are Preddy Creek and Byrom are both currently open for use and under development with many more potential miles. Preddy (570 acres) only has about 150' of topo, Byrom (620 acres) has 1,600 bottom to top. Private ones are Forest Lakes (10 miles out the backdoor of 1,300 houses) and Teventrails.

    Biscuit Run State Park (1,200 acres) just south of I-64 will happen in a couple years once it's adequately funded and will be connected to the RTF, providing an epic ride without leaving town. Charlottesville truly has more opportunity to build trail than we can handle in the next 10 years.

    CAMBC needs to take a page or two from SVBC and figure out how to navigate the RTP grant program. SVBC has done a great job leveraging its volunteer labor pool to contract professional builders to really knock out the miles. If anyone wants to write and administer grants (for the love of it), contact me.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
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  15. #15
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    Fattirewilly,
    Thanks for the intel. Didn't know about Forest Lakes -- that's funny because when I was a teenager and we moved there, we lived in Forest Lakes. I know there are paved paths but I didn't know there were trails back there.
    I also didn't know about Patricia Byron Park. My folks live out in the country northwest of Earlysville, so Byrom is particularly close to them. Glad to hear things are being developed and there is a lot more good stuff to come.
    Is there a video anywhere online of Byrom? Couldn't find one on Youtube. Would love to see the trails.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalking_horse View Post
    Fattirewilly,
    Thanks for the intel. Didn't know about Forest Lakes -- that's funny because when I was a teenager and we moved there, we lived in Forest Lakes. I know there are paved paths but I didn't know there were trails back there.
    I also didn't know about Patricia Byron Park. My folks live out in the country northwest of Earlysville, so Byrom is particularly close to them. Glad to hear things are being developed and there is a lot more good stuff to come.
    Is there a video anywhere online of Byrom? Couldn't find one on Youtube. Would love to see the trails.
    Folks are out near Teven Trails. Forest Lake trails were built 2006-2009. Byrom only has about 3 miles at the moment, it's being built. Byrom has been a bit of a tough sell to get volunteers out to, many can get to Sherando before Byrom time wise. Bryom has tons of potential though.

    I know there's a video of Preddy Creek on YouTube
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  17. #17
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    I'm heading down and staying at mass utter man on we'd of this week. We have three days. Can you all recommend the best three day epic trails we need to hit. Well drive to trailheads. All day epic types of rides are good! We have maps and gps garmin but this thread inspired me to post one more time before heading down!

  18. #18
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by jomissa View Post
    I'm heading down and staying at mass utter man on we'd of this week. We have three days. Can you all recommend the best three day epic trails we need to hit. Well drive to trailheads. All day epic types of rides are good! We have maps and gps garmin but this thread inspired me to post one more time before heading down!
    Step 1: go to SBC bike shop in Harrisonburg. Get maps and info

    If you choose to skip step 1, Ride bike up road all the way to top or to "the Overlook" from inside Massanutten. when at top, turn right. Or, go through gate, down 20 yards and then left. Hours of great riding to be found on the backside of Massanutten.
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
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  19. #19
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    thanks willy-we are doing that but massanutten is not where we want to stay for three days....how about the MUST DO's?

  20. #20
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    "Folks are out near Teven Trails."

    Willy, I searched the web and couldn't find anything on the Teven Trails. Do they go by another name or are they just supersecret?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jomissa View Post
    Can you all recommend the best three day epic trails we need to hit.
    Get your hands a National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map #791 that covers the Staunton/Shenandoah Mtn. portion of the George Washington National Forest.

    Epic #1: GWNF. Up Hankey Mtn./down Dowell's draft. Highway 250 to Mountain House - up Bridge Hollow, down Ramsey's draft.

    Epic #2: ride Massanutten. Since you're staying there, do a morning, then afternoon session. If riding up to the lookout from the resort side, take a right at the summit, and blue to pink to blue if I have my colors right. Just explore all the trails. Bomb the downhills!

    Epic #3: back to the GWNF. Up Reddish Knob either by the paved road to the east, or the forest road to the west and around the backside. Down Chestnut Ridge. Back up the lower 1/3 of Reddish to up Lynn Trail (only trail on here that will most likely require some hike-a-bike). Down Wolf Ridge.

    Epics #1 and #3 cover 4 of the 5 downhills in the Shenandoah Mtn. 100 race.

    ST (Southern Traverse - official IMBA epic) I believe is still chocked with downed trees. Stay away.

    If you need trail #'s or more detailed intell, post up. May be able to help.

  22. #22
    featherweight clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by stalking_horse View Post
    "Folks are out near Teven Trails."

    Willy, I searched the web and couldn't find anything on the Teven Trails. Do they go by another name or are they just supersecret?
    Not secret, just private. The owning family does regular group rides, sign the waiver, no problems. The 6-hour Paranormal race is also coming up there. I think there's a map on the registration link below.

    https://www.bikereg.com/Net/17264
    Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club
    www.cambc.org

  23. #23
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    Wow, Teven is literally across the street from my parents. I've jogged past them hundreds of times without noticing them.

  24. #24
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    i can't comment on asheville since i've never been, but i live in h'burg and just started riding again last year after about 10 years off. the riding's incredible and getting better all the time thanks to the SVBC. the new reroutes up on narrowback and lookout are insanely good; i rode them both yesterday. and there's new trail at massanutten being cut all the time. this place is a blast.

  25. #25
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    Harrisonburg is the best kept secret in mountain biking. It's actually no secret at all, you just don't see the photos in glossy ad rags you find on news stands. I think it says something that some of the heavy hitting Ashevillans make semi regular trips to the burg. Just come visit and ride the stuff

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