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  1. #1
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    Recommend us a March weekend get-a-way!

    As the title states, my fiancÚ and I are looking to escape Mother Nature's winter grip on us for a long weekend of riding in the VA or WV area...really anywhere w/ no snow and great riding. We are coming from the Capital Region of NY down I-81.

    We are looking at March 21-24th. It will be us 2 plus our cattle dog. Right now I am looking into the Roanoke area as we were going to ride Carvins Cove in the fall along a road trip but got snow/rained out.

    We prefer technical, challenging terrain, beautiful scenery, and grin-inducing descents.

    Suggestions on locations with access to multiple trail systems, or single systems large enough for a few days of riding. Would also appreciate some suggestions on lodging, we prefer to rent a vacation home that allows pets (vs a hotel).

    Thanks for any info and if anyone gives a good hook up will pay with beer!

  2. #2
    I need a new name
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    Sounds like you want to ride Iron Mountain in Damascus. There are 2-3 days worth of riding there. If you want to stay in the Roanoke area, check out Dragon's Back. I haven't ridden there yet but friends say it's exactly what you're looking for.
    i ride bikes

  3. #3
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    Also near Roanoke, Douthat.

  4. #4
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    Good Stuff- Thanks for the info. What are your thoughts on the Carvin Cove system? Something worth checking out...what are the trails like actually?

    Also, what are some of the local clubs in the area...I saw the SVBC up near Harrisonburg. Any others in the area? I am the president of the Saratoga Mountain Bike Association in NY so I like to link up with other clubs and see how they operate.

  5. #5
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Much of the national forest fits the bill for what you want to ride, with Harrisonburg being maybe the best spot to access that. National Forest riding is good in Roanoke, Damascus and the Bluefield area too. Although Dragons Back in Roanoke is pretty easy to navigate, most national forest riding requires some research and local knowledge. SVBC and Shenandoah Mountain Touring are good sources of info for Harrisonburg.

    Roanoke IMBA (RIMBA on Facebook) is our local club. For riders who want to go to one spot, park and ride multiple trails it is hard to beat Carvins Cove and Douthat. Douthat has big climbs and big descents, more physically demanding trails. Carvins Cove has good descents also with not quite as big climbs. 40 miles of single track in Douthat, 30+ and growing in Carvins Cove with maybe 15 miles of doubletrack hooking it all together. You can ride most of Douthat in a day, 2 days for the Cove because it is not as compact (the Cove is 13,000 acres versus 4,000 acres in Douthat). It is all good singletrack, the Cove has some easier lakeside trails too, not so for Douthat. Neither place is as technical as what you will find on the national forest.

    Douthat cabins are awesome if you can get one. Wilderness Adventure near New Castle also has some cool lodging, not sure on the dog - you would have to just check with them on what they have. They are more set up for groups but stilll would be worth checking out.

  6. #6
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    Those cabins at Douthat look perfect but are filled up. Typically speaking, is it camping weather at all during March?...obviously dependent on storms like the one you just got.

  7. #7
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    Those cabins at Douthat look perfect but are filled up. Typically speaking, is it camping weather at all during March?...obviously dependent on storms like the one you just got.
    Iffy in March, but could be OK if you are tough. Riding should be OK by then. Heck I hope to roll somewhere this weekend, 50's forecast sounds good.

  8. #8
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    I've been thinking about asking a similar question, and these all look like great suggestions. As someone who likes to get technical and play on rocks, are these places I'd feel silly bringing a 6" bike?

  9. #9
    CrgCrkRyder
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazarus2405 View Post
    I've been thinking about asking a similar question, and these all look like great suggestions. As someone who likes to get technical and play on rocks, are these places I'd feel silly bringing a 6" bike?
    Probably overkill but if you can get it up the hill you will have fun getting it down.

    Blue Ridge Gravity is the local group focused on all things big bike. They are presently building a new free ride zone at the top of the old Gauntlet trail at Carvins Cove. If you get in the area Just the Right Gear on Rt 311 is a good source of information.
    The "D" Cup

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/212779815464313/

  10. #10
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    OP here...we are going to be staying in a cabin outside of Lexington. Looks to be about half way between Roanoke and Harrisonburg with good proximity to both Douthat SP and Carvins Cove.

    Are there any other must hit trails systems that are near Lexington? We are bringing a couple Knolly Endorphins

  11. #11
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    Well, Douthat and and Carvin's are both more southern. Towards Staunton you have all of the Stokesville stuff, at the least you can make a day of Lookout and Narrow Back. Go a little north and west of Harrisonburg and Reddish Knob is always worth it. You might also look into the Southern Traverse. I'm not certain what the status of Sherando is these days, but if it's still open accessible and not in some sort of conflict, that can be a good ride.

  12. #12
    CrgCrkRyder
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    A little ways out from you between Lexington and Clifton Forge is one of my favorites on North Mountain at Longdale. Black Friday Longdale Ride

    Whetstone Ridge is not too far from where you are staying. Backcountry and technical from what I hear. Also Sherando Lake.
    CAMBC - Local Trails

  13. #13
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    Douthat would be my first choice for big mountain riding. There are some trees down on the trails.
    Example ride.
    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Douthat near Millboro | Times and Records | Strava

    Sherando is good riding as well with some good technical rock gardens. You can park outside the park at one of the the pull offs so you don't have to pay.
    Example ride.
    Mountain Bike Ride Profile | Snowrando - slip and slide near Lyndhurst | Times and Records | Strava

    Carvins is also tons of fun but may be a little wet with the weather this week. I would avoid whetstone ridge unless you like hike a bike. You may also run into some snow at the high elevations with the snow falling today.

  14. #14
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    Strava! I never even thought of that as a resource...speaking of resources. Do people recommend any nearby bike shops to stop in for trail recommendation/maps? If not, are maps readily available at these biking locations.

    It seems the trails are a little more back country than what I'm used to so I don't want to get us into an unplanned camping trip.

    Right now we are thinking:

    Friday: get the Lexington/Harrisonburg around noon: find a good couple hour afternoon loops.

    Saturday: Put in a long day at Douthat

    Sunday: possibly carvins cove or maybe north mountain or sherando?

    Monday Morning: Something local to Lexington or Harrisonburg before we jet out of town.

    Help me fill in the blanks?

  15. #15
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    Shenandoah Bicycle Company in Harrisonburg has maps and the folks there will be happy to chat and send you in the direction of what you type of riding you might be looking for. Some trails will probably be a bit soggy after this last snow fall, but other trails will be in good shape. They might actually be starting their weekly Friday rides this week, so you might tag along on that if its going on. You had mentioned wanting hook up with folks from local clubs and Kyle Laurence is the SVBC pres and works at the shop. If you are looking to ride something chunky on Monday, I would be up for showing you some stuff 30 minutes North of the burg on.

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