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Appalachians - Rides & Hosts
RIDE: Six Gap and Brass Town | MILES: 100 | LOCATION: Dahlonega, GA
Six Gap is a 100 mile loop up and down six of the steepest climbs in the North Georgia Mountains. Hogpen Gap, averaging 7% for seven miles, is the toughest. Jacks Gap feels like gravel under a thin layer of pavement. Averaging 13% with 24% pitches, Brass Town is rotten and malicious. Wolf Pen Gap is reminiscent of European climbs with its narrow roads and hairpin u-shaped corners. Thankfully the last gap on the way back to Dahlonega is the also the easiest. At any point on this ride when you’re suffering and ready to start walking, just remember that even Lance thought Six Gap was unusually cruel.
RIDE: French Broad River | MILES: 105 | LOCATION: Ashville, NC
Blue Ridge Parkway was America’s first, and ultimately longest rural parkway, connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina. From Boone, Blowing Rock, Beech Mountain and Assault on Mt. Mitchell to Skyline Drive, the parkway’s wicked climbs and rugged terrain is steeped in cycling lore and history. French Broad River, a 105 loop out of Asheville, North Carolina, is an exemplary century-long sample of this amazingly epic cycling region.
RIDE: Cold Knob | MILES: 110 | LOCATION: Frankford, WV
Cold Knob is a 110 mile loop through the Monongahela National Forest in southeastern West Virginia. On rural, near empty and narrow country lanes - some paved and some still dirt and gravel - this ride is true to the challenging nature and history of West Virginia’s mountains. Cold Knob begins in the Greenbrier River Valley before climbing into the Monongahela where it passes along the edge of the Cranberry Wilderness. This route features miles of climbing, several dying coal and timber towns and often exceptionally pleasant encounters with loggers, hunters, bears and bobcats.
RIDE: Lost River | MILES: 95 | LOCATION: Mathias, WV
Hardy County and the town of Mathias, West Virginia, where Lost River barn is located, was settled in the late 18th and early 19th century by Dutch, German and Scottish immigrants. They were drawn to the area’s lush, fertile river valleys and meadows. Lost River Ride is a 95 mile loop through this still beautiful and sparsely populated region of the Appalachian Mountains. The ride, on paved and gravel roads both, features twisty descents, a range of climbs, very little flat and 8000 feet of climbing. And the chance to outrun fox, deer, mountain lion and maybe even a bear.
RIDE: Centre Ramble | MILES: 70 | LOCATION: State College, PA
Centre Ramble ambles along the forgotten farm lanes of Happy Valley Pennsylvania, the geographic center of the state. The ride starts with rolling climbs past Amish farms and men in black suits plowing the fields. Then it follows spring creek, world famous for its fly fishing, before leaving the pavement for a series of dirt roads and mountain passes, where vistas of fat green hills and river valleys, farmscapes and hundreds of acres of protected forest, open around every bend.
RIDE: Diabolical Double | MILES: 128 | LOCATION: McHenry, MD
Completing the Diabolical Double, a double metric century loop through the Appalachian Mountains in Western Maryland, borders on the edge of feasibility. The roads in Garrett County are pristine, beautiful and near religious in their smooth, hard, fast perfection. This route features mile after mile of farms, forests and mountain vistas. And because it’s never flat and always steep, lots of pain.
RIDE: Northern Virginia Campaign | MILES: 95 | LOCATION: Haymarket, VA
Northern Virginia Campaign, a 95 mile loop, begins and ends in Haymarket, a small town just west of Manassas Battlefield Park, just out of reach of Washington DC’s sprawling suburbs. This ride takes place almost entirely on single and double lane farm roads, many of which predate the Civil War. What makes NVC epic is the area’s small town, agrarian and quiet wooded smells, sounds and 17th century atmosphere.