Lindsey Carpenter, Harrisonburg, Va.
Dreams of: being outside, riding or fishing, puppies, what to cook for dinner
Kicked ass at: 2017 Pisgah Stage Race Enduro (first); 2017 Massanutten YEE-HA! Downhill Mountain Bike Race (first in Cat 1); 2016 “Full Pull” of Massanutten
Wishes she could ride like: Sue Haywood, my dad, my boy Sam
Jams out to: ‘90s rap, Beyoncé, classic rock
Fuels up mid-ride with: bacon or tuna, fruit cups, dinner leftovers, Route 11 potato chips
Ride the rocks at Lookout Mountain.
“The warmer days and early daffodils give me spring fever, and the only cure is to ride my bike and watch the green come back,” says Carpenter. “With more daylight and less cold toes, my friends and I plan more frequent rides and time spent outside.” The 13.1-mile Lookout Mountain loop near Stokesville, Va., traverses ridgelines, descends fast through technical rock gardens, and even takes riders past incredible overlooks of the North River area and Shenandoah Valley.
Join a local group ride.
It’s hard to stay motivated when the weather is still chill. Fortunately Harrisonburg, Virginia’s cycling community is one of the most active and dedicated cycling groups in the region, no matter the weather. On Mondays, hook up with the Social Mountain Bike Ride on the Massanutten Western Slope Trails at 5:30 p.m. On Thursday nights, cruise the Valley’s pavement with Rocktown Bicycles’ Steady Road Ride at 5:30 p.m. And finally, kick off the weekend early with the Friday Fatty Mountain Bike Ride, which leaves from Shenandoah Bicycle Company at 2 p.m.
Climb Reddish Knob.
It’s paved, it’s steep, and it’s long (8 miles to the summit), but it’s well worth the panoramic views and killer descent.
Satisfy your caffeine fix.
Test your mettle at one of Virginia’s premier bike events.
“The Stokesville 60/40K and the Stokesville Strade—Gravel Grinder have great courses that showcase some of the best spots to ride outside Harrisonburg,” says Carpenter. And with a low-key, inclusive vibe, even the most novice racer will feel comfortable pushing their limits.
Embrace the snow, if and when it comes.
“Winter is not always over come March,” says Carpenter. “The occasional snowy weather makes for late season ski trips to White Grass Ski Touring Center or Massanutten Resort.”
One easy way to do that in Harrisonburg is by getting your groceries from the Friendly City Food Co-Op, which features food and added value products from across the Shenandoah Valley.
Commute to work.
For Carpenter, work is a 15-mile ride away to Massanutten’s Bike Park. “One of my favorite small adventures is riding my mountain bike to work via country roads and then via trail up and over Massanutten Mountain to the resort. The ride to and from is usually about 30 miles, with 10 miles of singletrack!”
Land a lunker.
Brave the frigid waters of central Virginia and you’ll be rewarded with some of the best fly fishing in the region. “March is an excellent time for fishing, with trout and musky happy to bite, and the bass waking up,” says Carpenter. “The Shenandoah River is great for float trips, and Mossy Creek, Dry River, and Beaver Creek are popular fly fishing spots.”
Take a road trip south.
Whenever March decides to rear its cold, wet, and nasty head, it’s time to hit the road. “My dad and I take some friends to Georgia sometime during March for a Spring Break Training Camp. We spend four days riding road bikes out of Athens, usually covering at least 300 miles total during the trip.”
Ty Caldwell, Asheville, N.C.
Grew up on the banks of: the Nantahala
First got in a boat at the age of: six
When not kayaking: would rather be biking
Fears: girls, snakes and spiders. They are all the same…icky.
When paddling downriver, likes: to connect rapids in the smoothest way possible
Camp on Lake Santeetlah.
Go ahead and do a Google image search on this one. You won’t need much convincing after that. Surrounded by layers upon layers of North Carolina ridgelines, camping here will feel like the destination, though paddling the class IV-V Cheoah River is the real adventure you’re after. This 9-mile stretch of mostly continuous whitewater begins at Santeetlah Dam and is one of the Southeast’s most classic runs.
Get down at the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s Spring Fling.
Gear demos, downriver races, and freestyle surf competitions are just a few of the events that take place in this action-packed river weekend. There are also special releases for the Cascades and Upper sections of the Nantahala.
Tag the Tallulah.
Beginning in April, class IV paddlers can hit the Tallulah Gorge, a rowdy and remote run on the South Carolina-Georgia state line. The scheduled release dates can be found online at gastateparks.com/TallulahGorge.
Slide down the West Fork of the Tuckasegee.
Even if you’re not ready to tackle the class IV-V run, the put-in itself is well worth a visit. “The put-in for the West Fork of the Tuck is magnificent,” says Caldwell. “After a short hike through the woods the gorge opens up to High Falls, towering almost 100 feet. Venture behind the drop to find gravity defied as the wind travels up and the falling water droplets are held in place, floating in front of your eyes. Caution—this is more class V than the gorge itself.”
Get lost in Linville Gorge.
Okay, don’t actually get lost, though this 11,651-acre chunk of rugged canyonland is a federally designated wilderness area, so that certainly wouldn’t be hard to do. Come prepared for any excursion into Linville—the signs are few and far between, and the trail markings, non-existent. Grab a permit if you’re camping on the weekend and descend to the riverbank some 2,000 feet below Linville’s tallest point, Gingercake Mountain (4,120 feet). If you’re a solid class V paddler, the gorge’s namesake river is a 16-mile stretch of committing boulder-strewn whitewater that rivals any of the big runs out west.
Cruise and booze in Pisgah.
If you eat baby head rocks for breakfast and roots for lunch, Pisgah might very well be heaven on earth. Hit the legendary Black Mountain Trail for a rippin’ 1,400-foot techy descent in just 2.5 miles. Afterwards, head down the road to grab an adult beverage (or fix your bike, depending on how the ride went) at The Hub and Pisgah Tavern.
Ride Big Ivy.
Escape the crowds at one of Asheville’s lesser-known biking destinations, Big Ivy. There are over 30 miles of singletrack here, and with Forest Service Road 74 bisecting the area, it’s an easy place to set shuttle.
Try all of the sports at U.S. National Whitewater Center.
An adventure sanctuary for Charlotte, N.C., this impressive facility has over 30 miles of running and mountain biking trails on its 1,300-acre campus as well as a manmade river, canopy tour, zipline course, bouldering area, and the newly finished deep water solo climbing area.
Rise before dawn to catch the sunrise on Black Balsam.
Treeless balds are rare in the Southeast, especially ones with 360-degree views, which is why this part of Pisgah National Forest is so spectacular. Though you can be on a bald within a half-mile hike of your car, we recommend linking up a five-mile loop via the Art Loeb Trail to make the most of your dawn patrol outing to Black Balsam.
Sign up for a western North Carolina suffer fest.
Trust us, there are plenty of them. Held at the end of the month, Jerry’s Baddle is a dual sport race of epic caliber. Competitors must be experienced enough to paddle four miles through the Green River Narrows (class V) as well as strong enough to tackle 4,000 feet of climbing in the 26-mile road ride.