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Professional mountain biker Jeremiah Bishop will lead an epic race along his favorite training route. Photo: Michael Negrete

National mountain bike champion Jeremiah Bishop has dominated race courses all over the world. Now, the elite Harrisonburg, Va.-based rider is ready to host a race of his own. Taking place on September 24, the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo will expose cyclists to Bishop’s favorite backyard training ride, a rugged 95-mile slog with 10,654 feet of climbing. The route travels west from Harrisonburg along the winding roads of the Shenandoah Valley, before facing screeching descents and monster climbs in the Allegheny Mountains near the Virginia/West Virginia border.

“This will be an eye-opening experience for a lot of cyclists,” Bishop says. “The dramatic contrasts in landscape and terrain on the loop make you feel like you’ve ridden to another country and back.”

The field of riders is set to include some of the region’s best, including Ben King, Andy Guptill, Tinker Juarez, and Joe Dombroski, who will battle four major 20-percent grade ascents, including the leg-crushing Fultz Gap. A 71-mile Shenandoah Mountain Medio Route and a 24-mile Valley View Piccolo Route will also be offered.

Bishop will also host a pre-race party the night before the rides in the style of European Gran Fondo events.

“I travel around the world to great events,” he says. “This is a chance to bring the party here and expose people to the world-class riding we have in Harrisonburg. My plan is for this event to get bigger.”

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