BikingMust-Do Mountain Bike Races

Must-Do Mountain Bike Races

Don’t miss these fall fat tire favorites—from hundred-mile epics to white-knuckle downhill screamers.

September 5 • Stokesville, Va.

Epic yet attainable. That’s how this race is often described—a great option for aspiring 100-milers to conquer the distance. The loop course through the George Washington National Forest has some hardcore climbs, including a big lift on the Lynn Trail and the long 20-mile ascent of Shenandoah Mountain. But what goes up must come down, so you’ll be rewarded with bomber payoffs on Dowes Draft and Chestnut Ridge.

September 19 • Davis, W.Va.

One of the longest running MTB races in the region, the Rattlesnake has been rolling since 1983. A great ride through West Virginia’s fat tire mecca, the race departs from Davis and uses the world-class trail systems in Blackwater Falls State Park and the Canaan Valley. This race is also the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association’s Ultra Championship.

October 2 • Hiram, Ga.

Just west of Atlanta, the Paulding County chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association is a diligent crew of serious trail builders. They showcase their best work on Brushy Mountain’s 40- and 80-mile courses that creatively connect a mix of twisty singletrack, old dirt roads, and the Silver Comet rail trail. Plus, you’re not only racing other riders, you also have to beat the clock. If you don’t hit checkpoints in time, you’re pulled from the course.

October 3 • Roanoke, Va.

There’s a reason pro riders like Jeremiah Bishop continually hit the starting line of this short but sadistically sweet race. A max field of 200 racers pump their quads up the near 20-percent grade of Poor Mountain, just west of Roanoke. The gnarly eight-mile grind on dirt and gravel leaves every racer breathless, thanks to an incline steeper than anything faced in the Tour de France.

October 17 • Greenville, S.C.

Throw on some pads and give in to gravity. Downhill is a different beast in the MTB world. You charge straight down the trail, racing against the clock—along the way hammering through roots, rocks, logs, bridges, and drops. The bomber runs at Paris Mountain State Park attract a pro field—thanks to big prize payouts.

October 23 • Charlottesville, Va.

Trick or treat! Show up in costume and get a five-minute time bonus. This six-hour endurance race starts in the late afternoon and carries into the dark autumn evening. The uber-fun course at Tevendale Farm features pastoral Blue Ridge foothills field riding mixed with wooded twisty singletrack. Riders also get a great blend of short steep climbs and surprise descents.

Places to Go, Things to See: