When Labor Day became an official national holiday to placate unions in 1894, few could have predicted it would become the spectacle it is today. Think about how far the world has come in the past 120 years: internal combustion engine, telephone, indoor plumbing, Twinkies, the return of Twinkies, etc. Plus, we finally have a point in time after which it is no longer acceptable to wear white. But there is one thing that has stayed the same throughout the history of Labor Day: Americans taking the first Monday of September to sit on their lazy butts, drink beer, eat barbeque, and not work. It may be because you work a physically taxing construction job, a mentally taxing IT job, or you are just depressed that Labor Day marks the end of Summer on most calendars.
This is the American Way, and it’s a good way. Heck, it’s gotten us through over a century of first-September-Mondays so why stop now? I’ll tell you why: this country needs a change. We should be through with celebrating holidays by doing just the opposite of what the name suggests. No more blacking out on Memorial Day, no more not-being-the-leader-of-the-free-world on President’s Day, and no more sitting around over Labor Day weekend. This year, put some labor into that thing you love, whether it be hiking, fishing, kayaking, or mountain biking. A great way to get started in 2013 is at the Shenandoah Mountain 100.
As the name suggests, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 is a 100-mile backcountry mountain bike race staged out of the Stokesville Campground outside Mt. Solon, Va. The race route snakes through the best trails in George Washington National Forest and includes nearly 14,000 feet of elevation gain. If you think you are up for the ride, online registration ends on Friday, August 30th, at 8pm so get online and sign up. For those not interested in pedaling 100 miles in a day, there are numerous volunteer opportunities. This is a great way to get involved in the race weekend without actually racing. Actually, it’s the only way: the campground is closed to non-racers and non-volunteers.
The racers go off on Sunday morning, but the party starts on Friday at noon when the campground opens, and doesn’t end until Monday afternoon. If you have never been to a mountain bike festival or stage race, it is a good, good time, especially after the racing is done and the adult beverages start flowing.
For more information on the race, and volunteering, visit the Shenandoah Mountain Touring website.