Outdoor Adventure Editor Greg Dunn Gives Us a Heads Up on Some of the Best Spring Events
Nine months into my new life as a Dad, and one year into my new business, and I’ve finally slowed down enough to get back on my bike. I’ve only taken that much time off from riding two times before, both of which were forced, due to ACL surgeries on my right knee. This time it was a choice that I was happy to make, but it is nice to be back! Riding consistently now for a few weeks, I am finally feeling close to normal, except for a couple extra pounds of “baby weight” that I need to shed. I am pretty sure there are studies to prove that babies can cause fathers to gain a few pounds too, right?
Winter has a tendency to put a damper on our desire to get outside and exercise so, what better way to get “tuned up” this spring, than to plan an outdoor adventure in Southern Appalachia! The road riding and mountain biking around here is world class. Tons of whitewater, and rugged terrain make this area the perfect stage for the ultimate adventure race.
Whether you have a strong desire for competition or just want to enjoy the adventure with other enthusiasts, here are a few top notch events to consider:
April 2-3 – Italian Road Bike Festival
My friends at Cartecay Bikes in downtown Ellijay, GA will once again host one of the best road rides in the region. For 19 years, the Italian Road Bike Festival has brought cyclists from all over the country to tour the challenging countryside of Gilmer, Fannin and Murray counties in North Georgia. Start your riding season with some of the best scenic road riding that the southeast has to offer! Choose from 3 rides; intermediate, advanced and expert levels
Gianni Bugno (43 miles) is an intermediate level ride with lots of rolling hills and about 3000 ft of climbing.
Marco Pantani ( 70 miles) is an advanced level ride including rolling hills, about 6,500ft of total climbing, including one 7 mile climb
Giro de Ellijay (104 miles) includes over 10,000 ft of total climbing, including two major mountain climbs. this is an extremely difficult ride (no joke, do not attempt unless you are a very advanced rider). All rides will include a cue sheet/map, well marked roads, Support stations (water, sport drinks, fruit), and broom wagon for those that have mechanical problems etc.
April 30 – Cohutta 100/Big Frog 65 MTB Race
The Cohutta 100 and Big Frog 65 are two “classic” ultra endurance MTB races that take place in the Appalachian foothills of Southeastern Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest. Both distances offer fun and challenging singletrack mixed with beautiful stretches of fire roads that meander through the forest.
May 2 – Singletracks.com BRUTAL LOOP
Join Singletracks.com – Mountain Bike Trails & Reviews on a ride through some of our favorite trails in North Georgia!
The ride will begin and end at Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway, on Saturday, May 2nd. Sign in will begin at 8:00 AM and we will roll out at 9:00 AM.
We invite you to hang out after the ride. Cabins and camping available for lodging at Mulberry Gap, if desired. A two night minimum is required during this high season. Snacks, typical full course dinner and beer available for purchase. Food reservations must be made in advance. The route is still being finalized, but there will be a long option and a short option.
The long option will ride: Mountaintown Creek, Bear Creek, and Pinhoti 1 & 2. This will be a long day on the bike, so be prepared!
The short option will ride: Bear Creek and Pinhoti 1 & 2. This route will be around 20+ miles, with plenty of climbing.
Maps for both routes will be provided at check in on Saturday morning. This event is just a ride, not a race. Ride as fast or as slow as you want. We encourage you to ride with at least one partner, but you also need to be self-sufficient. Carry all the water, food, and tools you need with you. Participation is limited to 75 people, so reserve your spot soon!
May 21 – Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race
The Blue Ridge Mountain Adventure Race has been a huge success and has drawn people to Fannin County from all over the country. There will be an eight hour event for those new to the sport, as well as the massive 24 hour version that is sure to challenge the most hearty of competitors. Adventure racers have to navigate through the rugged terrain of the Appalachian Mountains through various means of travel including running, cycling, paddling, climbing, and rappelling.