Thursday, October 30, 2014

11.2.14 Torture on Torry Ridge | FREE Event #11 in Virginia's Mountain Biking Endurance Series

What is the Virginia Endurance Series?
Start Time: 9am, Sunday November 2, 2014
Start Location: Sherando Lake
Start Location Map / Directions:

FOLDER containing all Full Resolution Route Images: LINK
Drawn GPX File: LINK
Distance: ~41 miles
Climbing: ~7,100 feet

Route Overview: Courtesy of Bill Hazlegrove of the Hazlegrove Agency
For a high-resolution JPG and an easy printing PDF CLICK HERE

Cue Sheet: (Thank you Mark Smith!)
1. From parking lot at the back of Sherando lake camp ground near upper lake dam, take a right at gate to field.

2. Follow Slacks Run trail all the way up to a right on Torry Ridge.  There will be a couple lefts along the way. If you take either of these by accident, you’ll end up in a parking lot along the Parkway.

3. Ride Torry Ridge ~4.5 miles then descend taking a left (~9.7 miles into the ride).  Very steep and narrow here.  At the bottom of the descent there is a no-name trail to the right, stay left through a dry creek with a steep climb out.  Fun little section with some small jumps.

Bailout option: If you take a right at the top to “Torry Furnace”, you can take the paved road route 664 back to Sherando lake. 
4. After crossing a small creek, take a left in the “vehicle turn around” onto Mill Creek / Turkey Pen Ridge.  Follow this trail all the way to the top of the mountain.  The local challenge is to make the switch back climb all the way up without stopping or clicking out of your pedals. The last 100 yards to the camp spot are the hardest.  Good luck.

Bailout option: turn left onto jeep road and follow direction from line 7 below
5. Turn right and follow the jeep road for ~3-3.5 miles and turn right onto Kennedy Ridge trail.  This trail starts out with some fun rock sections then a fast descent to the coal road.

Bailout option: Turn right and follow coal road all the way back to route 664
6. Turn left on the coal road.  After ~3 miles yield left onto jeep road.  You will climb for ~5-5.5 miles on the jeep road (stay on switch backs).  You will pass by the Kennedy Ridge trail head again in the opposite direction.

7. Just past the camping spot at the top of Mill Creek / Turkey Pen Ridge trail on the jeep road, you will yield left off the main jeep road.  Less than a couple hundred yards up this dirt road, turn left on Torry Ridge trail.  Along this section of Torry Ridge is a very challenging rock section.  Please be careful!

Just over a mile down Torry Ridge, take a left back onto Slacks Run.  Follow this back to car.

Route Details:
Miles 0 to 7:
Miles 7 to 14:
Miles 13 to 20:
Miles 20 to 31:
Miles 31 to End:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Iron Forge | Virginia Endurance Series and RIMBA Local Destination Ride

Two 19th Century Blast Furnaces, Two Mythic Backcountry Rides, Two Historic Counties, One Epic Day: Sunday, October 19th, 2014.

Stage One | 9AM | Roaring Run Furnace.
Start Location:
Distance: 12 miles

Stage Two | 1:30PM | Longdale Furnace
Start Location:
Distance: 16 miles
Roaring Run Furnace
Longdale Furnace
Stage One: Roaring Run Furnace.
Location: Roaring Run Furnace Recreation area parking lot. Note that parking is limited. Overflow along the roadside. Take 615 off 220 (Eagle Rock) for 6 miles, then right on 621. Go 1 mile to sign and recreation area on left.
Ride Starts: 9AM.
Distance: 12 miles.
Description: The ride leaves the rec area parking lot for a 1 mile prologue that takes us to the Roaring Run blast furnace that produced pig iron in the 1800’s, some of which was used for Civil War munitions. It stands like a stone pyramid, and it gorged itself on trees, stripping the area barren in those days. Thank goodness for Mother Nature’s superior healing abilities. Then, the singletrack winds its way to then namesake Roaring Run Falls, gorgeous and most impressive following a stout rain. A quick return past the parking area leads us to the Iron Ore Trail, a solid 3 mile ore grade climb up the flank of Rich Patch mountain. Once up, we take the lower Hoop Hole Trail for an astonishing and beautiful decent, with wild rarely used Allegheny trail lined with rhododendron and and laurel, with several creek crossings. After the eventful decent, we emerge at the Hoop Hole trailhead before descending by road on 615 to 621 and a return to the start.
Transfer: 30 Minute Drive
It’s 24 miles between stages. Lunch and supplies can be found at Kelley’s Market on 220.

Take a right out of Roaring Run Recreation area onto 621. Go one mile, then left on 615 back to US 220. take a left (north) on 220. Go just over 10 miles, then right just prior to the bridge leading before the town of Iron Gate, on McKinney Hollow Rd. Follow McKinney Hollow (it has some twists and turns, just stay on McKinney Hollow and you’re good) winding your way to Longdale Furnace road. Take a right (east) going almost 4 miles to Longdale Furnace Recreation Area on right. The dirt road has a right fork a short ways in, take the right. If the gate is open, parking is ahead through gate. If not, pick any spot you like.

The way through Pete's Cave

Stage Two: Longdale Furnace.
Location: Longdale Furnace Recreation area parking lot. Note that parking is limited. Overflow along the roadside.
Ride Starts: 1:30PM.
Distance: 16 miles (more available). Ride varies slightly from this outline.
Downloadable, high quality map of the loop. Ideally, 11X17 printed: Longdale 16 Loop Map
Description: The Longdale/North Mountain loop packs tremendous variety and excellence in a compact package. From the site of an 1800’s blast furnace named Lucy Selina, you’ll encounter: forest road, long dirt climb, sweet Allegheny ridgetrail, amazing views, unusual rock formations, challenging sidehill descent, and a long closed National Forest swimming lake. The ride rises through the rec area to a rolling 3 mile forest road climb. At a junction of the North Mountain trail, bear left across creek continuing on the forest road, arriving at a National Forest parking area with kiosk. Out of the parking lot, take a right up Collierstown Road for a dirt climb of 3 miles, rising over 1000,’ to the North Mountain ridge. At the intersection near a radio tower, take a right dropping down road slightly to reveal a trail, up sharply on the right. The next half mile of the North Mountain trail reveals stunning views across Rockbridge County to the east, and beyond. Stop and enjoy several viewpoints before the trail hits the hardwoods. In just over 3 miles of generally climbing singletrack, a steep hike and narrow crevasse called Pete’s Cave provides a one-of-a-kind experience. Once through, right at the top, walk right onto the boulder overlook. To the northwest is a canvas of massive views of I-64 and the Alleghenies off in the far distance towards West Virginia. Continue on trail until we drop off the ridge at a trail sign (right). The drop is classic, through a deep V hollow with several swaps from side-to-side. The trail ends at the forest road junction passed earlier, exiting the way we approached.

There are options here to extend the adventure, or, duck downhill on the dirt road to a cold refreshment waiting.

Driving Directions: Roaring Run Furnace, Kelley's Market, Longdale Furnace