Southern Traverse Mountain Bike Adventure
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Back by popular demand – The Southern Traverse! The Southern Traverse is a true backcountry excursion; in fact, it is designated by the International Mountain Bike Association as an IMBA EPIC.
The Southern Traverse: 36 miles long, with about half of it awesome singletrack. This is certainly not an easy ride, with around 3,600 feet of elevation gain, so a fair amount of climbing is involved. As far as technical difficulty, there are not a lot of rocks or roots, only 3 real rock gardens, but there is a lot of very narrow singletrack along steep hillsides (no cliffs). However, it is not a ride for beginner mountain bikers. You should have intermediate to advanced skill and stamina. This ride is not a race, so we will be taking breaks from time to time to make sure we are together (if we have enough participants, we will split into multiple groups).
Details on the loop can be found here: MTB Project
Wear warm enough clothes, as it will be cooler on top of the ridge. Dress in layers, as you’ll likely get warm from exertion. November is a great time of year for this adventure – the leaves are down, so you can see through the forest, the undergrowth has died off so you don’t get tangled as you ride, and temperatures are mild, but not usually freezing.
Suitable bikes for this ride: any mountain bike. These loops have been ridden on everything from 6″ travel full-suspension with gears to rigid singlespeeds. But you will need a bike designed for mountain biking; a hybrid bike, or even a cross bike would not be a great choice.
Be sure to bring plenty of water; a hydration pack is recommended.
Saturday’s Ride: Meet at parking lot on FS 173 (Benson Run Road) at 9:30am
Expected ride time is 5-6 hours.
If we have enough participants, we will likely have 2 groups, each with it’s own ride leader and sweep to accommodate rider’s abilities
Cost: $25. ($35 after Oct 16) This covers a guide and snacks for during the ride.
Space is limited to 30, so register early!
Overnight accommodations: Participants are responsible for their own accommodations if they are coming from out of town. There is camping available in the George Washington Forest, hotels can be found in Harrisonburg, and cabins are available to rent on air-b-n-b, etc. Ride organizer does not provide overnight accommodations.
Directions to trailhead at FS 173 (Benson Run Road) for Saturday’s ride:
Directions to trailhead from north:
Take exit 240 for VA-257 toward Mt Crawford/Bridgewater 0.2 miles
Turn right onto VA-257 W 3.3 miles
Turn left onto VA-42 S/N Main St
Continue to follow VA-42 S 11.9 miles
Turn right onto State Rte 736 3.5 miles
Turn right onto US-250 W 6.8 miles
Turn left onto State Rte 629 5.9 miles
Turn right onto FS 173
Follow FS, bearing left. You’ll have to go through a gate, parking lot will be up the fireroad on the left. 0.8 miles.