mountain biking in roanoke, va

longing for some real “mountain” biking, we decided to check out the trails in roanoke, va, supposedly nicknamed “the colorado springs of the east.” we got a 7am start and including breakfast in hillsborough, made it to downtown roanoke a little after 10am. we drove down the streets of downtown to find the visitor center, the quaintness and liveliness of the small city made a favorable impression on us, but we were anxious to hit the trails so we picked up some maps and decided we would definitely return later for lunch.the first trail we were seeking was carvin’s cove trail, we drove through most of the town to get to one entrance of the reservoir that was off hwy 11 near hollins university. we had to pay $2/person for riding permits and then started riding at the nearest trailhead. it was an easy fire road trail, we passed a 1/2 mile marker and then the 1 mile marker and singletrack was no where to be found. luckily, jeff had remembered that there was another entrance to the trail mentioned in the singeltracks post so we turned around and headed back to the car. it was a good warmup ride, but hardly the “mountain” biking we were looking for. we foolishly forgot to print out the directions/description from singletracks so we drove around for a while looking for the other trail access point. i picked up a brochure earlier at the visitors center detailing outdoor activities in the area and found mention of a local bike shop, the right gear bike shop, that would surely be able to point us in the right direction. sure enough we got a map of the trails and directions and were finally off to carvin’s cove. we started off riding through a neighborhood and where the pavement ended near a stocked fishery, we started a long fireroad climb. it was a gradual, middle ring climb… it felt good to just pedal uphill for more than 2 minutes for once. i felt like i was back in colorado springs, climbing up gold camp road. we climbed about 800 ft and was ready for some sweet downhill on clown head trail. this singletrack descent was steep and narrow and a little bit technical. would have been nice to have a full-suspension riding down this part. at the bottom, there was more singletrack that was scenic and flowing. there were tons more trails to be explored, but we decided to save that for another day since we were starving for lunch. we went back to downtown for lunch and spent a little time at the farmer’s market and window shopping before grabbing some rabbit patch wraps and an iced coffee, yum!

refeuled and refreshed, we were ready for more biking. a short drive on the blue ridge parkway led us to explore park, home of subura outback mountain bike trails . well-built trails that are extremely fast and rolling. everything was well-signed except for the expert loop, which was partly overgrown. we got a little lost here which made it feel like the longest 2 mile loop ever…until the next 2 mile loop that spurred off the main trail. by this point, we were definitely feeling the 2000+ ft of climbing taking a toll on our weary-spoiled-by-flatlands legs. we finished the trail with no feeling left in our legs. its a miserable feeling, but a satisfying one. the whole day was more than satisfying, knowing mountains and a nostalgic feel of colorado springs is only 150 miles away!

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