The Mountain Institute and Appalachian Dirt to Host Bicycle Race – July 10 thru 12

The Mountain Institute and Appalachian Dirt to Host Bicycle Race – July 10 thru 12

Circleville, WV—The Spruce Knob Gravel Stage Race will be held at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center from July 10th through the 12th. The race will take its two-wheeled bicycle warriors around the highest point of West Virginia at 4,800 ft. in elevation, across gnarled terrain and up grueling climbs, showcasing the stark beauty of the Appalachians.

The race will consist of one stage per day, for three days covering a total distance of over 140 miles. Riders can register under any of the solo competition categories for $160 or tailor their race by registering under The Spruce Experience for $50 per stage. Food packages and dormitory lodging are available for purchase, while camping at the venue is free.

Participation in The Spruce Knob Gravel Stage Race supports The Mountain Institute’s Appalachian Program, which offers experiential education programs to foster sustaining skills and stewardship within communities. If the daunting course doesn’t take your breath away—the landscapes will. Riders will navigate the stunning highlands, forests, and streams The Mountain Institute actively protects and conserves.

Registration closes Wednesday, July 8th. Visit to secure your spot!

For more information visit or email Zachary Adams from

Appalachian Dirt  at

Since 1972, The Mountain Institute (TMI) has worked hand-in-hand with the people who know mountains best — those who live there — to help them identify and implement solutions to improve their livelihoods and the health of their environments. The Mountain Institute currently works in the highest, longest and oldest mountains in the world – the Himalayas, Andes and Appalachians. Our programs now reach more than half a million people each year. For more info, go to . To learn about the Institute’s Appalachian Program, check out

Race updates will be featured on TMI’s Facebook page:

DirtSeeker: Greenville, SC

I’ve been going down to the Greenville area for the last 5 or so years now. Sometimes it’s to race, but usually it’s just to ride. Geographically it is lower rolling hills spread out below the “Southern Escarpment” where the lowlands meet the mountains and yield some pretty bad-ass mountains. Pisgah Nat’ll Forest and Mount Mitchell to the north, Dupont and Caesars Head to the west, Issequehnna to the south, and Paris Mountain smack dab in the middle. Mentally, after a long hard winter, I am dying to ride some dirt……total cabin fever. So I head south.

The mountain biking is what I’m truly going down for. It’s not the proverbial mecca like Sedona or Moab, but this spot down in Travelers Rest is a wonderful base camp with options and flexibility. SORBA does a ton of work on the trails down there, and it shows. Every year, there is more and more trail. Paris Mountain State Park is good for a solid ride with some repetition. Pleasant Ridge County Park near Marietta is a blast and is good for a morning or afternoon fast ride with berms and whoops slapping a grin on your face. I’ve spent the least time at Issequehnna down near Clemson, but that network seemed good for a longer ride as well.

Here’s a good one: Just about all the bike friendly trails in Paris MNT. Optimized for the longest downhill runs.  This route is a bit of a butt kicker, and can either be paired up with another ride, doubled up, or add in shuttle runs at the end on White Sulpher Trail.

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The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a paved rail trail/commuter trail that pairs up well with other rides. It’s a staple for being down there.


Click to access 039-05-02-01-Swamp-Rabbit-Brochure-2013.pdf

The road riding is a must for down there as well. When trails are muddy, it’s best to just hit the pave. There are climbs galore, and Caesars Head is a must. My favorite route down there includes the Caesars Head climb, rolling backroads around Dupont, and sections of Dirt Road as well.

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Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t epic routes or anything. They are solid rides that give you the flexibility to ride in a normally warmer climate with some dirt under your tires. I pretty much always double up on morning  and afternoon rides, a road climb in the AM and some dirt turns in the afternoon. Staying at the Paris MNT State Park Campground is great because it sets me up for just that: a relaxed ride up and over Paris MNT (twice to get back too) to get some coffee or crepes in the morning, lunch back at camp, and a full afternoon on the trails. Or for that matter, riding the road climbs in the park twice, then driving to other mtb trails nearby.

Just a little insight from my travels. Hope you enjoy.