2018 Mountain State Fat Bike Champs

My dirt journey started with racing my mountain bike. Quickly after the bug bit me, I got involved in promoting races. A lot of races. I’m still at a pretty young age, and I already have over 10 years of event experience under my belt, ranging from 20 person grass-root cyclocross races to 400+ person UltraCX events and small 5k running races to 80 person resident MTB Skill Instruction Camps. I don’t do many events anymore, but it remains a part of my lifestyle: building trail, teaching people how to ride it, and enabling group recreation opportunities in the community. I put on the Michaux MTB School, one of the few MTB Trials events I know of during the Canaan MTB Festival, and the Mountain State Fat Bike Champs. The latter was this past weekend.

27459391_1524052027707907_3994194109429144016_nThe Mountain State Fat Bike Champs is my effort to pump up fat biking in the central Appalachians. The Potomac Highlands to be specific. Here in Canaan Valley/Davis/Thomas area, we get a lot of snow and mixed snow conditions. Fat Biking makes sense here, allowing for increased comfort and an extended season in some pretty ridiculous conditions. No longer are the days where I think it’s too cold to ride…..hitting -20 degrees some days. Marginal conditions? No problem, I’m not trashing my rock ski’s, I’m fat biking. But the real joy, and why I push this so hard, is the moments that I get to ride groomed trail. The opportunities for that specific arena are still pretty limited, but this race is one of the big opportunities to get some groomed goodness.

27540068_10214378106863201_3529657200375347562_n (1).jpgThe Mountain State Fat Bike Champs are hosted at Whitegrass Ski Touring Center at the eastern end of our valley.  This is the second official year we have had the race, and we stayed low on the mountain. We don’t get the grin-enducing two-wheel drifting descents that way, but it does make for a more consistent racing course. This year 59 racers toed the line, about the same as last year. All proceeds go towards local trail projects. Last year and this year, the benefit is for our local #greenflow project. This is a new trail project focused on increasing trail accessibility while retaining a single track experience. We don’t have a lot of green level or easier trail opportunities around here, and this project is aimed at creating more of just that. It is administered by New Historic Thomas, and is located at the Thomas City Park Trails. 


As always, events are where community comes together. And as Sue says,” it takes a mountain village.” Thats what we have here, and thats what really made this weekend cool. I work at Whitegrass, and putting on the race made me miss some shifts. It added extra strain to the rental staff on a big weekend and on the cafe staff during a busy dinner. Not to mention stress on the groomers all week and weekend long. Through in all the local helpers who made it out on course to hand out beer, cheer, and maybe a bit of direction, as well as all the local sponsors who kick ass in their support of local endeavors, and it really does take a village! It takes our whole damn mountain town. Thanks ya’ll. Thanks.

You can read some of the race reports and coverage here:

  1. Race Report: https://d36gb93zszu20a.cloudfront.net/BR/inc/content/images/files/1497/Fat%20Bike%20Champs%20Race%20Report.pdf

2. Highland Outdoors: https://www.highland-outdoors.com/plump-it-up-2nd-annual-fat-bike-race-a-success/

3. Another Highland Outdoors: https://www.highland-outdoors.com/fat-happy-mountain-state-fat-bike-champs/

4. XXC Winner Rob May’s Report: https://www.facebook.com/robert.may.73744/posts/10208358259314544?comment_id=10208364242264114&notif_id=1517976438131305&notif_t=mentions_comment&ref=notif


27459876_10157051445398572_9023510479638487581_n.jpgI’ll leave it on this note: next year I’m hoping to groom regular fat bike routes and keep building the fatty stoke. So come try it out. There’s plenty of time left in the season to be curious. Rob will set you up with bikes and beta at Blackwater Bikes.

Treasure Mountain Bike Center Trails

Treasure Mountain Bike Center gave us a call last year to come develop two flow trails to start off their on site trail network. They will be offering lodging for groups up to 16 people with gorgeous sweeping views, and it provides great local access to the High Knob Trail in George Washington National Forest, North Fork Mountain Trail (IMBA EPIC Ride) in the Monangahela National Forest, Spruce Knob Recreation Area, and miles upon miles of dirt and road rides.

Splashdam South Trail Repair

Over the last two years a large roadway bridge was built off Camp 70 road  outside Davis. The intersection with the Splashdam South Trail required a bit of repair. In coordination with Heart of the Highlands Tail and the National Youth Science Foundation, that repair took place this fall.

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Opening Day of #theNewBlackwaterViewTrail

I’m proud to announce that Saturday was the final trail work day and public opening of the new Black Water View Trail. This project has been going on for several year from the start of its conception to its opening this weekend. It is a conglomeration of merging two previously existing trails (with some sustainable upgrades to get them dry) that total 2 miles, a use designation change, a recreational easement through private property, approximately 4,000 feet of new trail construction, a 300 foot undulation board walk through a wetland, and a 54 foot steel bridge across the Blackwater River. This major, multi-year project creates the only public,multi-user connection from the populated side of Canaan Valley to the Northwest side of the Blackwater River with over 13 miles of trail, that previously was only accessible by a 45 minute drive far around the valley or private access in Timberline Resort. That access not only allows for easier use of that trail system, but it creates another access point to the Dolly Sods for Backpacking from the Canaan Valley floor via Cabin Mountain Trail. Very, very cool is the least I can say.

How about a virtual tour of the process in navigational order from the Beall Trailhead to the New Bridge:

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Sustainable upgrades last year on Hemlock Spur Trail, including some 300+ feet of french drain.

Forest Restoration of an unsustainable grade on Hemlock Spur


New Trail Construction (This fall)

300 ft of ground hugging, tree winding boardwalk through a wetland

New Trail Construction (Last Fall)

Bridge across the Blackwater


Trail is Open!


This project was administered by the Heart of the Highlands Trail in partnership with the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and a private property owner. Please take a moment to learn a bit about the project details at their website, and be sure to respect the generous support of the private property owner by using the trail he has granted us access through and not the rest of his property. No off trail travel is permitted.





Blackwater View Project Under Construction

Good news, the Blackwater View Trail project is under construction again! Phase one of the build was completed last fall for the Heart of the Highlands Trail, and phase two in currently under construction. It is due to be completed this fall. Please be patient while under construction and refrain from accessing the site. Tune into our facebook or instagram for updates.


Jakes Rocks Build

I want to extend a huge thanks to Dirt Artisans for having me be a part of the team this summer, to help build 9 miles of sweet single track in the Allegheny National Forest. This project is phase one in a master project, laying 9 miles of the eventual 42 miles of trail onto the beautiful, fern covered forest floor based around the Jakes Rocks Picnic Area above the Allegheny Reservoir.


New 4k Trail: Massanutten Western Slope

Currently, I am at the Massanutten Western Slope roughing in a new trail off of the 2k Hours Trail. This project is being hosted by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition, being funded completely from the trail passes sold, and is the first step in further developments to link the Western Slope to the new BIKE PARK on the Resort side. You can find out more at this website: http://svbcoalition.org/every-thursday-massanutten-trail-work-4000-hour-trail/ 

Help the club with the finish work every thursday at 5pm!

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Thomas City Park Trails: Pavillion Connection

Thanks to New Historic Thomas, I was able to continue accessible trail improvements in the Thomas City Park this Spring. The goal of this project was to provide a lower grade access from the upper parking lot to the pavillion at the bottom of the park. The corridor of the existing trail was utilized and expanded on with two new switchbacks to achieve an easier gradient. Like the Riverside Trail project last fall, this trail was topped off with a compacted aggregate surface.