Sunday, October 6, 2012 — The great ESCAPE, XXC 40 miler on sister 4000 footers: Potts and Bald Mountain, Virginia (midway between New Castle and Covington, 35 minutes from Roanoke).


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This is the best--an adventure if there ever was.  Take on Craig County’s mightiest crag: Potts Mountain. Standing over 4000 feet tall, this monolith is legendary, hosting the state’s—and one of the world’s—oldest living races (circa 1988). Mere words won’t  justify; make it if you can. Now, restored back to the first Sunday in October, fresh oxygen is CPR'd into the life of the grand old race, with just a tinch of fall on the mountain and in the air. Plus, a neo/retro 40 mile course configuration will provide an extra sprinkling of spice to boot!

It all began in 1988 as a dream of the Lads of Virginia, Paul Economy and Scott Freday. In those days, mountain bike racing was truly on the lunatic fringe, when racers would speak to the virtues of aftermarket rigid forks, taking great pride in their souped-up racing rigs that weighed in at a then svelte 27 pounds! Even in those dark ages, this race was epic, if not in racers, in its ambitious proportions. 

Expect something like 7000 feet of climbing balanced with the similar on the downside. Expect rocks, lots of rocks.  Beginners not attended to on this one--just like 1988.  After a recon trail clearing mission last weekend, you can expect lots of that wild azalea we call mountain laurel. I mean tunnels of the stuff. Hey, give it a shot...the adventure of your lifetime thus far!

Because of the remote nature of this outstanding venue, bring with you all that you might need.

As with Dragon's Back, special thanks go to the Jefferson National Forest for all their invaluable assistance, not the least of which is putting up with us all these years. If you get the notion, scribble them a line to let them know you like this kind of thing. 

Thank you Paul Economy and Scott Freday, those wacky lads of Virginia, for creating this classic!  It's rumored that Lad Freday may make an appearance...surely not to be missed!

To Get There:

From south I-81 to Roanoke/Salem: Take exit 141 off I-81 just as if you’re headed to Dragon’s Back. Go past the Dragon’s Back entrance to New Castle on 311. In New Castle, take 1040 to the right (it becomes 615 just past town). Go 3 miles out of town on 615 until you see Pine Top store and restaurant on right. Just past, take the left "vee" of 609 until it ends 2 miles later on a bridge over Barbour’s Creek. Take a left, which is route 611. Go 4 miles until you cross a concrete bridge. Take the next turn to the right on 617 towards the Pines Campground.

From north of Roanoke/Salem headed south on I-81: This is a backwoods route, but it saves about a half-hour, so bear with it. Take exit 156 (Troutville) to route 640 headed toward 220 (northwesterly). Take 220 north towards Fincastle. At the Captains Table Seafood Restaurant, take a left on 606 in Fincastle. 606 turns right less than a half-mile in, so watch it. Follow 606 for about 14 miles until it butt ends at route 615. Take a left, go less than 2 miles. Upon reaching 611 (at 4 Corners Church), go right for 5 miles until you reach 617. Turn right, taking 617 towards the Pines Campground 6 miles up 617. Staging is in the Pines Campground.

From White Sulfur Springs West Virginia, 311 south: After cresting and descending Potts Mountain (you can’t miss it), headed towards New Castle, look for route 611 to the left. Follow 611 until you reach 617. Take 617 towards the Pines Campground. Staging is in the Pines Campground.

Here's a couple DeLorme brand maps to get you here.

Race Date: Sunday, October 6, 2012

Course Length: 40 miles or so.

Pre-register cheap: Click

Race day $40

Race Registration: 8:30am to 10:30am

Race Begins: 11:00am EDT all (limited) classes . Starting Order: Mass, classic!

Special note: Some of the above details may change as needed to create optimum racing conditions.

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