Carvins Cove... Roanoke, VA.
Internets research provided me with info on Carvins Cove located near Roanoke, Va. about 3 hrs away. You'll need a day pass ($2) just like Tsali in Bryson City, North Carolina. There's a bike shop on the road to the trail head called "Just the Right Gear". I surfed their website for maps and info about the trails. You're supposed to stop by and buy a 2 dollar pass to ride the trails so I swung by. Nice little shop reminds me of ours, Hampton Trails, by the size and formerly being a small house. I asked the guy behind the counter for a day pass and he tells me you can now get them at the trail head and says "They've been at the trailhead for over a year now I guess we need to update the website huh?" Mmmmmm yes, you do. Back in the van and off to the trail head...
The scenery and weather was perfect. 20 miles before I got there, somewhere around Christiansburg on I-81 the sun popped out and warmed up a lot. I was sweating on my first climb pretty quick. The views were nice. The late spring we're having this year still has the trees yearning for green leaves...
I'm glad I printed a map to bring along with me since there were no maps at the trailhead other than the kiosk map. I looked at mine and took off. I took the second right out of the lot and was climbing Hi-de-ho..... straight up the freakin' mountain. Ouch! It took me about 20 minutes, it was steep and never let up. There was a couple of times it pitched over 30% it seemed for a short distance. Before I got to the switchbacks at the top I stopped for a picture. The pic below does the incline no justice, I stopped once to take these pics and grab a quick drink.
There's 46 miles of trails available states the kiosks. Sadly most of it isn't like the sweet single track below. I'm guessing well more than half is dirt fire roads that get you to these sweet sections of single track bliss. Super flowy, fast (if you're going the right way) and just down right awesome. I managed 21 miles in 2.5 hrs, climbed 2500 feet, met a ton of people, everyone was nice, weather was perfect and the trails were fast and dry unlike Ga & SC. It's pretty sad I haven't ridden these trails since they are so close to me.
Carvins Cove was cool but I would give it a 7 overall out of a 10. Why? first, a 3 hr drive and I can ride fire roads all day long near my house on three different mountain ranges. Also, Signage! If I pay a $2 trail fee the place better be maintained, I'm bitchin' I know. The trails were clear, thank you volunteers, but the trail signs, well - the ones that were left, are very old, termite ridden, broken, rotten, hard to read, not there, parts missing and well just NOT MAINTAINED. Whomever is in charge has dropped the ball. Sorry, just a fact... no hatin' goin on here. I'd say that 50% of what I rode were missing trail markers. The place is awesome but for new or experienced 1st timers one may struggle to find their way around. Oh, almost forgot... you have to share the trails with horses. Yea, those things that take BIG DUMPS in the middle of the trail.
Now tech talk; The Easton EC90 Aeros needed some love. The freehub bearings were sounding rough after that last road ride so I took it apart and the inner bearing felt like gravel when you spun it. Alas, QBP does not stock a 15267 bearing so I was off to the internets AGAIN to find the parts I needed. That's the 3rd strike for QBP too. We've had this problem a few times with the wholesale giant, they need to step up their game if they want to keep me ordering stuff. I'm not sure they realize that for a few dollars more the internet will put it right at my door step! BTI, HAWLEYS and a few others are just a call away too. It took about 4 days to get them to my front door and a socket gently placed them back where they needed to be..... butter smooth once again.
One of my buddies was in Georgia for the SERC XTERRA race Saturday and spied this ford van all tricked out as a camper. My friends send me pics of Ford vans and scooby doo vehicles all the time... I love it!
Here's a map of the trails below.