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Cycling Events 2015

Author: Usain Montoya
by Usain Montoya
Posted: Jun 04, 2015

It’s A Good Year to Bike In Virginia: Professional Event Director Interview About Virginia’s 2015 Cycling Event Options

Interview with Shane Cusick, Professional Bike Event Planner on the Cycling Event Scene in Virginia for 2015

Kim Perry: Hi Shane, please briefly tell our readers about you.

Shane: Hey! This is Shane Cusick, I am Director of Events for the non-profit Bike Virginia. I ride both mountain and road bikes and love bike touring. My background in addition to my work planning bike events is as a Landscape Architect so I love nature, mapping, and geography.

Kim: Thanks Shane. The 2015 cycling season looks like it has a lot of exciting Virginia events, have you put any on your own personal riding calendar?

You are right there is a lot going on in Virginia this year with cycling! I think the 2015 World UCI race event in September has bolstered Virginia's riding schedule and 2015 seems like it will be a very busy year. My own calendar always some fun events including has the Bike Virginia early season Preview Ride (our ride before the ride) where the staff and a few key volunteers ride all the same routes on the same day and same time as the big Bike Virginia Tour. Since I am too busy working don't get a chance to ride in the actual tour in June (working to make sure it runs smoothly) this is a great way for me to ride Bike Virginia. Besides the daily riding on the mountain bike trails and roads in and around Richmond I am also riding in several Virginia events including Monster Cross Race, a 50 mile cyclocross race held at Pocahontas State Park on February 22. The annual Cap to Cap event is another great, early year ride that I will do in May. I will also be signed up for the Urban Assault Mountain Bike race which is held in Richmond. I’m also going to take part in an event in the west. The big ride for me this year will take me to Colorado. I found out a few weeks ago that I was selected to ride in the Leadville 100 MTB race which is a big honor! The big challenge (besides 100 miles of Mountain Biking) is the elevation which starts at over 10,000' and climbs to over 12,000'. Leadville will be the training focus of my riding for the year. I will be riding in the mountains of Virginia a lot this year to prepare for Leadville!

Kim: Sounds like you do have a busy year. Lots of fun cycling events on your calendar.

Shane, Virginia offers a wide variety of riding events, what makes the state a good place for hosting an event?

Shane: My job is to plan bike tours for Bike Virginia and I have been fortunate to have seen a lot of different areas around the state since I started in this role in 2010. There are so many great areas to ride that include great scenic views and vistas as well as an enormous amount of history that flows throughout the state. You can find history in the form of civil war sites such as Sailors Creek Battlefield (which we visitted in 2014) to great geological sites such as Goshen Pass. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the deeply cut riverbed in Goshen during my planning for Bike Virginia 2013 and Velvo Virginia’s cycle events 2015. The tours really get me out because our routes weave themselves through every nook and cranny of the state. Couple these great sights with friendly small towns that welcome cyclist and the result is that Virginia is a mecca for cycling!

Kim: Virginia does offer a lot of scenery and diverse riding. What would you suggest as planning advice for people that are coming to ride in a Virginia cycling event 2015?

Shane: Know your event. Doing a little research about the area can be helpful in selecting the best gear. If you plan on riding in an event that is in the flat portion of the state, such as in the East, then your normal gearing might be ok. However, if you are planning to attend an event in the mountains then careful gear selection is a must. The good thing is when you pay for an event that generally means you get SAG support and in some cases you get on-site mechanics and even an on-site bike store to assist you in selecting the right gear or fixing something when it breaks. I also recommend doing a little research on the other cool activities the host town has to offer. Pick out a few fun things to do in the area. Make dinner reservations, or book a rafting trip to go along with your ride. Stay in a neat bed and breakfast, take time to visit some small towns. I say slow down and soak up the experience. Some of the events include non-riding activities. For example at Bike Virginia we generally have 2-3 things going on each night. We put plans together so people can enjoy the best each region has to offer. Event directors will often be able to tell you what to see while you are in the area.

Q: The state has a lot of variation in geography from east to west. What can riders expect in different regions?

A general rule of thumb for riding in Virginia is that "East" means flat and "West" means mountains. The western part of the state is predominantly mountains which include the famous "Blue Ridge Parkway" and great towns like Abington, Radford, and Harrisonburg to name a few. The middle portion or "Central" part of the state still has a great amount of climbing as well as history and scenery however the mountains turn into hills. As you make your way east you will find relatively flat roads and eventually the beach where you can relax and enjoy the casual riding of places like Jamestown and Smithfield. These are only a fraction of places to ride. If you search online or look at the Bike Virginia Ride Guide you can find something happening in every region of the site. And even if you can't find an organized ride or event to suit your schedule you can always pack the panniers and head out on your own adventure. I have found that self supported touring in Virginia is very rewarding and relatively easy with all the small towns and friendly people that you meet along the way offering support. Having US bike route 76 and 1 that cross the state are also indications that we have some great places to see. All in all it is not hard to find great places to bike in Virginia for mountain biking, road biking, trail riding, and everything between.

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Author: Usain Montoya

Usain Montoya

Member since: Feb 03, 2015
Published articles: 7

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