Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blackwater Classic XC Race

The tiny town of Davis has been host to wheeled racing for decades now.  The first Blackwater 100 took place in 1975.  It was once billed the "toughest race in America" because of the gnarly terrain and large amounts of mud.  The mountain bike racing on the Moon Rocks followed in 1982.  Davis was one of the only places to ride super tough terrain on the East Coast for this nascent sport of mountain biking, which was supposedly invented in 1978 in California.

The exciting times of the Blackwater 100 were over in 1993.  A girl died that last year and over 200 people were arrested, which was down form 500 the year before!  There were 10,000 people in a town with a very small population.  The race was a victim of it's own popularity with too many wild people and motorized vehicles leaving ruts and pollution in the Canaan wetlands.  The race course was  owned by the power company and they choose to stop the race.  That next year  I moved down here and did my first  24 Hours of Canaan MTB Relay Race, the last year that they used the Moon Rocks course.

Flash to 2017 and mountain biking is still here in Davis and going strong!  This past weekend the Blackwater Bicycle Association put on the Blackwater Classic XC race and good clean fun was had on a perfect weather day. Mike Goss of Sirianni's  is always the starter for the races!  I bet he's got some great old Blackwater stories.

 The territory could still be considered the "badlands" because of the challenging terrains, fast rock gardens and questionably deep mud puddles.  There has been some good trail work over the years with turn piking, brushing and new, built trails to make more loops.

At this race, there were three different loops...beginner, sport and expert.  The lucky experts got to do the Moon Rocks two times!  And they were greeted with Todd, his guitar and an American flag.  The expert class was the smallest, but the sport and beginner classes had healthy participation.  And of course it was so cute seeing the littlest of kids completing a real single track loop.

So if you make it out to the Canaan MTB Festival, ride the Moon Rocks!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Putting on winter fat

It's been neat to see all the fat bikes rolling around Canaan Valley the last couple of months. Fat biking is latest trend in the world of off road human powered recreation.  It's still a mountain bike, but the favorite surface is snow.  Tires with widths of 3.8 or greater provide the necessary float to ride through snow.

Recently,  the first fat bike championships took in West Virginia.  The event took place at White Grass Ski Touring Center in the heart of the snow belt of Canaan Valley.  Luckily, it had snowed lots leading up to the race and it was a white race course.

Sixty racers showed up to see what it was like to race a fat bike.  For some who, rented bikes from our local shop, Blackwater Bikes, it was their first time both racing and riding a fat bike.  Conditions were not easy on the hilly course.  The soft snow conditions made traction elusive.  Hiking with their bikes and often wiping out on the open orchard section, these riders all got a good hard day in.

The podium winners stood on hay bales as the American flag whipped  the westerly winds across the snow farm.  Folks were tired, but happy.  Most of the skiers enjoyed seeing the bikes.  A few thought it didn't jive...bikes at an xc ski area.  It is the only day of the year that one can fat bike at White Grass, but of course the skiing is always a blast if there's snow. There are plenty of other fat bike friendly rides in the Monongahela National Forest,  Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Valley State Park and the Thomas trails.

Even though the festival is over 5 months away, don't forget about biking in the winter in Tucker County.

Monday, June 13, 2016




Monday, June 6, 2016

Tucker County time

West Virginia Tourism has made a cool video of Tucker County.  The natural beauty and chance for adventures are key, but I'd say we all think the community of people is the most special thing about Tucker County!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thomas, West Virginia

 The Canaan MTB Festival is based out of Blackwater Bikes in Davis.  We love that you can park your car in town , get on your bike and ride for hours.    And then come back to town and enjoy food and beer at the restaurants in town.

But, we also really love our "sister" town of Thomas. (unless we are talking about kickball, then it's Thomas our "rival")  The VIP Party is at Tip Top on Saturday June 20 at 7:30.  You can buy a ticket and get the tasty house made meal and then take a chance to win one of the many raffle prizes.

While you are in Thomas, you can also visit the many art galleries, including the extraordinary White Room,  the  cosmopolitan Lamplight Gallery and the Appalachian artist showcase, the Buxton and Landstreet Gallery.  Lamplight is featuring the work of artist Rebecca Wudarski who designed the poster for this 7th year.  You can also see the art that was the inspiration for the poster.

Of course, The Purple Fiddle is the place to be for live music. There is music there all weekend during the Festival.  Saturday night the hard driving, high energy Mo Mojo band is playing.  It's a perfect thing to do after the VIP party.

And if you get the munchies or miss the VIP party food at Tip Top, Salud is making delicious wood fired pizza until late night.  They serve super healthy smoothies all day and are an apothecary as well.  Check them out!

And don't think Thomas is just coffee, art and music...There are two incredible trails there!  The Thomas Trails is a city park that is built on a beautiful wooded hillside overlooking the North Fork of the Blackwater.  There are five miles of trail with signage.  There is a kiosk with a map.  The other jewel of  Thomas is the Blackwater Canyon Rail Trail.  Park in Thomas and cruise on downstream for 10 miles to the tiny town of Hendricks.  Enjoy both nature and railroad history on this steep for a rail grade trail.  And think about learning more about the Friends of Blackwater Canyon who work to protect this unique area.

Hope to see you in Thomas for the Canaan MTB Festival!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The 7th Annual Canaan MTB Festival Poster!!!

"The artwork for this poster originally is a 36"x48"' oil painting that is a part of a series that will be on display at two different art galleries, The White Room and Lamplight (both located in Thomas, W.V.), May 22nd through June 2015. My Graffiti Series consists of paintings rendered from old-timey photographs with an added narrative that suggests the subjects are the culprits responsible for tagging the graffiti on the walls behind them. While remaining playful, some of the graffiti also hints at themes such as cultural stigmas, liberation, desire, oppression and other facets of the human condition. In addition to the Graffiti Series, there will be a number of other types of paintings that will be on display at that time. "-Rebecca Wudarski

Even though we are a very small community, here in Tucker County, we have many talented people like Rebecca.  We are so thankful for Rebecca and the opportunity to mix bikes and art at the Canaan MTB Festival. We like to think mountain biking and trail design can be a great creative outlet.  If you are around the weekend of May 23rd and 24th, check out the Blackwater Classic and Art Spring.  And of course, come to the Canaan MTB Festival and do trail work!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Some of my fav photos from the 2014 Festival

One of those off the map spots

The kids ride!

The Down Down after the Bike Hash

There were a few Blueberries
photo by Meredith

Kids Observed Bike Trials
photo by Meredith

The Ladies Day Lunch Ride

Mountain Laurels were showy

Trial Work address wet issues
photo by Ricky

Tom rides a section of  Heart of the Highlands Trail called Splash Dam

Hellbender Trail with loads of ferns
Photo by Meredith

Ricky rides Moon Rocks
Photo by Ricky