Jon & Tracy Posner, Andy Sunderland, Tony Vachino, and Jon Gdowik caravanned down to Salem, VA on Saturday afternoon for the 5th annual Dragon’s Tale race. This is a newer version of the famous (or infamous) Dragons Back race from the 90’s. We had a great group dinner at a spot in Salem, spent the night at the Quality Inn just off I-81 and the next morning, we drove up to New Castle, nestled below Lick Mtn and North Mtn, where the race start is located.
The morning was positively beautiful. The morning air had a chill, but it burned off quickly once the sun came up. Racers were shedding layers before the start, and most lined up with just shorts and short sleeves…a good sign.
The event begins with a rolling neutral start, which is kind of cool because everyone chats it up and enjoys the rolling pace. Then the lead vehicle turns off and the race heats up. The course is spectacular and features two sections of great rocky spine-ridge riding, 6 miles and then 20 miles. Both times onto the ridge, access is by a very steep and technical switchback trail with more than one hike-a-bike section. Once on top, there were stunning views in every direction. The downhills were as technical and challenging at the climbs, with switchbacks so tight that some riders had to dismount, and some high speed/off camber singletrack that provided tons of thrills.
The race went pretty smoothly for everyone, except Andy who suffered some stomach issues, but soldiered on to finish. We all liked the race and the course, but the best part everyone agreed, was the total experience of the mini-roadtrip with friends. We highly recommend this epic adventure ride that also happens to be a race.
We’ll post up some results as soon as they’re released!