A Mountain Biking Epic in Montgomery, Maryland

14 Oct
October 14, 2011

The weather in the DC Metro area has been dreary for the past few days, but this weekend is supposed to bring sunshine. That means cooped up adults and families alike will be anxious to head outside, especially in what is usually best month for outdoor activities.

If you really want to get up and go this weekend, Montgomery, Maryland may have the outing you are looking for.

This Sunday, October 16th, the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) holds the second annual MoCo Epic, a day of off-road biking throughout the area.

If you are not familiar with Epics, they are the International Mountain Biking Association’s list of what they consider to be epic bike rides. For mountain biking enthusiasts, these trails are the ones that shouldn’t be missed. Among the amazing rides listed are famous trails in Whistler, British Columbia; Boulder, Colorado and Park City, Utah. Also on that list is a 62-mile ride in Maryland know as the MoCo loop.

The MoCo Loop twists and turns through parks in Montgomery County and surrounding areas and, to showcase it, MORE holds the Moco Epic.

The Epic is five different rides, all on Sunday, designed for people of varying skill. Even as a novice, there’s an opportunity to see what local mountain biking has to offer. There’s a 2-4 mile ride for kids. Then the trails move up in length and degree of difficulty, with opportunities to ride a 25, 35, 45 or 62 mile loop. The 62 mile ride, known as a century ride since it’s 100 kilometers, goes through nine different state parks in the area.

The MoCo Epic was created to show that despite being in the middle of suburbia, there is still an astounding amount of nature to see. The trails are not too difficult, with some small hills, streams and rough patches. Among the parks visited during the ride are Schaeffer Farms, Hoyles Mill Conservation Area, Black Hill Regional Park, Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and the Seneca Ridge Overlook.

Sunday’s rides begin at Schaeffer Farms, with the 62-mile loop kicking off at 7:30. The rest of the rides are staggered by distances, staring every hour after that. Schaeffer Farms is located a few miles west of the town of Gaithersburg, abutting Seneca Creek State Park.

Registration for the Epic closes Friday at midnight, and spots are filling up fast, so to sign up now, visit the registration page.

However, missing the deadline isn’t a huge deal, since these trails are open year-round at a cost much cheaper than the cost to participate in Epic.  Anyone, anytime, can go mountain biking on the MoCo Loop for free. The Epic is just one way for people to try out the Loop. There’s no reason, if you miss out this weekend, to not visit on any other day of the week or any other weekend. A map of the 62-mile loop is available here, but riders don’t have to limit themselves to just the beaten path. There are plenty of mountain biking trails in and around the Schaeffer Farms area.

So when the rain finally cuts off this weekend, grab your sturdy mountain bike and see exactly how adventurous you can be in the Washington, D.C. area.

-David

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