This Sunday, dozens of people will gear up and head to Mountwood Park for the largest XC mountain bike race in West Virginia. Returning for the 23rd time, the Annual Challenge at Mountwood is proof of our region’s growing mountain bike community. This year’s day-long event is presented by the River Valley Mountain Bike Association (RVMBA) and the Marietta Brewing Co.
Mountwood Park is located approximately 12 miles east of Parkersburg on US 50. The 2600-acre park offers more than 30 miles of trail, which are some of the most well-maintained trails in the state. The trails are well packed and hold up great rain or shine. “The RVMBA does a great job building, maintaining and promoting the trails in our area,” said Tony Styer, Owner of the Marietta Brewing Co. “The Challenge at Mountwood is a favorite race on the circuit for a lot of racers and I think that is a result of what RVMBA has built over the years. Also, this is a dual point race for both WVMBA and OMBC bringing riders from both sides of the river!”
We love the outdoor recreation the Mid-Ohio Valley has to offer and we want to be a part of helping that grow.
Styer was thrilled to have an opportunity to sponsor this year’s event. “When the opportunity to become the title sponsor became available, we were very excited to fill that role. We love the outdoor recreation the Mid-Ohio Valley has to offer and we want to be a part of helping that grow,” said Styer. “Bikes and beer just go great together!”
Outdoor recreation has seen steady growth for local residents and tourists alike. “We have seen a lot of growth in the number of local cyclists over the past five to ten years. Having an increasing number of local places to ride is a big factor in that growth,” said Ryan Smith, Owner of the Marietta Adventure Company and current President of the RVMBA.
The River Valley Mountain Bike Association’s volunteers put in hundreds of hours every year building and maintain mountain biking and hiking trails in the region.
The trails did not always exist, however. “The Mid-Ohio Valley sits at one of the major crossroads of Appalachian America, Interstate 77 and US 50,” said Chris Swarr, decade-plus member of RVMBA. “But the X that these highways make on the map also marks the spot of a true regional treasure, one hewn from the land with not only over two decades’ worth of tough physical labor, but also from countless hours of thoughtful planning and relationship building with the region’s public land managers.”
“The Challenge at Moundwood is a chance to highlight some of the great local riding that we have here and it is also the River Valley Mountain Bike Association’s largest fundraiser of the year,” said Smith. Proceeds from the event are used to supply volunteers with the tools and materials they to continue building and maintaining some of the best trail systems in all of Ohio and West Virginia.
“The River Valley Mountain Bike Association’s volunteers put in hundreds of hours every year building and maintain mountain biking and hiking trails in the region,” Smith said. “The Mid-Ohio Valley is home to roughly 200 miles of off-road trail. If you include the North Bend Rail Trail that puts us over 270 miles of trail in the area.”
The Challenge at Mountwood is an event the entire family can enjoy. Styer believes it’s important to include events and activities for kids because it gets kids interested and involved in the outdoors and shows them what mountain biking can offer. “It gives them an opportunity to work on their MTB skills and get out and explore nature,” he said. The event includes a free clinic just for kids, as well as a free kids ride during the morning where they can hone their skills riding over obstacles in the non-competitive event.
Many look forward to the event all year long. “The Challenge at Mountwood is always one of the first races of the West Virginia Mountain Bike Association’s cross-country mountain bike race series and is always the biggest race of the series,” said Smith. “RVMBA volunteers take a lot of pride in rolling out the red carpet for racers from all over West Virginia and surrounding states.”
Young and old, riders of all age and skill level are invited out to Mountwood Park this Sunday for a day out on the trails!
Online registration is available. Race day registration will be available for $35 (plus WVMBA fees) starting at 9:00 a.m., but why wait in line! WVMBA has teamed with USAC. The one-day membership will be the same as last year ($10) but $5 will go towards your one-day WVMBA membership and $5 to your one-day USAC membership. If you are a current USAC member, you will only pay $5 for your one-day WVMBA membership. Just provide your USAC license number.