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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 1/29-2/1

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, January 29

Friday, January 30

Saturday, January 31

Sunday, February 1

Monday, February 2

Tuesday, February 3

Wednesday, February 4

Thursday, February 5

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Pete's Pick: Be a Super Bowl Party Hero

There is no avoiding it: the Super Bowl is this Sunday. 

The Super Bowl marks the culmination of a long season and crowns the champion of football, but it is as much a social gathering as a sporting contest. The Super Bowl may be about football, but it has something for everyone. The football fans have the actual game, the non-football fans have the commercials, and everyone has the party. 

The Super Bowl party has become an American tradition akin to Fourth of July or Thanksgiving, complete with its own themed food and drink. And boy, is there a lot of food and drink. With the snacks, dips, and (hopefully) wings, you can sure pack on the calories in a hurry. 

The game isn't until 6:30 p.m., so we suggest a little pre-game preventative outside activity prior to the big game. Consider a jog, ride, or even a hike up to McAfee Knob (consider it the Super Bowl of Roanoke hikes). 

But back to the party. You never want to show up empty-handed, but what to bring? 

Take this opportunity to expose your friends and family to the joys of locally brewed craft beer. Bringing a sixer of Budweiser may get you a "Thanks" from the host, but showing up with a sixer, or even a growler, of craft beer is a conversation starter. It is also a way to support local industry, artisans, and the growing culture of craft beer in the Roanoke region.

Here's my pick for your Super Bowl party: Puppy Dawg Tails from Parkway Brewing in Salem. This Belgian Dark Ale was originally brewed as a Holiday beer, but you should be able to find it on shelves around town. Puppy Dawg Tails is a winter warmer packed with hazelnut, coriander, orange peel, and other holiday flavors. If winter seasonals aren't your particular cup of tea, grab one of Parkway's year-round favorites like Get Bent IPA or Krispy Kolsch. 

Here are some other options from your local craft brewers:

With 14 craft breweries within an hour drive, Roanoke is quickly becoming a destination for craft beer enthusiasts. Join the movement!

Get Outside!

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!

 

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MountainXCross Race Series Kicks Off

What do you get when you combine a traditional mountain bike race with a cyclocross race? 

You get the MountainXCross race series, which kicks off with its first race this Sunday, February 1, at 1:30 p.m. at Falling Creek Park in Bedford. 

Mountain Cross combines the best of both disciplines. The course consists of standard mountain biking terrain like rocky singletrack, roots, and log overs, but also mixes in cyclocross challenges like low barriers, short gravel sections, and grass. The race will also have similar lap distances to cyclocross, with the course consisting of around 1.5-2 miles in length.

This combination results in a fast, fun, intense race that is relatively short and definitely accessible to a larger biking audience. 

The MountainXCross race series consists of four races on consecutive weekends with all races taking place at Falling Creek Park. The routes will vary from week to week, and there is even an "After Dark" race. 

The races will also incorporate a unique handicapping system to level the playing field, meaning an elite racers not only has to beat his fellow elites, he also has to race against the beginners. The most number of laps wins, and there will be a grand champion following the completion of the series.

Find out more and sign up >>>

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A.T. License Plates Raise Record Funds

Virginia Appalachian Trail License PlateThe 2014 sale of specialty Virginia Appalachian Trail license plates generated a record amount of funds for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The sale of the plates raised $45,000, a huge boost to the main organization tasked with preserving and managing the world's longest footpath.

The specialty plates are available in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. A portion of the cost of each plate is returned to the ATC, which can be anywhere from $10 to $250. 

The funds enabled the ATC to fund numerous projects up and down the Appalachians. The distribution of the funds was handled by the ATC's regional office in Roanoke in cooperation with a task force from the eight official Trail Maintaining Clubs designated in the state. 

“While it’s no silver bullet to the vast array of challenges facing the Appalachian Trail, license plate funds are a critical part of Trail stewardship and allow us to empower our volunteers and engage Virginia’s communities in protecting the Trail and the Trail experience,” said Andrew Downs, the ATC’s regional director, in a press release. “Along with an Appalachian Trail Conservancy membership, owning an A.T. license plate is an excellent way to directly turn your contribution into improvements that can be seen first-hand on the Trail.”

Read the full press release and find out how you can purchase your plate >>>

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Become a Certified MTB Guide

Sure, you're the guy or gal your friends turn to when they need someone out in front on the trail. You're the go-to guy for beta at the trail head, or a quick tip when navigating a tricky switchback. Maybe you even organize group rides and know exactly how far to push your crew. 

Want to make your unofficial hobby an official designation? Now's your chance.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association will be hosting a Level 1 Certification course in Roanoke, part of their Instructor Certification Program. The course will take place March 27-29 and is being hosted by Roanoke Mountain Adventures. 

Over the course of two full days, and one afternoon, participants will learn skills focused on leading group rides and giving fundamental skill analysis. Completing the course and passing the exam will qualify you to lead group mountain bike rides, observe and correct mountain biking skills like braking, body and pedal position, and gearing, and make responsible choices in routes. You will also be prepared to respond and implement action plans in an emergency situation.

Find out more about the course and how to register >>>

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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 1/22-25

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, January 22

Friday, January 23

Saturday, January 24

Sunday, January 25

Monday, January 26

Tuesday, January 27

Wednesday, January 28

Thursday, January 29

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Pete's Pick: Keep That Resolution

It's that time of year again. That time of year when the gyms begin to return to their natural, post-New Year's Resolution state of emptiness. When that motivation to stay active and healthy in the new year begins to fade.

We get it. When the sun is yet to come up when you are eating breakfast and has set by the time you get home, it is easy to settle into a routine that omits exercise and replaces it with other, less vigorous activities.

Well, it is time to fight back. It's time to get re-motivated to get outside, get moving, and get the resolution back on track. The immediate, personal benefits of  winter exercise are obvious, but the long-term, and societal benefits are not as apparent but equally as important. Staying active during the winter season not only breaks you out of cabin fever, it makes it that much easier to get into race shape come spring and is a great motivator for others to also get out and get going.

Grab a friend or neighbor and partner up so you can drag each other out to a pub run, or training session. Bring the kids, learn new skills, and push yourself. 

Here in the Roanoke region, the outdoors community does not stop when the temperatures drop. There are still plenty of group rides, runs, and races to participate in. 

Here is just a sampling:

Be sure to check out the Roanoke Outside Event Calendar to stay up to date on all the training sessions, activities, and races happening in and around Roanoke. 

Get Outside!

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!

 

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What's Up With WazUpwidis?

What's up with WazUpwidis

Lots, and also you if you register. Confused? Allow me to explain.

WazUpwidis is a foot race, but probably unlike any you have ever participated in before. Mountain Junkies teamed up with Roanoke City Parks and Rec to come up with this unique race, now in its second year.

This urban run includes 3.25 miles and a twist: 1000 steps. That's right, along with running through downtown Roanoke with reckless abandon, WazUpwidis also includes racing up stairs and through office buildings, parking garages, and train yards. 

The race concludes with a climb and descent of the Wells Fargo Tower. Ouch.

This year's race takes place on Feb. 7 and begins at 9 a.m. Registration is available online or on race day. There is also a team category if the run and climb seems a little too daunting. 

Check out this cool video of last year's race, which drew almost 250 participants. 

Find out more and register >>>

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D-Cup Series Kicks Off

Blue Ridge Gravity is kicking off the 2015 season with their first D-Cup enduro race on Sunday, Feb. 1.

The race will take place on North Mountain's Ridgeline Trail. Riders who want to race should meet at the top of the trail at high noon.

But if you are up for a little more riding, Blue Ridge Gravity has you covered as well. In an effort to expose more riders to the extensive network of backcountry mountain bike trails in the area, there will be a group ride before the race. The group ride will begin from the Dragons Tooth parking lot at 9:30 a.m.and will ride up Ridgeline, down Grouse, then up Deer, and back to Ridgeline.

This is a great way to explore some new trails while also getting in some sweet downhill racing action. Also new this year, the winner of the race will have to ride the Klunker during the next event. 

Blue Ridge Gravity has been working with the Roanoke Parks and Rec department, along with other trail entities like Pathfinders for Greenways, RIMBA, and local bike shops to establish Roanoke as not only a great mountain biking destination, but a great downhill mountain biking destination. Support their efforts by participating in the D-Cup Series or helping with trail building. 

Find out more about the D-Cup Series >>>

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Greenfield Disc Golf Course Earns World Recognition

In just six months, Botetourt County's Greenfield Disc Golf Course has made quite a name for itself. The course is not only one of the finest courses in the Southeast or even the U.S., it was recently named one of the top courses in the world. 

In annual rankings of the best disc golf courses released by DG Course Review, the Greenfield course was named the 20th best course in the world, out of a field of over 5,000. DG Course review is an online community of international disc golf enthusiasts. 

The course was built last year and features 18 holes of disc golf, including par 3s, 4s, and 5s, along with multiple tee boxes. 

“For such a new course, this is truly an honor for the County and a testament to the dedication and support of the Roanoke Disc Golf Club,” Pete Peters, Director of Parks, Recreation & Tourism told the Roanoke Star. “The countless volunteer hours and the support of the County have made the disc golf course the gold standard for community partnerships in the area.”

Peters hopes to add more amenities in the future - including benches at the tee boxes, and concrete pads - to push Greenfield into the top 10 next year. 

Find out more about the ranking >>>

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