Almost a year ago, I moved to Roanoke, Virginia.


Mountain biking.

Little did I know, that my move to Roanoke would be about so much more than just glorious trails and ample gravel roads for training. It would deliver an incredible community, a city replete with culture and food destinations, and all sorts of non-cycling activities.

When my legs are too tired to ride, there are plenty of hiking destinations with views like this one from Dragon’s Tooth.

The hashtag #lovewhereyoulive aptly describes my relationship with my new hometown.

Kweli and I both love the Roanoke River!

The best part is, thanks to partnering with Roanoke Outside and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, my personal cycling “brand” Ride Fierce Racing is a means of celebrating the great cycling destination here in Roanoke, Virginia.

So, for my non-Roanoke friends, here is a quick run-down of my favorite cycling routes in the area. There are SO MANY MORE amazing rides and routes, and most of the time, I use my long weekend rides to explore more roads and trails that I’ve still not managed to ride even after being here for a year. At the same time, there’s no lack of trail, paved, gravel, and forest road segments to use for interval work, nor a shortage of techy trail sections to challenge my handling skills–so training here is exceptional!

All that being said, here are some of my faves. If you’re planning a visit, shoot me a message, and I can get you a curated list of rides/routes that fit your riding style and preferences–I love playing “bike tour guide”!

MTB: Spec-Doty

This is a Cardinal Bicycle-curated-route that is just SO GOOD. Even though its a short-ish ride, it is one that I will go out and ride again and again and again. The forest road climbs are just steep enough to make you work, and the singletrack descents are RIPPING. The Spec Mine descent is backcountry bench cut at its finest, and Doty drops in with some classic #eastcoastrocks before opening up into a sweet doubletrack section. Bring plenty of water and snacks and prepare for some of the most gorgeous views on the entire Blue Ridge Parkway.

Friends from Indiana stopping to enjoy the Blue Ridge Parkway views on their Spec-Doty loop!

Road: Mill Mountain Explore

This is one of the routes that I use for nearly any 90-minute workout and is a great road ride to introduce guests to Roanoke. The route starts by going up the Mill Mountain Parkway, then connecting to the Blue Ridge Parkway before wandering through the open plateaus of Explore Park and then meandering back into town. If you want smooth pavement, little-trafficked-roads, and great views, this is an awesome ride (and with a short bonus climb, you can visit the Mill Mountain Star on the way!).

Riding the Mill Mountain Explore route with some of my Zwift teammates who visited this spring!

Road: Three Peaks

This is another Cardinal Bicycle-curated route, and one of the first road rides I did when I moved to Roanoke last summer–and then one I rode over and over and over again! As its name implies, this route takes you up and over three “peaks,” with the fun of descending back down each of them. The views on this route are not as stellar as the Mill Mountain Explore road ride, but the climbing challenge is worth it regardless!

One of the gorgeous farms along the 3 Peaks route

Gravel: Sandy Ford – Zimmerman

I actually just rode this route for the first time last week thanks to the guidance (and company) of a friend! By time you actually get out of town, the ratio of pavement to gravel is probably only 50-50, but the gravel is worth it. This could be a gravel version of the 3 Peaks route, with three major climbs spread throughout (and all gravel). There are other gravel routes in Arcadia and Floyd (a bit outside of Roanoke) that I really enjoy, but this certainly rivals them–and can be ridden right from downtown Roanoke!

Shawsville, VA gravel–another great “local” riding destination.
If this is your expectation, the Sandy Ford-Zimmerman loop will not disappoint!

MTB: Carvin’s Tour

I LOVE riding at Carvin’s Cove and there is such a diverse selection of trails to choose from–smooth and flowy xc trails to chunky DH segments–and everything in-between! This particular route incorporates some of my favorite trails without piling up too much climbing or chunky stuff. That being said, I’m always happy to just climb up the fire road (Brushy Mountain Road) and hit the many options from there…but this is a good introductory tour of Carvin’s Cove for newcomers to the area!

Sharing Carvin’s Cove with friends!

Like I said, if you’re coming to town and looking for a route (or even a tour guide), hit me up. I’m happy to share this riding heaven that I’ve found with others!

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