The Rough Roubaix is comprised of choice Shenandoah Valley’s scenic rolling roads, the best National Forest dirt mountain passes and West Virginias flowing river roads. The long route will be the 90 mile Classic Route. The 90 mile route returns from the magical West Virginia roads over Shenandoah Mountain via Rt. 33 and a relatively low gap of 3,300 ft.
The Rough Roubaix is a masterpiece in the way it pulls riders together into the heart of the challenge before it ramps up very late into the ride and creates the opportunity for an elite rider selection to occur where it delivers a unbelievable crescendo just as it turns back towards Harrisonburg. This group ride dynamic is very enjoyable as it affords the group to ride together into the 1st support station and beyond.
After a nice relaxing roll-out from Harrisonburg to Dayton the routes dodge into the countryside. From Dayton the routes will not cause any selections as it winds down to the Dry River and heads to the base of Shenandoah Mountain at Briery Branch about 20 miles in. Routes will continue to avoid forcing a selection as it traverses south along the base of the front range (Narrowback Mountain) to the first neutral support location at the Stokesville Market.
At Stokesville the riders enter the George Washington National Forest where the rollers start to get larger and the terrain gets more challenging. At this point the Semi Classic will split from the Grand Classic and Classic route. Semi Classic will roll onto a fantastic 6 mile gravel road that takes you threw some of the most relaxing wooded scenery around. Once back onto pavement riders will be riding back towards Harrisonburg on some of the classic Shenandoah Valley farm land roads.
Okay back to the Grand Classic and Classic routes! Once on Forest Road 95 riders will be slightly climbing to the lowest saddle on Shenandoah Mountain at 3050 feet. This gradual ascent climbs along the North River up past the headwaters of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and past one of the largest roadless areas on the East Coast. The climb should not prove to be a blow to those who are not climbing specialists with its friendly gravel grade. The transition into West Virginia over the Shenandoah Mountain pass also signifies the entrance in the Potomac River Watershed. The gravel descent off the west side of Shenandoah Mountain is the most forgiving mountain downhill in the region as riders descend 1000 feet on the steeper slopes before the grade mellows and it becomes a thrilling speed run past Brushy Fork Lake and up Surgar Grove Rd for another well timed neutral support location at the South Fork Volunteer Fire Department.
After the support location riders will jump back onto route not long after for a super-fast “train ride” to the selective climb up Rough Run for the Grand Classic or up Rt. 33 for the Classic Route. The Rough Run (Grand Classic) ascent has 6 creek crossing that will most likely cause riders to dismount when fording. Once on the true slopes of the climb at mile 80 the selection will be inevitable as there will be no hiding within your team’s strength or among your friends. Once riders peak out at the top of climb, there is an amazing vista. The aid station has been moved to the bottom of the downhill off Shenandoah Mountain at the bottom of Big Bear Hollow.
For those who opt for just the Classic Route (90 miles) back over Rt. 33 you won’t be fording any creek crossing but heading more directly back towards Harrisonburg. With a 7 mile climb of over 1800 of ascending you will love the scenic overlook and amazing views off into West Virginia where you were just riding. Once your eyes adjust back from scenic beauty to black pavement, get ready for a kickin’ decent that will get your heart pumpin’ until the bottom. At this point riders will be on their way rolling back to town.
(Grand Classic Finale) At the top Rough Run (Grand Classic) climb riders will top out to one of the most scenic locations in all of Virginia. The final challenge between you and the finish line, the Big Bear Hollow descent is one to be very careful on. You might have never believed coming off a mountain as large as this on a shale based surface was possible or enjoyable, but it will be a road bike downhill you will never forget. The aid station will be at the bottom of Big Bear Hollow. The real excitement will be realized when you look around as the grades lessen to see who is around to team up with for the finale back into Harrisonburg. The camaraderie that will come from finishing a challenging route like this will last a lifetime.
Expect the Grand Classic route to be 114 miles. Classic route is roughly 90 and Semi Classic 52 miles. Final route selection is based on working around Virginia DOT’s spring maintenance gravel resurfacing schedule.