Mountain Bike Challenge Lives Up to Name

Medalists for the Men’s Sport 45+ category, John Yates, Robert Drinkwater and Tom Carr.
Medalists for the Men’s Sport 45+ category, John Yates, Robert Drinkwater and Tom Carr.

The Roanoke Valley hosted another weekend of bicycle racing on July 16 & 17th with the Meridium Roanoke Mountain Bike Challenge (RMBC) as part of the Coventry Commonwealth Games of Virginia.

On Saturday, riders started the challenge with a 3 mile uphill time trial on Mill Mountain utilizing alleyways and park trails to finish the grueling ascent to the infamous Roanoke Star.  “60 is the new 40”, explains John Yates who is 62 and earned a bronze medal in the time trial.

The second stage was a cross country race at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve.  Beginners, Intermediate and Expert categories raced 9, 13 and 21 miles respectively on dry and very fast conditions held on the finest mountain bike trails on the East coast.  Racers who competed both days combine posted times to earn prizes and medals along with those who just came out to race the individual events.

“Promoting mountain bike events is very rewarding when folks from near and far experience these trails for the first time”, says Race Director Ron Glowczynski of the Roanoke Cycling Organization (RCO).  Competitors traveled from Bristol, Asheville, Willmington, Fairfax and as far as Charles Futcher from Philadelphia who was searching for a different race venue on the race calendar.  “The trails here are fantastic, someone really knows what they are doing building these trails”, compliments Futcher to the ongoing trail crew maintenance and design of the Pathfinders for Greenways.

Pro-amateur Gordon Wadsworth of Roanoke took first in the overall challenge and posted two course records for both the time trial and cross country event.  Full results are located at