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Gravel Race Up Spruce Knob (GRUSK)

Registration & Info Page:

Start line address: 18 Woodlands Way, Circleville, WV  26804

Presented by MountainRides, LLC

Visit our website here for info, videos and pictures.

*** Operating under Special-Use U.S. Forest Service Permit ***


This is an adventure-cycling race on and around the highest peak in the West Virginia...Spruce Knob!  The race will traverse gravel and dirt roads through some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the East. The road conditions on course will vary from pavement, to smooth dirt, to chunky gravel, to unmaintained, double-track forest roads.  This race is a true challenge for the adventurous spirit within every cyclist and one you don't want to miss.

This event helps support the work of the Experience Learning, Inc.'s Spruce Knob Mountain Center, which focuses on developing an understanding and appreciation for the complex interaction between community, culture, and conservation through education and sustainable community initiatives.

The race will have several distance options, with the lower mileage courses being non-competitive rides (see below for course info).


The race will start and finish at The Mountain Institute’s Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC).  Click here for directions.

Course Info:

The race will start and finish at The Mountain Institute’s Spruce Knob Mountain Center (SKMC).  Click here for directions.  The course will cover some of the most scenic country in the state of West Virginia and will take riders up huge climbs, down fast descents, through deep valleys and across high ridges.  Amazingly, racers will navigate across the eastern continental divide and through the watersheds of the mighty Cheat, Greenbrier, and Potomac Rivers. 

Please visit the race webpage for additional course info here:  Course Info

Epic Course (Long Course)

  • Start Time: 10:00am
  • Length:  72 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 8,432 ft.
  • Garmin Profile Epic Course
  • MapMyRide Profile Epic Course
  • Aid stations:
    • Mile 21.6 - A1, Middle Mtn. Road
    • Mile 39 - A2 - Whitmer Rd/Dry Fork Rd - Drop Bag Location
    • Mile 52.4 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - Drop Bag Location
    • Mile 60.1 - Summit water station
    • Mile 67.8 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - 2nd pass by A3 toward finish

Classic Course (Short Course)

  • Start Time: 10:00am
  • Length:  52 miles
  • Elevation Gain:  5,286 ft.
  • Garmin Profile Classic Course
  • MapMyRide Profile Classic Course
  • Aid stations:
    • Mile 12.2 - A1 - CR29, Whitmer Rd, Water/Snacks
    • Mile 21.1 - A2 - Whitmer Rd/Dry Fork Rd - Drop Bag Location
    • Mile 34.5 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - Drop Bag Location
    • Mile 42.4 - Summit water station
    • Mile 50.3 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - 2nd pass by A3 toward finish

Spruce Highlights Tour (Non-competitive courses)

  • Start Time:  10:10am
  • Shorter Course
    • Length:  32 miles
    • Eleveation Gain:  3,261 ft.
    • MapMyRide Profile Spruce Highlights 32 Mile
    • Aid Stations:
      • Mile 11 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - Drop Bag Location
      • Mile 19 - Summit Water Station
      • Mile 27 - A3 - FR1/FR112 - 2nd pass by A3 toward finish

Spruce Knob Weather:

Please be prepared for varying weather conditions!  The temperature and conditions can vary significantly from the valleys to the ridge tops in the Spruce Knob area.  Spruce Knob and the surrounding ridges can be subject to high winds and quick drops in temperature.  It is not uncommon to see temps in the 50s in summer, so bring appropriate cold-weather riding gear and let’s hope for sunny skies and warm temperatures.  The race will be held rain, shine, sleet, or snow…however, but if there is lightning on the high ridges or near the summit of Spruce Knob, the promoter reserves the right to alter the course or suspend the race for the safety of participants.

Below are useful links for local mountain weather and conditions:

Spruce Knob Weather  

Forest Service Mountain Webcam – This webcam shows Dolly Sods, but conditions will be similar to Spruce Knob.


  • Bicycle – Cyclocross or mountain bike with at least 35mm tires recommended.  Road bikes are not ideal, but if that is all you have, we recommend tough 28mm tires.
  • Pedals – Road pedals can be used, but keep in mind muddy, dirty conditions can make it impossible to clip back in, so mountain pedals and shoes are preferred.
  • Helmet – Helmets must be worn at ALL times during the race and warm-up rides.
  • Spare tubes and parts – Be self-sufficient.  Bring a couple spare tubes, multi-tool, chain tool, spare chain links, hand pump and/or CO2, rain/wind shell, water and food to last 2-3 hours between aid stations.  It’s a good practice to load spare tubes in your drop bag just in case.
  • Clothing – Bring it to the race even if you don’t think you’ll need it.  You can always take layers off, but if you don’t bring a rain shell and get caught in a storm, you may be shivering on the side of the road or wearing a garbage bag to stay warm.

General Rules:

  • Poor sportsmanship will not be tolerated and may result in disqualification from the race. In short...don’t be a jerk, especially to the volunteers!
  • Riders should strive to be self-supported, i.e., take food, drink, tubes, pump, multi-tool, extra layers (if needed) with you on course.
  • Racers may have two drop bags (supplied) transported to the aid stations.
    There may be additional aid station and drop bag locations based on weather.  Drop bags must be submitted 30 minutes prior to the start.
  • If you get off course, you must backtrack to where you went off before continuing.
  • Course time cut-offs will be announced and finalized before race-day. For the safety of everyone out there, and to ensure our volunteers aren’t out there until dark, if you don’t make the cut offs…we’ll steer you toward the finish or there will be sag support to shuttle you back to the venue. Please be understanding of the race cutoff times.
  • Good Samaritan rule:  If you come across an injured rider, please stop to assess the person’s injuries as you may be the first responder.  Please note your time stopped helping and we’ll do our best to adjust your finish time.
  • Riders under 18 will need a signed parental consent form in order to race or ride.

The Spruce Highlights Tour:

The Spruce Highlights Tour is a non-competive ride, offering a 32 mile course to the summit of Spruce Knob. This is a great opportunity to step back from competition and just enjoy the ride.

  • Cost is $60 to cover aid station support, T-shirt, and pint glass, and post-race festivities.
  • Aid station support and sag support.
  • Spruce Experience riders may start 10 minutes after the race start time.

Food and Lodging Packages:  In addition to camping, food and lodging packages are available (see below).

Food Package:

Since the venue is not very close to restaurants or stores, we’ve simplified things for you and are offering a food package.  We'll cook up breakfast and dinner while you are racing with us. The package includes 3 meals, (Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, and Sunday breakfast), and costs $40.  You can also purchase a la carte meals at $15 each.  More detailed menu information to come.  If non-racing companions will be with you, please be sure to register for additional food packages, or send us an e-mail, so we know how much food to have.  Your non-racing companions will also need to purchase a dinner ticket for $5 also to help us know how much food to purchase.  

Lodging Package:

We're offering Dormitory packages for $25 per person, per night, and camping is only $15 per person for both nights.  We highly recommend staying at the venue the night before so you're all rested up for the big day.  The dorms are bunkhouse style.  There are two dorms, each having 4 rooms each and each room having 5 bunks.  They are co-ed, but we can reserve single-gender rooms if needed.  We are also offering entire dorm rooms for you or your group for $100 per night, but reserve early since they will go quickly.  Check out what the facilities look like and other lodging options on the Food and Lodging Page.

Refund/Transfer Policy:

We offer a fairly generous refund/transfer policy (Bikereg service fees are non-refundable):

  • On/Before 3/1/2017 – Full refund. (Includes full refund of camping, dorm and food package also)
  • 3/2/2017 – 5/30/2017 – Free transfer of race fee to another racer; free transfer of camping, dorm and food package.
  • After 6/1/2017 - $10 Transfer fee to another racer, no refund of dorm or food package, but dorm and food package will transfer to the other racer)

A few important notes about our Spruce Knob Mountain Center:

  • SKMC is in a remote location.  The nearest gas station is 12 miles away. The nearest grocery store is an hour away.  If you are bringing your own food, please come prepared with a fully stocked supply.
  • Pets are not allowed on the campus grounds.  Please leave Fang and Fluffy at home.  We're pet lovers too, but please understand these are the venue's rules and we would like to be invited back.
Earlier Event: June 27
Women's Weekly Steady Road Ride
Later Event: July 11
Women's Weekly Road Ride