It had been eight months since fellow board member and MABDR architect Kevin Woody and I joined the rest of the BDR team in late summber 2017 for the filming of the expedition documentary. When the opportunity arose to join four of our generous supporters for another go on this epic 1,100-mile dual sport route, we quickly raised our hands. What we didn't expect was just how much extreme weather and season could change the route – and so began our adventure.
In late May, six experienced adventure riders from six different states across the U.S. made their way to Damascus, VA, for a crack at the MABDR. Enjoying delicious sh tacos at a local eatery that night was a great way to get to know each other and kick off the six-day event. Kevin prepped the group and set expectations based on his unmatched knowledge of the route—knowledge that proved paramount in the days that ensued.
The MABDR is broken into nine sections, both on the Butler Map and the GPS tracks. Ranging from 70 to 200 miles, each can be done in a single day and, depending on your riding style, more than one section can be checked off daily. To keep our ride to just six days, we doubled up on sections on a few days.
Dancing Bears and Dirty Dancing
Kickstands are up at 8 a.m. in front of the Dancing Bear B&B in Damascus, as we begin a very soggy Day One. First up is Chestnut Mountain Road, which leads us to our first photo opportunity in front of the roadside rocky waterfall that marks the official start of the MABDR. Then it’s on to some meandering gravel roads through Jefferson National Forest and along the banks of Mount Rogers. Skulls Gap lookout provides an expansive view of what is to come.