Above the Beltway

Full-blown Appalachia

Alternately known as the Raw Talent Ranch, the Barn is the manifestation of Moglia’s vision of establishing a training base where DC bike racers could escape crushing traffic and limited riding for a weekend or a week. An earlier plan to build cabins in Virginia’s Fort Valley, just west of Shenandoah National Park, didn’t pan out. Just across the West Virginia border, Moglia found more fertile ground.

Moglia at work in DC. Photo: Joel Gwadz
Photo: Moglia

Guns, grits, and gravel

And the setting and the roads are idyllic. With a population of about 14,000, there are about 24 people per square mile in Hardy County, a statistic that’s juiced by the higher density in Moorefield, the county seat. In the Lost River district, the number drops to 15 per square mile. Compared with DC’s 10,000 per square mile, it’s an airy feeling. The low-density population and relatively high-density road network make for plenty of free blacktop for long, low-traffic rides, and the dirt and gravel farm roads that crisscross the area add variety and expand the route options.

The first G in GGG is for guns. King takes aim from the back porch. Photo: Moglia
Headed for Smokehole. Photo: Moglia

The spirit of the whole thing

With or without World Tour climbing prowess, the roads around the Barn have plenty to offer, from low traffic to high training load. To that demography and topography, the Barn adds a communal environment that encourages teammates to hang out, interact, and forge bonds that will serve them well in the final kilometers of a crit or road race.

Working class prideful

Bike Church is not the only event the Barn’s combination of setting, capacity, and personality have attracted. In February of 2009, Moglia helped Rapha put together a Lost River ride for the third edition of its Continental project. The clothing brand returned last year, but this time it wasn’t Rapha’s select squad tackling the non-stop rollers and kickers in cool winter weather. The Rapha Prestige Appalachia threw 25 four-rider teams onto the backroads in August, peak season for mid-Atlantic heat and humidity. Only five teams finished intact after 112 miles and 10,500 feet of climbing that finished back in the Barn’s lawn for beer and barbecue.

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Ryan Newill

Ryan Newill

Owner, Service Course, LLC. I make high quality bike cleaning tools. I also write about cycling for magazines, websites, and brands.