By Joe Nuss

The world of endurance sports is ever growing and like it or not, you’ve probably self-selected your own culture class based on the events you choose to do. That particularly lowbrow mud-flecked wall photo of you covered in filth and drinking light beer from a Viking helmet indicates one particular class, while the photo of you toasting the camera by your perfectly staged Trek Madone with an expensive glass of wine at a Tuscany vineyard indicates another. The get-down-to-business event photography photo of you in aero at your fourth Ironman (this year) indicates another class, while the photo of you drinking a regional microbrew after your latest cyclocross event indicates still another class of athlete.  


In this issue, we look at a new style of event that bridges the culture gap between all endurance events: UltraCross and “Roubaix” style events. You’ll notice our cover shot of a cyclist climbing one of western North Carolina’s many gravel roads. The great thing about events like this as well as the UltraCross event Three Peaks USA is the ability to participate in a great race and enjoy an amazing weekend in the mountains at a local inn and vineyard where you can relax with some award-winning wine. You can even travel a bit farther south to Georgia and participate in the Southern Cross, which starts at the Montaluce Winery in Dahlonega, Ga. Writer D.C. Luchessi did just that for his first venture in the sport. You can read his article “Joke’s on Me” on Page 16.


For stories about Three Peaks USA and the Boone Roubaix (featured on our cover), check out “The Most Fun You’ll Ever Have On Your Bike” on Page 18. While you will have to wait till April for the Boone Roubaix, Three Peaks USA, billed as the toughest cyclocross event in America, takes place this fall. Like Southern Cross, Three Peaks USA has some elegant trappings amid the dirt roads and hill climbs. Participants at Three Peaks USA can enjoy a post-race meal and stay at North Carolina’s Banner Elk Inn and Winery. Don’t worry, there will be post-race beer, too!


For those looking for less race and more adventure, be sure to read our wrapup of Diane Van Deren’s epic Mountains-to-Sea Trail run as told by epic ultrarunner Charlie Engle.  Sponsored by The North Face, Van Deren finished the “course” in record time with the help of the incredible support from the Great Outdoor Provision Co. Reader beware: While the Mountains-to-Sea Trail encompasses all that is beautiful of the North Carolina outdoors, the course is rugged, extremely challenging, and new. Be sure to do your research and seek the advice of experts like those at the Great Outdoor Provision Co. before considering any similar epic adventure.


While most of us will never be able to accomplish a feat the likes of Van Deren’s, some are still looking to get started. From firsthand experience, I can tell you a run/walk plan is a great way to break into running. I ran my first marathon with the help of a Jeff Galloway run/walk training group in Washington, D.C., and have been a runner and fan of the strategy ever since. If you’re looking to start running for the first time, or, like me, are coming back to it after recovering from an injury, check out Vickie Leff’s “One Step at a Time” article.


More-competitive runners will likely want to enter the next NC USATF Championship race, the Continental Divide Trail Race, which serves as the 10k Trail Championship and is set for Aug. 25 in Laurel Springs. Photographer Anthony Corriveau caught a great shot of Molly Nuun (see our photo note on Page 4) at last year’s race on one of the course’s more gentle sections. You can learn more about the race at


We also feature a new column this month. Our new “TRX Tip” column is geared to those of you like me, who are still struggling to settle into a regular strength-training routine. Brian Diaz introduces us to TRX Suspension Training as well as provides us a great workout for those new to TRX.  


And as always, our nutrition writer, Brandon McDearis, provides another incredibly tasty recipe: falafel with tahini.