Rock ‘N The Knob: The 20-mile Course20-Mile Race Description (21.0 miles and 4635 feet of climb and 9270 feet of elevation change.)
Section 1 – Blue Knob All Seasons to Hairpin Aid Station (water-only) (2.2 miles | +360 ft./-100 ft.) Starting at the Clubhouse at Blue Knob Four Seasons Resort at 2736 feet, runners will follow a rocky singletrack past the Tubing Park, along Pavia Road then across from the ski chalet. Runners will cross the road and dip into the wood behind the chalet and split from the 10K runners. 10K will turn left while the 20-mile runners will turn right and down a gravel service road to the hairpin turn and the first aid station.
Section 2 – Hairpin Aid Station to Pavia Aid Station (5.1 miles | +180 ft./-1807 ft.) 30k runners will cross the road and onto a blue-blazed connecting singletrack for 0.7 miles to Tower Road. Runners will turn right on the road and run toward the radio towers at the top of Herman Point at 3014 feet (3 miles in the race). Lost Turkey Trail will be on the left. Racers will take Lost Turkey Trail down the mountain and across Blue Knob Road (be careful of vehicle traffic). Runners will continue onto Lost Turkey Trail on the left just before the guard rail. The trail continues downhill until reaching an old logging trail. This section from Herman Point to the old logging trail one of the steepest descent of the race, dropping over 600 feet in 0.7 miles.
Racers will turn left and continue on the logging road/Lost Turkey Trail for 0.7miles to the campgrounds. This section is very flat and offers a chance your quads to recover. Campground is at mile 4.4 in the race.
Runners will go around the Blue Knob State Park Campgrounds before turning left around the southern end of the campgrounds and then a right onto Chappells Field Trail. Chappells Field Trail is a wide trail toward Pavia Road. At Pavia Road (mile 5.1), runners will cross the road, bearing left onto an access trail before making a right onto Crist Trail. The forest will vary from new growth, to damp pines, to high canopy second and third-growth forest. The trail will eventually cross Pavia/Knob Road (at 6.1 miles) again about halfway down the mountain then runs atop the ridge until banking to the left. Crist Ridge Trail will make a last final drop into the valley – first a fast and straight section before banking to the right and then several switchbacks to Pavia/Knob Road. This downhill will be the fastest section of the course. Also this section is the longest single downhill of the race with a total fall of 859 feet in 2.6 miles. Runners would have dropped 1800 feet since Herman Point.
Section 3 – Pavia Aid Station to Chappelle Aid Station – water/Tailwind-only (4.2 miles | +1300 ft. / -450 ft.)
Racers will cross Pavia/Knob Road (at 7.3 miles) and here will be a full aid station. Then racers will run up a section of single track with Pavia Run on the left before making sharp right up Rock ‘N Ridge Trail up the spine of the ridge. This is the opposite the direction in the last 4 races. Overall, there is a steep section on both ends of this trail, beginning and just before the turn to the right at the top. Runners will now run along the mountain before making a left and dropping down into Pavia Run for 0.8 miles. When you reach the bottom, it will be at mile 20 of the course. The course will turn make a sharp right and up the western fork of Pavia Run before making a light left and then up out of the hallow (new section for 2015). After making another sharp right, runners will be near Chappelle Field on the left. At the top of the Field is an aid station. You are mile 11.4.
Section 4 – Chappelle Field Aid Station to Ravens Rest Aid Station. (2.6 miles | +400 ft. / -575 ft.)
From the aid station, runner will glide on a flat double track a quarter-mile until an intersection with a paved service road and several trails. Take the uppermost trail - for the race we call Upper Ridge Trail (marked Rock ‘N Ridge Trail though on a different section of trail from earlier). Enjoy some flat yet mildly technical singletrack for a half-mile before going around a hallow and then the course turns sharply up Deep Hallow at mile 12.8. The course follows an abandoned trail to the top of the mountain. It’s steep yet short. 400 feet in 0.4 miles. At the top the course will merge onto a mountain bike trail and descend all the way to Sawmill Trail. This downhill is steep and somewhat eroded, dropping more than 500 feet in 0.6 miles. The course will now Sawmill Trail, a double track, will bear to the left around a parking area before emerging out of the woods. Runner will run down the field to Raven Rest Aid Station at 14.2 miles.
Section 5 – Raven Rest AS to Hairpin AS (4 miles | +1410 feet / -570 ft.)
This will be the most physically demanding and mentally challenging section of the course. Runners will climb the remote southeastern flank of the mountain. The first half mile is up the mountain to 2570 feet, the along the 2500 foot contour for about six-tenths of a mile, then down 500 feet in a half of a mile to Beaver Dam Canyon. This entire section includes steep slopes requiring runners to be able to stop on a dime to avoid seriously technical and jagged rocks along the narrow single track. It is a brutal 1.25 miles. THEN reaching Beaver Dam Run, runners will climb up the hallow up Beaver Dam Run to the top of the mountain with “rock step climbing” almost the entire 971 feet in 0.79 miles out of the hollow. The moss-covered rocks on this entire climb are very slippery, especially after or during a rain or drizzle. Eventually you will cross a dirt road (Three Springs Trail) but the climbing is not let over.
Runners will cross Three Springs Trail and continue up the mountain for just two-tenths of a mile. At the top is a technical section called the ‘Stone Pads’, a flat section of stone stepping on the single track. Then the trail will become less technical and will follow the trail along the edge of the summit (clockwise), past Pavia Overlook on the left. After a section of straight singletrack, runners will make a hard left, down a short hill and then bear to the right before arriving at the dirt state forest road. Make a left. The road will end at Pavia Road, here is an aid station.
Section 6 – Hairpin AS to FINISH (2.9 miles | +535 ft. / -830 ft.) – Runners will run to the lodge via a powerline, cross a service shed, a parking area and then up a bank to the lodge. Runners will go behind the lodge (right before the lodge) and will be offered a tremendous view toward the northeast at the top of the ski lifts. Runners will then proceed down Upper Mambo ski slope. Follow the “running lanes” as it switchbacks down the steeper part of the slope to avoid the holes and ruts. At the bottom, runners will have the condos on the right as they continue down the slope and yield left and down a steep slope called Edge Set. After a short break, runners will go down for one turn before running down a service road. Then it is a steep scramble up the mountain called “I Need a Sherpa”. After the climb, you run along a grass lane before another short drop downhill on another service road before a second climb.
Now on Old Ridge Run (a wide and fast doubletrack) some racers will be able to make a final sprint. At mile 5.4, we will offer some nice singletrack. As the trail cross a couple roads and past some golf greens before terminating at Evergreen Lane. Then it is a paved road as you approach the rear of the clubhouse.
30k Course Statistics
- Length: 20.8 miles
- Start/Finish Elevation: 2736 feet
- Highest elevation: 3142 feet
- Lowest elevation: 1555 feet
- Elevation Climb/Change: 4635 feet of climb or 9270 feet of elevation change.
- Longest Continuous Downhill: Crist Ridge Trail – 859 feet in 2.45 miles
- Steepest Downhill: Lost Turkey Trail down Herman Point – 631 feet in 0.87 miles.
- Steepest Climb and Longest Continuous Climb: Mountain View Trail up Beaverdam Run – 973 feet in 1.27 miles.