Pro Racer Penny Davidson Endorses Fountainhead MTB Trail Project!

Since we are celebrating our 25th anniversary we thought it would be fun to dig through our archives and share some of the articles and news we published on MORE’s first printed newsletter, “Trailhead.” Over the next few weeks we’ll “Throw back Thursday” and share some of these with you. The article below was published in January 1996 and written by MORE’s newsletter editor, Andy Carruthers. Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments below…


Pro Racer Penny Davidson Endorses Fountainhead MTB Trail Project!
MORE initiates Fountainhead Trail Fund to Raise $6,000

Racer and ESPN commentator Penny Davidson with MORE representative Brad Convis in Arizona

Racer and ESPN commentator Penny Davidson with MORE representative Brad Convis in Arizona

Two-time national champion racer and ESPN commentator Penny Davidson has signed onto MORE’s Fountainhead Regional Park Mountain Bike Trail, the first single-user trail being built for cyclists in our region. Davidson, a competitor known for her wide variety of talents, was approached by MORE representatives at the January IMBA Mountain Bike Advocacy Conference outside of Tucson, Arizona. Based in California, Davidson is a Certified Public Accountant and a former school teacher who has made substantial public efforts in support of trail advocates including IMBA and, now, MORE.

MORE Fountainhead Fund Chairman Andy Carruthers said, “We’re very, very pleased to have Penny on board the project.” He continued, “We hope hers Will be the first of several celebrity endorsements that we can parlay into a successful fund-raising campaign in support of the trail.” MORE has committed to raising $6,000 for the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) to meet a public funding shortfall for the project. The capital campaign already has an e-mail account (FntnhdFund@aol.com) established to serve as an informational clearinghouse and contact point for potential sponsors and members of the media.

“The level of enthusiasm for the Fountainhead Trail within the club, and within the larger trail cycling community, is very high,” said Carruthers. He noted that the trail, which is tentatively planned to extend as far as eight miles in length, would be a first in many respects: “It would be the first unpaved, bicycle-only trail in the entire metro area, the first NVRPA site to permit cycling on single track, and the first concerted effort by the local cycling community to raise substantial funds in support of a mountain bike trail.”

After seeing trail closures at Sugarloaf Mountain, across Montgomery County and in most of Northern Virginia’s largest parks, cyclists have been rudely informed that they cannot take trail access for granted anymore. “Free trails are a thing of the past, if they ever were a reality at all,” said trails coordinator Brad Convis. While area MTB riders have begun to shoulder their share of trail maintenance responsibilities through groups like MORE and the Capybara Mountain Bike Club with support from the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club (PPTC), cyclists need to note the long term financial and political contributions to trails made by groups such as the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club (PATC) and the American Hiking Society (AHS). “Mountain bikers need to pay our dues, and this project may well be an image maker or an image breaker for us,” said Convis,

MORE members are urged to help locate potential major donors for the project. “If your employer has a charitable contribution or matching fund program, please contact us,” said Carruthers. He noted that certain firms and businesses were already being considered for appeals and asked for help in screening them; “If you or someone you know closely works for a Northern Virginia bike shop, sport utility vehicle dealer, outdoors store, America Online or the Old Dominion Brewing Company, please let us know.” Referring to this last organization, Carruthers suggested that MORE’s fund-raising campaign might be informally dubbed “RockShox & Root Beer.”

MORE members, said Carruthers, will be approached by mail to make a contribution in support of the Fountainhead Trail. “Well be asking them to make a donation of $50— roughly the cost of a new rear derailleur.” Too much? “Well,” said Carruthers, “we’ll be asking them to consider making a contribution of $100–roughly the cost of a good quality wheel.” A tall order? “We don’t think so,” insisted Carruthers, “because we’ll be asking them to consider the highest commitment level– $250, roughly the cost of a Yakima roof rack system.” When all is said and done, said Convis, “if mountain bikers don’t have trails, there won’t be much for them to do with their derailleurs, their wheels and their roof racks, and I think cyclists know that.”

© January, 1996–The Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE)


Learn MORE about the Fountainhead Project and how far it has come in the last 20 years…

Exciting News for NOVA Trail Access!

Did you miss the MORE winter party last Saturday??  If you did then you missed MORE presenting Mr. Paul Gilbert, Executive Director of NOVA Parks, the Land Manager of the Year Award.

During Mr. Gilbert’s acceptance speech he announced the continued and expanded collaboration between NOVA Parks (Formerly the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority) and MORE in the form of future access to the Bull Run Occoquan Trail (BROT).

MORE’s successful completion of the Fountainhead Project (FHP) combined with many E-Mails, phone calls, meetings and the support of our partners in the hiking and equestrian communities helped seal this new collaboration.  The first phase of this new access opportunity targets late Spring to Summer of 2016 and would grant mountain bike access on the multiuse, bidirectional BROT between Fountainhead Park and Bull Run Marina (about 6 miles one way).  This section of the BROT will need some trail work and maintenance before access can be granted and MORE has committed to providing the work force to do this.

Full multiuser access to the BROT is expected to be a multi-phase, multi-year effort, with the ultimate goal of redesigning large unsustainable sections of the trail as well as adding loop options into the design.  It should be noted that access to this first section of the BROT is not only a privilege but a test to show that our riding community can co-exist with the other user groups who access this very popular section of trail.  Riders should expect the experience to be at the GREEN skill level with terrain very similar to Maryland’s Seneca Ridge Trail.  Riders will be expected to yield the trail to Hikers and Horses at all times.

Stay tuned to MORE’s website and Facebook page for updates and how to get involved in this exciting new project throughout the spring. We hope you’re as stoked as we are to work with NOVA Parks in 2016, and can’t wait to see you on the Bull Run Occoquan Trail this year!

The Fountainhead Project is FINISHED!

That should have been our headline May 16th, 2015 when we received our last invoice from our contractors. Of course now it’s almost 5 months later and we’re finally writing this piece. We had hoped to install the final signage including the final map but those projects have been delayed and it’s way past time to sum the Project up.

The State of “The Head”

With the 2014 July 4th holiday week coming we thought we’d share where we are in the this last Phase of the Fountainhead Project (FHP).

Winter Building!!

The winter of 2013/2014 for Northern Virginia and much of the east coast will certainly go down as one of the worst for trail building in recent history. Our estimated build schedule was thrown out the door as snow storm after snow storm blanketed our favorite trail.

The Black Loop Ground Breaking

The Fountainhead Project is pleased to announce that Phase II construction out on the Black Loop has officially broke ground.

The Black Loop Project is under contract!

The Northern Virginia Park Authority received two excellent RFP submissions for the Fountainhead Black Loop redesign. The first submission was a joint effort from Ironwood Outdoors and Bergrad Trails.

The Black Loop RFP has been Released!

The Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (NVRPA) in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts (MORE) is seeking a contractor to provide an experienced trail crew to construct new mountain bike-specific single-direction natural surface singletrack trails at Fountainhead Regional Park.

Phase II is Coming!

Just a few short weeks ago, we here at the Fountainhead Project seriously discussed shutting down the Project. Earlier in the year we had received negative news about our RTP grant application and our funding for a proposed demo project fell through. And then the below letter showed up in the NVRPA mail box.

Phase I Construction is COMPLETE!

The Phase I Construction is COMPLETE! The Fountainhead Phase I construction has been completed. The trails are open and for the most part dialed in. Our good friends from the Fredericksburg Area Mountain Bike Enthusiasts (FAMBE) mapped the trail with a professional grade GPS and the map looks great!!