Mountain Flyer | Number 77

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Before gravel-specific events rose to popularity in the U.S. there was Iron Cross. Now in its 23rd year, this 60-mile, grueling out and back race is no longer the only one of its kind. Yet few have come to rival this East Coast staple.

In eastern Pennsylvania, deterioration of the local steel industry left communities in need of revitalization. Today, with the help of dedicated riders, non-profit organizations and local governments, Lehigh Valley has blossomed into a cycling hub, focused not on promoting mountain bike “monoculture” but supporting trail access for everyone.

Last year Lea Davison retired from a 20-year career in World Cup XC racing. Since the age of 19, she has spent her days training and competing, with little room for much else. Now 40, Davison is ready to chase new adventures, embrace advocacy and find joy in unexpected places.

Stretching from Georgia to Newfoundland and Labrador, the Appalachian Mountains, home to diverse cultures, scenic terrain and amazing dirt, are some of the oldest on earth. From a young age Brice Shirbach felt an affinity for these ancient peaks. Experience the beauty of Appalachia in a love letter to the mountains he calls home.


Editor's Note



Profile: Full Speed Ahead
At 18, Mazie Hayden was racing World Cup events in ski cross and downhill mountain biking. Five years later, she’s fully committed to bikes and eager to see what an uninterrupted season will bring.

Chain Of Fools: The Best Mistake I Ever Made
Mistakes are inevitable, whether you forget your bike shoes or show up to a race a week early. As Jen See shows us, you just have to make the most of it.

Trail Anatomy: Boulder Dash and Tunnel Ridge
Winding through Green Mountain National Forest, central Vermont’s Tunnel Ridge trail, featuring more than 100 berms over its 4.5-mile course, offers the state’s longest descent.

Outlaws: The Godfather of Gravel
Before gravel riding took off and bikepacking had multiple websites, John Stamstad pioneered off-road endurance cycling. After a dark personal decade, he has returned. Here is his story.

Tested: Spot Ryve 115

Tested: Norco Fluid

Tested: Yeti 135

Wrenched: Drivetrain Wars
When buying parts, the question is always begged: budget-friendly or tech-forward. Shimano and SRAM are putting consumers to the test with their respective drivetrain offerings.

Framebuilder: Doin’ It Right In Muskrat Land
In 2021, Eleanor McDonough left her job as an environmental scientist and launched Muskrat Bikes. Today, demand is so high she’s taking custom frame orders a year out.

Live, Laugh, Loam
A rogue ride member, five river crossings and a pair of frigid feet later, Zander Lingelbach-Pierce wonders whose journey was worse: his or the Donner Party’s.


On the cover: True grit. Lea Davison pushes through pain and rain in the 2019 Val di Sole XC World Cup. [Photo] Andy Vathis

Department contents: Jake Wellner holds a no-handed track stand in front of Bethlehem Steelstacks, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. [Photo] Willow Munson

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