50-Miles of Freedom

Fairfax, VA — New Date: Sunday, January 7th, 2018

The Mason Cylcing Club presents the 1st Annual Spirit of Mason Fun Ride in Fairfax, Virginia on Sunday, January 7th, 2018 @ 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM.

This Fun Gran Fondo-ish 50-mile recreational ride goes from the George Mason University Fairfax Campus to Gunston Hall and back in honor of George Mason’s accomplishments during the Revolutionary War, his contribution to the creation of the United States Constitution, and his support in getting Virginia to ratify the Bill of Rights.

This is an all-weather ride (rain, snow, or shine – hoping for the shine) with aid stations along the way, individual challenges (pending), and plank-owner prizes to all finishers.

Additionally — for the first time in the club’s 4-year history — Mason Cycling will be allowing alumni and non-club members to purchase our new 2018 Mason Cycling Club Jerseys and Kits!

All proceeds from event registration, the sale of Mason Cycling Kits, and direct donations will go to support the Mason Cycling Club.

A Ride Through History

George Mason was one of the leading figures in creating the Bill of Rights. After storming out of the Constitutional Convention because the Constitution didn’t contain a declaration of human rights, he worked to pass amendments that would protect citizens from an intrusive government.

On September 25, 1789, Congress transmitted to the state Legislatures twelve proposed amendments to the Constitution based on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, written by George Mason. Numbers three through twelve were adopted by the States to officially become part of the Constitution, with Virginia’s legislature being the last to ratify the amendments on December 15, 1791.

George Mason died on October 7th, 1792, at his Mason Neck home Gunston Hall, only 10-months after seeing the Bill of Rights become the fundamental rights that all Americans enjoy today.

This event will travel a route that goes from the George Mason Statue on the Fairfax Campus to Gunston Hall — the location of George Mason’s final resting place — and then back again in a symbolic gesture to bring Mason’s “spirit” back to the school that bears his name.

Help Us Reach Our $5,000 Goal

This year-end cycling celebration is our annual fundraiser that directly supports our club’s $5,000 goal to do the following::

  • Support Mason Cycling’s upcoming USAC Collegiate Road Season (Travel and Registration)
  • Support of equiping the club with cycling jerseys going into 2018
  • Support the Gunston Hall historical non-profit organization
  • Support the Wounded Warrior Project

No matter if you decide to ride with us to Gunston Hall and back, buy a Club Jersey, Donatate towards our goal, or all three — we will greatly appreciate your support in help us continue too have cycling at George Mason University.

A Fairfax Countryside Course

This 50-mile ride will depart from the George Mason Statue on the George Mason University Fairfax Campus, take paved, country/county roads to Gunston Hall at Mason Neck, and return back to the statue.

This is not a race but a fun ride in the same spirit of most American Gran Fondos. The goal is to complete the course in the safest manner possible while having fun along the way. There are no prizes for the fastest completion time, only for finishing.

Que Maps of the course will available a week before the event with a GPS version that you can download to your GPS device.

Along the Way

Mason Cycling will have Aid Stations along the way that will feature hot coffee, water, and refreshments.

Along the way, there will be individual challenges (pending) in certain parts of the course that will allow riders to compete.

These challenges are optional, with the Top 3 in each event awarded a prize at the finish.

We are also planning on providing plank-owner prizes to all finishers of our first ever 50-mile fun ride. We’re still working out what exactly that will be.

Why Did We Change the Date?

Sometimes the day you pick for an event is the exact same day your friends, sponsors, and fellow race directors pick for their bigger event.

This year, we discovered we were going head-to-head with Capital Cross Classic at Lake Fairfax, Virginia on December 3rd, 2017.

If we kept our Fun Ride on the same day as the Capital Cross, we were forcing our friends and even our potential and current sponsors to chose between two great events.

We didn’t want anyone to have to make that choice, so before things become too complex, we moved the Spirit of Mason Fun Ride to January 7th, 2018!!

It was a tough choice, but we hope this opens the door for you and other Friends of Mason Cycling to come out and support the club.

Plus it’s a heck of a way to bring in the New Year!

Ride Rules and FAQ

  • Helmets are required — NO EXCEPTIONS! No helmet, no ride! 
  • The course is NOT CLOSED and this is NOT A RACE — Please OBEY all of the Fairfax County and Virginia Traffic Laws!
  • Remember that you are ON A BIKE — you are NOT A CAR!
  • Dress warm, it will be cold.
  • Bring a charged smartphone, spare tubes, and a handpump/CO2 — Flats happen.
  • Be kind and do not litter! Aid Stations will have trash bags.
  • This is a FUN RIDE! Mandatory Fun Rules are in effect!

Will there be Event Day registration?
This is pending. Right now we are not planning on having Event Day registration but will make a final decision the week before January 7th. Save yourself some anxiety and some money and pre-register already!

What is the schedule?

6:00 AM – Parking Opens (Location TBD)
6:00 AM – Waiver Signing and Bib Numbers
7:00 AM – Ride Announcements & Pre-Ride Raffle
8:00 AM – SHARP! – Group Ride Roll-Out
11:00 AM – Post Ride Activities: Finish Line Opens: Refreshments, Coffee, and Post-Ride Snacks
2:00 PM – Start the finish line announcements, prize give-a-ways, and clean up

Where’s the Start?
The start is planned for the George Mason Statue located in the center of George Mason University Fairfax Campus. Parking location is still TBD — but we will have the final parking location sent out to all registered riders.

Will the ride go on if the weather is bad?
Yes! This ride is an All-Weather Ride so be prepared! Suck it up! Rule #9 applies. Always check the weather and dress accordingly.

What type of bike should I use or what tires should I run?

  • Cyclocross bikes are recommended with a minimum of a 28c tire, but a 32/35c (or bigger!) is better with some kind of grip/knobs.
  • Slicks and Road Shoes are not recommended, something with some tread is best especially with the kind of debris that lives along the Ox Road bike path.
  • Mountain bikes are fine but this ride is 99-percent pavement.
  • We don’t recommend Fat Bikes, but if you want to ride it, you are more than welcome to!

So if this is a Fun Ride in the “Spirit of a Fondo”, where is the timing?
There is no timing. However, there are several Strava segments all over the course, so you may get a KOM/QOM along the way if you ride strong. We are planning optional Surprise Challenges along the course — so stay sharp!

Will there be rest stops along the 24-mile and 50-mile routes?
There will be available restrooms and/or port-a-potties at the Start/Finish. We are planning the first Aid Station at the Laurel Hill Equestrian Center. The second one either in the Gunston Hall Visitors Center parking lot or along Gunston Road at the Meadowood Trail Parking Lot. You are welcome to stop at any other location along the way if you need to take a moment. Along Ox Road and Lorton Road there several fast food and gas stations that have restrooms. The only location that may not have anywhere to stop is along Gunston Road, but that is the shortest leg of the 50-mile route.

I may get tired and not be able to ride the entire course, can I bail if I need to?
Look. You’re an adult, on a bike, on open roads with cars and trucks and what-not, in January, in Fairfax County, riding fast county roads, for the fun of a good cause and a few hours on a bike. You can bail, but you should expect to be ridiculed by the other riders that complete the full course. Bring your smartphone, or a GPS, or a smart friend with a smart GPS. Aid Station volunteers might be kind enough to give you a ride back to your car, but remember that you are technically unsupported and responsible for your own ride home. Ride Smart. Be Smart. That being said, we will have volunteers out looking for stragglers, sweepers with CO2/pumps, and radios. But we would REALLY APPRECIATE IT if you would tell someone you are leaving the ride!

Don’t sign up for this if you think you can’t make it.

Are you ready?

Then Lets Go Fetch George Mason

Registration is now open!

Registration for both mountain or road categories will be avaiable when pre-registration for this event opens on November 6th, 2017.