The long days of summer in Gaston County mean heaping helpings of blue skies and sunshine. With a calendar so full of cool outdoor events, you’ll need the extra daylight hours (and possibly a few vacation days) to fit it all in. No matter if your predilection is for paddling, you’re geared for cycling, or a trail run’s your thing, there is something to suit your taste. Here are some events most worthy of those precious summer hours.
July 9: Any visit to the U.S. National Whitewater Center is an event, but it’s not every day you get to complete a triathlon there. The Xterra Whitewater Triathlon includes a 1k flat water swim on the Catawba River followed by a 23k mountain bike and 8k trail run on the center’s extensive singletrack.
July 10: Supported by Gaston’s own Ride-A-Bike Bicycle Shop , the well-appointed Dog Days of Dallas Metric Century road ride returns. Making use of the winding, country roads around Dallas, NC, the ride includes stocked aid stations, post-ride showers, and lunch. The event offers three choices: A 62-mile route, a 46-mile route, and a 25-mile route.
July 22: Beginning at 6 pm, the rare evening start time of the Gaston Grizzlies 5K is just the beginning of a celebration of everything summer. Starting in the outfield and finishing at home plate, the race is followed by Grizzlies’ Midnight Madness double header and a fireworks show.
July 22 and 23: Let’s run two! If one race in a weekend isn’t enough, then the USNWC’s Tread Nightly / Tread Brightly combo is for you. The nighttime event begins on Friday at 8 pm and includes either a 4 mile or half marathon trail race. Then, on Saturday Morning, wake up and run one of the same distances. Either race can also be run individually, but camping is only allowed for those registered for both.
Aug 6: By land or by sea (well, by river anyway), the Amphibious duathlon he is one of the coolest events on the USNWC calendar. The 2k flat water paddle race around Sadler Island is sandwiched between two 5k trail races. You can BYOB(oat) or SUP or use the center provided sit-on-top kayak.
Sept 5: The Burn Labor Day 5K is not for the faint of heart, or will. The out and back course is run on the Tower Trail at Crowders Mountain State Park. While the wide open, gravel service road doesn’t have all the trail gators (roots and rocks) that prowl the park’s singletrack, it does rise more than 500 feet from the start line to the halfway point. At least the return trip is downhill.
Sept 10: Not all summer events need be heart racing, sweat inducing challenges. Sometimes you just want to while away a few sun-filled hours on the bank, waiting on a bluegill to make a run at your bait. Fishing with the Grandkids is Crowders Mountain State Park’s answer to the call of a lazy summer afternoon. The event encourages grandparents to bring their little anglers to the park’s scenic lake and offers refreshments and free loaner tackle.
Originally written for Gaston County Gov.