Skip to Main Content

Gambrill State Park to Co-host 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike National Championship in October

State Partners with City and County of Frederick, Cycling Group to Secure Bid

Photo of Gambrill State Park entrance sign

Maryland DNR photo

Gambrill State Park and the Frederick City Cooperative Wildlife Management Area have been chosen by USA Cycling as the venue for the 2021 Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on Saturday, October 23. The Maryland Sports Commission will serve as the event host, working closely with officials from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Gambrill State Park staff, TEAM Maryland partner Visit Frederick, the City of Frederick, Frederick County Government, and the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts Inc. 

“We are happy to announce the 2021 USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals at Gambrill State Park. With what has been a challenging year for event organization, we have found a great partner in the Maryland Sports Commission and Visit Frederick. These organizations have allowed us to hold this National Championship this year and we are looking forward to a challenging mid-Atlantic course for our racers,” said Tara McCarthy, Director of National Events for USA Cycling. 

“This announcement is really the culmination of the partnership that has developed over the last few years between our office, the Maryland Sports Commission, and USA Cycling,” said Terry Hasseltine, Executive Director of the Maryland Sports Commission, “We had the privilege of working with USA Cycling in 2018 and 2019 as part of the U.S. Amateur Road Nationals with our TEAM Maryland partner, Visit Hagerstown and Washington County, and now we have the opportunity to work with them along with another TEAM Maryland partner in Visit Frederick. 

“The Maryland Park Service is excited to host the 2021 USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships at Gambrill State Park. The scenic and rugged trails of Gambrill State Park are a popular outdoor recreation destination for tens of thousands of visitors every year. This event will showcase Maryland’s natural beauty and outstanding mountain biking opportunities to visitors from across the country, ” said Nita Settina, Superintendent, Maryland Park Service.

“Frederick is excited to host the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Marathon National Championships, showcasing our watershed and City. The Frederick Watershed is a well-respected location for mountain bikers on the east coast; in fact, I’ve been told it has the hardest trails some of our riders have ever faced. I hope the Championship riders find it beautiful and challenging, and take time to enjoy The City of Frederick after the race,” said Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor.

“We are excited to welcome cyclists from across the United States to explore our beautiful scenic and rural roads. Frederick County is a leader on the East Coast for mountain biking, with facilities in Brunswick, Emmitsburg and the City of Frederick. It is an honor for us to host the national championships,” said Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner.

“On behalf of Visit Frederick, we are certainly very excited to be partnering with USA Cycling and the Maryland Sports Commission to bring this unique and dynamic event to Frederick,” said Dave Ziedelis, Executive Director of Visit Frederick. “We look forward to welcoming and hosting all the event participants along with an entourage of family, friends, and fans that will be traveling to Frederick.”

The positive relationship between the two organizations was also a big reason why the Maryland Sports Commission – through their non-profit entity, the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.) – was awarded the Maryland Cycling Classic presented by UnitedHealthcare, a UCI-sanctioned event, for three years beginning in 2022. Hasseltine added, “This is really a partnership that we value and look to build upon, and we are incredibly excited to work with them again for the Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals this fall.”

The grueling one-day event will take place inside Gambrill State Park and the Frederick Watershed CWNA, located on the ridge of the Catoctin Mountains in Frederick County. With scenic overlooks, hiking and biking trails, the park is one of the most sought-after attractions for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. 

Marathon Mountain Bike Nationals is a cross-country mountain bike discipline between 37 and 99 miles and is sanctioned by USA Cycling and its international federation for elite riders. “We typically see 400 riders and the sport is popular with cross-country races with several marathon mountain bike series around the country,” McCarthy said. 

Downtown Frederick, located a short ride from the park, is home to a vibrant arts and cultural community, along with some of the top culinary attractions and breweries in the Western Maryland region, and one of the most inclusive communities in the State of Maryland. 

In addition to state, city, and other local partners, Maryland Sports will also team with The Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE) Inc. to assist USA Cycling with event preparation and execution.

“MORE is happy to support our local advocacy community in Frederick County with this year’s USACycling event. For over 20 years our volunteers have built and maintained trails at the Frederick Watershed and Gambrill State Park including recent projects contributing over $100,000 of trail improvements via grants, fund-raising, and volunteer hours. It’s exciting to see this nationally recognized trail network host the USACycling MTB Marathon event and showcase the trails to a larger audience,” said Joe Whitehair with MORE.