Portland, Oregon | Nov. 14 and 15
This is one of the wildest, muddiest race series in cyclocross. And, with its take-all-comers (including unicyclists!) attitude and partylike vibe, it’s also the most welcoming. These back-to-back weekend races at Portland’s International Raceway are your best chance to see what roadies and mountain bikers are missing.
Peak Foliage in Canyon Country
Zion National Park, Utah | Early November
Long after the East Coast and Rockies have flamed out, the aspens and willows of southern Utah’s canyon country still burn a brilliant gold. Set against Zion’s red rocks, they transform the park into an unbe- lievable Seussian land- scape. Hit its famed trails—like Angels Land- ing and the Narrows— now, while days are cool, rain is minimal, and crowds are thin.
La Ruta de Los Conquistadores
Costa Rica | November 5-7
Billed as the “toughest mountain bike race on the planet,” this three-day stage race—including the option of rafting in the Pacuare River—is a ready-made, gorgeous adventure. A premium entry fee covers all you need, including meals, transportation, and the critical support of the Red Cross as you tackle the gnarly 161-mile coast-to-coast route.
Canyon City Marathon
Azusa, California | November 7
With a net elevation loss of nearly 5,200 feet on racetrack-smooth blacktop, it’s no wonder this L.A. County marathon is one of the nation’s top Boston qualifiers. Even better, the course hugs the beautiful San Gabriel River as it winds through the cool forested canyons of Angeles National Forest. How fast can you say “personal record”?
Ski the Rockies
Colorado | Mid- to Late November
While much of the U.S. is still dealing with freezing rain and mud-choked trails, Colorado’s high country is already getting the fluffy stuff. Make use of the shoulder season by laying first tracks in Summit County, where the early openers—Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Loveland, and Keystone—are ready (or soon will be) to rip.
Surf a Storm!
Cocoa Beach, Florida | All November
November, which marks the only overlap between Florida’s unpredictable hurricane surges and steady winter swells, is the best month to stalk the surf in Kelly Slater’s backyard playground. On these mellow breaks, you’ll max your chances for a perfect day of 10-foot waves, if not for surfing glory. For another challenge, head just south to the inlet.