This weekend: Get schooled

It’s a new year and time to branch out, to learn a new sport, learn about a new place to explore.

Coast

Photo courtesy Cold Stone Classic
Photo courtesy Cold Stroke Classic

Looking for new adventure in 2015? Check out the Cold Stroke Classic Saturday in Wrightsville Beach.

Now in its seventh year, the classic is a stand-up paddlboard competition that appeals both to the experienced SUPer with a 7-mile race and the beginner, with a course half as long. Cash awards in the elite category, $5,000 in prizes for the beginners. Don’t have a board? No problem; check out the used gear swap on Friday. Don’t have a wetsuit? That’s a problem.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 17, 10 a.m., registration fee ranges from $25 to $75, depending upon age and race category. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Sunny, high of 52.

Piedmont

Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks
Photo courtesy N.C. State Parks

Looking for a new place to explore in 2015? Our guess is that Medoc Mountain State Park may have a spot on your “new adventures for a new year” list.

Medoc Mountain sits off the beaten path about an hour and a half northeast of the Triangle. Ten miles of trail explore the park, which, despite sitting on the cusp of the Piedmont and coastal plain, has more of a rolling hills feel. A nice escape, especially since few people seem to know about the park, and an escape you can learn more about Saturday, when a park ranger hosts “Discover Medoc Mountain State Park” at 2 p.m. Learn about the park, take a short hike with the ranger, then explore on your own.

Logistics: Saturday, Jan. 17, 2 p.m., Medoc Mountain State Park, Hollister. The program is free, but preregistration is requested, by calling 252.586.6588.

Saturday forecast: Sunny with a high of 47.

Mountains

Photo of a cyclo-cross event at the Biltmore Estate courtesy Torrenti Cycles via lauramrice.wordpress.com
Photo of a cyclo-cross event at the Biltmore Estate courtesy Torrenti Cycles via lauramrice.wordpress.com

Looking to learn something? In 2016, the USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships come to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. This weekend, you can preview the course the country’s top racers will ride at the North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Series Finale.

Tickets to the two-day event are $11, which will not only let you see the series’ top riders in action, it will, for the uninitiated, be a chance to check out the sport in person. More than 300 riders are expected to participate.

If you are among the uninitiated, cyclo-cross is a European import that marries road racing with mountain biking. Cross bikes more resemble road bikes, albeit with knobby tires. There’s a steeplechase element to the sport, with riders dismounting to navigate the gnarliest obstacles.

Logistics: Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 17-18, Biltmore Estate, Asheville. Tickets are $11. More info here.

Weekend forecast: Saturday is sunny with a high of 49, Sunday could be interesting for spectating with snow in the forecast.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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