Every year I make myself do at least one cross-country race. My favorite race, and by far the toughest, is the Shenandoah 100.
It's a punishing race, with over 12,000 feet of climbing. Finishing was my main goal and luckily I was able to stave off the cramps and fatigue in order to finish all 100 miles in just over 12 hours. Our two other riders, Chad and Joe, smoked my time by HOURS. Joe turned in a remarkable time of 8:24, a personal best and good enough to place 43rd in over 650 riders!
The camping aspect of the 100 is always a highlight too. Everyone there is relaxed and ready to chill. The camping site features an observatory too, so we can stargaze each night. We parked RIGHT next to it.