In this Spring edition of Spartanburg Magazine, we take a closer look at some of the seasonal events which make this part of the country so fascinating.

On an early morning in May, hundreds of cyclists gather in front of the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium to embark on the Assault on Mount Mitchell and the Assault on Marion. I completed the Assault on Marion many years ago and I can tell you it is a grueling but satisfying experience, especially after conquering those final steep hills. I remember the leg cramps and having to walk up part of the final hill when I could no longer cycle. But once you've accomplished your goal and reached the finish line and receive your patch, it will be hard to wipe that grin off your face for at least a day. And that's why cyclists train for these rides all year long with help from the Freewheelers of Spartanburg.

Another annual rite of Spring is the Tryon Block House Races also known as the steeplechase. Each year, race visitors pile up in their vehicles and arrive early to tailgate and to take part in a variety of hat and children's contests. Writer Beth Beasley De Bona has all the details about this year's event and also includes two tailgate recipes you will want to share with your friends and family.

Writer Daniel J. Gross attended The Local Hiker's workshop on hiking the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail. Matthew Kelly hiked from Maine to Georgia in 2013 in honor of his father who died of pancreatic cancer. During his workshop, Kelly gave advice on shoes and backpacks and spoke of trails nearby which would be perfect places to prepare hikers for conquering the Appalachian Trail. Whether it's a back to nature kick or for health reasons, many more people are taking an interest in hiking. Movies like "Wild" have also helped add to the popularity.

Our cover story is on Sarah Ioannides who has served 12 years as music director of the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. Ioannides spoke with writer Dan Armonaitis and recalled her favorite moments and her proudest achievements while in Spartanburg. We would like to wish her continued success as she moves on to her next chapter and to thank her for sharing her talents with our community.

We hope you enjoy your issue of Spartanburg Magazine and if you have a story idea you would like to see featured, please call 864-562-7223 or email me at jose.franco@shj.com.

Happy Spring!