April 13th, 2017
My delayed posting to sum up the final days of the Pisgah Stage Race resembles my exhaustion and need for precious extra sleep.
I really had all intentions of writing a detailed timeline of my adventures, successes, or failures; however the week would’ve played out. Realistically, the days fly by so quickly that after showering, bike washing, eating, resting, dinner and socializing, last thing I wanted to squeeze in, instead of rest, was extra time on the computer. So here goes… My delayed memory of the final 3 states to a badass week
The second of two starts I decided to ride to during the week. Started less than a mile from camp, so this served as perfect warm-up. This day, instead of being escorted out of town, we took to some initial steep climbing up some singletrack. Once again, I get started too far back in the pack and start picking groups of others off. Once finished with the grueling climb up Black Mountain, we descend a fire road, then singletrack, getting to the largest climb of the day. Climbing to the top of Avery Creek for the Enduro segment was long and daunting, but the descent paid off. Getting to the bottom, then took us back up to the Black Mountain trail where we’d ride down to the finish. Also, seeming to start a trend, I fall twice in two days. This was less than .5mi from the finish
Stage 3 was probably my favorite of all five stages, despite my mishap.
They say Stage racing really starts on day 3? Well, I made it through and actually am amped for another day. Legs are still feeling strong and no stage has more climbing than stage 3 did. Today’s start began at the Cradle of Forestry, deep in the forest, where we’d lead out on gravel and finish on gravel. I’m not entirely fond of the long gravel days, but I can’t complain too much with hitting some of the best singletrack directly after. Stage 4 led us to one of my favorite, Horse Cove to Squirrel. This is an awesome route because there is a nice descent and then some techy trail features mixed in. After finishing the first half of the day, we were sent onto Laurel Mountain then down Pilot. Pilot is a trail with a combination of the rockiest, steepest, and nicest overlooks around; all in two miles of pure downhill Pisgah.
This route ended back at the Cradle of Forestry and my sister coming into town to greet me at the finish! Was awesome having some out-of-town support for the final few days.
Here it is, the final day. Where the hell did this week go? It seemed nearly yesterday when I arrived in Brevard, setup camp, and was dreaming of what 5 killer days in The Pisgah would do to me. I can’t say I wasn’t ready for a slight break, but I was also excited to see where all this training and then 4 prior days of exhaustive riding left my power level for the final day. Today was the infamous Farlow Gap. Steep, rocky, creek crossings, hike-a-bikes, and drops filled this trail from start to finish. Much to my surprise, though, Farlow was a lot tamer than my prior trip down the trail in the fall. I guess not having any leaves covering your terrain can make any trail nicer than my previous Farlow adventure.
After this descent was the long, neverending climb to Bracken Mountain. Double-track for days. Finishing on the groomed Bracken was a blast and fun way to end such a gnarly week.
I finished the day in 17th/50 overall, and 20th overall for the whole week. I learned plenty and gained so much by riding in the forest for 5 days. I’d love to race the stage race again in 2018 and compete against my times from this year. The Blue Ridge Adventures crew really did an outstanding job organizing the event and keeping everything smooth day after day.