Monday evening David and I (Christopher) packed up our bags and headed to Brevard, North Carolina where we would set up camp and get a good night’s rest in preparation for today’s big first stage of the 2010 Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race. We rented a van for the drive since we have a tendency to overpack (why not bring 2 spare bikes, and extra wheels, spare tires, and…well, you get the point):
This morning came early as we were up with the sunrise in order to make up breakfast and drive to the start of the stage (although the temp would warm up nicely, it was chilly early in the morning).
This was the only stage we will have to drive to and thank goodness! The drive was rough! There was over 6 miles of gravel road that apparently doesn’t see too much care and our rental van was barely up to the challenge (it sounded like someone threw a handful of quarters into a clothes dryer).
None the worse for wear, we arrived at the start with plenty of time to sign in and get warmed up. The finish line was at the beautiful Blue Moon on Pinnacle Peak, which had a spectacular view:
Another cool feature of the race was that we all had to sign in before the stage (like they do in the Tour de France). Here I am signing in, getting as close to Jeremiah Bishop as I would all day!
Here we are, ready to go, in our Performance team kits, next to our GT Sensor 9rs:
Stage 1 was touted as the easiest of the 5 stages. We started by all rolling out for a neutral (not racing) 7 mile ride to the start line (mostly downhill). Then as a surprise we faced a Le Mans start (which is where you have to run and pick up your bike, always an amusing sight at a bike race) before facing “Dupont Forest’s rockiest terrain”. The stage consisted of a 12 mile climb (with brief glorious downhill sections) to take us back up to the finish line. The highlight of the day was David flying headfirst into a deep stream crossing–he took the race promoter’s word seriously when he said that everything on the stage was rideable! Someone was actually on the scene taking a video, so we will post it as soon as we find out who it was filming. The battle was hard fought but in the end, we weren’t last!
Waiting for us at the finish line was a field full of happy participants and very nice lunches (Jeremiah Bishop won the stage, of course, in a close fought battle–or so we’re told!)
As we sat and ate we pondered what tomorrow would bring. Today was an hour and a half of very difficult trail. Tomorrow will bring more than three times that. Should be fun!
Final stats for the day: 12.16 miles and 2,540 feet of vertical gain: