racer and member of the powerhouse Stan’s NoTubes Elite Mountain Bike Team
Sarah Kaufmann has competed in some of the toughest mountain bike races this
country has to offer. Now she’s trying her hand at the Pisgah Mountain Bike
Stage Race in southwestern North Carolina. Read her full report below.
Interbike this year....well, I wouldn't really say I'm missing it. Hehe.
I have been
registered for the Pisgah Stage Race for two years now but haven't been able to
stay healthy this late in the year. Two years ago I had a broken collarbone and
last year I had Mono followed by getting hit by a car. So I finally made it
here and I'm getting a grand tour of the incredible riding here.
Today was Day 3
of some incredibly challenging and, dare I say, epic riding here at Pisgah. It
is unlike much I have ever ridden before with steep, rutted and rooty descents.
I have raced the Transylvania Epic twice now and thought that would give me an
idea of what to expect for this race. Though they are both technical courses, I
am finding that it is a different set of technical skills required. Those
required here at Pisgah are not in my bag of tricks...yet. Though they are
coming along. I seem to get more comfortable on this stuff each day but it is
tough. And I think it requires more guts - Transylvania is more about picking
lines and Pisgah is more about getting over your fear. My track record of
injuries leaves me a little scared...
Day 1 was a
shorter stage than I was anticipating and started with a section on the road.
We made a big loop through some fun winding and pretty mellow singletrack on
rolling and climby terrain, culminating in a hike to the top of the famed Black
Mountain, where we lost all of our elevation on the final descent.
Day 2 was tons of
singletrack but was broken by sections of gravel road climbing. I
underestimated Day 2 and cracked pretty badly as a result. We started out the
day with a climb (and hike) up Black Mountain and, again, finished coming down
Day 3 was billed
as the longest, hardest day. After a quick gravel road climb, we hit some steep
singletrack climbing followed by some ridge riding. We got to hit Squirrel Gap
for the second time, this time from the other direction. After a long, draggy
climb up some doubletrack, I unfortunately suffered a broken chain on my way up
Laurel Mountain. Thankfully, I was able to fix it and carry on - though, with a
bit more caution. The descent down Pilot Rock was a blast - that's one I would
love to hit again, now with a better idea of the lines.
We are over the
hump here, more than halfway through, with a couple of shorter stages
remaining. I would be lying if I said I were bummed about that!