2020 Pisgah Stage Race Preview

Written by: Jen & Anthony Toops, Photos by: IconMediaAsheville

Blue Ridge Adventures presents the 12thannual Pisgah Stage Race. It takes place April 13th– April 18th  2020 in Brevard, North Carolina.  This 5-stage race takes riders on a tour of Pisgah, through the temperate rain forest sampling some of the best singletrack Pisgah has to offer. The race traverses over 140 miles and climbs 20000+ feet with scenic views, waterfalls, creek crossings, and is mix of 76% singletrack, 19% gravel, and 5% asphalt. As always, racers can also test themselves in the timed enduro section on each stage which has its own unique awards and overall crown.

The Pisgah trail system has always been know for its natural ruggedness but sometimes even the best trails require much needed TLC. Crews have been hard at work making some of the most popular trails in the area even better for 2020. Maintenance has been completed on upper/lower Black Mountain, Avery Creek and Bennett Gap, which ironically are all in stage 3. 2020 is gearing up to be one of the best yet!

More ways to race in 2020

2020 will debut some exciting new categories; women’s grand master 50+ and a duo 80+ or 100+ team category which require the teams combined age to equal 80-99 or 100+. There are some fast racers in all of these age groups so the competition should be fun to watch!

Standard PSR categories for 2020 include: Open Men, Open Women, Singlespeed, Vet Men 30-39, Vet Women 30-39, Master Men 40-49, Master Women 40-49, Grand Master Men 50-59, Grand Master Women 50-59 (New), Senior Men 60+, Duo Men, Duo Women, Duo Co-Ed, Duo men 80+ (New), Duo Men 100+ (New)

2020 Pisgah Stage Race Amenities:

  • 5 well marked courses with enduro segment each day
  • Instant chip timed results
  • Daily leader’s jersey for all categories
  • Fully stocked rest stops including mechanical and medical assistance
  • Drop system
  • Recovery zone after each stage
  • Bike wash
  • Breakfast each morning: Scones, coffee, granola, yogurt and fruit
  • 6 locally sourced dinners: Click here for 2020 dinner menu
  • Finishers T-Shirt
  • PSR jersey for all participants registered by March 15th
  • Custom Crafted Prizes –  Awarded to top three in each category. $750, $500, $250 to top three overall men and women for the cross country. $150, $130, $120 to the top 3 overall enduro men and women.

Stage 1: Clif’s Looking Glass Route- Tuesday, April 14th, 2020

Stage 2: Sunset Motels Promised Land Route- Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

Stage 3: Sycamore Cycles White Squirrel Route- Thursday, April 16, 2020

Stage 4: Fox Factory Carl Schenck Route- Friday, April 17, 2020

Stage 5: Industry Nine’s Land of Waterfalls Route- Saturday, April 18, 2020

Still debating? Don’t wait too long, there are limited spots left for a week full of roots, rocks and repeat! CLICK HERE to get registered.

Coach’s Column: Go Enduro with These Training Tips

Continuing in our series on what ability to focus on for the various racing disciplines, this week’s column will look at the most important ability to train on for racing enduro.


Enduro is a relatively new discipline in mountain biking. It encompasses a wide variety of events from huge mass start races that begin on the top of an alp, to small timed segments within stage or endurance races. The common thread between all these events is the fact that for the most part, the start of the enduro will be higher than the finish and you will have to traverse some tough terrain in between for a time.

What are the demands of this type of racing? First and foremost excellent bike handling skills will be necessary to do well. A solid amount of aerobic and anaerobic fitness will also be important. Many enduro courses include some serious climbing sections. These sections may not be long, but they can be steep and if you are not able to tackle them quickly precious time is wasted. Having a very strong core and upper body will also be important in order to control the bike over obstacles and serious terrain. Quickness of movement is an important ability in order to redirect, change lines or clear obstacles. Obviously if you are competing for an enduro classification within a stage race, you will need the fitness to complete the entire stage each day.

Skills practice is in an important part of enhancing your enduro finishes.

Skills practice is in an important part of enhancing your enduro finishes.

The answer to our “most important ability” question for this discipline is clear: handling skills should be a major priority of training. Let’s add a little to that though. Not only do you need the skills, but you also need to be able to execute skills while fatigued. Enduro courses can be very long. A skills mistake due to fatigue can wreck a run, or worse. Also, for some events, the course or enduro section of a course may be very difficult or impossible to pre-ride. Having the ability to read terrain quickly and choose a fast line is crucial. With these thoughts in mind, a couple suggestions to add into training would be:

Add an endurance aspect to skills practice. Doing multiple shuttle runs is great for getting lots of runs in, but make sure you ride the climb sometimes as well so you can get the feel of what it is like to hit the run while fatigued. Learn how fatigue affects your reaction time and how you handle the bike. Knowing how to adjust speed to compensate for fatigue can help keep your runs clean and consistently fast.

Constantly strive to find new and challenging terrain to ride. This may be difficult logistically for some, but having the ability to read unknown terrain quickly and pick a solid line is a skill that can be developed by seeing and riding all kinds of trails. You can certainly work on your skills by riding the same course many times, but seeing a variety of trail will help you work on that ability to quickly adapt.

Also to echo Travis Woodruff’s last column, don’t be afraid to work with a skills coach or do a skills specific MTB camp. Having good feedback on ways to improve skills can help speed and confidence tremendously.

Andy Applegate is a Pro level coach with Carmichael Training Systems. He has over 20 years of racing experience and has been coaching cyclists full time since 2001. His passion is endurance mountain bike racing. You can find out more about Andy and his training programs at www.trainright.com