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.

Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 5 and Overall Results

Saturday April 14, 2018

Stage 5 is the Industry Nine’s Land of the Waterfall route.

This final stage shuttles racers by bus to a remote start.  From there riders start the long steep climb up to Farlow’s Gap. Then starts the technical decent down Farlow and Daniel’s Ridge, crossing several waterfalls along the way.  Racers get a much needed break at Davidson River and then the grueling seven mile climb to Bracken Mountain begins. Bracken Mountain is the final Enduro section and includes fast flow sections, switchbacks and even some climbing. Riders then finish at the Brevard Music Center to celebrate.

Racers board buses for a shuttle up to a remote start.

Stacey Mulligan climbs her singlespeed up to Farlow’s Gap.

Bacon handups!












Dylan Johnson wins stage five but is unable to gain enough to move up to the podium. Travis Livermon wins the Pisgah Stage Race, Tristan Cowie a close 2nd just 5 minutes back and Kerry Werner hangs on for 3rd.

The top five finishers in the Men’s open are:

Rank First Name Last Name Team Name Stage 5 Time Total Time
1 TRAVIS LIVERMON 02:04:18.914 11:11:30.087
2 TRISTAN COWIE Sycamore Cycles 02:04:51.749 11:16:02.328
3 KERRY WERNER Kona Endurance Team 02:05:48.195 11:23:22.490
4 TRISTAN UHL Giant co-factory 02:02:08.040 11:27:43.678
5 DYLAN JOHNSON Leska MTB Racing 02:02:01.091 11:31:54.422

Men’s Open overall podium: 1st Travis Livermon, 2nd Tristan Cowie, 3rd Kerry Werner

In the Women’s Division Jena Greaser seals up the win for the overall title. Ada Xinxo finishes 2nd about 20 minutes back from Jena.  Jen Nielson comes in 3rd with a total time of 15hrs.

The top five finishers in the Women’s open are:

Division: OPEN WOMEN
Rank First Name Last Name State/Country Team Name Stage 5 Time Total Time
1 JENA GREASER BRITISH COLUMBIA 02:33:10.703 14:02:18.872
2 ADA XINXO SPAIN Trideporte / Tracks Ibiza 02:37:28.600 14:22:46.266
3 JEN NIELSON SC I9 SouthPaw Cycles Liv 02:44:15.022 15:00:43.499
4 JEN TOOPS OH Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles 02:47:53.208 15:25:44.563
5 KAARIN TAE NS 02:50:51.549 15:41:42.228

Women’s Open overall podium: 1st Jena Greaser, 2nd Ada Xinxo, 3rd Jen Nielson

Men’s Enduro Podium: 1st Kerry Werner, 2nd Tristan Cowie, 3rd Tristan Uhl

Women’s Enduro Podium: 1st Jena Greaser, 2nd Kim Quinlan, 3rd Meghan Korol

Watch the Stage 5 video recap:

For full stage results click here:

2018 Pisgah Stage Race Overall Results






Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 4

Friday April 13, 2018

Stage 4 was brought to you by Fox Factory and this stage had the most singletrack of all the stages.It hits Squirrel Gap in the opposite direction of stage two, Laurel creek, Laurel mountain, and finishes on the all famous Pilot rock enduro section.

Racer approaching the heckling section on Pilot Rock.

Jen Toops (Pearl Izumi/Pivot Cycles) headed down Pilot Rock.

A little shake up in the Men’s open with Dylan Johnson taking the win on stage 4.

Open Men’s stage 4 results:
1. Dylan Johnson, NC, 2:32:25
2. Travis Livermon, NC, 2:33:54
3. Tristan Cowie, NC,  2:36:02

In the overall Men’s open Travis Livermon remains in the top spot with an overall time of 9:07:11.  Tristan Cowie is several minutes back at 9:11:10 and Kerry Werner continues in third place at 9:17:34.  Open Women stage 4 results:
1. Jena Greaser, Canada, 3:15:30
2. Ada Xinxo, Spain, 3:17:18
3. Jen Nielson, SC, 3:31:48

Jena Greser continues to dominate the women’s field, having a fifteen minute gap over Ada Xinxo going into the final stage.  Ada Xinxo sits comfortably in 2nd at 11:45:17 and  Jen Nielson 3rd at 12:16:28.

Watch all the stage 4 action here:

Click Here for Full Results from All Categories

Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 3

Thursday April 12, 2018Stage 3 is sponsored by Sycamore Cycles, and is the White squirrel Route. Pisgah forest was populated with white squirrels after a circus train carrying them tipped over quite a few years back. This stage offers 29 miles and 5118 feet of climbing! With most of the trails being so close to Brevard, these trails are quite popular with the locals.

Racers fighting for position at the start at the bottom of Black Mountain.

The race starts at the bottom of Black Mountain. Racers immediately funnel into double track up Grassy Rd and over to a rooty fast decent down Sycamore Cove. From there racers loop back around to Thrift cove over to climb/hike-a-bike up black mountain. A fun decent down Buckhorn gap brings you to the 2.25 mile enduro section on Avery Creek. This downhill sections offers a little of everything from roots, rocks, drops, creek crossings and smooth fast hammer sections.

Carey Lowery (Women’s Masters leader) tearing up the downhill.

Sketchy bridge crossing after the Avery creek enduro.

Taking the win for the day in Men’s open is Travis Livermon from NC with a time of 2:31:30. Stefano Barberi from CA came in 2nd at a time of 2:33:03 and finishing 3rd is Tristan Cowie from NC in 2:34:03. After stage 3 Travis now takes the lead in the overall Men’s Open.On the Women’s side, Jeana Greaser had another strong finish 3:11:52. Coming in 2nd is Ada Xinxo at 3:17:56 and Jen Nielson 3rd with a time of 3:27:06. The standings in the Women’s Open remain the same.

Race director Todd Branham awaits racers at the finish line.

Watch the video recap!


Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 2

Wednesday April 11, 2018

Written by: Jen ToopsStage two started at the bottom of Black Mountain with a police escort out to Turkey Pen road. From there riders climbed up and hit trails such as: South Mills River, Mullinex, Squirrel Gap, Buckhorn Gap, Pressley Gap and finished on a 2 mile enduro section of Black mountain.

Stage 2 was a close race in the Men’s Open. Travis Livermon overtook Tristan Cowie in a close finish taking the stage win by less than a second. Tristan Still holds onto the overall lead by less than a minute over Travis. Rounding out 3rd place is Kerry Werner only a few minutes back.

Men’s Open category: 1st- Travis Livermon: 2:14:04.448 USA, 2nd- Tristan Cowie 2:14:04.965 USA, and Kerry Werner 3rd 2:17:05 USA

In the Women’s open division it was Jena Greaser still holding strong in first and adding to her overall lead. Ada Xinxo comes in 2nd about 6 minutes back moving her to the 2nd overall position. Jen Nielson grabs the 3rd podium spot pushing her to 3rd overall.

In the Women’s Open division: 1st- Jena Greaser 2:44.54 Canada, 2nd Ada Xinxo in 2:50.59 Spain, 3rd Jen Nielson 2:58.49 USA

Tomorrow’s stage 3 brings a lot of climbing and locals favorite trails such as Avery Creek and Buckhorn gap.

Click Here for Full Results From Each Stage

Pisgah Stage Race: Stage 1

Tuesday April 10, 2018

Written by: Jen Toops

Stage one sponsored by Cliff is the Looking Glass Route. This stage has 4,130 ft of elevation gain over 25 miles and visits Daniel Ridge, Gloucester Gap, Butter Gap, Long Branch, Davidson River and Cove Creek trails.
The Enduro blasts down 1.75 miles on Daniel Ridge. This is the “so called” easy start to the race with fast flow sections to get riders warmed up for what the Pisgah forest really has to offer. Toward the end of the stage riders were able to view Looking Glass Rock which is a 4,000’ piece of exposed granite.

It was low 30’s for the race start but quickly warmed to high 40’s after the sun peaked through the clouds. The race started out fast on the gravel roads that quickly turned to techy-singletrack.  The timed enduro section came up quick at the beginning of the race on Daniel ridge. This stage is a favorite among many as it hits popular trails and ends with flowing downhill’s, leaving most riders smiling.

A very tight race is forming in the Men’s Open category: 1st- Tristan Cowie: 1:46:59 USA, 2nd-Travis Livermon: 1:47:42 USA, and Kerry Werner: 3rd 1:49:18 USA

Tristan Cowie takes the lead by less than a minute going into stage 2

In the Women’s Open division: 1st- Jena Greaser: 2:16:50 CANADA, 2nd Jen Nielson: 2:18:43 USA and hot on the chase is Ada Xinxo in 3rd 2:19:03 Spain.

Jena Greaser takes the leaders jersey.

Click Here for Full Results from each Stage



Pisgah Stage Race Coming April 9

The 10th annual Blue Ridge Adventures Pisgah Stage Race takes place April 9-14th, 2018 in Brevard North Carolina.  This 5-day journey takes you on a 140-mile tour of Pisgah through the temperate rain forest sampling some of the best singletrack Pisgah has to offer.  The race delivers with a timed enduro section each day, scenic views, waterfalls, creek crossings, technical east coast rooty-rocky singletrack and has over 20,000 feet of elevation gain.  Racers from around the globe including 9 different countries and 23 states are signed up making the race already 75% sold out!


After each stage of the race the Brevard Music center serves as the venue for results, awards, slide show of race day photos and a local gourmet meal.

Some racers are looking for a challenging week with scenic views and technical riding but some are looking for a podium position.  Which racers can push their limits and take the top spots this year?

The defending champion in the Women’s Pro class and fat bike national champ Jena Greaser is returning and hoping to hold on to that top step.  Trying to challenge her will be Ada Xinxo from Spain, Jenna Downey and many other women eager to be crowned the new champion.

In the Men’s Open category Elliot Baring, Stefano Barberi, Jeff Cheever, Santi Val and Tristian Uhl are all looking to face the 2017-defending champion Tristian Cowie.  With such a stacked field of men its definitely going to be an exciting race.


Pisgah Stage Race Stage 4

There were more fireworks on Stage 4 of the Pisgah Stage Race as riders tackled Pisgah’s infamous Laurel Mountain/Pilot Rock loop on day four.

While Bryna Blanchard continues to dominate the women’s race, the day’s technical terrain set the stage for some shakeups behind her. Mountain bike legend Sue Haywood had a great day to end up on the podium for the stage; Haywood also leads the women’s enduro category. And in the fierce battle for second in the women’s GC, Heidi Rentz was able to put some time on Emily Sheilds, who now trails by about one and a half minutes going into the final day.

On the men’s side, the day saw another mechanical disaster for third place GC rider Chris Tries, who destroyed a chainring early in the day. He finished, but lost his podium spot for good in the process. Up front, Tristan Cowie attached repeatedly, putting pressure on GC leader Kerry Werner. Despite being put on his heals a couple of times though, Werner held on to finish just behind Cowie and maintain his GC lead.

Full Results Here



Pisgah Stage Race Stage 3

Stage 3, Sycamore Cycles White Squirrel Route, is hump day for the Oskar Blues Pisgah Stage Race. This is also the “locals course”, as many of the trails are part of folks’ regular ride. Put them all together and you get a sweet 29-mile route with over 5,100 feet of elevation gain.

The course starts on Grassy Rd, a relatively short double track climb that connects into a fun, rooty descent down Sycamore Cove. Another double track climb up Thrift Cove preps riders for the tough, technical singletrack climb/hike up Black Mountain. A technical descent to Buckhorn Gap and a short climb takes riders to the top of the day’s Enduro Section, Avery’s Creek. This is an area favorite that challenges even experienced downhillers. It has a little of everything to keep you on your toes. Ruts, rocks, and drops in the top section are intermittently broken up with some smooth sections that let riders catch their breath. As you get further down, the vegetation gets thicker and a number of creek crossings help keep things interesting.

Pisgah Stage Race Day 3_157 copy

The Open Men’s category saw a slight gap between leaders, Kerry Werner and Tristan Cowie. The two rode together for the first part of the day, but towards the middle of the course, Werner was able to break away and finish about 2 ½ minutes ahead of Cowie, taking the stage and race leader position.

Bryna Blanchard continues her lead in the Open Women category and the battle continues for 2nd & 3rd between Emily Shields and Heidi Rentz. Blanchard has steadily built a 37 minute gap between herself and second place. Shields is trying as hard as she can to keep, or increase, her 8 minute lead over Rentz. Although, even with a 45 minute spread between 1st and 3rd place, in a 5 day stage race, the last 2 days are where it can be won or lost.

Pisgah Stage Race Day 3_43 copy

Stage 3 was also a day where Pisgah showed some of its teeth. Broken derailleurs, pinch flats and broken spokes were all stories being told at the finish line. Reputations are made for a reason and Pisgah is no different. Roots, rocks and drops are all part of the package and some racers had to pay Sycamore Cycles a visit to get their bike back on the trail for Stage 4.

Pisgah Stage Race Stage 2

Stage 2 of the Pisgah Stage Race saw more tight racing as riders tackled more of Pisgah National Forest’s most beloved trails, including Squirrel Gap and Black Mountain Trail.


In the Men’s Open, it was again Kerry Werner (Ken’s Bike Shop) and Tristan Cowie (CTS) riding together at the front for most of the day. Cowie was able to create a small gap on the final descent on Black Mountain to take the stage win by three seconds. That saw him leapfrog past Werner to take over the race lead, but with just two seconds separating first and second it’s still all to play for with three days of racing behind.


Behind Werner and Cowie, overnight third place rider Chris Tries (Piney Flats Bike Shop) suffered a disastrous mechanical when his wheel imploded early in the stage. Fortunately, he was able to borrow a bike from a volunteer, and ride himself back into third on the day to preserve his GC spot.

On the women’s side, it was again Bryna Blanchard who took the win, but Emily Shields (Stan’s No Tubes) made some moves and was able to ride herself into second in GC thanks to a strong performance. Heidi Rentz hung on for third.

Check out Full Results here.