Stage 2 “The Promise Land Loop”

First check out yesterday’s recap video of the “Ally Bar’s Looking Glass Route”. The videographers that Blue Ridge Adventures work with are talented guys, who go out in the woods and shoot all day with handhelds and drones. Then they come in and edit video to turn around the recaps in 6hrs, for our viewing pleasure at dinner. 

Another early morning fueled by coffee and pancakes. 

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A chill had settled over the area and was not ideal to warm up in. Luckily, Emily and I brought trainers to the mountain bike stage race. So we were those guys…

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Stage 2 is probably my favorite day because of Squirrel Gap. It is rooty, and rocky, and proper narrow, bench cut, single track. It reminds me of home. The draw backs of this stage are the 5mi road start and the boring slog up south mills river, but it is worth it.

Two guys took advantage of the lax “any bike can be used rule” and started the stage on road bikes. It made quick work of the road section and then they did a bike change (CX style) at the bottom of Turkey Pen (a gravel road climb) and continued the race on MTB’s. Not sure that Blue Ridge Adventures had seen that before. They say as long as someone is willing to cart your bike around you can switch bikes for every dh if you want. The draw back is you have to switch numbers as you leap from bike to bike. 

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After Turkey Pen, Tristan and I had managed to separate ourselves from the field and kept driving the pace. He lead up mullinax and squirrel gap, which was fine by me because he knew all the good lines. I was just in follow mode, though it was a fast up tempo follow mode.

We continued to ride a nice tempo up south mills river and finally hit the last climb up Maxwell, a double track that spit us out at the saddle of Black Mountain. 

From the saddle I wanted to lead up the little techy bit of steep uphill in case I could find some breathing room but Tristan was right there the whole time and came around me at the top before the descent, which he dive bombed. I was white knuckle holding on for dear life and had one or two close calls but managed to maintain a two second gap. Again, I was happy to follow Tristan down Black because he was ripping and possessed the local knowledge to push me to the edge and then some, which is always good. 

Post race we cool down then I had a chance to reflect on the day while I waited for Em to come in. I could easily see my self living in Brevard. I am not sure the economy is booming and there doesn’t appear to be a lot of jobs but the quality of life seems very high. Everyone seems pumped to be outside all the time and call the Pisgah National Forest their backyard. I could get use to that in a heart beat.

Em came in second today, which was good. First place seems to be running away but 1 flat, could level the playing field. This race is good at keeping you on your toes. Another reason I can’t wait to race the next 3 days. Tristan said it best today, as we bombed through the canopy of a dead down tree on trail, “It’s Pisgah, you never know what’s out here”.

Now feast your eyes on todays stage recap “The Promise Land Loop” 

Another lazy afternoon of hanging out with our friends…

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Then off to awards to have some dinner, a beer, and the surprise of the day… After getting beat by 4+min in the Enduro yesterday Tristan and I were taken aback, very shocked by the speed of the first place guy. So today when we learned we went 1,2 in the Enduro section we were shocked. This put us in 2,3 in the Enduro overall, so there are two chips to chase from now on. However, the fast guy left us hanging on the podium.

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Tristan edged me out for the leaders jersey by two seconds today. 

And Em moved up into second in GC after her second today!

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Rest time. The queen stage tomorrow! 

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