Woof. Today was a tough one. The course was filled with punchy climbs, long climbs, hike-a-bike sections, and some rowdy-ass descents. Chief among those descents was the enduro segment down Avery Creek. But first, racers had to ride/push up the always wet and rooty Club Gap.
After a steep doubletrack climb, we finished the way we did yesterday – down Black Mountain.
I had a much better start today despite opting not to warm up. Avery Creek was definitely the highlight of the stage. Right away, the “trail” is a deep rut barely wide enough to clear your pedals. From there it just gets crazier. Features included huge, open rock gardens with endless lines, deep water crossings, and relentless chunk. Coming down that trail was the first time I got arm pump this week. It’s not one I typically do when I’m in Pisgah, but that’s gonna change.
Thankfully, I managed to keep my chain on coming down Black Mountain at the end of the stage as a bit of retribution for yesterday’s mishap. Ended up setting a new PR, woo!
Here’s my ride from today:
As expected, tomorrow will be no picnic. In fact, Stage 4 is billed as the longest and toughest course of the week. We’ll ride Squirrel Gap once again, but in the opposite direction as we did in Stage 2. From there we’re faced with the extremely technical Laurel Mountain, which includes a long, brutal hike-a-bike. We top out on the granite dome of Pilot Rock before a wild descent. In just over two miles, we’ll drop 1,500 feet of elevation!