Bell Built Contestant: Gorges Jump Line, Brevard, NC

For those of you not familiar with Brevard, NC, it is next to Pisgah Forest National Forest, and Pisgah Forest is home to the Pisgah Stage Race, known as one of the world’s best mountain bike stage races. (Catch Part 1 of our recent Pisgah Stage Race coverage, here.) So yes, there’s a lot of mountain biking there. Thirty minutes southwest of Brevard is the potential home to a new gravity line in Gorges State Park, which also happens to be among 50 of the World’s Last Great Places, according to National Geographic. Wes Dickson, owner of Sycamore Cycles, told The Transylvania Times, “We’re seeing trails being altered to address the need for this kind of riding, so we might as well work with a group that will allow it to happen and we can send folks there. I’d love to see this, rather than deal with altered trails and losing trail access.”

Given their proximity, voting for the East Coast semi-finalists will be the most interesting, to say the least. Recall the other two contestants in the East Coast region: Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness and Alabama’s Timber Trail that, mapped with Gorges, forms a triangle of rather small geographic area. In my opinion, it’s the Atlanta vote that is responsible for which East Coast project moves on to the the final round. The metropolis of 5.5 million people is 1.5 hours from Anniston, 2.5 hours from Gorges, and 3 hours from Knoxville. All things being equal, it makes sense for folks in Atlanta to vote for the Anniston project as it is the closest, but things are not equal and other factors must be weighed in the decision (surrounding trail networks, dining, lodging, bike shops, etc.).

Either way, it’s a win for Atlanta, but not having spent any time riding in this area of the country, I and many of our readers would love to hear how Atlantans will vote. So drop us a comment below and tell us how you’re dealing with this awful predicament.

Visit the Bell Built Grant website to learn more about the Gorges Jump Line project and submit your vote.

Voting for East Coast candidates begins May 11 and ends May 25 where the winner will go on to compete with the West Coast and Central Region Finalists in a separate online popular vote held May 25 through June 5.

Visit IMBA for details on selection criteria, voting terms, grant award process, and other conditions.

Pisgah Stage Race, North Carolina. Photo: Blue Ridge Adventures
Pisgah Stage Race, North Carolina. Photo: Blue Ridge Adventures