Pisgah Stage Race Report by Evan Lang - Final Stage
Photo courtesy of Icon Asheville Media
Pisgah Stage Race Stage Five - Land of Waterfalls Route (25 miles, 3186 ft elevation)
The final stage came at last. Shorter miles, less climbing, and the longest enduro of the week was looking to be a good day. It was the only stage that ran point-to-point, from the Outward Bound school grounds to the Brevard Music Center. From the gun the whole race blasted down the fire road and into the first climb. Several miles of steep gravel road later the race turned onto Farlow Gap. Farlow is regarded as the most scary trail in all of Pisgah. It starts by descending over steep tree roots and loose, large rocks. Crossing three streams, and climbing back over a ridge, the trail turned upwards to Daniel's Ridge. This is the first trail that the race climbed at the beginning of the week, but this time the race went down. More roots, more rocks, and finishing on forest road 475. Eight miles of ascending fire road brought the course to Bracken Mountain trail, where today's enduro started. Nearly five miles long and containing a few climbing sections, Bracken favors the fit and fast. Dropping in I was feeling good, focusing on getting into a rhythm. On exiting one of the first switchbacks I encountered mechanical in the rear end. The wheel was no longer spinning. The cam to the thru axle had broken off, and the axle was unscrewed from the dropout. Screwing it in best I could, I remounted. A few pedal strokes later the wheel again stopped spinning and I was forced to run the bike. On the downhills I could coast, but without getting any air for fear of losing the rear wheel and crashing. Any pedaling section I had to hoof it. Charlie had a good day, however. Finishing Bracken well enough to secure a fifth place in enduro, and to solidify his seventh in the overall classification. I lost massive time in the enduro category and finished well outside the top ten, but managed to retain 12th overall. Gordon and Elliott again reeled in more time and stood at the top of the duo podium, winning by nearly three hours.
In summary, the week was excellent. Lots of climbing, hours of technical descending, and five awesome stages. Blue Ridge Adventures puts on a great event each year, and though the Pisgah Stage Race is the only one I have done, those that have completed the other events by BRA speak equally highly of them. Maybe consider checking out PSR next year before it sells out!