Thanks for the shout out Visit Asheville!

We were really happy to have a shout out on the Visit Ashevile Facebook page in the article Doing Pisgah Perfectly: A Fun Filled Day in Pisgah National Forest.  We have been a proud partner of the Asheville Chamber of Commerce since our inception in 2013.  Thanks Mark File and the Asheville Chamber of Commerce for your continued support of local business in Western North Carolina.  pisgah2

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Reblog of “Reflections of a Mountain Bike Guide”

This post was originally published by Chris Coney on Voice of the Blue Ridge.  Chris is also co-owner of Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures.

I learned so many amazing things this summer guiding mountain bike trips for Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures.  It is incredible the things one can learn while guiding and riding a bike.  The best thing has been sharing our incredible local trails and the emotions that were experienced with our clients while riding.  I felt like I really tapped into something that was very inspiring on so many levels.  There were so many moments talking with clients and them saying things like, “that was the best trail I have ever ridden in my life”, or “I have never ridden that far before”. or “I did not know I could do that.”  Basically, what I experienced was sharing the love of biking, and in that moment I saw people grow in ways I never realized.  When a client struggles yet perseveres to the end of a ride, and looks at you with a complete sense of accomplishment and beams with happiness, it makes me smile too.  I get to experience breakthrough moments with clients every time I go out and it reaffirms why I do this job.  When you see someone light up and smile with a grin so big after they thought they could not go another mile, I capture that moment as well, and am inspired and lifted up.  Sharing trails helps me to find my purpose and to find my own joy.

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I love showing people the incredible riding here, and when I am in the moment with a client when they have such joy, it helps me realize how good I have it in my own life.  Sometimes we locals take the trails for granted and we loose sight of the beauty all around our area and how special it really is.  Sharing trails creates clarity in my own meaning making moments.  It helps me to be grateful to be alive and to experience these beautiful places both when I am guiding and adventuring on my own.

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This summer I also got to experience families and friends coming together in a common goal of having fun and creating moments together.  When I see a family struggling and laughing together, and ultimately overcoming obstacles together, it helps to seal my own bonds of family and the bonds we share together.  It also helps inspire me to go home and hug my wife and to tell her I love her, and to pet my cats and revel in the bonds we all share together.  Sharing trails strengthens my own family connections.  reflections1

This summer was the summer of the kid at Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures.  We took out so many young kids and helped to inspire the next generation of shredders.  Kids on bikes is the ultimate expression of freedom and joy.  When I see them smile and shout WooHoo, the only thing one can do is smile.  Kids are the best Zen Masters and when they ride they pass a bit of that mastery on to you as well.  I was inspired so many times by kids sharing their stoke to the world this summer.  It is impossible to not smile when you see a kid ripping down a trail, fearlessly charging into the unknown.  We all could learn a thing or two from that level of inspiration.  Sharing trails with kids helps strengthen my own sense of freedom and spontaneity.

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Last night I saw a movie about a guy named Frank Sanders, owner of Above All Climbing Guides, who guides rock climbing at Devils Tower, Wyoming.  He was so happy and loved to share the experiences of climbing the tower just as he had so many times before.  He has been there for many years and it seems that he will do it as long as he physically can.  It brought him to a higher level of understanding and helped him to be at peace with the world.  I am realizing that guiding for me is very similar.  It helps me to be at peace with the world and my purpose, and it helps me to find my place.  Sharing trails creates peace of mind and a sense of purpose, and it shows me my way in the world.

I hope I can do this guiding thing for a long time, and everyday I am reminded of how grateful I am to have the opportunity to be a co-owner of Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures and to share the love of biking with others.  I have grown so much this summer and found moments of clarity that surprised me each day.  Sharing trails has made me grateful to be alive and helped me to find my way home.

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55.5K Pre-ride: You Better Train for This One

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The crew from Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures pre-rode the 55.5K race course yesterday in Pisgah National Forest.  All I can say is if you plan on doing this race, you better start training and I mean training hard.  This route is downright brutal.  Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast riding yesterday on the bluebird, Spring day in Pisgah.  In fact, it was one of my favorite days on the bike.  But please train for this one.  You have been warned.

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The trails were buff after the rain the night before.  The sun dried everything out by 11am, and we were ripping every downhill like riders possessed.  Smiles were a mile long and we only saw a few people on the trails all day.  Pisgah never lets you down, and this day was no exception.  Did I say you need to train for this one?   Get ready for tons of hike a bike, long climbs and gut-wrenching descents.  Go pre-ride the course, because I have never done a harder 35 miles in Pisgah before.  This route is a classic Eric Wever of Pisgah Productions suffer fest.  He would have it no other way, as he shouldn’t.  That element of pain and yet breakthrough moments is what it is all about for him.  When you cross the finish line of Pisgah Productions events, you are truly never the same.  Every person I know that has finished one of his races talks of breakthrough moments, mental fortitude, and pushing the limits of possibilities.  All these things will be your reward, and how sweet the experience will be.  You have a month to get ready, so get out there and ride some miles.

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Riding in Dupont State Recreational Forest, Fall 2013

Lead guides Kevin Dobo and Josh Hydaker showed Marc and Joe from Charlotte, NC around Dupont State Forest last weekend.  The trails were in perfect condition and good times were had by all.  Dupont flow singletrack never seems to disappoint.  Check out the sweet reviews Marc and Joe left on TripAdvisor as well. http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60742-d3793224-Reviews-Pisgah_Mountain_Bike_Adventures_Day_Tours-Asheville_North_Carolina.html  See you out on the trails soon.  Take care.

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Turning Dirt in Pisgah

One of the most rewarding things I have ever done with biking was to volunteer today building the new Trace Ridge Trail re-route in Pisgah National Forest.  First off, hats off to all the trail builders out there nationwide who put in the many thousands of hours needed to maintain and build trails.  Trail building is VERY HARD WORK.

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I knew it was going to be tough day, but after working only four hours cutting through roots, rocks, leaves and dirt, I truly have a new found respect for trail builders and volunteers.  I also want to give a major shout out to Pisgah Area Sorba’s fearless leaders and volunteers. http://www.pisgahareasorba.org/ It is really cool to be working side by side with President, Chris Strout, and Vice-President Christopher Neubert, and people like Greg Leister.  These guys are master trail builders and their determination to support local trails and community projects around biking is very impressive.  Just spending a few hours with these guys, I see their passion for bike advocacy and stewardship, and I learned how important the work these guys do to keep mountain biking alive in Pisgah.

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I have biked for 20+ years and I have unfortunately taken the trails for granted.  I would just ride and not give much thought to the work that made the trails a reality.  When I was out there today, something incredible happened.  I was sweating harder than I have sweated in years and the blister on my hand was getting larger by the minute, but I was becoming a part of something larger than myself.  We were all turning dirt and creating something that thousands of bikers, hikers, and equestrians will use for many generations to come.  The act of moving steel over earth and shaping it into a trail was helping to forge a bond between the earth, myself and future generations.  I was becoming an extension of something larger than myself and it felt truly amazing.

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I haven’t volunteered since working an aid station at last years ORAMM Race, and it just felt like the right thing to do.  By putting aside my selfish desire to ride for one day, I was becoming a part of the larger bike community and feeling a connection to people and the planet.  I was becoming a responsible steward of the forest and giving back time and energy to something that will inevitably expand to others.  I will never look at a trail in the same way again, because I know that many people gave selflessly to make that trail a reality.  So next time you are riding or walking through Pisgah, take a moment to think of the men and women who are out there every weekend turning dirt and improving existing trails.  These people are the real heroes of our sport.  Thank you to all the volunteers and I hope to see you out there turning dirt in your local forest.  I know I will be out there again, but first it’s time for a shower and a cold beer.

Written by Chris Coney, co-owner of Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures

http://pisgahmountainbikeadventures.com/

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Pre-Ride of The Assault on Pisgah’s Pilot

The crew from Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures hosted a group ride for the Pisgah Area Sorba meetup group on Saturday.  http://www.meetup.com/Pisgah-Area-Mountain-Biking-Asheville-Hendersonville-brevard/   We were pre-riding The Assault on Pisgah’s Pilot race course which is going to be held April 14th. http://www.atrfuntrails.com/ After a night of light rain, by 9am the sun was slowly popping through the clouds and drying the trails in Pisgah.  The day turned out to be a beautiful Spring day with the temperatures reaching to near 60 degrees.  We had a great turn out with 7 riders joining in on the fun.  We picked up an 8th rider from out-of-town along the way on the top of Farlow and he finished the ride with us.  The course is around 35 miles and will undoubtedly become a Pisgah Classic.  There is plenty of climbing including the famed Farlow Gap and lots of fun downhill including Cove Creek, Long Branch/Cat Gap, Pilot Mountain and the single-track descents at The Ridge.  The ride has a little over 5000 vertical feet of climbing with Farlow being around 2200 feet of soul crushing fun with grades pushing 11.4% at times.

farlow gap climb

We started at The Fish Hatchery today, whereas the real race will start at The Ridge, and we only did one lap at The Ridge today, whereas race day we will do two.  The climb up 475B was a nice warm up and we were all talking and enjoying the day as it started to warm up nicely.  We got to the start of Cove Creek and hit the first ripping downhill.  The trail had really started to dry nicely and we ripped the single-track at a fast pace with smiles all around.  Cove Creek never disappoints the downhill single-track addicts.  The trail was really tacky and the flow seemed to be world class today.  In those times you truly remember why cross-country is the best in North Carolina.  For every climb, there is an equal and opposite descent.  Cove Creek is a wonderful reward.

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We made it to the road and started the long climb to Farlow Gap.  The first couple of miles are mellow and the group stayed together chatting away.  We rested at Gloucester Gap and refueled for the long grunt of Farlow that waited beyond the gate.  After a good rest and regroup, we headed out onto the monster climb of Farlow.  To give you some perspective, Farlow gains 2200 vertical feet in around 5 miles with the gradient topping out at 11.4%.  In the winter, you at least get to see the wonderful views of The Looking Glass on the way up.  The road today was a little muddy, so at times it seemed to pull your tires to a stop and suck the energy out of you with each pedal turn.  You get into a groove though and keep pushing on remembering that famous Einstein theory, that for ever action there is an equal and opposite reaction, in this case you get to go down.  The route by-passes Farlow Gap Trail and bombs down the long double track of Pilot Mountain.  What a treat for the long and arduous climb we just completed.  The first half of the double-track is a fast and somewhat sketchy, boulder strewn descent, where you have to really watch your line.  These rocks are Farlowesque size around 4-12 inches wide and loose and make for a fun and technical descent.  The last half of the double-track is really smooth and fast.  There was a beautiful 200 foot waterfall on the right that most of us did not see because we were bombing the descent like bikers possessed at break necking speeds.  We made it to the Courthouse Creek fire road with all smiles and ear to ear grins.  We still had another 2 mile fast descent to Hwy 215 and The Ridge.  The fireroad was really peaceful with a beautiful stream and moss-covered trees and ferns lining the riverside.  The stream was flowing nicely and the sounds from the river were pure bliss.  We made it to 215 and a short spin brought us to The Ridge.  We rode the hand-built trails at The Ridge.  These consisted of hard and short climbs to the top of the mountain and fun, flowy single-track back down.  We did two different loops there and headed back up Indian Creek Road to Gloucester Gap.  The climb up Indian Creek is mellow and we made it there in short time.  All downhill now to the car down Cemetary Road to Long Branch/ Cat Gap Trail.  This section of trail is truly what Pisgah is about.

Tukey Poke Race '12

Fun flow, mixed with some technical spots and yahoos heard by all.  The trail was in peak condition by now and the flow was on fire.  We ripped it all the way to the car and ended the ride around 4pm.  Pisgah always delivers and today was no exception.  See you at the race April 14th.

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The Most Horrible Thing Ever, P36, or The Pisgah 36 Hour Mountain Bike Adventure Race

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For me the P36 has been about testing my limits, riding with friends, meeting the top endurance nuts around here, and maybe seeing what makes them do what they do.  Mostly though I am just curious about this crazy thing we call endurance mountain bike racing.  I have always tried to live my life making the most out of my passion.  Sometimes I think I may be a little shallow because ever since I started riding over 4 years ago, riding mountain bikes has been my one and only passion.  I guess passion equals obsession in my view and if that makes me shallow, then who needs the deep end right?

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I have showed up with my bike and gear at the past four P36’s, starting at midnight with the rest of the very small field (which has been anywhere between 9-20 people to start).  I was mostly just racing for shits and giggles or as Sir Edmond Hillary once said, “because it was there.”  I have always had no real goals, I just wanted to spend the weekend riding, camping and having fun.  After all if you are not having fun, then why do it?  For me, it is all fun, even the suffering.  When you are on the bike for so many hours and have been going for so many miles, everything just seems normal and natural.  Smiles and miles go hand in hand during the P36.

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Months before this years race, I had a goal to complete five out of the six stages.  In years past, my best result has been finishing four out of six checkpoints.  This year, the day before the midnight start, I really started asking myself why am I doing this race?  I know very well it involved a lot of Pisgah miles while being sleep deprived in the dark and cold of the mountains in February.  In years past, I have always had friends start and ride with me every stage, so they helped keep me motivaed and experienced a taste of it as well.  This year I only had one friend commit to one stage.  I was not looking forward to shooting for my goal riding alone for all those hours.

Shortly after the start, I rolled up on a friend I knew that was also in the race named Kip.  I find with a long race like this, it is best to ride with someone that has the same attitude towards it as I do.  We decided to ride together and I was thankful to have some company.  In racing my priorities are in this order.  Enjoy myself and push myself with minimal suffering.  The number one person I ever race against is myself.  So having someone along for the ride helps to minimize the suffering and make it a common, shared experience.  It takes your mind off yourself and you get to lift each other up.

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The first stage was from 12:00-5:30am.  I finished that stage with only a minor mishap going over the bars near a creek crossing on Cove Creek.  I hit hard on my shoulder, but I would have to block out the pain, because in this race pain is like a good friend that you have known your entire life.  It is just a part of it and must be blocked out.  I decided to rest after the first stage and went down for a three hour snooze.  After taking about an hour to get to sleep, I got out of the back of my freezing car around 8:30am.  I slept some, but it was time to move on.  Kip and I rode stage two together as well.  It turned out to be a beautiful day in Pisgah.  Once we got back to Cove Creek Campground, my friend Chris showed up to do about 12 miles with us to meet the minimum requirement for stage three.  We rode up Cove Creek to the 225/Daniel Ridge checkpoint and bombed back to camp down Daniel Ridge and the unnamed connector to Cove Creek campground.  I had never done that connector trail downhill and it was super fun and fast.  Chris bailed after doing that stage and went to find other single-track in Pisgah as the road stage of stage four was next.  My friend Nick joined us for this stage as well.  We left Cove Creek around 6:30pm I think.  With stage two and three totalling about 55 miles on two hours of sleep, fatigue was setting in.  We climbed up Buckhorn, and then something magically kicked in as we went down to 1206.  Other than the temps dropping fast, I was feeling a second wind coming on.  It was almost like someone put Epo in my Infinite drink mix.  The climb up to the parkway via 276 was long, but doable.  After waiting for Kip about 20 plus minutes, he informed me he had gotten sick and had just finished throwing up.  I felt really bad for him.  We bombed down 276.  While we were passing Pink Beds, he said to go ahead, so I did.  When I got to 225 and Cove Creek, another racer was there and informed me stage five was as many Cove Creek laps as you can complete, with only one lap mandatory, and stage six would be just one mandatory checkpoint out of a possible five.  Before this information, I figured maybe I would attempt stage five in the morning, thinking it was going to be another 30-50 mile stage.  But after hearing about the last two stages, I thought I can finish this monster. I did stage five that same night.  I then slept/tossed and turned from about 2:30am-8:30am.  On Sunday morning, I completed the minimum one mandatory checkpoint and finished stage six by around 10:30.  I am very pleased to have finally finished this beast called The Most Horrible Thing Ever.  18 racers started, and 8 finished.  I came in 8th and was truly humbled by the experience and how well the other seven riders did as well.

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I figured I rode about 120 miles to get just the minimum check points and rode approximately 24 hours.  It is anyones guess how much overall climbing was involved.  I will just say its in Pisgah, so you know it had some climbing.   Because Eric made this years P36 not have as many mandatory check points I would say that it reminded me of finishing Double Dare.  In other words, if you think you can finish two PMBAR’s in a day a half, you can finish P36.  If you like to set your own pace and rest when you want this race is a great way to see where your at in endurance rides.

Before the race, I was telling my friend Chris about how I was not really looking forward to this race like I do the others throughout the year.  He said jokingly, “just finish it this year and you will never have to do it again.”  At the time I did not think I would finish. Now that I have, some people my be wondering if I will do it again next year.  The answer is Hell Yeah!  Long Live Long Rides.  Patrick

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FATS=Fun

The crew at Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventures traveled south on Saturday to ride FATS (Forks Area Trail System) and what a day on bikes.  The IMBA epic trail system is truly first class.  ImageThe trails were wicked fast and flowey and dry as a bone.  It rained for the past 5 days in Asheville, so the trails there were a soupy mess.  FATS trails drain really nicely and the clay soil really soaks up the water quickly.  There were only a few muddy puddles.  We rode all the trails for a total of 34 miles in 3:13.  Did I say they were fast?  ImageThe trails, built by Todd Branham, were made for speed.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster and ripped the downhills in flowing bliss.  The lines were very natural and your bike and mind would mesh into that groove of pure effortless movement and action.  Peddle a little, sink into the burms, rip the downhills, catch air on the numerous jumps, climb an easy hill in middle ring, and repeat.  It seems the downhills outnumbered the climbs and they were long.  I really got into a natural rhythm of movement, action and pure joy.  The temps were really nice as well and we all rode in our summer kits.  It is January right?  ImageI will definitely be back to FATS and I recommend it to all riders, from expert to beginner.  It is about three hours south of Asheville, and well worth the drive.     

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