Wednesday, May 8, 2013


The Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race has to be one of the most interesting races on the planet. It takes place in the Pisgah National Forest and has no set course. A passport including mandatory and optional checkpoints is handed out at the beginning of the race. Each two person team constructs a route which will ideally lead to the most number of checkpoints in the least amount of time. This year there were 7 CP's with 4 being mandatory and a total of 5 were necessary to finish the race. A 1 hour time bonus would be given to each additional CP after the first five.

Pisgah Productions
In order to do well in this race, ideally both team members would have extensive knowledge of the forest, have excellent bike handling skills, a desire to hike with a bike, and a significant amount of endurance. I was excited to pair up with Mark Sackett for this year's race as he is well versed in Pisgah and is as gritty as they come (even more so now). Even though he had been giving me fair warning about his lack of fitness due to injury and burnout, I was a non-believer; we were in it to win it.

Upon receiving our passports, Mark began dreaming up a route while I kept an eye open for any new surprises in the rules. We were one of the last teams to head up Black Mountain which  meant that there was a lot of passing and slow going until we hit the first CP on Clawhammer Mountain. We continued down the back side of Black and the rest of the day was free of traffic.

Down Buckhorn we rode to South Mill River and Squirrel Gap. We picked up the CP at Squirrel and Cantrell before heading to the Bradley Creek / South Mills River CP. Since 5015 was off limits, we decided that we would brave the numerous chilly creek crossings on our way to 1206 and Laurel Mountain. Up Laurel Mountain to the CP at Sassafrass Gap and then onward to the top of Pilot. It was on the hike-a-bike on Laurel that Mark had the idea of changing our route from 6-7 CP's to five. At the rate that we were moving, it made no sense to pick up the 6th or 7th CP to gain a minimal time bonus. For all we knew, we could end up losing time.

Photo Cred: Brad O (Thanks!)
Photo Cred: Brad O

Photo Cred: Brad O

Photo Cred: Brad O

At that point, it was on to 1206, 477, Club Gap, and Avery out and back. After picking up our fifth CP, we found ourselves with a decision. Should we have a Clawhammer, Maxwell, Black finish or just a Black finish? We decided to push up and over Black and arrived at the finish around 8.5 hours after the start.

I can't say enough good things about Wolf Tooth Components chainrings. Flawless...
Even though the weather was nothing to get excited about, there was no major drama on the day. Mark had not been lying about his fitness however he continued to move forward all day with no breaks and zero complaints. Consequently, I was feeling good and had plenty of time for breaks which lead to a pretty relaxed day for me. I didn't push myself as there was no need to. As a result, my legs did not take a beating and I am now able to squeeze in a little more training prior to the P111k and P55k.

Lack of traction was rough on the singlespeeders.

I did receive my Specialized S-Works Epic frameset on the Tuesday prior to PMBAR. I put a little over an hour of fireroad riding on it prior to the race. I was able to hit Sycamore the day before the race but the real test came  during the event. All I have to say is that this bike is phenomenal and if you don't own one, you are missing out. The Brain on this thing works incredibly well. The rear is stiff while out of the saddle and plush on the descents. The geometry is spot on for me and the bike handles like none other. Let's just say that the conditions this past weekend were pretty nasty and with minimal time on this bike, I had 100% confidence in the entire setup. Don't even get me started on how well the Fast Trak/Renegade combo worked out, how the Dumonde Tech Original lube kept my drivetrain shifting smoothly all day or how sweet the new Industry Nine Torch Trail wheelset is. Needless to say, this bike sure has caught me off guard. I can't wait to take the governor off and see what this setup can do at the 111k.

Speaking of my new I9 Torch Trail wheelset. I mounted them on my bike the night before PMBAR and the first miles that they saw was during the race. I did feel a little guilty about taking such a nice wheelset out in the kind of slop that was experienced on Saturday. My feeling of guilt disappeared once I returned home and was able to assess the condition of the wheels. They remain perfectly true and upon pulling the rear hub with my hands, I found zero grit or moisture inside the hub. I'd say that the new seals found on these wheels work quite well. I was able to pull my hubs apart wipe and re-grease them in less than 15 minutes. Now that design is the work of a genius.

Interesting fact.. the weather was cool and wet enough that in 8.5 hours of riding/hiking I only consumed about 60oz of fluid (out of my bottles anyway). I sure am glad that I doubled up my dose of Elete CitriLyte allowing me to take in enough electrolytes with only three bottles of fluid.

Thank you once again Eric and Erinna of Pisgah Production for giving me the opportunity to take part in some of the most fun that can be had on two wheels.

Photo Cred: Eric Wever
Thanks to Jake at Industry Nine for the last minute handoff  of the 9mm QR endcaps which popped on by hand and allowed me to race the new wheels on Saturday.

Thanks to Aaron and Jason with Specialized/Dumonde Tech for allowing me to come over to the "dark side". I appreciate everything that you have done to help me get on a Specialized.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great write up. Glad you are liking the new bike. I am looking forward to seeing what you can do on that thing as you get even more comfortable with it. Still, I think I will stick with SS. I may use your cogs, your wheels, your tires and more, but I am NOT ready for the 'dark side' (yet). ;) Really good to see you Kelly.