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Oh the places you'll go, part I: Banner Elk

(updated: Nov 24, 2008)

This is part I of a multi-part ride report. I will post video of some of the trails later.

A couple of weeks ago on Thursday Ed and I headed west to Brevard to do our annual ride in Pisgah. Each year we meet up with Ed's brother Mark and brother-in-law Les and stay at Gramma's House in Brevard. This trip didn't go as smoothly as previous year's thanks to the wet weather and serious trouble with Ed's cousin's vehicle. We were just trying to avoid the rain, which proved difficult but not impossible. We just basically decided that we'd drive anywhere it wasn't raining to ride, so FATS, Uwharrie, Raleigh, even Charlotte were being considered. We ended up hitting the trails by Umstead Park and Lake Crabtree in Raleigh, which worked out great because it was raining when we started but stopped a short way into the ride. This was the same ride I did a week earlier so I knew where these trails were. I will post a video of Lake Crabtree and Rocky Road trails later.

After Raleigh we headed to Cindy and Les' place in Banner Elk, where the following day we hit all the stuff at Lees McCrae College in Banner Elk with Les, Cindy, and JP. It's unbelievable what they have. They've got a pump track, dual slalom course, XC course, and DH course. No wonder why these guys are national champions. If I were 18 again I'd be going there for college. Actually, I should get my PhD and teach there and coach the MTB team. That would be sweet... "In today's class we will demonstrate mgh = 1/2mv^2 by careening downhill on a bike."

Dual Slalom course

Both the pump track and dual slalom course were too wet to ride, which was a bummer because it looked like a lot of fun. I would have passed on the DH course also due to the conditions - it was crazy slick. At one point water was just running down the trail over the rocks like a stream. You'll see when I put together the video. It is a sweet DH trail - very steep with some large rocks, one of which gave me a pinch flat. It sucks changing a flat when everything is completely covered in mud.

Start of DH course. Ed dropping in.

Steep. Muddy. Not the best combo.

Big rock section.

The XC course was nice as well, with several steep switchbacks and a climb appropriately known as "Lung Buster".

Cindy on the XC course.

Les, Ed though the Mountain Laurel.

Les, JP, Ed.

After the ride we had lunch at Les and Cindy's restaurant, the Banner Elk Cafe. If you're ever in Banner Elk, you should definitely eat there.

To be continued...

Filed Under: Ride Reports > North Carolina > Banner Elk


1. Megadeth Breath said...

Across the street from the rocky road entrance, is a trail called 187. It is badass and not very well known outside of the hardcore riders.

Nov 25, 2008 @ 3:22 PM

2. SBA said...

That's where we rode. I just didn't want to say because it is unsanctioned.

Nov 25, 2008 @ 5:51 PM

3. Sir Glide Bikes said...

That was a fun trip We rode Umstead, Banner Elk, Black mountain, 2 days in Breavard and finished up Ridding Hobbie Park Winston Salem. I am Back up in Banner Elk for Tday, just finised a snow Tubing session with the Family on 7 Devels Ski mountain. Hope to get a Ride up Sugar MT after dinner and Ski session down Friday. Hope everyone hade a great Tday Ride at BC.

Nov 27, 2008 @ 11:39 AM


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