Kitzuma - New Video
(updated: May 2, 2009)
If you are traveling East on I-40 toward Asheville, there is a really good ride that starts right off the highway known as Kitzuma. You'll know you are getting close when as you're driving you hit that really long steep climb up I-40. Once you pass the top, about a mile further you get off at Exit 66 and immediately head back up along Old Hwy 70 East to the end of the road where you can park, hop on your bike, and hit the trail (map and directions here).
Ed and I did this ride last year, but I hadn't gotten around to the video until recently. Instead of parking off I-40, we ended up driving down to the bottom to park (at Old Fort picnic area) to get the climb out of the way first. The first part of the climb isn't bad at all because they paved the old roadbed (it used to be highway 70 before rockslides necessitated closing it). It's actually a really nice, scenic car-free 5 mile road climb now.
Once you get back up to the top parking area by I-40, you really start to climb. A dozen or so switchbacks. Something like 600 vertical feet over 1 mile. I think it's one of the best climbs around. Once you're at the top which is at over 3000ft elevation, the downhill fun begins. There is just a bit of additional climbing along the way back down. At the bottom I think you're at around 1500ft elevation, a serious drop in about 2.5 ~ 3 miles.
The trail starts off steep and is very narrow at times with a steep drop off the side you have to be mindful of. We unwittingly picked a dark, foggy day late in the afternoon to ride this trail for the first time. With tons of slick roots all angled to shoot you off the trail, most of which you couldn't see anyway because it was all covered in leaves, it was often slow going. And on top of that Ed had fork issues.
Once we got towards the bottom it was so dark on the trail that you needed lights. Ed had his but I didn't have mine, but I managed to work my way down.
Kitzuma ranks up there with the more technical trails I've ridden and I can't wait to ride it again in the summer when it is warm and dry. It doesn't take that long either (trail length is about 6 miles not including road/fireroad climb) so if you have a couple of hours along your journey I highly recommend it.
Kitzuma (6m 39s):
[You'll need Quicktime 7 or later or VLC Media Player]
To download instead, right click here. Your media player must support H.264.
More trail info here.
1. Randy said...
I did that climb on my monocog. Part of the reason I am going back to geared full suspension bikes as soon as my DW bike arrives.
I can't believe you guys rode down in that fog and leaves. I hate riding that area when leaves are on the ground.
May 4, 2009 @ 10:08 AM
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