Focus On: Late April in Brevard
Welcome to our newest blog series, “Focus On“. With so many different Chasing Epic trips, to so many different destinations across the US (and now Canada!) throughout the year, we wanted to take time laying out what you can expect from each trip. Each “Focus On” write-up will include five separate categories:
- What You Can Expect
- An Example Ride
- The Community
- Overall Thoughts
Each month, we’ll “focus on” an upcoming 2020 trip for you, starting with our April 25th departure to Brevard, NC.
What You Can Expect
The riding in Brevard is very different from our other Chasing Epic trips, as it’s the only location not out west. Because of this, the terrain is quinessentially East Coast, and we absolutely love that. You don’t get big wide-open views, but that’s OK because you’re IN the forest as you ride. The focus is on the trail, and you’re gonna need that focus because Brevard can get rowdy!
The name of the game with Brevard is variety: between Pisgah National Forest and Dupont State Park, there’s something for everyone. On the Dupont side of town we’ll get flowy, playful tech that has everyone smiling from start to finish. Trails like Burnt Mountain and Ridgeline are certainly worth writing home about, as they’re some of the finest on the East Coast. The miles come a little easier in Dupont, which is why we’ll add more to the day’s route!
On the other side of the valley sits Pisgah National Forest, where we go to push limits and put in the big epics. The terrain in Pisgah is technical, rocky, and rooty and in a word, unrelenting. The climbs are typically “mellow” with a majority coming on old logging roads, but once you hit the singletrack it’s game-on. Seriously. From high-speed tech on trails like Trace Ridge, to uber-rooty trails like Middle Black, you’re going to be challenged from the first drop in. And don’t let the East Coast stigma fool you, these descents are long (3+ miles).
One of our favorite rides anywhere- and several of our clients’ too – is the Spencer Gap / Trace Ridge day. Typically seen on the second day of our Brevard trips, this is an incredible ride that gives you a bit of everything in Pisgah. Overall stats on the ride are about 22-23 miles with just over 3,000 feet of climbing.
Each loop utilizes a similar climb, which takes place on an old logging road and lasts about 30 minutes before you hit singletrack for the last mile or so. It’s a conversational climb, with only one punchy section where you’ll definitely have to take advantage of that Eagle 50t gear!
On the first loop, we’ll get some of the “new school” Pisgah singletrack on Spencer Gap, with some bench-cut trail with features and berms… super, super fun. After an exhilarating 15-20 minutes of that style of riding and pedaling through a “transition” zone, we hit Fletcher Creek which is just high speed, rooty technical riding back down towards the main lot. Loop two features the same climb, but a descent down Trace Ridge, which is known by many as one of their favorite trails anywhere. Trace Ridge is just that- a fall-line trail down a steep ridge, with nothing but high-speed tech. We’ve never heard so many grown adults giggling and laughing while riding their bikes as we have on Trace.
One of our favorite things about Brevard is the mountain bike community; we’ve never met so many happy, fun people all stoked to share their experience with you, regardless of where you’re from or what you’re riding. To us, Brevard has the best and most supportive community we’ve seen in the US (just barely edging out Crested Butte!). From post-ride beers at the appropriately-named Hub and Pisgah Tavern, to meeting new friends on the trail, to spending some time on the dirt jumps at Reeb Ranch, Brevard has all the elements of an amazing mountain bike town.
To take advantage of the energy and the perfect layout, we always base our trips at Pilot Cove, which sits just a short 5-minute walk up the hill from The Hub. This means we’re never too far from browsing gear in the shop, grabbing some donuts from the Velvet Cup, or having one more beer after our ride. We get giddy just thinking about going back each spring.
Brevard sits in the middle of a temperate rain forest, so as Derek Zoolander once famously said: “Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty”. The rain in Brevard makes for amazing soil conditions, albeit at the occasional expense of wet roots. Typically in late April, you can expect warm temperatures (mid 70’s) with chances of rain here and there, but almost never something that will wash out a full day of riding. Usually the rain makes the trails better, and we know where to go and how to take advantage of that. Plus, all the rain makes everything green and lush, and in the spring there’s almost nothing better.
Overall Thoughts and Recent Reviews
Brevard was a newcomer to the Chasing Epic lineup this year, and based on client feedback, we firmly believe it’ll be a mainstay in our offerings for years to come. The riding is amazing, the community is supportive and fun, and just about everything for four days will have you laughing and telling stories like you’ve been there for years.
If you’re thinking of signing up for the Brevard trip next April, remember to put in the miles and hone your technical riding, since you’ll get just about everything over the course of four days here: multiple 20+ mile days, limit-pushing technical riding, and more fun than you can imagine.
Here are a couple of recent reviews from our Brevard riders, so you can hear it straight from them:
“The Chasing Epic Brevard trip was everything as described and exceeded my expectations. The guides, Barrett and Jenna, were awesome with their knowledge and riding abilities. They chose a variety of challenging and fun trails each day with enough miles and climbing to satisfy the whole group. Every day was like riding with friends! The lodging and food were top notch making the overall experience fantastic. I left Brevard knowing I wanted to go back and ride there again.”
“My Chasing Epic trip to Brevard was an A+ in all categories! Such a great group of guides. Just like having extra buddies riding with you. If I was EVER doing another MTB trip it would only be Chasing Epic. I wouldn’t even shop another company.”