• 12-06-2017
    Miker J
    Planning trip to Pisgah/DuPont NC this winter - advice needed...
    Instead of flying out West we are going to stick to driving for our winter bike trip. We'll be heading southward from the NE.

    Never been to NC mountain biking.


    There will about 3 of us and we will be looking for challenging trails, with a lot of vertical, both up and down. Ideally non-buff, natural featured, tech riding. Bigger, "epic" (pardon the term), trails, out in the forest are preferred. Want to avoid "packed in", close to towns loops.

    We'll likely ride for 3 days, with day 1 and 2 consisting of bigger/longer rides. Maybe 3 or so hours each day. Day 3 probably a shorter ride, or hitting some of the same stuff over.

    I'm looking in to hire a private guide for the first 2 days. Maybe Bike Farm.


    We are not tied to any particular area in NC but once settled we'd rather keep that home base.

    Probably not opposed to riding the same loop or trail on consecutive days if it is really good.


    Where do you suggest for a home base? Probably looking at a hotel, but would camp if that made trail access better.

    What trails do you suggest?

    What do you think of the guide idea? Right now we have more spare cash, than spare time. So, if getting a guide saves us time and gets us a better ride, that is good - even if it costs us.


    Thanks.
  • 12-06-2017
    Banjopickin
    I would ride Brevard area. There are other areas in the southeast with more tech but you gotta drive all over. Brevard area will pack the most bang for your buck.

    In my opinion you don't need a guide. There's plenty of info out there and mapping apps like Avenza will keep you from getting lost. You can do 10-70 mile rides easy with plenty of climbing and descending.

    Dress warm and plan for any kind of weather.

    Make sure to spend your cash at local places not chains. Folks here will greatly appreciate it.
  • 12-06-2017
    Harold
    Count me as someone who recommends a guide for someone in your position (more spare cash than spare time).

    Guides will be able to set you up with rides that meet your criteria with minimal fuss/navigational time.

    I also recommend the Brevard area. Good concentration of stuff in that area with that rough, challenging character. Quite a few folks guide out that way.
  • 12-06-2017
    boardjnky4
    Rent a house in brevard. Ride pisgah and DuPont. There are tons of good “rides” posted around the net. Going out with a guide sure wouldn’t hurt though.
  • 12-06-2017
    jstuhlman
    based on your description you could find what you want at either the brevard area of pisgah or the grandfather district, riding in wilson creek. for the former, yes, you could get by on recommended routes. for the latter, you'd need a guide as it's less traveled and more backcountry. boone or banner elk would probably be your base there.

    when are you thinking of coming? brevard's probably a touch warmer than wilsons in general.
  • 12-07-2017
    Miker J
    Thanks.

    Anywhere from Jan thru early March.
  • 12-07-2017
    SCTerp
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by boardjnky4 View Post
    Rent a house in brevard. Ride pisgah and DuPont. There are tons of good “rides” posted around the net. Going out with a guide sure wouldn’t hurt though.

    ^This. Plenty of great rentals in or around Brevard on VRBO. We've had great success with our VRBO rentals in the area.

    No affiliation nor have I used them but follow these guides on IG and they're based in Brevard: https://www.redwolftours.com/#redwolf-section
  • 12-07-2017
    MudderNutter
    Just a note: If you ride Pisgah, and want to do a big ride... count on much more than 3 hours. I feel like I always spend at least half a day on rides there and it's very worth it. Otherwise you'll pretty much just get in one big climb and one big descent.
  • 12-07-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SCTerp View Post
    No affiliation nor have I used them but follow these guides on IG and they're based in Brevard: https://www.redwolftours.com/#redwolf-section

    The owner/lead guide is a friend of mine. We met at Mulberry Gap a couple years ago getting our PMBIA certs. Super nice guy.

    I just had lunch with a friend from Indiana who's in town and he was telling me how the guides from the Bike Farm took him out on a few great rides last year. I think he said his guide was one of the owners of the place, who I haven't met yet, though I met his wife earlier this year.
  • 12-07-2017
    MeyekulBayrd
    The guy that owns the bike farm is a super cool guy. They also rent Santa Cruz bikes to their guests at an additional fee.

    There's a ton of great stuff if you're into chunk and technical riding.
  • 12-07-2017
    mkirby258
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SCTerp View Post
    No affiliation nor have I used them but follow these guides on IG and they're based in Brevard: https://www.redwolftours.com/#redwolf-section

    :thumbsup: on Brevard/Pisgah
    :thumbsup: on RedWolfTours

    Great riding, & great people!
  • 12-07-2017
    Gutch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MudderNutter View Post
    Just a note: If you ride Pisgah, and want to do a big ride... count on much more than 3 hours. I feel like I always spend at least half a day on rides there and it's very worth it. Otherwise you'll pretty much just get in one big climb and one big descent.

    +1 on this. 3 hrs is not gonna get you the epic ride your after.
  • 12-08-2017
    Banjopickin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gutch View Post
    +1 on this. 3 hrs is not gonna get you the epic ride your after.

    I would agree...

    Unless you guys are monster fit. In that case you could easily handle a 20+ miler in under 3hrs but that wouldn't leave much time for "enjoying" the forest.

    The mountains here are awesome and the best part of riding Pisgah is being in the mountains and the feeling of riding in remote and wild woods.

    Make sure to stop at overlooks and enjoy it... Social paced rides are probably in the 5 hour range for 20-25 milers, maybe longer if you arent used to the climbs.

    One piece of advice I tell everyone that comes here or lives here is get a Sawyer squeeze water filter. This makes refilling camelbacks and bottles super easy and you dont have to carry a gallon of water on your bike making riding more difficult. There is water everywhere here....

    I carry one 20oz bottle on the downtube and can ride as long as I want depending on the snacks I carry. Its a really nice piece of gear...
  • 12-08-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    Social paced rides are probably in the 5 hour range for 20-25 milers, maybe longer if you arent used to the climbs.

    One piece of advice I tell everyone that comes here or lives here is get a Sawyer squeeze water filter. This makes refilling camelbacks and bottles super easy and you dont have to carry a gallon of water on your bike making riding more difficult. There is water everywhere here....

    I carry one 20oz bottle on the downtube and can ride as long as I want depending on the snacks I carry. Its a really nice piece of gear...

    My pace definitely fits here, except it's pushing it hard for me, so I'm not sure I'd call it a social pace. Ha. The Sawyer Squeeze is a nice filter. I've been waffling about which small, lightweight filter to get (either the squeeze or the mini, tbh) to stuff in my pack for refills on long rides. I want something that can be set up as a gravity filter with an extra bladder for dirty water. Will probably end up with the Squeeze because it also has at least a small ability to actively "pump" water.
  • 12-08-2017
    Cedarbranchbiker1
    There are also some good trails in Uwharrie National Forest. Also, Rocky Knob near Boone, NC.
  • 12-09-2017
    pryde1
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    My pace definitely fits here, except it's pushing it hard for me, so I'm not sure I'd call it a social pace. Ha. The Sawyer Squeeze is a nice filter. I've been waffling about which small, lightweight filter to get (either the squeeze or the mini, tbh) to stuff in my pack for refills on long rides. I want something that can be set up as a gravity filter with an extra bladder for dirty water. Will probably end up with the Squeeze because it also has at least a small ability to actively "pump" water.

    I use the Sawyer mini squeeze and it is great for Pisgah riding. So much water everywhere there is no need to have anything more than a filter and bottle with you for hydration. I hate camelbacks and always so glad to throw the sawyer in my jersey pocket.

    The other benefit is it gives me a chance to enjoy the forest more when I am stopped at a stream for a refill.
  • 12-09-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pryde1 View Post
    I use the Sawyer mini squeeze and it is great for Pisgah riding. So much water everywhere there is no need to have anything more than a filter and bottle with you for hydration. I hate camelbacks and always so glad to throw the sawyer in my jersey pocket.

    The other benefit is it gives me a chance to enjoy the forest more when I am stopped at a stream for a refill.

    I am a hydration pack user all the way. I once carried two bladders on an epic in pisgah. Not doing that again. Did a 50 miler once with a guy who had a platypus gravity filter and he refilled 4 3L bladders in pretty short order. That sold me on a gravity filter for long mtb rides where there is plenty of water access.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  • 12-09-2017
    Banjopickin
    I always hated having a pack on. It bounced around and hit me in the head on descents. Plus they're hot as shit and rub my shoulders raw on long rides. Just messes up the flow...

    Tube, tool, CO2, Sawyer and maybe a bar is all you need out there IMO. Unless its cold then bring a light jacket.
  • 12-09-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I always hated having a pack on. It bounced around and hit me in the head on descents. Plus they're hot as shit and rub my shoulders raw on long rides. Just messes up the flow...

    Tube, tool, CO2, Sawyer and maybe a bar is all you need out there IMO. Unless its cold then bring a light jacket.

    Strongly disagree with what should be carried on a ride. I regularly use far more than that.

    Never had those problems with a pack that fits, either.

    Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
  • 12-10-2017
    rsa
    to each their own.. I also ride with a pack (osprey), and I typically carry a platypus gravity filter. The pack has never bothered me.
  • 12-10-2017
    Banjopickin
    I forgot the most critical piece of gear on any ride....

    Toilet paper.

    Of all essentials this one is the most essential.
  • 12-11-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I forgot the most critical piece of gear on any ride....

    Toilet paper.

    Of all essentials this one is the most essential.

    Now I can agree with this. First found little mini rolls to keep in my pack sometime around 2003, and it's been a standard item in my pack ever since. When I first found them, they were actual Charmin brand, and each roll had a reusable little plastic case to protect it from being smashed or soaked. I still have those little plastic cases that I refill with whatever mini rolls I manage to find.

    Also worth reiterating that OP is talking about a winter visit. I always pack a few more things in the wintertime. At least an extra jacket in case I need to stop or if the temps change going up/coming down the mtn.
  • 12-11-2017
    Banjopickin
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    Now I can agree with this. First found little mini rolls to keep in my pack sometime around 2003, and it's been a standard item in my pack ever since.

    Also worth reiterating that OP is talking about a winter visit. I always pack a few more things in the wintertime. At least an extra jacket in case I need to stop or if the temps change going up/coming down the mtn.

    I like to use the little packs of Kleenex or even just a couple of yards of two-ply in a ziplock. I have used "natural" materials when necessary but nothing beats the real deal...

    And yeah Pisgah wintertime riding requires different stuff. Wool everything (socks, base layer, etc.), I carry a space blanket and lighter, and a flask of good whiskey... or bad whiskey. At a certain point it doesnt really matter haha...
  • 12-11-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Banjopickin View Post
    I like to use the little packs of Kleenex or even just a couple of yards of two-ply in a ziplock. I have used "natural" materials when necessary but nothing beats the real deal...

    And yeah Pisgah wintertime riding requires different stuff. Wool everything (socks, base layer, etc.), I carry a space blanket and lighter, and a flask of good whiskey... or bad whiskey. At a certain point it doesnt really matter haha...

    Fireball is probably my choice for bad whiskey. Fun memories of doing full moon urban rides and drinking Fireball next to a bonfire under a bridge in the middle of the night in Indy. Not sure I'd waste good stuff on the bike. I'm not a major whiskey connoisseur, though. If I want a good whiskey, I usually ask the bartender for recommendations. When I lived in Indiana, I've been known to pack a small backpacking stove and kettle with one of those powdered apple cider or hot cocoa mixes on a winter ride. Was never a regular thing, but whipping up something like that on a cold day out in the woods is sure nice. Most of the time winter rides are shorter, though, and I just grab the hot beverage post-ride.

    Since we're on the winter discussion, it's worth mentioning that you need to be careful with water filters in wintertime. If you're going to be riding in subfreezing temps, you need to be careful that water doesn't freeze in your filter. I'm not aware of a filter element out there that isn't compromised if water freezes inside it. So if you actually use your filter in subfreezing temps, you'll want to make sure you either keep it warm or get it dry before you let it get cold.

    I'd say it's a relevant discussion, considering the weather we've had here the past few days. Buddy of mine came to town for the weekend to ride and attend Xmas Jam. Dude cracks me up. Slept in his rooftop tent all weekend.
  • 12-13-2017
    burrells
    I definitely would ride Pisgah. We are known for epic, gnarly trails. You could ride for 3 weeks and literally not ride all of the trails here. I would stay in Brevard or Pisgah Forest, (they are 10min apart) Check our air b&bs. If you want more natural and technical stay away from Dupont (exception Cedar Rock/Big Rock/Burnt Mtn but is only 8 or so miles) and Bent Creek. Laurel/Pilot (approx 30 min drive from Brevard/Pisgah Forest area depending on your location) is a classic Epic Pisgah trail. It has LOTS of rock gardens, technical climbs and spiraling downhills. Beautiful views this time of year. 3 to 4 hour ride. Kitsuma/Star Gap/Heartbreak is in Grandfather Mtn district. It is approx an hour drive from Brevard. Still very technical and gnarly. Stunning views!! 3 to 4 hour ride. On day 3 if you want a milder ride, but still technical I would suggest Daniels Ridge/Butter Gap/Cat Gap. If you add Cove Creek (lots less technical) it is 25 or so miles , without cove creek 15 to 20. Or Buckhorn Gap to Clawhammer to Upper Black to Avery Creek and down. Or park at riding stables and Go up Clawhammer, Maxwell, down Black . You can end there or ride up to your left from lower black and tag on grassy and sycamore then get on paved hwy 276 back to avery creek road to riding stables. Either of these last 3 routes can be cut down or more added. they are approx. 2 hrs long. Also, note, there are lots of leaves down and that time of year there can be ice or snow. Right now, trails are not rideable because of being snow or ice covered. I would not get a guide. You can get Avenza trail app and download Pisgah Ranger district south trail map. It is interactive and trails are well marked.
  • 12-13-2017
    Miker J
    Excellent.

    Thanks all.
  • 12-14-2017
    MudderNutter
    If you don't go down black mountain you done messed up. Everyone will ask if you've ridden it yet... so you might as well! Plus it's incredibly accessible from the entrance to the forest.
  • 12-17-2017
    2bfluid
    Please respect our trails and do not ride the freeze thaw cycle. Ride early when it's still frozen if possible. A big proportion of our trail damage comes from winter riding done during the thaw.

    Thanks
  • 12-17-2017
    Miker J
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 2bfluid View Post
    Please respect our trails and do not ride the freeze thaw cycle. Ride early when it's still frozen if possible. A big proportion of our trail damage comes from winter riding done during the thaw.

    Thanks

    Sure thing. We will be in touch with your locals and the trip will sort of be a "game day call" based on weather and trail conditions. One of the benefits of a simple drive vs flying.
  • 12-30-2017
    mattallica
    Thinking of doing a winter vacation much the same as this. What would be a safe bet to plan for riding in the area? In upstate NY it's basically single digit temps right now. Hate to drive 14hrs to find it's not good riding weather.
  • 12-30-2017
    Gutch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mattallica View Post
    Thinking of doing a winter vacation much the same as this. What would be a safe bet to plan for riding in the area? In upstate NY it's basically single digit temps right now. Hate to drive 14hrs to find it's not good riding weather.

    Where in Upstate? Riding here is awesome.
  • 12-30-2017
    mattallica
    Saratoga...too cold for my blood
  • 12-30-2017
    Gutch
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mattallica View Post
    Saratoga...too cold for my blood

    No doubt. Moved here from the Syracuse area 7 yrs ago and never looked back. It’s nice to ride year around. It’s cooler than normal here (probably whole east coast) If you’ve never ridden DuPont and Pisgah, you’re in for a treat!
  • 12-30-2017
    Cedarbranchbiker1
    Temps are probably single digits in the NC mountains for the next few days.
  • 12-30-2017
    MudderNutter
    Just plan on riding Pisgah. As long as it’s not snowing you’ll have a great ride.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  • 12-30-2017
    Miker J
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mattallica View Post
    Thinking of doing a winter vacation much the same as this. What would be a safe bet to plan for riding in the area? In upstate NY it's basically single digit temps right now. Hate to drive 14hrs to find it's not good riding weather.

    It's not single digits.

    It's at least -10F.

    :)
  • 12-30-2017
    burrells
    If you don't mind cold, it is great. I ride year round. If it snows, then there could be issues.
  • 12-30-2017
    mattallica
    so perhaps a March vacation sounds a bit better? What's the weather typically like late March/ early April?
  • 12-31-2017
    burrells
    I personally think that is a much better time of year. Lots less variables with weather. I would not plan a biking vacation in hopes of good weather. In March/April you may have rain and some cold, but nothing you can't deal with. Lots of roots and rocks here that can freeze and/ or be covered in snow in winter. Just my opinion. We have such a beautiful area with miles and miles of wonderful trails. I would hate for you not to be able to take full advantage of that.
  • 12-31-2017
    Cedarbranchbiker1
    Good, just thought I would throw that out there. In any case, the NC mountains are beautiful, whether driving, hiking, or straddling a bike. Now that I am on blood thinners, my doc says I should stay off a mountain bike because I bleed easily and a minor crash could cause a big problem.
  • 12-31-2017
    Harold
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cedarbranchbiker1 View Post
    Temps are probably single digits in the NC mountains for the next few days.

    Try single digit lows in the valleys.
  • 12-31-2017
    mattallica
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Cedarbranchbiker1 View Post
    Good, just thought I would throw that out there. In any case, the NC mountains are beautiful, whether driving, hiking, or straddling a bike. Now that I am on blood thinners, my doc says I should stay off a mountain bike because I bleed easily and a minor crash could cause a big problem.

    FWIW, I had a heart attack back in April, ended up with a stent to open up a 100% blocked right arterie. My Dr. warned me about blood thinners and biking. I bleed pretty easy, bruise even worse. But riding smart and not taking unnecessary risks would be the idea. And I carry some wound seal powder and basic first aid stuff. No serious problems have arisen. I worry more about chainsaw and other power tools on the job than a few rock, branches on the trail or the usual pedal gouges from riding flats.
  • 12-31-2017
    Cedarbranchbiker1
    Thanks, I try to keep that in mind.