Let’s Ride: Epic singletrack -
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Let’s Ride: Epic singletrack

BIKE Magazine calls Brevard and Transylvania County “ground zero for some of the best riding in the nation.”  Here are five singletrack rides that prove that claim. Thad Walker, a former head coach of the Brevard College Bike Team, is your guide.

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Advanced: SYCAMORE COVE

Pisgah National Forest

“Sycamore Cove throws a little bit of everything at you: groovy, off-camber rocks and roots, steep climbs, and technical downhill. The mid-section is a mile-long ridge ride. At 3.2 miles, Sycamore Cove makes for an ideal workout of an hour or less. If you’ve got more time (and energy) link it with the Black Mountain and Thrift Cove trails. If you do these add ons and look at the map profile on either Garmin Connect or Strava, you’ll understand why locals call this one  the ‘Big M’.) This is a great introduction to Pisgah riding.”

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Easy: RIDGELINE TRAIL

Dupont State Recreation Forest

“This four mile loop takes about an hour and offers a nice introduction to biking in the forest. With this ride you get a interesting combination of single track trails and gravel Forest Service roads. This is a really flowy trail with sweeping downhills. Advanced riders love it, too, because it’s fast and non-technical. Ridgeline Trail is easily accessible from Dupont Forest’s Guion Farms parking lot. This lot also serves as the starting point for a fun kid’s mountain bike trail featuring a skills area (teeter-totter, log rides, balance boardwalks, pump track and up-and-overs). Whether you’re a kid, or a kid at heart, this is a great way to kick off or finish up your ride.”

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Intermediate: COVE CREEK LOOP

Pisgah National Forest

“A beautiful ride that starts near the Fish Hatchery in Pisgah National Forest. Get your heart pumping with a four mile ascent on a gravel road that’s followed by a long single-track descent. Give yourself a couple of hours to enjoy this ten-mile loop.”

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Intermediate: BIG ROCK/CEDAR ROCK/BURNT MOUNTAIN

DuPont State Recreational Park

“If you enjoy the slick rock of Moab you’ll love the granite of DuPont. This is a well-balanced ride that serves up a lot of variety. It starts with a granite climb up to the top of Big Rock. The reward is awesome views all the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Looking Glass Rock. It’s a great place to catch a sunset, too. From here you’ll go down Cedar Rock. This is one of the most unique descents I’ve ever done: it’s got off-cambers, verticals, and a couple of technical sections that keep things interesting. This is a two to three hour ride. For a little bigger challenge, add on the Burnt Mountain Loop. One word of caution: in the winter freezing temperatures can result in ice on the rock, which can be quite treacherous.”

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Advanced: THE WHITE SQUIRREL STAGE

Pisgah National Forest

“This ride is wild, unforgiving — and unforgettable. The route itself is actually a stage of the epic Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, a five-day sufferfest featuring 195 miles of riding and 28,000 feet of elevation gain. But today you’ll only be riding 39 miles and climbing a paltry 6,200 feet. Start at the Black Mountain trailhead. You’ll encounter lots of challenging singletrack, including Squirrel Gap. When you’re done, stop into one of Brevard’s craft breweries and offer up a toast (or a few choice epithets) to Todd Branham, the stage’s creator.