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Pisgah MTB Stage Race Blog by Sarah Kaufmann

Posted by: Shannon Boffeli |October 9, 2013 1:47 AM

Experienced professional racer and member of the powerhouse Stan’s NoTubes Elite Mountain Bike Team Sarah Kaufmann has competed in some of the toughest mountain bike races this country has to offer. Now she’s trying her hand at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race in southwestern North Carolina. Read her full report below.


I'm missing Interbike this year....well, I wouldn't really say I'm missing it. Hehe.

I have been registered for the Pisgah Stage Race for two years now but haven't been able to stay healthy this late in the year. Two years ago I had a broken collarbone and last year I had Mono followed by getting hit by a car. So I finally made it here and I'm getting a grand tour of the incredible riding here. 

Today was Day 3 of some incredibly challenging and, dare I say, epic riding here at Pisgah. It is unlike much I have ever ridden before with steep, rutted and rooty descents. I have raced the Transylvania Epic twice now and thought that would give me an idea of what to expect for this race. Though they are both technical courses, I am finding that it is a different set of technical skills required. Those required here at Pisgah are not in my bag of tricks...yet. Though they are coming along. I seem to get more comfortable on this stuff each day but it is tough. And I think it requires more guts - Transylvania is more about picking lines and Pisgah is more about getting over your fear. My track record of injuries leaves me a little scared...

Day 1 was a shorter stage than I was anticipating and started with a section on the road. We made a big loop through some fun winding and pretty mellow singletrack on rolling and climby terrain, culminating in a hike to the top of the famed Black Mountain, where we lost all of our elevation on the final descent. 

Day 2 was tons of singletrack but was broken by sections of gravel road climbing. I underestimated Day 2 and cracked pretty badly as a result. We started out the day with a climb (and hike) up Black Mountain and, again, finished coming down it. 

Day 3 was billed as the longest, hardest day. After a quick gravel road climb, we hit some steep singletrack climbing followed by some ridge riding. We got to hit Squirrel Gap for the second time, this time from the other direction. After a long, draggy climb up some doubletrack, I unfortunately suffered a broken chain on my way up Laurel Mountain. Thankfully, I was able to fix it and carry on - though, with a bit more caution. The descent down Pilot Rock was a blast - that's one I would love to hit again, now with a better idea of the lines. 

We are over the hump here, more than halfway through, with a couple of shorter stages remaining. I would be lying if I said I were bummed about that!


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