Yesterday I called Bear right after the finish and, understandably, there weren’t many words except, “I finished, dude. I made it.”
It was an epic, 6-day journey in which the shortest start-to-finish day was around 7 hours. Bear was tested in every way—endurance, technical skill and, most of all, the drive to keep pedaling (or hiking) when it already felt like he’d given everything.
Bear, we are so proud of you! Well done, young brother.
Here’s a photo gallery from the final stretch:
We got a short update from Bear about Day 5…apparently the pace has taken a toll and he’s tired 🙂 Here’s what he had to say:
Every trail is like the hardest trail I’ve ever biked. I’m keep thinking, “there’s no way on earth it could be more difficult,” and it’s like WTF!
Today was a little more mellow. Slammed hard once but it was all good. Bike hasn’t make a peep.
For real these trails are like downhill courses.
The photo gallery is below (not too many pics from the trail), but first, here’s a video of the crew riding through a heard of goats!
Day 4 is done! Here’s the update from Bear:
Just around 7 hours. No major wrecks. Rode the red dirt trail and it was comparable to a rough Moab trail. 700+ meters of decent. Crazy!
Super hard day but felt decent. Drinking a pint with all the bros in this awesome little town. Last 2 descents were 750+ and then right into another 500+
It puts Pisgah to shame. I’m trying as hard as I can to ride consistently and people are passing me usually on every stage. Hard to get over the ego of the racing part but I have awesome people here to bring me back to reality.
I wouldn’t recommend this race to anyone who couldn’t handle the business.
And we’re here with another update from Bear. They completed Day 3 (and have already started Day 4). When I touched base with him to get a report, it seemed hard for him to put into words both the difficulty and the majesty of the experience.
What he did say came through loud and clear. Photo gallery below.
Down stage 3. Sickest trail in the world. Grey earth. So sick.
Just under 9 hours. Freaking psycho day. I literally can’t believe it. Didnt have GoPro unfortunately but it wouldn’t have done it justice.
Several people dropped out cause they couldn’t handle it. I drank probably 6-7 litres of water.
A lot of the amateurs are or have done some EWS but most are just incredible bikers. One of the stages was 14 minutes. A guy passed me, wrecked, then passed me again. Unreal.
Just think 4000 meters going down. It’s so rough on your hands. I’m going to have to change pads tomorrow.
Bear discussed the climb with a few chaps from the UK…they seem to be in good spirits, but it’s obvious the climb is brutal. It’s a little hard to hear the first guy, but he says, “I think this is the hardest one yet…”
This past weekend I headed up to Bailey Mountain Bike Park as a little Father’s Day treat for myself. It had been almost 10 years since I’d donned the full-face helmet, so I was a little nervous to get back on the bike-park horse.
The smiles that greeted me at registration and in the back of the shuttle bus quickly put me at ease and after a few runs I was screaming for joy and wishing I hadn’t taken such a long break from hitting jumps…I’m pretty rusty when it comes to getting airborne on machine-built features. The great thing, though, was that almost everything on the blue trails was rollable and gap-able, so my first few timid runs were still a blast.
After a few rounds on the berms and brake-bumps, I headed to the black-diamond section, where, ironically, I felt much more at home. Steep, rocky, rooty, off-camber and generally gnarly all-around, I felt like a kid in a candy shop and couldn’t get enough. Here’s a video of Alex and Zach, two riders I met, hitting the big double on Old Gregg (double-black diamond):
I highly recommend a trip if you’re close by. It’s definitely not a place for beginners, but if you’re a solid rider it’s a great place to practice all sorts of gravity-focused skills.
A few tips:
- Reserve your spot online ahead of time. There was plenty of room when I went, but I’ve heard they can fill up pretty quick on high-traffic days.
- Bring your own food and water. It’s not a ski resort (which is pretty nice, actually), so there isn’t a restaurant. I’ve heard they run a grill sometimes, and they do have a place to get water, but bring your own sustenance just to be safe.
- Bring flats and clips. I found myself wanting to switch between types of pedals depending on what I was riding—I would definitely have tried more jumps in the flow section if I’d brought a pair of flats.
Alrighty…Day 2 is done! Bear sent us an update earlier today. He finished 65th, 14 slots better than his result yesterday. Good stuff, brother! Photo gallery below.
Here’s what he Bear had to say about the day:
Luckily the start was a nice warm up climb that wasn’t too strenuous or long. The decent was unreal. Super hard with a bunch of tight switchbacks (go figure) and a 30meter pedal section in the middle of the stage. That awoke my heart and legs.
Views were unreal. The climbs sucked as always but stayed with two rad girls who rip super hard. No wrecks or mechanicals so things are going well.
After watching someone break their elbow and fall down a small cliff side I erred on the side of caution, regardless of wanting to make up time. I would rather make it to the end unharmed then to try and push it in a field of literally unbelievably fast riders.
Tomorrow’s climb is around 1000 meters so hopefully the dip in the ice cold river and massage then yoga session will pay off.
Stoke is high!
Well, the racing has begun and the youngest of the #doddsbros litter is learning what it’s like to survive on the gnarliest of trails alongside some of the fastest riders in the world. Here’s what he had to say about Day 1:
At last stage. Literally the hardest bike day I’ve ever had. These climbs make Pisgah look like child’s play. I stopped to help someone who went down, but I’ll probably get that time added back. I’m completely blown away by how fast everyone is here. I wish I had SRAM Eagle and a 203mm rotor on the back, but I’m getting along fine 🙂
Hard to describe in words how epic the trails are. Just look at the pictures.
Apparently the climbs are something to behold…as evidenced by this video:
Little bro made it into the Day 0 video as well! He’s negotiating a switchback at 00:47, proudly repping the yet-to-be-revealed team jerseys for our partner/sponsor GOAT. Check it out:
Here’s a photo gallery: