Most of my mountain biking happens in Dupont State Forest. I’m lucky that I live in an area where within 40 mins of driving there’s Dupont, Bent Creek, and Pisgah Forest. With only about a year of serious under my wheels, I still have a lot to explore and learn, especially in Pisgah (Hey Marco!), but there’s something special about that one place that you know well, have struggled on the climbs and descents, and are able to measure progress on the ability to concur the gravel Conservation Rd climb or getting through the gnarly rock garden on Joanna.
This past weekend, after a sufficient time of lazy after road and finals and planned biking trips being thwarted by the weather, Kyle and I headed out for a quickie in Dupont. It was glorious! We got there late enough to miss the weekend crowds, and headed out to the backside of the forest. Our plan was to ride Airstrip Trail which has recently been re-done, as well as Reasonover which is also being worked on.
Airstrip has been reworked into a fast and swoopy trail that requires a lot of attention and cornering on the decent. It was strange getting accustomed to my bike and overcoming the sloppy feeling that comes from not riding.
We also looped around to Lake Dense, Pitch Pine Trail is excellent for mountain biking in both directions, curvy and mostly smooth allowing for as much as speed as you want to give it. I love to hit race pace on this trail, since it’s excellent practice for tight, fast turns and is mostly packed dirt.
Reasonover has long been one of my favorites, descending towards Lake Julia always provides drops, turns, roots and more to fly over. I always find my flow on the decent and love the rush of bumping over anything in my way. This time, Kyle and I rode up from Lake Julia, returning towards Fawn Lake, where we had parked. The trail work has smoothed out the trail significantly, leaving rollers and banked turns. It’s going to be an awesome descent, but I’m going to miss the more technical terrain. The work has also dramatically improved the descent towards the far end of Conservation Rd. Lots of rollers, air, banked curves and super fast speed where all constant until the river crossing. I can’t wait to get back on the trail and start to relearn its elements, improve my landings and cornering.
It’s really exciting seeing work being done in Dupont that is focused on the biking population! I find it interesting that so many of the volunteers come from the local mountain biking groups, while you don’t ever hear of any horse owner groups doing trail maintainence work in the forest. Yet, more wear and tear is caused by horses, especially on singletrack, dirt trails. Regardless, spending time in Dupont on the bike is one of my favorite things to do.