I've never ridden in Pisgah, so for all I know the place is populated by frogs dancing in cowboy boots.
While this chart doesn't do anything prove or dis-prove the existence of frog people, it does show that Pisgah is the most technical of the three US stage races. If Jeremiah "I'm tough as coffee nails" Bishop's average speed was 11.9 mph, there must be some rocky and rooty shit out there.
|Race||Days||Miles||Elevation Gain||Overall WinningTime||Overall Winner Avg Speed (mph)||Tandem Time||Cash Purse||Solo Entry Fee|
|Pisgah Stage Race||5||195||28,000'||16:21:39||11.9||Yeah Right! Not on these trails!||$15,000||$700|
So, in order to prepare myself to race five hard days on a single-speed 29er hardtail, I decided to acquire a geared 26er all-mountain bike.
Enter the Prophet. This thing used to be a rental at WV, but I don't think anyone ever rented it. It was probably too nice to lend to the hyper-destructive Boy Scout groups we get.
When I'm sitting in the un-airconditoned garage at work, my brain isn't functioning at it's highest level, so I think my thought process went something like this:
Pisgah is going to be really technical.
I bet a full-suspension gnarly bike would be really good for that place. Why are these people looking at me? But I don't have a full suspension gnarly bike.
Maybe I should buy the Prophet since it's full-suspension gnarly bike, and then I should get fast on it. They're still standing there. I'm hungry.
Once I'm good at riding the full-suspension gnarly bike, those gnarly skills will carry over to my Niner, and I'll be good-er at riding that to. They look impatient. Maybe they want to rent something. I'll speak to them once I'm finished thinking.
After I'm good at riding the gnarly bike and good-er at riding the hardtail, I'll beat Jeremiah "I'm tough as coffee nails" Bishop and everyone will want to rub my feet.
And that was it. I had spare money from the Race the Pflug won, and the Prophet was cheap, so I bought it. I wish that it was one of these, but it was available and affordable. Now I own an archaic single pivot beef machine.
So far, it's taught me is that large heavy bikes are not good for short-track racing at the slag heaps.
I brought it to one of our little Tuesday night races, and was easily dispatched by Tim Mold, Don Powers, and Aaron. It was worse than racing 'cross on a fixed gear.
Unfortunately, to someone with a brain as beautiful as Don Power's, gears and suspension = a bike faster than a single speed race bike. I've ridden a few miles on a single speed race bike, and I happen to know that this is not the case. But Don Powers doesn't care. He'll yell about the day he beat me at slag track on Tuesday night for the rest of forever.
But the Prophet has proven one theory that I've had for a while, but have never been able to test: squishy bikes are really fun on chunky descents. I'm really enjoying the workout I get from muscling this thing up a hill, and even more enjoying shredding back down. Now that I know I like squishing bikes, if there were some way for me to rustle up a RIP9, and put a Paul Tensioner on it, I think that would be my ideal bike for racing fun at Pisgah.