BRO Athletes: Eli Woodward Rides Mount Rogers

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It was a hot afternoon in Apex, North Carolina when I went upstairs to check my email. I saw that I had received an email from my brother who lives in Marion, Virginia.

It read:

You are being black mailed. I have awesome trails, sick views, and wild ponies that I will withhold from you unless you come to experience it yourself…

To satisfy this blackmail, meet in Marion, VA Friday at 4:30ish. Bring your well rested self, mountain bike, hiking, and camping gear.  Don’t stress too much on packing, I’ve got plenty of camping stuff and food.

You’ll be free on Sunday afternoon…

If this was from anyone other than my brother, I might have freaked out. But because it was from my brother, I knew it was a joke, and all he wanted was to go riding this weekend.

Within a few short days, I was on top of a mountain with my brother, Luke and his friend, Gavin. I was absolutely gassed. The view was incredible, but the climbing was a lot less than incredible. I remember thinking, “That Five Guys burger did not do me any good.”

After taking in such a great view, we got to ride all the way down the mountain. My brother slid out and crashed hard on a slick corner. I told him all was good because I got it on GoPro. Soon after, he got a flat, so I followed the Local Pro Gavin down the rest of the way.

Saturday morning, we set out on our 6 hour ride at Mount Rogers. We climbed up a nice, gradual fire road for about three miles. After that, the trails turned into rocky, technical single track. With loose rocks everywhere, it was quite a challenge to go fast. Being from the heartland of North Carolina, I never see rocks or steep hills, so it took a lot of getting used to. Along the way, we met some “wild” ponies.

They came right up to us and wanted some food. It was more like a petting zoo than anything. Climbing to the top was a whole new challenge. It was a lot of hike-the-bike, which made sense because we were on a hiking trail. The view on the highest point of Virginia was insane. The ride down was fast and loose. It’s kind of funny how you can spend all day going up, and it’s a matter of 20 minutes going down.

On Sunday, we went to Damascus. The ride up was not fun at all. But the ride down made it all worth it. With many choices for lines and loose rocks, it was one of the sketchiest trails I’ve ever been on.


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