A Trip to DuPont State Forest

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Last weekend I tapped back into a local jewel for riding, which joyously reminded me that our riding options in Western North Carolina truly make this a mountain biking Mecca.

I never think to go to DuPont State Forest because if I’m going to drive that far from home, it’s really hard not to dedicate the day to the Pisgah National Forest where the trails are tight, steep and technical. I kept hearing about how many more miles of awesome trails have been cut, so when I had the opportunity to tag along on somebody else’s ride, I decided to go for it. It’s always nice to ride without having to make decisions beyond when to eat snacks and when to go home.

The thing about DuPont is that you never realize, until you’re very far away from the trailhead, that you probably need to stop. Nothing is too hard to pedal, which means you never really use the granny gear, so the suffering stays at bay for a good while. While that sounds easy and great, it’s good to remember that when consistently pedaling for hours, your legs will definitely wear out and eventually refuse to spin any further. That’s when it’s good to have a beer in your hydration pack. It warms the legs back up so that you can make it back to the truck. Or numbs them a little.

The constant rolling trails definitely make for a different ride, giving your legs the opportunity to keep moving. It was more like a road ride in that way. While technical and steep trails offer gnarly climbs that strengthen muscles, the constant rolling offers an even cardio that provides overall endurance. It’s like the difference between lifting heavy weights for bigger muscles or high reps for more endurance. The descents aren’t all that difficult, yet there are times that they are tricky enough to make for an interesting ride with death-defying options, like large drop-offs and waterfalls.

The terrain is reminiscent of Utah, only with better trees. The park sits in a bed of large rock, which means there’s plenty of hopping on and off of grippy surfaces that don’t roll out from beneath the front tire. There are very few mossy patches or slippery roots, and you never really hover over the rear wheel because it just doesn’t get that hairy.

It is definitely treacherous on the camera battery though. It’s so pretty that you have to take a lot of pictures.

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