It has been a busy spring and summer in Slatyfork. A huge amount of trail work by the Forest Service, ACE, and Pocahontas Trails has the riding conditions the best in years, and getting even better. What better way to check all this out than the Poca Trails Slatyfork Enduro, the next to the last stop on the WVMBA Enduro Series schedule. Race day is August 11, casual shuttles for practice runs on the 10th, but lots of folks will be riding the course for the next few weeks.
Tea Creek Trail, Bear Pen, Turkey Point, and Tea Creek Mountain trails with six stages are a mix of technical challenge and fitness all of which will leave you smiling. With the two shuttles provided this is the easiest way to see some the best trails in the area that have been part of the mountain biking scene for over 30 years. We will be camping at the top of Mine Road where the race will start. But if roughing it is too much, local lodging is available at Elk River Inn or Snowshoe. Food and cold beverage Saturday night after the practice runs, late registration Sunday morning 8:00 to 9:00, racer meeting at 9:30 and start at 10:00. The last shuttle out of Tea Creek Campground is at 4:30, awards and dinner around 5:30.
The race starts on Mine Road at the landing across from FR 844 (this is near the top, about a ¼ mile from Gauley Mountain Trailhead).
A short warm up to Tea Creek Trail head and gentle climb to the start of Stage 1. This short stage is a blast, ¼ mile or so of rolling grade to the shelter and then turn it on – single track, natural berms, and root and rock stair steps to the finish. Then the transfer, Gauley Connector, a slight grade (old logging railroad) with more roots, rocks, and ancient RR ties onto Gauley Mountain Trail to the climb up Bear Pen.
We don’t have video of the new stage 3, but here is most of the course: : 2017/18 preview.
Stage 2 starts at the rock chair on top, a short climb above the shelter. This stage is a bit longer – double track, baby rock garden to single track and then open it up on a skid grade, just over a mile of fun. The climb up Boundary is next, starting with an easy climb up to the final push up to the top through the spruce thicket. Check out the views as you near the top of the Gauley and Elk River drainages.
On your way to Stage 3 stop at the intersection of Boundary and Turkey Point trails for the short walk out to the cliff edge overlook of Tea Creek, Right Fork, Red Run, and the surrounding mountains. The view and wilderness are breathtaking.
The new stage 3 starts just past the intersection at the overlook. This stage is short but includes some drifty off camber switchbacks and rolling technical stretches ending at the Saddle Loop intersection.
Stage 4 starts with a bang – rock garden, short pedal to a left hand entry to an off camber skinny rock garden, then hang on for a mix of double track / single track rock and roll descent. The stage stops short of Bannock Shoals trail, then transfer to the Tea Creek Campground shuttle staging area.
After a quick shuttle up the Scenic Highway to the Tea Creek Mountain trailhead, there is a bit of a climb to the famous rock garden on Tea Creek Mountain – the start of Stage 5. This is the fitness stage – nail the rock garden, peddle some flow, and drop in. Pick your line, not butter, but pretty smooth.
Stage 6, one more climb on Tea Creek Mountain to the big boulder at the start of the final descent. Pure single track, downhill delight. Depending on how far back in the lineup you are, you will probably smell some hot brakes about midway down. Just when the arm pump sets in, you get to the last 1/3, a bit more technical and just as steep, watch for the babyheads – they have teeth. The finish is on the Williams River Trail. Then a short pedal to the river with the brand new bridge, no wet feet. Shuttle back to the top (last shuttle at 4:30 pm). Head through the field on Right Fork to the Connector (short, but a joy to ride) to Gauley Mountain Trail to the landing where you started.
If the Enduro itself is not reason enough to get here, then here are a few other things to add to the list. It will likely be 10 to 20 degrees cooler here in the mountains of WV than any of the surrounding states, Snowshoe is just up the road with a world class bike park for some lift service runs, plus while you are riding Snowshoe you get a chance to check out the World Cup dh and xc courses for the September 5 – 8 Mercedes-Bez UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals. For more to do in the area check out the Pocahontas County CVB.
Registration is now open, the first 60 to register will get a race t-shirt. Pre-registration saves you $10 and helps us out. Pre-registration ends midnight Friday August 9th.
Huge thanks to all of our sponsors including Snowshoe for the shuttles, Big Spring Fork for dinner, Snowshoe Bike Patrol for safety, Pocahontas County CVB, the local community for support, and the Forest Service for the Permit and the awesome trail work.
Pocahontas Trails is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Pocahontas Trails is a Permit Holder of the Monongahela National Forest. Operating under a Forest Service special use permit.