The Pisgah Stage race is a 5 day timed stage race in the Pisgah National Forest. Pisgah has some of the most extreme, steep, technical, gnarly demanding singletrack in the country, oh, and it's in a rainforest. It's no joke, the climbing is brutally steep and you get zero rest on the descents that are equally as hard. You can't lose focus for a second, or you may end up like one of the teams that raced, walking your mountain bike out of the forest in two pieces!
TotalCyclist mountain bike athlete Andrew Blackstock decided he wanted to tackle the event this year, he wanted to compete in the duo category with teammate Jamie Babcock. The race is scored on accumulative time over the 5 days, each stage time stops once both teammates cross the line, so you get to work together. Andrew has been racing for 6 years and has raced many events, but never more than a two-day event.
We decided the prep to get him ready would be to be his own solo mock stage race. We simulated the event the best we could to mimic each stage. Andrew is in high school so our only struggle was getting the timing right for the mock stage race, "Tour de Blackstock". After consulting with my team of coaches at TotalCyclist we decided that 4 weeks out would be perfect. Andrew had spring break 3 weeks out and doing the mock event during that time would give him more time to recover, so we decided that would work out best.
Andrew and Jamie started the Pisgah Stage race prepped and ready to rock! They both put in the work and were ready to throw down. After the first stage, they were sitting in second overall, and Andrew asked me how he was going to do that effort for 4 more days. I reminded him he put in the work and he would be fine, and just remember that however tired he was, everyone else would be just as tired, or more! Respect the process, put in the work, and the results will come.
Stage 1-3 Andrew and Jamie had a stronghold on second overall, I kept reminding Andrew to keep pushing because you never know what can happen. Sure enough, after chipping away for 4 days and a very strong ride, Andrew and Jamie won stage 4 and took the overall lead!
They finished stage 5 with another very strong performance of second on the stage by 3 seconds and secured the overall victory.
Remember, trust the process, trust your coach and have fun with it, the results will come!
Coach Ben Renkema
Multi-time National Champion