The Bent to Blues ride started as a way for a bunch of riders, racers, and friends affiliated with Asheville Cyclocross to get in a little friendly competition along the challenging dirt roads between Asheville and Brevard.
Beginning at Liberty Bicycles in South Asheville, riders can warm up along the meandering grades of the Blue Ridge Parkway heading West before turning right off the pavement at a popular runner’s trailhead (look for parked cars along the side of the Parkway) into Bent Creek Experimental Forest a little over a mile-and-a-half past the turn-off to Brevard Road/HWY 191.
Once in Bent Creek, the gravel doubletrack begins in earnest heading downhill to a junction at about mile 8-1/2. Bearing left, the route ascends up and around a closed Forest Service gate and follows South Ridge in Bent Creek gaining and losing elevation all the way to Bent Creek Gap Road at another closed Forest Service gate. A left hand turn on Bent Creek Gap Road and a seemingly endless steep grade brings the rider up to a short tunnel under the Blue Ridge Parkway at Bent Creek Gap.
This is a good place to take in some much deserved snacks and water before turning right and descending Wash Creek Road. Currently, Wash Creek Road/FS5000 is gated and closed to motor vehicle thru traffic, but open to cyclists which makes the upcoming descent all the more enjoyable as riders do not have to worry about overcooking a corner and ending up as a hood ornament. The descent begins steep and twisty as tight corners wind the rider downhill quickly, but eventually the road straightens and mellows out. Take note, once the rider passes a Forest Service Road on the left (FS5001) they will quickly come upon another closed gate that marks the end of the closed portion of Wash Creek Road. It is easiest to go around this gate to the left, but once around, the road steepens a bit, levels, and eventually descends turning back to pavement. Once on the pavement, check your speed as a stop sign will quickly approach at North Mills Road. A right-hand turn at North Mills will take the rider through the campground (a bathroom with potable water is immediately on the left) and back to gravel after crossing the short bridge over Mills River where the road becomes Yellow Gap Road/FS1206.
The route then begins a three-plus mile rutted and chunky gravel climb up to Yellow Gap. If you didn’t stop in North Mills Campground for a quick break, once you hit Yellow Gap, you have earned a rest! Once past Yellow Gap, the route descends for a bit in loose gravel and gains and loses elevation at a less alarming rate along HWY1206, the gateway to many sacred Pisgah mountain bike epics, all the way to paved HWY 276.
Take a left on HWY 276 and descend less than a mile to the graveled FS477, on the left just past the Cradle of Forestry. A short, but steep climb on FS477 brings the rider to Bennett Gap and the beginning of a nearly six mile gravel descent in recently added chunky gravel... but at least the deep ruts in every corner have been filled in. Once you reach HWY 276 once again, you can loosen the death-grip on your bars and relax as the rest of the ride is on smoothly paved roads.
A left on HWY 276 takes you to a major intersection at HWY 64. Bear right and look for the multi-use path that crosses just before Ecusta Road. Follow the path turning left the three times you can turn all the way to Oskar Blues Parking Lot and feel totally justified in ordering a can or two or three (who’s gonna judge) of some fine crafted brew!
Route created by Kevin Hessler / Liberty Bicycles
Instructions for completing the Challenge
Our unique route-based Challenge technology automatically compares your rides to Challenges you’ve joined and sends you a notification to redeem the reward if you’ve ridden more than 90% of the route.
Log in and “Join” on the Challenge you would like to ride. The route will be added to your “Planned Rides” folder in blackriver.
When you’re ready to ride the route, open the app and hit “Start” to begin tracking your ride. If you'd like to have the route appear in the app for reference, select "Start a pre-planned route" on the Start screen and select the Challenge route to begin.
Garmin or other GPS devices:
You can easily download a GPX/TCX file by hovering your mouse over the map in blackriver and selecting your preferred “Export” format.
When you finish and save your ride, it will be automatically checked against the Challenge route and you’ll receive a “Challenge Complete” confirmation via notification and email.
Garmin users can sync their Garmin account with blackriver prior to riding the route in order to automate the upload process. Click the “Garmin Connect” button on your profile to sync accounts.
Using other GPS Devices:
If you recorded your ride using an other GPS device, log in to your blackriver account, click on “create” and “Import completed ride” to upload your ride file (.gpx, .tcx, or .fit). and your route will be automatically checked against the Challenge route and you’ll receive a “Challenge Complete” confirmation via email.
Sharing your Ride Story
After your ride, don’t forget to add a Ride Story with text and images. You can do it as you finish, or add the story later. Share your published Ride Story on social media using #DKxENVE and #blackrivercc!
For complete Terms and Conditions of the DK x ENVE Challenge Series, visit: https://goo.gl/M2Gfrs
By completing any DK x ENVE Challenge, you will be entered to win one of two ENVE wheelsets. We will be contacting winners in the first week of November.