By Katie Benfield
Get your adrenaline pumping this weekend and join the excitement of the Southeastern Gravity Series bike race at Beech Mountain Resort. The action-packed festivities offer fun for everyone, whether you’re participating in the race or not.
The Southeastern Gravity Series consists of four downhill off-road bike races that are held all throughout the southeast, the majority of tracks being located through wooded areas with sharp turns and rough terrain that call for fast maneuvering and trained skills.
The third race of this brand new series will be held at Beech Mountain Resort right here in the High Country at 1 p.m. on Sunday. This race will help competitors involved in the series earn points that will count towards their rankings for nationals, along with the championship event that takes place at the end.
The resort offers courses for racers that are very steep, include a lot of rocky and wooded terrain, fast and technical descents and a variety of lines to the finish. The lifts up to the top of the course fit up to four people and include an easy and convenient way to load and unload a bike.
It is also home to the highest bike park in the east at an elevation of 5,506 feet — another reason why this track will host the most intense and adrenaline-pumping race that will occur this year in North Carolina.
Registration and practice for the race will be held on Saturday and Sunday preceding the actual race.
On Saturday, registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Beech Mountain Brewery Co., and downhill practice for the race will begin shortly after that at 10 a.m. Practice will be available on both days previous to the race, and at 12:15 p.m. the day of, there is a mandatory meeting for all racers at the lift in front of Beech Tree.
Awards and medals will be given to racers that come in first, second or third place in the race, and fourth and fifth places will be recognized.
For more information on the schedule and registration, visit the Beech Mountain Resort website.
HOW TO ENJOY RACE WEEKEND
For those of us who will not be participating in this extreme sport, there are other things to do the weekend of the race at the resort.
Starting on Friday, Aug. 21, there will be a Downhill Women’s Clinic hosted by Caroline Westray, a talented female cyclist. There will be two classes per day, one for beginners and one for intermediate, both on Friday and Saturday. She will also be running a free bike maintenance clinic on Saturday evening at the Beech Mountain Brewery Co.
For an exact schedule of the classes, visit the website.
If you want to relax a little before delving into the intensity of the bike race, the resort will also be hosting a yoga class as part of its Bottoms Up Yoga program on Saturday. It costs $15 to ride the lift up and participate in the class. The lift opens at 10 a.m., but it’s recommended that you board by at least 10:15 a.m. because the class begins at 10:30 a.m. It is requested that you bring your own yoga mat if you have one.
The resort is aware that not everyone enjoys the physical activities it has to offer, such as biking and yoga, so the activities of the weekend extend far beyond that.
There will be wine-tasting at the 5506’, the highest bar and restaurant in the High Country, with a wide selection of wines from The Seeker Wines. A wine specialist will be there to help guide you through the tasting process as you experience a variety of wines that are also available for purchase.
Also at the 5506’, the Shane Pruitt Band will be performing on Saturday as part of the Summer Music Series. This unique band touches on a variety of genres, such as folk, gospel and southern rock. The performance will take place from 3:30-6:30 p.m., and the atmosphere will match the excitement of the upcoming race.