Riding on the mountain

Cyclocross is a popular, but challenging form of mountain biking.

It only makes sense that when a cyclist makes the effort to travel to the mountains to ride a bike, finding a mountain bike trail is one of the first things to look for.

There is no shortage of mountain trails in the High Country. One of the most popular is the Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park. The park is located just east of Boone off U.S. Highway 421.

There are four trails available in the park, including the 1.6-mile Rocky Branch Loop, which is classified as a moderate loop.

The Middle Earth Trail is one mile in length and the Boat Rock Loop is 3.6 miles long. Both are considered advanced trails.

The Ol’ Hoss Trail, which is 3/4 of a mile, is considered to be for experts.

Beech Mountain also has bike trails called the Emerald Outback. It includes the Westerly Hills section, one of the more challenging trails in the Outback, the Wild Iris Loop, one of the more gentle trails, and the West Bowl Loop.

There is also a bike park at Sugar Mountain. A lift takes cyclists up the mountain and then the cyclists have several trails to choose from. The No. 2 trail, the Show N Go, is marked a double black diamond trail, making it the most difficult.

The East Coast Rocks in a single black diamond trail, and three trails — the Rally Alley, Harescramble and Super Natural, are blue square trails. The No. 3 Carolina Cruiser trail is the circle green trail.

A closer look at the trails, and the operation hours of the Mountain, is on www.skisugr.com/bikepark/com.

Beech Mountain is another ski resort that has mountain biking. Three trails — Upper lack Bear, Lower Black Bear and Chamberlin’s Gap — are advanced black trails.

There are eight intermediate blue trails, including Upper Copperhead, Lower Copperhead, Hellbender, Uppper Burmese Python, Lower Burmese Python, Canbrake, Whistle Pig and Drop in.

The trails Upper Greene Mamba and Lower Greene Mamba are the green easiest trails.

The Appalachian State club cycling team, which is a member of the Atlantic Coast Cycling Club, will host the ACCC mountain biking championships.

“We’ll have schools from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland coming out to Boone and Banner Elk to crown the conference champion,” App State cyclist Matt Jones said.

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