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Reader photo by Thomas Gaines, of Knoxville, Tenn.
“Big Rock trail overlook at sunset,” at DuPont State Forest, Cedar Mountain, N.C.
Taken Aug. 23, 2011

Photographer’s notebook

I made this image on an evening ride by myself. I often travel to this area to ride mountain bikes with friends, but on this trip I was working in the area and finished the day with an evening trail ride. I had noticed that the sunset would be seen from the Big Rock Trail overlook, in DuPont State Forest, so I circled back to my car and grabbed my DSLR. I made it back to the overlook with enough time to snap this one shot.

Without a tripod, I set the camera to auto-bracket 3 exposures, which would later be used to create this image as a high dynamic range photo.

Editor’s note:

National mountain biking championships come to Avery County; resort building ‘world-class’ biking facility

Western North Carolina is known for mountain biking, as Thomas shows us in this magnificent view from DuPont State Forest, in Cedar Mountain, N.C.

Farther north, Avery County is preparing to greet national mountain biking competitors in the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity Nationals, scheduled for Sept. 23-25, hosted by Beech Mountain Resort, in Beech Mountain.

Here’s some coverage of the event, from the Avery Journal. They report:

Beech Mountain Resort is building a world-class mountain biking facility in preparation for the championships, which will bring mountain bikers from around the country to the area. Handling the design and construction of a championship-quality course is Christopher Herndon. A Brevard native and the 2007 Dual Slalom National Champion, Herndon is a leader in mountain bike course design in the Southeast.

“We feel confident that Christopher Herndon will design a unique facility ensuring that Beech Mountain Resort will produce an innovative product,” said [Ryan] Costin, [general manager of Beech Mountain Resort]. “Having Christopher designing our track gives the venue instant credibility.”

Mountain bike gravity racing is akin to skiing in that racers navigate their way down the mountain in a race against the clock, while making numerous turns and jumps along the course. The world’s best racers can reach speeds in excess of 45 miles per hour on a downhill course, while slalom racers can top 30 miles per hour.

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Angie Newsome was the executive director and editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact her at (828) 774-5290 or e-mail her at

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