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About

Blue Ridge Adventures is a grassroots race production company based in Pisgah Forest, NC. Company founder Todd Branham has been racing mountain bikes for 24 years, and organizing endurance events since 1998. Starting with just 40 entrants at the inaugural Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell, Blue Ridge Adventures now runs five premier endurance races as well as a youth mountain bike race series. Pisgah has developed a growing and well-earned reputation for quality singletrack woven into the tallest and most rugged mountains this side of the Mississippi. Branham utilizes his experience as a professional trail builder in understanding the flow of the terrain to lay out courses that deliver a unique euphoric race experience.

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Blue Ridge Adventures History Highlights:

  • 1st Metric Century on the East Coast with Singletrack – ORAMM
  • 1st Mountain Bike Stage Race on the East Coast – Pisgah Stage Race
  • 1st Kids (K-12) Specific Mountain Bike Series in the Southeast – Carolina Youth Mountain Bike League (CYMBL)

Blue Ridge Adventures Crew

Todd Branham – Race Director

todd-newTodd Branham grew up in Columbia, SC and started racing bikes in his early 20s. He soon secured a job at one of Columbia’s best bike shops, Outspokin’. It is here that he cultivated his love of racing. He has raced all over the country in various race formats and can dissect a race right down to its primary formula. He worked and raced for Outspokin’ while attending The University of South Carolina where he double majored in Marketing and Management. Directing races evolved as planned group rides with friends that got larger and more elaborate and soon Blue Ridge Adventures was born. After graduation, he moved from the sandhills to the big hills of Western North Carolina where Blue Ridge Adventures operated as a mountain bike guide service in Pisgah National Forest as well as promoter of mountain bike and running events in the area. At one point, Blue Ridge Adventures was promoting 18 races a year! Races became so successful, in fact, that the guide service is no longer operational. Now, Blue Ridge Adventures promotes five primary races – The Jerdon Mountain Challenge, The Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell, The Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, The Couch Potato and The Swank 65 as well as a 6 race kids specific mountain bike series. In 2009, Blue Ridge Adventures began extending its timing services to other friends that promote races. Todd’s role as Race Director includes the responsibilities of course design, race logistics, sponsorship relations, and competitor relations.

Working with the Blue Ridge Bike Club helped to develop his love of trailbuilding. From there his work was noticed by the trail company Long Cane Trails and he was invited to come build trail with them on a big project at the Forks Area Trail System, referred to as “F.A.T.S.” Todd’s commitment and dedication was appreciated and he was soon offered a partnership with Long Cane Trails. He has since helped the company expand the breadth of their work. He has worked on trails in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Oregon, Guatemala and Costa Rica. As part of the dedication to maintaining trails in his beloved Pisgah National Forest, Todd often leads out trailwork days with a local trail crew to directly benefit the trails he regularly uses.

After a 1st place finish at the 2006 National in the Super D genre, Todd decided to pursue the national circuit in 2007. Since then, he has accumulated a host of National titles to accompany his already vast bike medal/karate trophy collection.

  • 2007 National Mountain Bike Series Super D Champion
  • 2008 National Mountain Bike Series Super D and Expert XC Champion
  • 2009 Kenda Cup East Expert XC Champion, 2nd Unification Cup XC

Heather Wright – Race Organizer

heather-newHeather Wright got started with Blue Ridge Adventures back in 2006 at the ORAMM. Since then, she has thrown herself into the race world full force and now helps to plan the events all year long. She implemented a computer timing system, a website and brings lots of technical and organizational skills to the job. Heather first got into mountain bikes back in 2001 as cross training for rock climbing while living in her hometown of Augusta, GA. A few years later she moved to North Carolina and her passion soon shifted to bikes. She still enjoys climbing, trail running, swimming and snowshoeing in her off time.


Amanda McCarson -
Registration & Timing

AmandaAmanda originally began helping Blue Ridge Adventures at rest stops and flipping burgers at the Swank. We noticed her hard work and attention to detail and quickly pulled her out of the grease trap and in to help with registration and results. She’s now fully in charge of registration and results at the races. When not working with us or as a technician at a local veterinary hospital, she frequents the paths of the WNC mountains on two feet usually accompanied by her four legged friends Bo and Dozer.


Lisa Lowe – Registration & Timing

LisaLisa comes to us from Wisconsin by way of Colorado.  She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Pharmacy and promptly moved to Crested Butte, CO to pursue a graduate degree in customer service in ski shops and restaurants, snowboarding and mountain biking.  She actually landed this job thanks to her time living in Crested Butte – one of our favorite places!   She moved to Brevard from Durango, CO to remember what humidity feels like and to be closer to family in NC.


Yuri Eliashevsky – Registration & Timing

YuriYuri’s been racing our events for years.  In fact, he’s done nearly every one of them.  He’s been a long time volunteer for BRA, helping to sweep the first Pisgah Stage Race, then racing it as a duo team the year after.  He spent almost 13 years involved in family work and wilderness therapy and recently was a nutrition counselor/ wellness coach for Blue Sky, MD.  During his time working at Eckerd Youth Alternatives, he even dabbled as a race promoter with the Fat Tire Festival in Dupont.  His list of outdoor pursuits includes not just endurance mountain biking but also: hiking, trail running, rock climbing, surf kayaking, adventure racing, rugby, water polo & water hockey, BMX, Trials MTB, fly-fishing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.


Jared Vandenbergh – Venue Manager

jaredJared is a Brevard local and has been a part of the mountain bike scene here for 20+ years.  He is the man in charge of venue setup and breakdown, making sure everything is in place before race start.  When not working for BRA he can be found working alongside Todd at Long Cane Trails where he serves as the Crew Manager.

 


Jonathan Guffey – Venue Setup

JOnathanJonathan has been in the bike world for a long time and spent a lot of time racing in his youth. He’s been helping us for the past couple of years to do all sorts of stuff including help with setup/breakdown, course marshal and sweep.  Although Jonathan is perfectly capable in his positions, we want to share that he has epilepsy and sometimes his seizures can be triggered by stressful situations.  So please be patient with him if an issue arises.


 Tyler Crotts – Race Announcer

10494650_816617138378701_5822961635282022932_nTyler is the voice of Blue Ridge Adventures at the events. Hailing from Greenville, SC Tyler has been in the cycling scene since he was a teenager and spent his college days here in Brevard on the cycling team. He’s currently filling his days slinging bikes at Sunrift Outfitters down in Greenville.

 


Betsy Hoyt – Sponsor Relations

hoytfamily-87Betsy’s been a familiar face at our events for years – first as a spectator cheering on her husband, then as a volunteer, and now as a racer and employee.  We’re glad to have her in our arsenal.  In her own words: Wife to Craig, Home Schooling mom to Curtis and Henry. I love to spend time with my family on and off of the bike! Favorite things: Faith, Family & Friends!! Favorite Mountain Biking memory… so far: Riding in the Couch Potato Race on a Single Speed hard tail — finishing the race and hearing my sons say: ‘Wow Mom… that’s pretty Bad A! We’re so proud of you!”


“Team Hoyt” – Craig, Curtis & Henry – Whatever It Takes

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The Hoyts came to us as volunteers while dad Craig was racing back in 2010. We couldn’t have been luckier to find them. Collectively, they’ve helped with nearly every aspect of the race – timing, announcing, merchandise, course marshals, sweep, and awards – with a smile and positive attitude that’s infectious. They’re also noteworthy athletes in their own right and compete in our events when not working!  Check out Craig’s new business – Eleven Guitars – he builds carbon guitars!


Cissy Fowler & David Cook – Whatever It Takes

Cissy&DavidCissy & David were friends of ours independently, who met, married and became the Pisgah Power Couple. They volunteered plenty at the races before being pulled in as official race support. With a great attitude and determination, we like to have them as sweeps since their positivity radiates and could potentially push you up the hill.  But don’t be fooled because they’re riding in the back, these guys have some serious racing under their belts!


Joey Ennis – Course Manager

DSC08574Joey’s responsible for making sure the course is marked so well that you won’t miss a turn or lose time questioning which way to go.  When not marking trail, Joey spends his days split between wrenching at Sycamore Cycles and working for Industry Nine.  This Florida boy made his way to NC and isn’t looking back!


Blue Ridge Adventures Pack

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Fergus

fergusFergus started with Blue Ridge Adventures back in the summer of 2006. Now he serves mostly on security detail – no poachers on this dog’s watch. He also serves on clean up crew and is responsible for making sure that we limit our food waste. He is more than willing to assist you with cleaning your dinner plate if need be.


Paxton

paxtonOfficial greeting crew of Blue Ridge Adventures. Paxton loves people. He showed up at ORAMM back in 2007, and when all the racers left we realized he wasn’t just a racer’s dog but in fact a stray. The police said he was soon on his way to the pound, so we loaded him in the car and took him home with us. This little guy loves the bike and is definitely the fastest in our pack!


Kieron

kieronThe newest addition to the BRA pack, Kieron was found as an 8 week old puppy in the woods near our office. We found him a week before the first CYMBL race in 2012 so needless to say, he kept the CYMBL kids entertained! He’s coming into his own, finally running without tripping, and is definitely the biggest (80#) and goofiest in our group. He’s a big fan of balls, sticks and anything stinky!


Little Girl (Foxy Lady)

littleGirlLittle Girl served as co-race director with Todd for almost 14 years. She was the official eyes of the finish line, choosing to sleep right in the way and forcing dazed racers to go around her. Little Girl passed away in 2011 but her legacy lives on in the hills of Pisgah.