Underexposed featuring Brice Shirbach
Underexposed is a self-filmed and produced series by Pivot Cycles athlete Brice Shirbach dedicated to showcasing trail advocacy and stewardship while exploring a variety of trails in places that may be unfamiliar to many.
We spend a lot of time praising professional mountain bike athletes and trail builders for what they do, and for the record I’m all for it. While advocacy and volunteerism might lack the sex appeal of other dynamics in mountain biking, the reality is that our sport’s unsung heroes are the ones attending board meetings, and filling out 501c3 forms, and are often the ones answering to the questions and demands of various other trail user groups. Join Brice as he explores the personal motivations behind the effort that goes into mountain bike advocacy while sampling the trails they work so hard for.
Gunnison is situated along the floor of its eponymous valley, surrounded on all sides by a much less dramatic compared to its well-to-do resort neighbor 40 minutes to the north, but still quite eye-catching high desert landscape. It serves as the seat and most populous community of Gunnison County, and is really the gateway for adventure in the southwestern slope of the state. Still, for years it has lacked the same level of recognition and reverence compared to scores of other western slope communities, including Crested Butte, Durango, Fruita, Telluride, and more. Hopefully that notion will soon be a thing of the past.
Big Bear Lake, WV
The first thing that stands out about Big Bear is the obvious beauty of the Allegheny Front of the Appalachian Mountains. The dense forests that cover the archaic ridges and valleys along the western edge of West Virginia’s panhandle cast a hazy blue hue upon the landscape, interrupted only by the warm glow from the sun whenever it nears the horizon. Sunrises will take your breath away, and sunsets will set your soul on fire. It’s almost heaven, after all.
Pocahontas County, WV
As you’re driving across county lines into Pocahontas County, one thing becomes very clear: locals are hoping you’re here to play in the mountains. I mean, it literally says pretty much exactly that on an actual welcome sign. There’s a lot of open space here and not a lot of people, so the opportunities are damn near endless, particularly if you’re here to ride trails. Throughout the county you’ll find a number of epic opportunities to go up and down some of the state’s most beautiful landscapes, which include the largest forest service owned wilderness east of the Mississippi, a world class bikepark, and its adjacent backcountry.
My first visit to the Warfield Trails of Charlemont came on the heels of a quick trip to Vermont. My good friend and photographer extraordinaire, Katie Lozancich, was keen to show me some of the trails available on the other side of the Deerfield River opposite Thunder Mountain Bike Park. Thunder has long been recognized as one of the more progressive and complete bike parks in all of North America, with its intoxicating mix of natural tech and pristine flow, as well as some of the largest freeride bike park features outside of British Columbia. It’s a destination through and through, and has cast quite a large shadow across the rest of the Charlemont and the Berkshire Mountains of Western Mass, so when Katie suggested I stop by on my way home from Vermont, I was incredibly curious about what I’d find across from the esteemed mountain playground.