The increasingly popular sport of gran fondo cycling is attracting riders to North Carolina’s western mountains for two major competitions in 2016, Gran Fondo Asheville on June 18th, and Boone Gran Fondo on August 7th . Both events are part of the 2016 Giordana Gran Fondo National Championship Series (GFNCS), an eight-race circuit staged along the eastern seaboard and in Colorado and California. A gran fondo is a European-style cycling challenge that takes bicycle racing to the next level through a hybrid of competitive road racing and casual century rides designed for cyclists of every skill level.
In just its fourth year, the Boone Gran Fondo has already been named one of the 11 Best Gran Fondos in America by Men’s Journal magazine. The Boone Gran Fondo traverses North Carolina’s High Country with courses covering 20-, 55- and 100-mile journeys through the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain roads of Watauga, Caldwell and Avery counties. The 2016 event features four timed sections, prizes for overall mileage and age group winners, as well as fully stocked aid stations along the route, and post-race food and beverages. No racing license is required (and all riders are welcome). A portion of the registration fee will be donated to fund activities for Boone’s Western Youth Network.
“With temperatures in the low 80s, early August is an ideal time to visit Boone,” said Reuben Kline, founder and president of the Gran Fondo National Championship Series®. “Casual and competitive cyclists will find just what they are looking for in our three courses. It is this combination of stunning mountain scenery and ideal climate that led Men’s Journal to name the Boone event one of the best in the United States.”
The Boone Gran Fondo will start and finish by the Capua Law Firm at 164 Depot Street, Boone. There is a 500-person field limit to ensure safe riding conditions for all participants. Registration is available online now or in person on Saturday August 6 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm at Lost Province Brewing Company, 130 N. Depot Street, and at the race site on Sunday August 7 from 5:45 am to 7:15 am. The race begins at 8:00 am on Sunday August 7.
Gran Fondo Asheville, now in its third year in the Land of the Sky. Benefitting Friends of the Smokies, the Gran Fondo Asheville offers 30-, 60-, and 100-mile routes for riders of all skill levels. The Gran Route will have four timed sections and the riders with the best combined time in each age group will earn a custom “Race Winner” jerseys. There are also cash purse and prizes for Gran Route winners and prizes for Medio and Piccolo winners. The field is limited to 500 riders and no racing license required.
Gran Fondo Asheville starts in Downtown Asheville and winds its way into pastoral countryside and up to stunning mountain ridge vistas. Cyclists will take in the beautiful views and descend back into the heart of downtown to the finish line to enjoy music, vendors, massage therapists, kids zone, and of course food and beer! Registration is available online or in person on Spruce from 5:45 am to 7:15 am on Saturday June 18th.