Gran Fondo Asheville is a special Gran Fondo National Series event on many levels, starting with the chance to see the alluring Asheville downtown and surrounding countryside from the perspective of your handlebars. Picked as one of our best road cycling events in the Southeast, Gran Fondo Asheville is unique with a course that starts with very short, punchy climbs, features long stretches of quiet, narrow, and winding country roads, and finishes with a classic climb up Elk Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway and a descent to finish at Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium, in downtown Asheville.
Gran Fondo Asheville takes place the same weekend as the third annual ASHEVILLE BIKE FEST, presented by Cane Creek Cycling Components in support of Asheville on Bikes. The Festival returns to Asheville on Friday and Saturday (July 12 & 13), with Gran Fondo Asheville rolling out on Sunday, July 14, hosted at Rabbit Rabbit (75 Coxe Ave, Asheville, NC 28801) in the heart of downtown Asheville. GFNS's local charity partner, Asheville on Bikes, produces Bike Fest.
VIP Experience: Ride with Italian Champion Filippo Pozzato
Former professional cycling Filippo "Pippo" Pozzatto will ride the 2024 Gran Fondo Asheville and participate in VIP Experiences at event sponsor Applewood Manor during the weekend of the event. Winner of Milan-San Remo, stages of three Grand Tours, and the Italian Pro National Championship, Pozzato connection results from a partnership between the Gran Fondo National Series and the Italian Cycling Tour Company, Andiamo Cycling. VIP Experience Riders will enjoy
- VIP Dinner at Applewood Manor on Friday, July 14: Hosted by Stephen Collins, owner of
Applewood Manor, guests will enjoy a gourmet meal and wine pairings from the
Manor’s extensive wine collection.
- VIP Packet Pickup and Cookout at Applewood Manor on Saturday, July 15: Enjoy an
evening on the grounds of Applewood Manor with special guests.
- Guided and Supported Recon Ride on Saturday, July 15: Join Filippo Pozzato, Davide
Magon, and special guests.
Registration is open to the VIP Experience.
Gran Fondo National Series
Gran Fondo Asheville is the second leg in the prestigious Gran Fondo National Series, established in 2012 and comprising 10+ European-style rides/races staged in the United States. Every GFNS event offers courses covering 30, 60, and 100-mile journeys through some of the most beautiful and challenging terrain in endurance sports. Timed sections allow riders to compete in specific course segments, while casual cyclists can ride at their own pace. Participants can ride as individuals or on teams. GFNS awards special prizes to the top riders in every age and gender category. Each rider is assigned an electronic timing chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for the best time through highlighted sections.
For the most competitive cyclists, the series partnered with USA Cycling to bring the one-day Gran Fondo National Championship into the portfolio of official USA Cycling National Championship events. The event is held annually, and a national championship jersey and medal are awarded to the overall winner in each Gran Route age group category. The USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship event will be held at Gran Fondo, Maryland, in Frederick, Maryland, on September 15, 2024.
To compete in the National Championship category, riders must qualify by meeting specific criteria, including results and rankings in Qualification Events. However, all riders are welcome to participate in Gran Fondo Maryland and ride any of the normal Maryland Gran Fondo routes (Gran, Medio, and Piccolo), regardless of qualification status.
GFNS-owned events include Gran Fondo Florida (Dade City FL - March 17), Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo (Helen GA, April 21), Highlands Gran Fondo (Butler NJ - June 2), Gran Fondo Asheville (Asheville NC - July 14), Boone Gran Fondo (Boone NC - Aug 4), and Gran Fondo Maryland (Frederick MD, Sept 15). Gran Fondo Maryland doubles as the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship. Partner events include Cheaha Challenge (Jacksonville AL - May 18-19), Vermont Gran Fondo (Bristol VT - June 29), Cache Gran Fondo (Logan UT - July 13), Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb - Gran Fondo (Idaho Springs, CO - July 20), 719 Ride (Colorado Springs - July 20), and Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo (Fincastle, VA - Oct 13). All GFNS races consistently rate among the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southeast, New England, Rockies / Colorado, and Southwest / California.
Race GFNS E-Fondo's On Zwift
If you are looking for virtual races/events to kick off your 2024 season indoors, GFNS has produced the first eSports cycling competition to feature timed segments; the series leverages Zwift’s proven e-sports platform to recreate SUAREZ Gran Fondo National Series’ timed-segment competition format in a virtual environment. There are eight events running on consecutive weekends in January and February. The events are free to participate and offer the chance to qualify for the Gran Fondo National Championship. You can see the full line-up and get all the relevant details here.
Event & Course Info
Your ride begins in downtown Asheville at Rabbit Rabbit, rolls out of downtown, and quickly moves along well-marked winding roads out into the pastoral countryside and up to mountain ridge vistas. At the end of the ride, you’ll enjoy a thrilling descent from the Blue Ridge Parkway into the heart of town. The Gran route is 98 miles with +8800 feet of elevation gain. There is also a Medio route, 61 miles with +4900 feet of elevation gain, and a Piccolo route at 29 miles and +1900 feet of elevation gain. Even with Gran course riders competing for the Gran Fondo National Championship, the timed segment format allows everyone to socialize between segments. With the start/finish and post-ride party hosted at the Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium, this is one of the season's most festive, supportive, and fun events. Be sure to check out the official 2023 Rider Roadbook for all of the nitty-gritty details of what to expect.
Timed sections allow riders to compete in specific course segments, while casual cyclists can ride at their own pace. Participants can ride as individuals or on teams. Gran Fondo Asheville awards special prizes to the top riders in every age and gender category. Each rider is assigned an electronic timing chip to keep track of their progress throughout the course and to allow riders to compete for the best time through highlighted sections.
The event features timed-segment racing, where only specific segments of the race are timed, and your placement depends on your performance in these segments. The top 3 finishers in various categories will be celebrated and awarded, with Gran Route age group winners receiving custom kits from Suarez. New for 2024, you'll receive an event-specific custom jersey from SUAREZ Cycling Apparel when you register at least 26 days before a Gran Fondo National Series-owned event! There will be event-specific jerseys for Gran Fondo Florida, Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo, Highlands Gran Fondo, Gran Fondo Asheville, Boone Gran Fondo, and Gran Fondo Maryland. After the ride, participants can enjoy food and local libations and hang out for the GFNS prize raffle, offering over $5000 in prizes from series sponsors. Any rider who completes a GFNS event and is present at the event will be eligible for a raffle with great prizes from the sponsors:
- Stay at Garda Bike Hotel in Italy
- Wahoo ELEMNT GPS Computer
- Wahoo KICKR smart trainer (model TBD)
- Lazer helmet
- Industry Nine hubset
- Cane Creek components
- Swiftwick socks
- Bike Flights travel voucher
- Shimano products
- CTS Trainright Membership
- Jittery Joe’s Coffee
- UNDRBUDR anti-chafe cream
- Ride with GPS Premium Membership
Asheville Area Accommodations & Things To Do
There is much to experience in Asheville, Lonely Planet’s top U.S. travel destination in 2017. Its vibrant downtown is a hub for artists, musicians, renowned chefs, craft brewers, and distillers. The area also features the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, Biltmore Estate, and outdoor opportunities like hiking on the Appalachian Trail and water sports on the French Broad River. If you are looking for an exceptional B&B experience to fill out the event weekend, look no further than the Applewood Manor, which is one of the longest-operating bed-and-breakfast-style hotels in Asheville. Applewood is particularly unique in catering to cyclists, including a full range of services: ride planning, on-ride guides, ride support including follow vehicles, coaching, mechanic services and bike assembly/break-down, logo cycling clothing, sports nutrition, and world-class rental bikes. Applewood Cycling Experiences offers a full range of events and trips throughout the year.
You can see Strambecco's guide to Asheville for endurance sports athletes and enthusiasts here.