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, the event 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.
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.
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. The area also hosts another popular cycling event each year in June, the Belgian Waffle Ride North Carolina (BWR NC), a gravel cycling event produced by Monuments of Cycling.
The Gran Fondo National Series was established in 2012 and comprised 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 terrains 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 2023 USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship event will be held at Gran Fondo Maryland in Frederick, Maryland, on September 17.
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; Tour of Georgia Gran Fondo; Highlands Gran Fondo; Gran Fondo Asheville; Boone Gran Fondo; Golden Gran Fondo; Gran Fondo Maryland. Partner events include Cheaha Challenge; Vermont Gran Fondo; Utah-Cache Gran Fondo; Virginia’s Blue Ridge Gran Fondo; 719 Ride; Mt Evans Hill Climb Gran Fondo.