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 in that it doubles as both a traditional Gran Fondo and the USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship. To compete in the National Championship category, riders must qualify; however, all normal Gran Fondo Asheville routes are open to all riders to register and do not require qualification. There is a separate start time for USA Cycling Gran Fondo National Championship participants 30 minutes before the Gran Fondo Asheville riders.
The Gran Fondo Asheville course 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.
There is much to experience in Asheville, Lonely Planet’s top U.S. travel destination, in 2017. Asheville’s 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.
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.
The GFNS event series was established in 2012 and comprises 12 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 best time through highlighted sections.
For the most dedicated athletes who participate in at least three events, GFNS offers the chance to win a National series championship based on your performance in the cumulative events. The competition spans all rider categories. GFNS events: