The Assault on Mount Mitchell is a 102.7-mile self-paced ride from downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to the summit at Mount Mitchell State Park in North Carolina—a total vertical ascent of more than 10,000 feet. The “Beast of the East” as it’s known, began in 1976 and is one of the most intense, premier cycling experiences in the country – it was picked by Strambecco as one of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southeast. The event draws a full field of nearly 850 cyclists worldwide each year and 2023 marks the 46th annual event. The scenic mountainous course crosses two states and is as challenging as it is breathtaking, but experience cyclists return yearly to best previous personal records. You can refill, refuel, and make mechanical adjustments at any of the ten rest stops along the way and there will be SAG and tech support as well. Friends and family can support along the course by finding the best cheering spots recommended by the Spectator Guide.
After completing the ride, riders will have access to food, beverages, and changing stations. Buses will be available to transport riders from the mountain to the Tom Johnson Campground, where you can enjoy post-ride festivities and explore additional transportation options to reach their final destination. Due to the nature of the race being a point A to point B and ending on a mountain top, there is an added layer of logistical planning required. The Marriott Spartanburg is the official lodging sponsor of the Assaults, however if you’re looking for a more unique experience, there are a plethora of vacation rentals both in Spartanburg and Marion.
A sister event, The Assault on Mount Marion, offers a shorter version and separates the event altogether from the massive Mount Mitchell event. Also picked as one of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southeast, it is still a large ride at 74 miles but has nowhere near the vertical gain of the Assault on Mount Mitchell. If completed in proper time, this smaller version gives you a slot for the Assault on Mount Mitchell. Both events are organized by The Freewheelers Club, and part of the proceeds support other local community service organizations.