Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Asheville

Brought to you by Monuments of Cycling,  the same organizers as the iconic Belgium Waffle Ride San Diego, Asheville BWR debuted in 2020 in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains. If you aren’t familiar with the BWR format, it is modeled after the great one day European classics. The Asheville Waffle route is 140+ miles and 10,000+ feet in elevation gain. In true BWR fashion the route features 20 unpaved sections with a variety of surfaces from hard-packed and flat to loose, rocky, uphill and downhill gravel.

For those looking for a route a little less challenging, there will be “Wafer” route running 90 miles and 8,300 ft of elevation gain. Entry fee’s for individual run $225 for the Waffle and $200 for the Wafer. College students get special discounts. There is also a VIP Dinner Experience which includes VIP packet pick up, dinner, drinks, the exclusive course reveal, and co-mingling with pros, sponsors, and other cycling dignitaries.

The routes will start and finish on the grounds of host Sierra Nevada Brewing Company which will include an Expo where attendees can peruse a wide range of offerings from event sponsors and vendors.   Racers and event patrons will be treated to Belgian waffles, Sierra Nevada beer, and a selection of delightful Sierra Nevada taproom menu items provided by their incredible catering team.

BWR Asheville is part of a series which kicks off every year with BWR San Diego in July, followed by BWR Asheville (North Carolina) in August, BWR Cedar City (Utah) in September, and culminating with the inaugural BWR Kansas in October.

If you aren’t familiar with Asheville and the surrounding region, there is a lot to keep you occupied on/off the bike:

Microbreweries – The Asheville region hosts one of the highest concentrations in the nation!

Blue Ridge Parkway – 469miles long without a stop sign or light, is at the backdoor of Sierra Nevada! Called America’s Favorite Drive –a ribbon of road that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions including Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music. A must see and ride experience! 

Pisgah National Forest – originally part of the 87,000 acre Biltmore Estate, now over 500,000 acres, includes 5 peaks over 6000 feet in elevation.

Mt Mitchell– accessed off the Parkway, Mt Mitchell is the highest point east of the Mississippi river and you can ride your bike to the peak at 6683ft!

Biltmore Estate– largest privately-owned home/mansion in the USA and has rich ties to the region.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very close- one of few free National Parks in the USA among just being awesome

DuPont State Forest– used to be home to DuPont chemicals. Now a huge state forest with hundreds of miles of multi-use trails. Also Last of the Mohicans and the first Hunger Games movies were filmed there. 

French Broad River– 218 miles in length, passes by the grounds of Sierra Nevada where the BWR race course passes over it on its way through the city of Asheville on route to Tennessee.  The French Broad River State Trail follows the river for 117 miles.

Gran Fondo Asheville

This 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. The event is particularly 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 who 30 minutes prior to the Gran Fondo Asheville riders.

GFNS has been producing premier one day events since 2012 and currently hosts 8 national events including the official USA Cycling Gran Fondo Championship.  What’s unique about GFNS events is that they offer a mix of personal challenge and serious competition on roads with challenging climbs and incredible scenery.  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 of the course.  There is not start to finish as in traditional racing formats, but rather timed sections count towards a rider’s competition time.

This Gran Fondo 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 decent to finish at Wicked Weed Brewing’s Funkatorium, in downtown Asheville. The Gran route is 98 miles with 8,800 feet of elevation gain.

There is also a Medio route available at 61 miles with 4,900 feet of elevation gain, and a Piccolo route at 29 miles and 1,900 feet of eleveation gain.

Even with Gran course riders competing for the Gran Fondo National Championship, the timed segment format gives everyone the opportunity 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 most festive, supportive, and fun events of the whole season.

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.

Gran Fondo Boone

In mid-summer, the High Country of North Carolina enjoys 80-degree temperatures while the surrounding East Coast temperatures hover in the high 90s. Early August is a prime time to be in Boone! The rural roller-coaster roads around Boone are a ton of fun, and quite challenging. The climbs aren’t very long, but that means there’s not a lot of time for recovery on the descents, either. This is a great course for all-around riders.

GF Boone is one of 4 events designated Super Gran by the Gran Fondo National Series. There are 3 route options: The Gran at 98 miles and +8400 elevation gain; The Medio at 54 miles and +5200 elevation gain; The Piccolo at 25 miles and +2200 elevation gain.

The laid back atmosphere of this western North Carolina college town is contagious. One of the smaller fields for a Gran Fondo National Series event, the Boone Gran Fondo has a supportive, family feel, particularly when we all gather for great local food, cold beer, and fantastic raffle prizes after a challenging and competitive ride.

Gran Fondo Boone is a Gran Fondo National Series event. The series was established in 2012 and is comprised of eight European-style ride/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 segments of the course, 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

Blue Ridge Brutal

The Blue Ride Brutal is an epic ride taking place in North Carolina annually for over 30 years.  There are three route options spanning 102 (8500 ft elevation gain), 75 (6000 ft elevation gain), or 57 miles (4700 feet elevation gain).  The pain of all the hills is offset by the beautiful scenery of North Carolina and long stretches on the spine of the famed Blue Ridge Parkway.   There is also a supplementary challenge named the Assault on Mount Jefferson which is limited to 80 riders but entails a 3.4 mile hill climb at category two with just under 1,500 feet of climbing! The Blue Ridge Brutal has lived up to its name for years and will be back in 2021 for everybody who wants their legs to suffer. Being one of the top events in Mid Atlantic and North Carolina, this is not a cycling event to miss!

The event is organized by the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, with proceeds from the Blue Ridge Brutal going towards the Ashe Advantage Project, a scholarship program for ACHS seniors.

West Jefferson is a small town that is quintessential American.  The town, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.  It offers a beautiful landscape and cool mountain breezes while providing visitors a sense of history mixed with a mix of modern culture.