Heart of Gold Gravel

Heart of Gold Gravel explores remote roads north and east of Nevada City, California. The course features a mix of pavement, smooth and rough gravel roads, ripping descents and prolonged, steady climbs. You will cross the Yuba River twice, and make your way through historic parks and tiny hamlets like North Bloomfield and Washington. Topping it all off, the course features ribbons of singletrack before making your way back to Nevada City.

The route starts out with an early descent on gravel to the Yuba River.  Once you’ve reached the Yuba River at mile 6.5, you begin your first major ascent as you regain a thousand feet over the next two miles of gravel. Some relief comes in the form of a 5 mile paved section of roadway before giving way to more rugged gravel roads. At mile 15 you’ll begin a mixed terrain approach to historic Malakoff Diggins State Park. Over the next 10 miles you’ll crest the first major summit of the race around 4,000′ before making your way all the way back to the Yuba River at 2,600′, and the town of Washington.  What comes next is a 2,000′ climb on pavement to Highway 20 with some pretty epic views.  Next up is some singletrack as you make your way back to Nevada City with one more Highway 20 crossing.  There are three aid stations along the route.  The total route length 54 miles with an impressive 7,200 feet of elevation gain!

The Heart of Gold Gravel is brought to you by Bike Monkey which produces some of the best gravel and road events throughout California and Nevada.  Bike Monkey not only produces great experiences, but each event gives back to the community where the event takes place.  In the case of the The Heart of Gold,  event proceeds benefit several charitable organizations focused on youth mental wellness.

The event host, Nevada City is recognized as California’s best preserved Gold Rush town.  It’s an exuberant Victorian era city amid rivers & forest. Nestled in a basin on the Western Slope of the Sierra Nevada, it is framed and protected by ridgetops and promontories. At 2,500 feet above sea level, Nevada City is surrounded by forest. Deer Creek flows through and graces the center of town. It was voted by U.S. travel media as “Most Beautiful” and “Best River Town.”

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.

Saluda Roubaix

The Saluda Roubaix is a tough, but beautiful gravel grinder in South Carolina. Named after one of the greatest cycling races of all time, the Saluda does live up to the Roubaix name even with all of the great expectations. At 73 miles and with 2,500 feet of climbing, this is no Dirty Kanza 200. BUT, this is gravel folks and this route is very Belgium/Amstel gold style with lots of short and steep climbs scattered throughout the duration of the race. Such a rough gravel event that some riders wield a hardtail mountain bike. Saluda Roubaix is a pristine gravel event taking place in South Carolina, and if gravel is your thing, then this is an event to do 100 percent.

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

GFNY Florida Sebring

GFNY Florida (Sebring) is one of 25 GFNY (Gran Fondo New York) global series events culminating in the GFNY Championship next May in NYC. The highly scenic “old” Florida route starts in historic Downtown Sebring where this 100+ year old city was built uniquely around a circle park. The Sebring Civic Center, the host location, sits directly on beautiful Lake Jackson boasting some of the best sunsets in Florida. You will experience the “old Florida” charm as you ride through protected native Florida ‘scrub’ habitat, cattle ranches and a dairy farm. The upper loop towards Avon Park has scenic rolling hills through miles of Florida’s iconic orange groves on low-traffic and well paved roads. The Arbuckle Creek Road leg showcases thousands of acres of pristine cattle ranch land, most of which is preserved by the state of Florida under conservation easements, as well as taking riders over picturesque Arbuckle Creek itself. The Long Route riders will repeat the upper loop to Avon Park. Timing finish will be 2km from the Sebring Civic Center. The celebratory finish line will be at the Sebring Civic Center, where festivities, post-race meal and awards ceremony will be awaiting you.

GFNY Florida Sebring is a timed race. Each athlete has their own timing chip, which starts right after you cross the start line and stops when you cross the finish line. Timing results for all riders will be provided at the finish area on race day and online after the race. Only the finishers of the 132km long course are eligible for category rankings and Overall and Podium awards. If you want to race and be ranked in your category, you must complete the long course. Top 10% of finishers in each age groups qualify for the Racer Corral at every GFNY World event.

 

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.

 

 

The Assault of Mount Mitchell

The assault of Mount Mitchell is one of the toughest cycling events in America. At 102 miles and with over 11,000 feet of climbing, this is not a ride to mess around with whatsoever. This South Carolina event has been canceled for 2020 for obvious reasons but is back in May of next year, 2020. This ride is by no means for the faint of heart and training will be needed if you want to cross that line in good time. Being a well managed event there are a dozen aid stations and wonderful kits supplied by Hincapie. 11,000 feet of climbing is not for everyone whatsoever and spots are actually a little tight for the race so there is a separate, smaller version of the assault taking place on another date in which you can complete and get a spot for the true Assault. There is an article on this smaller version called the Assault of Mount Marion here. But the assault on Mount Mitchell is one of the south east and eastern seaboards top, and hardest cycling events and a journey worth making.

The Assault on Mount Marion

Linked with the Assault of Mount Mitchell is the Assault of Mount Marion. A shorter version and separate event all together from the massive Mount Mitchell event. It is still a large ride at 74 miles but has nowhere near the vertical gain of the Mount Mitchell Assault. This smaller version, if completed in proper time, gives you a slot for the Assault of Mount Mitchell. Having been canceled for 2020 and 2021, the event look for a strong return in 2022.

Hot Hundred Alabama

The Hot Hundred cycling event is labeled as “the hottest ride in the south.” Taking place annually in Tuscaloosa Alabama, the Hot hundred hosts 5 rides ranging from 30-100 miles. Founded in 2003, “Hot Hundred is Tuscaloosa’s Century Bicycle Ride” and hosts lengths at 30, 40, 50, 70, and 100 miles. A wholesome bonus to this event is that proceeds gained from Sponsorship and registration support local mental health agencies. The Hot Hundred cycling event is one of Alabama’s best, and most popular cycling events and worth a ride if you are in the south.