GFNS Boone Gran Fondo Timed Sections Revealed
The course starts and ends in the cool college town of Boone nestled in the Western Carolina Appalachian Mountains. The scenery is unparalleled with grand vistas sometimes stretching 100 miles.
Don't miss out on your chance to ride 100, 55, or 20 miles on Sunday, August 5 in the cool mountain air around Boone, NC. There's also an optional time trial on Saturday, August 4.
Come for the ride, stay for the prizes (and beer!). Thanks to our great partners, all riders have a chance to win great prizes after the ride. We'll be raffling off a Litespeed titanium frame, a set of Cane Creek eeBrakes, a bike rack from Sea Sucker, a stay at the Garda Bike Hotel in Italy, and much more! You must be present to win, so stay and enjoy great food and cold beer and pick up a great prize!
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 Boone Gran Fondo rolls through Appalachian State University and, after just a few turns, climbs beside picturesque Winklers Creek during the first timed section.
Race the timed sections and then sit up and swap stories with your friends! The standings at the end of the day are based only on your times through the timed sections. You can regroup and ride with friends, stop at aid stations, and enjoy the scenery between sections.
Each rider is provided 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. Best Combined Time Wins. Custom “Race Winner” jerseys for all Gran Route age group winners with Cash Purse and Prizes for Gran Route winners. Awards and Prizes for Medio and Piccolo winners and no racing license required to take part.
The climb starts just 2 miles out of Boone, enough time to warm your legs up. The climb is 3.8 miles long with 650 feet of climbing at an average gradient of 3% with no more than 10% in places.
After a short downhill and a climb up the gorgeous Shull’s Mill road, the course passes the Blue Ridge Parkway and turns onto Hwy 221. This section of road was hand built in the 1890’s across Grandfather Mountain and served as the Blue Ridge Parkway until the 1980’s. This second timed section is like a paved roller coaster.
Blue Ridge Parkway
The climb starts after 15 miles after riders have entered Grandfather Mountain State Park. The climb is 7.5 miles long with 340 feet of climbing at an average of 1%.
After passing the Grandfather Park entrance, the downhill into Linville is a local favorite stretch of road. The route passes through the Avery County seat, the town of Newland. The back roads of Cow Camp and Squirrel Creek lead to the North Toe River Valley. Here, riders enjoy a few tranquil moments in the valley before the ascent, and third timed section, on the back of Beech Mountain.
The climb kicks in after 48 miles after the Cranberry Gap at Heaton. It's 5.4 miles with 970 ft of climbing at an average gradient of 3%. There is a short section of gradient at 13% near the top.
Another nice downhill waits on the other side. The beautiful Bethel Valley brings riders to a climb to the Tennessee State Line to end the fourth timed section.
The final climb for thos doing the Gran Fondo is after 67 miles at Sweetwater. Its 5.5 miles with 972 ft of climbing at an average gradient of 3%, very similar to Beech Mountain.
From here, the route cruises on a very long gradual downhill grade through the valley and communities of Sugar Grove and Valle Crucis before it takes a climb up Laurel Fork and White Oak roads back to the town of Boone.
Be sure to plan to stick around for beers, food and music at the finish line.
The Gran Fondo is 100 miles, the Medio 55 miles and the Piccolo 20 miles - to suit all abilities. The Gran Fondo includes the 4 climbs mentioned, whilst the Medio includes 2 climbs, that of Winklers Creek and Blue Ridge Parkway. The Piccolo includes the 1 climb of Winklers Creek.
There are fully stocked feed stations on all routes to keep you fed and hydrated, *complimentary event T-shirt, Goody Bag, Event Water bottle and other various swag items, a finishers Medal for completing the Gran Fondo route, awards for age placement, a raffle and of course the chance to win cash and prizes for placement in the overall timed climbs.
Registration is open - but with only a month to go you'll need to hurry to secure a place on this epic challenge across western Carolina's Appalachian Mountains!
Boone Gran Fondo Apparel is available for purchase here https://bit.ly/2EXLW2v