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.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.
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. 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.
There will be 4 aid stations along the Gran Route, 2 on the Medio Route, and 1 on the Piccolo Route; (located about every 25 miles). Each aid station will be fully stocked with Water, Heed Energy drink mix, Hammer Gel, Endurolyte Fizz, Bananas, PB&J Sandwiches, Cookies & Chips.
Custom “Race Winner” jerseys for all Gran Route age group winners
Cash Purse and Prizes for Gran Route winners
Awards and Prizes for Medio and Piccolo winners