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Cyclists Race in Asheville to Benefit Friends of the Smokies

Cyclists Race in Asheville to Benefit Friends of the Smokies

Cyclists will take in the natural beauty of Western North Carolina as they cruise along a well-marked course, with the option to push themselves for short timed sections, competing to win in the Gran Fondo Asheville.

Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with Friends of the Smokies and ride in the 3rd annual Gran Fondo Asheville presented by Duke Energy and BorgWarner on Saturday, June 18, 2016.

The ride begins downtown and quickly transitions to winding roads in pastoral countryside and up to mountain ridge vistas. Beginners and avid cyclists alike will find challenging rides to meet their individual goals. Gran Fondo Asheville is a part of the Gran Fondo National Championship Series (GFNCS) and benefits Friends of the Smokies.

The ride is designed for cyclists at varying skill levels with courses covering 30, 60 and 100-mile journeys.

“Cycling in these mountains is challenging but rewarding,” said Reuben Kline GFNCS President. “In true Gran Fondo style, we have created a festive atmosphere along the route and at the finish.”

At the end of the ride cyclists will descend into the heart of Asheville where they will be afforded a spectacular cityscape view and greeted by friends, volunteers and families at Twisted Laurel restaurant where riders can enjoy the festive atmosphere including, vendors, massage therapists, food and beer.

“Last year’s ride was exhilarating with beautiful views throughout the whole course. I enjoyed riding down into the city and being welcomed by friends and family at the finish line. The best part is supporting a great organization like Friends of the Smokies,”said board director and Gran Fondo Asheville participant Meridith Powell. Proceeds from the event benefit Friends of the Smokies, a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Gran Fondo Asheville features four timed sections, mechanic support, fully stocked aid stations along the route, food and beverage at the finish, a cash purse, and prizes for overall and age group winners.

There is a 500-person field limit to ensure safe riding conditions for all participants. Register at

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