103 Miles | 10,850 ft (165.7 km | 3 307 M+) · 18th April
The opening stage of Haute Route Asheville circumnavigates Mt. Mitchell. After rolling out of downtown Asheville, riders will reach the first challenge about 3 miles into the stage. The climb up Elk Mountain Scenic Highway rises 1300 feet in 5 miles. The first half of the climb is steady and steep, and after a short reprieve in the middle the climb, it finishes with a stair-step series of steep pitches. World Tour pro cyclist Brent Bookwalter owns the KOM with a time of 18:36, and Nina Laughlin holds the QOM with a time of 22:32.
Following a descent and rolling roads through the valley, riders will turn right on North Fork Road in Barnardsville. After five miles of gradual climbing, riders will hit the start of the North Fork Climb, a 4.4-mile climb under dense tree cover that rises 1250 feet. The reward for reaching the summit is one of the most fun, twisty, and technical paved descents in the area. From the base of this descent riders will benefit from regrouping to share the pacemaking over the next 25 miles of flat and rolling terrain.
At Mile 63 Stage 1 will turn onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, which will take riders to the high point of the day at nearly 5700 feet above sea level (twice). As the Blue Ridge Parkway passes to the south of Mt.Mitchell, riders will tackle three climbs over the span of about 18 miles, topping out at Craggy Gardens. Once riders reach a short tunnel at Mile 84, the rest of the stage is essentially downhill back into the heart of Asheville!
The stage cols will be available soon