84 Miles | 8300 ft (135km | 2529.84 M+) · 19th April
Though shorter than Stage 1 and featuring fewer total feet of climbing, Stage 2 of Haute Route Asheville is described by local pros as “a crusher” of a route. In addition to five sustained climbs, what makes this route so challenging is the endless succession of short, punchy hills.
The stage starts with a gradual and fast descent from downtown Asheville to the French Broad River. Upon crossing the river, the next 10 miles feature a gradually ascending series of punchy rolling hills until you reach the first significant climb. The climb of Newfound Gap is short, only 2.4 miles, but it climbs 700 feet onto a plateau of sorts, meaning you don’t get much of a descent on the backside.
After riding through the outskirts of Canton, riders will head up a very rural climb over Crabtree Mountain. The heart of this climb is only 1.4 miles long, but averages 11% and has pitches steeper than 15%. The descent on the backside is similarly steep, so take care!
Riders should take advantage of the flat roads through Crabtree, because they’ll be either climbing or descending for the next 25 miles. Following a climb and descent to Fines Creek, riders will reach the two longest climbs of the stage. The first is Betsy’s Gap, a 3.8-mile climb under shady trees that rises 1240 feet. This is followed by a fast and not-so-technical 6-mile descent to the Trust General Store, a frequently visited water stop for local cyclists. Immediately after passing the Trust General Store, riders will tackle the longest climb of the stage, the 5-mile ascent of Doggett Mountain.
Following the twisting descent off Doggett Mountain, there’s about 5 more miles of gradual descending before riders hit a 13-mile stretch of short and punchy hills. Retired local pro and 2x US Pro National Champion, Matthew Busche, warns, “With short, punchy climbs it’s not the first or second that gets you. It’s the fifth, sixth, and so on. Be careful not to give everything on the early hills and have nothing left for later on.”
Once riders reach the French Broad River, the next 9 miles follow the path of the river before turning up a very gradual climb to the finish Start/Finish in downtown Asheville.
The stage cols will be available soon