Beautiful weather awaited hundreds of cyclists today as they arrived in Asheville, North Carolina for the inaugural Haute Route Asheville. The second event of the 2018 Haute Route North America calendar, this 3-day cycling experience takes riders over nearly 200 miles of scenic and challenging mountain roads and up more than 20,000 feet of climbing.
“We had to bring Haute Route to Asheville,” commented Alain Lambert, Chairman of Haute Route North America. “The roads and mountains are both challenging and stunningly scenic, and the restaurants, galleries, and culture of downtown Asheville make it great destination for riders and their families.”
Riders were both excited and a bit nervous as they gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in the heart of downtown Asheville to pick up their bib numbers, custom jerseys, and rider backpacks.
In the early evening, the entire Haute Route Asheville peloton gathered at the Renaissance to kick off the event with the first Rider Briefing. Technical Director Todd Hageman took riders through a detailed review of the climbs and timed segments for Stage 1, while the Haute Route team made sure everyone was up to speed on the feed zones, mechanical support, post-stage massage schedule, meals, and more.
On Friday, Stage 1 takes riders on a 103-mile loop that starts with a timed climb up Elk Mountain just a few miles from the starting line. In total, 63 miles of the course are timed, and the standings after Stage 1 will be determined by the lowest accumulated time through four timed segments. The highlight of the day will likely be the 33-mile section on the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, which features more than 3,000 feet of climbing and unrivaled views of the surrounding mountains.