Perfect start conditions awaited Haute Route Asheville athletes for today’s Stage 3 time trial up Town Mountain. With temperatures in the mid 60s and virtually no wind, times were bound to be quick on the 5.6-mile hill climb.
You’re all by yourself during a race against the clock, and the thick fog on Town Mountain added to that sensation. In some cases riders could only see and chase the blinking red lights on the backs of competitors who started before them. Fortunately, thanks to the great support from local police, volunteers, and motos, riders were well protected in the fog.
Stage winner and Overall Haute Route Asheville Champion, Corey Davis, smashed the speed record on the climb, setting a time of 18:12.04 for the 5.6-mile time trial. UCI ProTour rider Brent Bookwalter of Team BMC held the Strava KOM for Town Mountain in 18:50. Corey beat that by 53 seconds to set the new KOM at 17:57!
“I’m really happy to win Haute Route Asheville. It’s a great event, really competitive and really friendly at the same time, which is a rare combination,” said Davis. “And it was great to see so many riders of all abilities out there. These courses are tough, no matter who you are. I’m thrilled for the riders who dug really deep here. Being an Haute Route Asheville finisher is an accomplishment to be proud of.”
Back at the Renaissance Hotel for the Closing Ceremony, riders shared stories and swapped contact information with new friends made during the weekend, many already planning to meet again at their next Haute Route event.
“I would ideally like to do one in Europe because that seems super fun and beautiful,” said first-time Haute Route finisher Emily Joyner. “I felt like I was really taken care of. I’ve never really done a long ride like this before, especially in the mountains, and I think it made me comfortable to give it a try, because there was so much support. I don’t feel like I could go to Europe and do any of those on my own. So, doing something with an organization like Haute Route would help me have the confidence to grow as a cyclist.”
“This isn’t like pro cycling, this is better!” said Rouge Kristy Keeley, the pro cyclist who rode at the back of the pack as Lantern Rouge to pace and encourage riders.
Next up on the Haute Route North America calendar, riders will gather in Boulder, Colorado, for the start of the 2018 Haute Route Rockies. During the 7-day event, June 23-29, riders will ride 520 miles with 54,511 feet of climbing! The final stage of Haute Route Rockies features a first-ever opportunity to ride a private road on the slopes of Pikes Peak before reaching the Pikes Peak Highway at the traditional start line of the iconic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. The 12.4-mile climb ascends 4720 feet to reach the summit at 14,110 feet above sea level, the highest point ever reached in an Haute Route event. As riders experienced in Asheville, Haute Route Rockies riders will have comprehensive support – on and off the bike – to help them achieve the bragging rights that come along with an Haute Route Rockies finish.