From the coast to the Piedmont to the mountains, SportsNC members are hosting a bicycle event nearly every weekend. North Carolina is a leader in cycling as sport and recreation.
North Carolina’s commitment to cycling events began long before the 1999 inaugural Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Tour. The annual fall event has attracted participants from 50 states and eight foreign countries. Participants have passed through 700 communities and overnighted in more than 100 towns. A 7-day ride traveling along the scenic backroads showcases the state’s dining, shopping and entertainment options, from the mountains to the coast.
In 2004, Cycle North Carolina introduced Coastal Ride. This 3-day weekend spring event offers loop rides from one central spot. You can count on 2,000 riders from almost 40 states participating. It’s a fun-filled family weekend, on and off the bike. Flat roads and minimal traffic allow riders to fully enjoy the sites and sounds of the coastal communities. A variety of routes ranging from five to 100 miles are offered, with each ride returning to the base campsite.
Cycle North Carolina launched the Mountain Ride in 2013, a 2-day weekend event. Like the Coastal Ride, cyclists will have loop rides, returning to home base at the end of the day. This is a great weekend for the outdoor enthusiast, with the beautiful landscapes of Western North Carolina on full display. The routes will vary from 15 to 70 miles before returning to the central campsite. Details are available on each of the fully supported Cycle North Carolina events at ncsports.org.
Asheville was awarded the 2019 Gran Fondo National Championship and will host the event again in 2020. The 100-mile Gran Route during the championship event is the main draw, though riders can also compete in the 60-mile Medio Route or the 30-mile Piccolo Route. This timed segment racing event features four timed sections in the Gran Route. The event is not to see who finishes first, since the winner will have the best-combined time.
Gears and Guitars rolled its cavalcade of amateur and pro cycling events into Bailey Park in Winston-Salem in 2019, where the party didn’t stop once the sun went down. The event brought a number of local and national music acts to the stage, headlined by Stone Temple Pilots, Drive-By Truckers and Trampled by Turtles. Top cyclists and prestigious teams from around the globe are drawn to a challenging road race course, which winds through downtown Winston-Salem as well as through its historical neighborhoods. The “Biggest Party on Two Wheels” will return to Camel City for its fifth-straight year over Memorial Day Weekend in 2020.
North Carolina certainly has a place among the best for paved road rides, but the state’s reputation as a leading mountain bike destination is also secure. Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Tsali Recreation Area, the Kerr Scott Trails and others are hosting events from early spring through late fall. The scenery is stunning, while the rides are testing.
The Pisgah Stage Race is a five-day, fully supported endurance event. The 12th annual event headquartered in Brevard is scheduled for April 13-18, 2020. Some of the best single track and most rugged trails in the country are to be found on the five marked courses. Discover the beauty of Pisgah National Forest in all its spring glory.
The Off-Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell (ORAMM) is a 60-mile, mainly off-road bike race with more than 10,000 feet of climbing. You’ll ride mostly on Forest Service roads uphill and some of North Carolina’s best single track on the downhill ride. The course is demanding and difficult, and it’s not uncommon to see wildlife. The 21st Annual ORAMM will be held on a Saturday in late July of 2020.
In the fall of 2018 at the 3rd Annual BikeFest, the Gaston County Parks and Recreation department cut the ribbon on a new addition to its more than 10 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails. The new 10,000-square-foot pump track is a great recreational addition for Gaston County residents. On the competition stage plans are for Gaston to become a qualifying site for the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship.
Officially opened in May of 2014, the Daniel Dhers Sports Complex is one of the largest family-oriented, year-round skating and biking training facilities in the country. Action sports athletes from the U.S.A., Latin America and Europe have used the facility and shared their expertise with recreational riders. The Outdoor Park features a technical section with a pump track, jump line and four-foot quarter roll. The Indoor Park riding terrain has a resi box jump, foam pit, resi quarter, resi spine and a mini ramp.
Raleigh’s Capital City BMX begins a full schedule of racing and practice times beginning in January/February and continuing until mid-December. Burlington BMX host volunteer-run BMX off-road single lap races, sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association. Hornet’s Nest BMX in Charlotte brings 37-years of industry experience to the dozens of events they’ve hosted. Tanglewood BMX in Clemmons rounds out an impressive list of BMX sites.
Asheville’s Carrier Park Velodrome (Mellowdrome) completed extensive renovations and reopened in the spring of 2018. The project included re-grading and resurfacing the track surface, the installation of new lighting, new fencing, repair, the cleanup of the outer wall and guardrail and improved drainage.
We’ve gone from paved highways to Forest Service roads to single tracks to pump tracks to BMX to a Mellowdrome surfaces in small towns and big cities. The only North Carolina surface that wasn’t covered is sand, and you’ll find plenty of that at Wrightsville Beach.
The North Carolina beach community will be the host for the 6th Annual U.S. Open Beach Fat Bike Championships on March 28, 2020. More than 100 participants joined the event in 2019. When bikes with more than four-inch tires came on the scene, it didn’t take much time for athletes to develop a completion. The course has elements such as tight turns and flat sections for speed at low tide and truck tire grooves in the sand. Registration for the 2020 event is available at fatcross.com. If you’re a rights holder or event planner looking for a great cycling site, begin your research at Sportsnc.com