The Hardest Hill Climbs in the South
Pirate Race Productions, Beyond Category Cycling studio in
Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Mountain Club present the third annual Hardest Hill Climbs in
The challenges hit the High Country Aug. 11.
The Bicycle Hill Climb is a Category One, ascending 3,200 feet in 9.25 miles on a wide, smooth and closed road. This year, the race starts at 10 a.m.
Blowing Rock’s Beyond Category Cycling will have a selection of its tour stage winning bikes from Pinarello, Focus and Scott available for cyclists to demo, so they can enjoy climbing on the same bikes ridden by the pros at the Tour de France.
“Last year was the first time we offered the 3.7 Mile Run Hill Climb, and we had an incredible response,” Pirate Race Productions’ Andrew Stackhouse said. “Folks loved the incredible views, warm hospitality of the Blue Ridge Mountain Club and a course that vies with The Bear as the most challenging hill climb around.”
The run kicks off at high noon, “but with a course that stretches from 2,900 feet to more than 4,000 feet in elevation, temperatures will still be pleasant,” Stackhouse said.
This year, participants will have the option to double up and do both of the Hardest Hill Climbs in the South.
Cyclists can sign up for the 9.25 Mile Bike Hill Climb at 10 a.m., and then compete in the 3.7 Mile Run from the Watson Gap Pavilion back to the top at noon.
According to Stackhouse, the best combined uphill time wins (no downhill racing). “Of course, if you just want to compete in the Bike or the Run, you can do that, too,” he said.
Registration for each — and both — is now open at SportOften.com.
The Ascent remains one of the only hill climbs where folks can park and watch from anywhere on the course, Stackhouse said, and cyclists are allowed to ride down the hill. However, this year, there will also be a shuttle bus to simplify life for spectators and runners who don’t have a lift from the finish.
After racing, folks can enjoy a post-race party, hosted by Blowing Rock Brewing Company. The Blue Ridge Mountain Club will serve up barbecue at the Watson Gap Pavilion, and there will be plenty of Blowing Rock Ale fresh from the new Blowing Rock Ale House to help attendees “rehydrate,” Stackhouse said.
For more information and updates, including training tips, visit http://www.facebook.com/TheAscent.