The Wheel Deal
Now in its 24th year, the Tour de Cashiers Mountain Cycling Experience will kick off on Saturday, May 14, from The Village Green.
With a rolling start at 8:00 A.M., Jackson County law enforcement will lead the pack down Frank Allen Road and north on NC Highway 107 under a dramatic 20-by-30-foot American Flag and through the Crossroads. This athletic challenge features routes of up to 100 miles and more than 10,000 feet of elevation change on the local scenic byways across Jackson, Macon, and Transylvania Counties. Past riders between the ages of 18 (the minimum age) and 72 have tackled the peaks and valleys. While most have come from the Southeastern United States, riders have visited from as far away as Idaho.
In 2016, Pisgah Productions of Asheville will be lending operational support to the event by providing additional on-course surveillance, expanded rest stops, en-route mechanical assistance, and expanded Support and Gear activities.
“The Tour de Cashiers is an extraordinary cycling event and we are pleased to partner with the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce to produce it for the nation’s cycling enthusiasts,” says President Eric Wever.
Chamber Executive Director Stephanie Edwards adds, “The Tour is a stellar representative of the vast array of outdoor recreational opportunities our region offers to visitors and residents alike. It showcases the area’s waterfalls, vistas, and mountain meandering that can be enjoyed whether you’re biking, hiking, or riding.”
The Tour attracts approximately 300 cyclists who dedicate the day to the challenge of one of several routes – Quarter Century (25 miles), Metric (62 miles), and Century (100 miles). The longest route gives riders some opportunity for relief by foregoing 20 miles and one or two very tough climbs near the ride’s end. Regardless of the length, participants enjoy stunning scenery, exhilarating ascents, and fast descents along the routes. Among the highlights includes the “Donkey Field” intersection at Walnut Gap where resident four-legged spectators watch the passersby.
The event got its start nearly 25 years ago when a group of biking enthusiasts under the leadership of Clarke Moore gathered at the Cashiers Area Chamber for an organized outing. It has grown in popularity, size and sophistication since that time. Riders now come from across the nation and local community volunteers provide critical support by staffing registration, course rescue, rest stops, and more.
Local community sponsors provide financial underwriting for the Tour and receive recognition in all event publicity. For more information on sponsorship or volunteering, contact Cashiers Area Chamber, (828) 743-5191 [email protected]. Early rider registration at $45 is available at TourdeCashiers.com, linked to Active.com.