The Gran Fondo National Championship Series offers some of the longest timed sections and most challenging terrain of any gran fondo. The rider with the fastest combined time through each designated section will have truly earned their victory. Beneficiary; Western Youth Network (WYN) “Come Challenge Yourself” This is a 2013 Gran Fondo National Championship SeriesSM event 3 loops to choose from: 105 mile, 55 mile, 20 mile Event Open to All 4 Timed Sections – Best Combined Time Wins Prizes for 105 mile overall and age group winners Awards for 55 mile and 20 mile winners Fully stocked aid stations to keep you going Course Description In mid-summer, the High Country of North Carolina enjoys 80-degree temperatures while the surrounding East Coast temperatures hover in the high 90s. August 4th is a prime time to be in Boone. The Boone Gran Fondo rolls through Appalachian State University and, after just a few turns, climbs beside picturesque Winklers Creek during the first timed section. After a short downhill and a climb up the gorgeous Shull’s Mill road, the course passes the Blue Ridge Parkway and turns onto Hwy 221. This section of road was hand built in the 1890’s across Grandfather Mountain and served as the Blue Ridge Parkway until the 1980’s. This second timed section is like a paved roller coaster. After passing the Grandfather Park entrance, the downhill into Linville is a local favorite stretch of road. The route passes through the Avery County seat, the town of Newland. The back roads of Cow Camp and Squirrel Creek lead to the North Toe River Valley. Here, riders enjoy a few tranquil moments in the valley before the ascent, and third timed section, on the back of Beech Mountain. Another nice downhill waits on the other side. The beautiful Bethel Valley brings riders to a climb to the Tennessee State Line to end the forth timed section. From here, the route cruises on a very long gradual downhill grade through the valley and communities of Sugar Grove and Valle Crucis before it takes a climb up Laurel Fork and White Oak roads back to the town of Boone.