ASHE COUNTY — More than 250 cyclists will strap on their helmets and hit the roads of Ashe County for the 30th annual Blue Ridge Brutal on Saturday, Aug. 10.
Set to begin at 8 a.m., cyclists will start and finish the challenge at the Ashe Civic Center. The route meanders through Ashe and Alleghany counties and consists of three different ride lengths: 55, 72 and 102 miles.
Proceeds from the event help support operations and maintenance at the Ashe Civic Center, which is used for fundraisers, benefits, beauty pageants, dance recitals, musicals and theater shows and a number of other community events.
In its 30-year history, the Blue Ridge Brutal volunteer committee estimates that more than 6,500 cyclists have participated in the challenge. Riders come from all across the east coast to participate in the brutal, and Ashe County Arts Council Executive Director Jeff Fissel said the event is great for the county.
“Most of the riders are from out of town, so they fill up the hotels and the restaurants,” Fissel said. “We all want to raise a bunch of money for the civic center, and we also want to bring a bunch of new people to the county.”
As there will be hundreds of cyclists on the roads throughout the day, Ashe County Arts Council Executive Director Jeff Fissel urged everyone to be courteous and aware. Those who live along the route should make sure their pets are inside or away from the roads to ensure safety for both cyclists and pets, he added.
The following is a list of key roads and estimated times riders will be using them:
- Route 163 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., heading away from U.S. 221.
- Idlewild Road from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., heading away from N.C. 163.
- Blue Ridge Parkway from Phillips Gap to Hwy 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., heading north on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
- Route 113 N from Hwy 18 to Garvey Road from 9.45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Garvey Road, Hwy 93 North, Hwy 113 South, Piney Creek School Road and S. Fork Church Road, 10:15 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Kings Creek Road, Howard Colvard Road, George McMillan Road, Chestnut Hill Road, 10:30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
- Hwy 88/Frank Dillard Road/Hwy 163 toward West Jefferson, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Deep Ford Gap Road to Jefferson Stop Light and Long Street, 10:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Buffalo Road from Hwy 88 up Ben Bolan to Three Top Road, 11:15 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.
- Three Top Road from Ben Bolan to Hwy 194 North at Todd, 11:30 a.m to 4 p.m.
- Highway 194 from Todd to Beaver Creek Road, 12 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
- Beaver Creek School Road, near Ingles, 12:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Mount Jefferson Road near Walmart, 12:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Six rest stops will be placed along the route for riders to catch their breath and refuel. Rest stops are sponsored by organizations and businesses in the community, such as Ashe Memorial Hospital, Ashe Rescue Squad and Boondocks Brewing. Riders will receive a hot meal, t-shirts, water and support from volunteers.
This year, more than 50 cyclists registered for the “assault on Mount Jefferson” challenge. These riders will cross the first finish line at the Ashe Civic Center, then continue up Mount Jefferson State Park Road, climbing all the way to the top.
“It’s a really unique, exciting event,” Fissel said. “I’m looking forward to seeing it all.”
Registration for the event is available online at www.blueridgebrutal.org. Cyclists can also register at the Ashe Civic Center Friday, Aug. 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. or on the morning of the ride starting at 6 a.m.
For more information, contact the Ashe County Arts Council at (336) 846-2787.