Just got off the phone with Todd at Blue Ridge Adventures, the promoter behind the Off Road Assault on Mt. Mitchell and Swank 65, and he confirmed he’s working on plans for a multi-day mountain bike stage race.
Planned for mid-October 2009, the event would be modeled after the American Mountain Classic in Brian Head, UT, except with much, much more elevation…in the neighborhood of 25,000 to 30,000 feet! Ã‚Â That elevation comes courtesy of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pisgah National Forest, the planned venue, with a finish at Brevard College’s trails.
It’s important to note that as of now, there are no permits for this event, and all of the details you’ll read when you click “more” are pretty much all of the details there are at the moment…
“I’ve filled both the Swank and the ORAMM the past few years, and there’s ever growing interest in these longer events,” Todd said. Ã‚Â “I’ve been talking with Jeremiah Bishop about a stage race, and we’ve gotten a lot of preliminary interest.”
The event will be geared toward Pro and Elite riders, and entry will likely be conditional upon receipt of a race resume or some other qualifications…so not just anyone can sign up. Ã‚Â The field will be limited to 150 riders who will kick off the first day with a time trial, then race approximately 65 miles per day for the next three days. Ã‚Â The event will finish with a final day of shorter events in various disciplines…more of a “something for everyone” type festival that will improve the spectator access to the competitors.
“The logistics of this are what I’m still figuring out,” said Todd, “like how we’re going to keep three different courses marked for three days, that’s the real challenge behind putting something like this on. Ã‚Â We’re working with the Forest Service and the private land owners, but at this point there are no permits.”
Ultimately, Todd’s goal is to build the event into an off road equivalent of the Tour of Georgia, attracting the biggest names and talent in mountain bike racing.
“We’ll have a cash purse close to $10,000, plus leaders’ jerseys or some similar demarcation for the stage winners and race leaders,” said Todd. “That’ll help us attract the bigger names, and Jeremiah’s involvement will help us promote the event to the pro crowd.”