From a snow day party in 2014 to a beautiful mild fall day of riding in 2015, the Bookwalter Binge Gran Fondo is growing into an established weekend of 2-wheeled fun in Western North Carolina. With the addition of the Binge Tune-Up, 2016’s event will feature an expanded two-day schedule. Asheville, NC residents, pro cyclists and Binge founders Brent and Jamie Bookwalter are looking forward to a successful third edition.
“It’s been a pleasure connecting the pro cycling world to our home town friends and meeting so many amazing new people along the way. The Binge showcases our favorite cycling roads during the beautiful fall leaf season while raising money and support for a truly worthy cause. Everything people have grown to love about the Binge will be back for 2016 and we have a couple fun additions to add to the weekend as well.”
Complementing the weekend’s main event in Black Mountain, Friday’s Binge Tune-Up will take place in Asheville proper and will be an intimate, all access ride followed by gourmet lunch. Limited to 35 participants, Tune-Up participants will spend quality time on and off the bike with some of their favorite pro cyclists. The ride will be 2 hours at an easy pace, with beers and a locally sourced lunch at The Junction, an innovative restaurant in the River Arts District in downtown Asheville. Transportation to and from Princess Ann Hotel in Montford and The Junction is included.
The weekend’s main event, the Bookwalter Binge Grand Fondo, will roll out the next morning, October 29th, from Pisgah Brewing. Three courses (82, 63, and 30 miles) wind through scenic roads of Black Mountain and Swannanoa Valley. Each ride will include marked courses, follow vehicles, aid stations, and timed segments for those who wish to compete against the stacked list of professional cyclists. Both the Binge and the Binge Tune-Up will benefit the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, one of the country’s oldest and most respected land trusts.
“The Binge’s partnership with SAHC for 2015 was perfect fit and we are proud to continue supporting the efforts of this unique organization in 2016,” said Brent. “Everyone who has participated in the Binge can see the beauty and charm of the mountains, rivers, forests, and farms that make Western NC the natural wonderland that it is. Whether it’s riding a bike, hiking on a trail, fishing in a river, or simply admiring a majestic mountain view, all of us benefit from the work SAHC does to protect these natural wonders.”
A 12-year veteran of professional cycling, Brent has raced with the BMC Racing Team for 9 seasons. The Grand Rapids, Mich., native is a 9-time collegiate national champion and past U23 national champion. In 2011, Brent was part of the Tour de France winning team, helping Cadel Evans ride to the overall victory. In 2015, Brent was part of the overall and team classification victory at the USA Pro Challenge, winning the second stage and finishing second overall.
Other notable names who have joined the Bookwalter Binge in the past include: Joey Rosskopf, Christian Vande Velde, Larry Warbasse, Ty Magner, George Hincapie, John Murphy, Ally Stacher, Jonny Clarke, Mary Zider, Lauren Hall, Lauren Komanski, Matthew Busche, David Williams, and Tejay and Jessica van Garderen.