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Beware of bicycles in today's Tour d'Apple

Around 400 bicyclists will be pedaling on roads throughout much of Henderson County during the fifth annual Tour d’Apple today. Now in its fifth year, the Tour d’Apple has become a popular Apple Festival weekend event for bicycle riders from the immediate area and beyond.

Bicycle traffic will be heavy early from Hendersonville northeast to Tracy Grove, Dana, Edneyville and Fruitland and, tapering off, in southern Henderson County and Hendersonville as the 100-milers finish.

Here are the areas to watch:

From 8 a.m. to noon: Tracy Grove, Dana, Blue Ridge, East Flat Rock, Sugarloaf Mountain, Ottanola, Lamb Mountain, Spicer Cove, Bald Rock, Edneyville, Bearwallow Mountain, Hoopers Creek, Terry’s Gap and Fruitland.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Dana, Upward Road, East Flat Rock, Flat Rock, Zirconia, Tuxedo, Green River, Cabin Creek, Pinnacle Mountain, Litter River Road, Old Kanuga Road, Price Street, Kanuga Lake Road, Evans Road, Big Willow Road, Hebron Road, Laurel Park, Osceola Lake, east Hendersonville, Erkwood Road, Mud Creek Baptist Church, Shepherd Street and Airport Road.


“Things are going extremely well,” Dick Miley, one of the race organizers, said 10 days before the race. “We’ve got wonderful sponsors and incredible volunteers.”

As of Saturday, “We’re at about 270 (riders). We expect another 100. Last year was 407. We’re thinking about 400 this year.”
Last year, race directors adjusted the 45-mile Jonagold route by cutting out Oleta Road, a steep downhill/uphill loop. They’ve made no changes to this year’s routes, which run from a 25-miler to a grueling 100-miler with 8,500 feet of climbing.
What is new is chip timing. Chips will be attached to race bibs, which riders should fasten to the front of their handlebars.
“It’s really important that cyclists come back under the arch,” Miley said. Otherwise, they won’t get an officially recorded time.
Sponsored by Hunter Subaru, the event starts at 8 a.m. on Labor Day at Blue Ridge Community College. Same-day registration opens at 7 a.m. on Labor Day.
“We’ve never had a lost rider — yet we are always striving to make the Tour d’ Apple a safer event,” Ride Director Barry Macdonald said. “With chip timing we know exactly when each participant returns so we can let a rider’s spouse or other loved one know that ‘Yes, indeed. John made it back safely.’ Or near the end of the day, if John has not come back, we will send a SAG vehicle looking for him. We are grateful to Hunter Subaru for helping add the chip-timing safety to the Tour.”
“Chip timing works only if cyclists remember to finish their ride and come back in under the finish arch,” Macdonald said.
The fully-supported ride takes cyclists from BRCC through many of Henderson County’s apple orchards and up and down numerous mountains. Riders choose one of four routes:
• Green Apple Easy — 25 miles with just 1,200 feet of ascent.
• Jonagold — 46 miles with 2,300 feet of climbing.
• Gala Challenge, the 65-mile metric 100 with 4,961 feet of climbing.
• Honey Crisp Century, 100 miles, with 8,481 feet of ascent and three King and Queen of the Mountains climbs, for the strongest cyclists.
For cue sheets visit Register at Early registration discounts end on Aug. 26.
As organizer of the one-day cycling route, Four Seasons Rotary Club will provide cyclists with five fully supported rest stops and a post-ride party at BRCC with food from Chick-Fil-A. Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club and Henderson County Amateur Emergency Services support the tour with HAM operators at rest stops and in SAG Subarus. Members of Hendersonville Camera Club will photograph cyclists during the Tour.
In addition to Hunter Subaru, Ingles Markets and Pardee/UNC Health Care, sponsors include Hendersonville Eye Care, Borg Warner Corp., Rent WNC, Sycamore Cycles, Trinity View, and Allison Development Group. Home Trust Bank, Hilliard-Lyons, and St. Paul Mountain Vineyards host the Tour rest stops. Asheville Bicycle Company and Sycamore Cycles provide bicycle mechanics.


Crabapple mini-tour peddles bicycle safety

The Tour d’Apple includes a free bicycling event for children beginning with registration at 9:30 a.m. The Mini-Tour includes a safety clinic. Experienced adult cyclists will then assist young cyclists learn balance and bicycling skills with a slow race — the last-one-to-finish wins. Chick-Fil-A will offer games and prizes. The Mini-Tour concludes with a two-mile ride around the College Campus. Parents or a guardian must register their children and bring a bicycle and helmet for each child.