The Boone, NC Gran Fondo
Credit: Elizabeth Wegmann

Where: Boone, NC

When: August 3

How far: 25, 55, or 105 miles

Price: from $50, granfondonationalchampionshipseries.com

Why it's a must: It's the second-to-last race out of six in the Gran Fondo National Championship Series, which former pro mountain biker Reuben Kline kicked off last year to encourage folks to take their riding to the next level. "The course starts and ends in a cool college town nestled in the Western Carolina Appalachian Mountains. The scenery is unparalleled with grand vistas sometimes stretching 100 miles," says senior-level CTS coach Max Shute, a Ph.D. in Nutrition in Sport and Chronic Disease. What else to expect? "Get ready for timed ascents, fast switchbacks, fun descents, and the awesome support of a cycling-crazy mountain town," he says.