Details and tips on the Aug. 26 Lake Lure Olympiad

Here’s the press release from Chimney Rock Management:

For runners and cyclists competing in Race to the Rock during the 8th annual 2012 Lake Lure Olympiad on Sunday, August 26, be prepared to climb 900 feet in elevation over the last three miles. The 75-mile views from the finish line are enough to take your breath away… or what’s left of it.

“For a competition like Race to the Rock, it’s not just running or cycling on flat ground, so it takes a specific kind of training and preparation,” said Matt Popowski, an Olympiad athlete, as well as public relations and events manager at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park. Chimney Rock is the finish line for the Race to the Rock for the sixth straight year.

“The Race to the Rock is a bold challenge,” Popowski continued, pointing out that participants can choose from a 25-mile bike race that circles Lake Lure or a 5K run up the Park road, beginning in Chimney Rock Village. “It’s difficult but very achievable if you prepare well for it.”

The 5K run on August 26 costs $25 if registered by July 25 or $35 after. The 25-mile bike race is $30 if registered by July 25 or $40 after. Same-day registration is at 6:30am. The bike race starts at 7:30 a.m. and the run starts at 7:45. To register, go to

Tips on Training
Popowski recommends that athletes who are already active should start about two months before the footrace by running or jogging four to five times a week.

“Be sure to focus on hills, because you will be climbing uphill all the way,” he added.

To train in advance for the intense climb, Popowski recommends hiking or jogging what the Park calls their “ultimate Stairmaster,” or the trail with almost 500 steps leading to the top of the Rock.

What Others Are Saying
Brad Hecker, director of ACC Women’s Basketball, is a repeat Olympiad athlete who has participated in Olympic-qualifying cycling events and attended two Tour de France races.

“The Race to the Rock is one of the most challenging events I’ve ever done,” said Hecker. “It would be worthy of an individual timed course in the Tour de France. This race is hard, and it has more personality than any other that I’ve done.”

The finish line for Race to the Rock is located at the base of the 315-foot Chimney Rock. After crossing the finish line, athletes can celebrate their achievement with a rewarding 75-mile panoramic view and await their fate in the awards ceremony. Afterward, possibly for a cool down, athletes are welcome to walk out to the 404-foot Hickory Nut Falls, which was featured in The Last of the Mohicans.

The Lake Lure Olympiad, which includes the 10K Dam Run, Lake Lure Triathlon (sponsored by Vic Bailey Subaru of Spartanburg), 1 Mile Open Water Swim and Race to the Rock, will be held Aug. 24-26. The Olympiad is presented by Rumbling Bald Resort and Rutherford Regional Health System. For more information on the 2012 Lake Lure Olympiad,

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor attraction located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It has been recognized as one of the Southeast’s most popular travel destinations for more than 100 years. A destination for travel groups, motor coaches and families, the Park hosts special events and educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Call (800) 277-9611 or visit Chimney Rock’s website at

Experience these adventures and more when you travel to Lake Lure & the Blue Ridge Foothills in Western North Carolina. Home to Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, Rutherfordton, Spindale, Forest City and Bostic, there is a world waiting for you to explore, enjoy and love. These events and more are part of our Endless Summer event series. We invite you to check out the view from our front porch. Plan your trip today at or call 800-849-5998.


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.