In photos: Chris King Gourmet Century makes its Asheville debut

DINE AND RIDE: The Chris King Gourmet Century took cyclists on a challenging tour of Fairview, Gerton and Fletcher highlighted with meals prepared by some of Asheville's best chefs. Photos by Josh O'Conner

Portland, Ore., bicycle component manufacturer Chris King brought its Gourmet Century event to Asheville on Saturday, Aug. 22, with a 60-plus-mile route that satiated the appetites of serious foodies and cyclist alike.  The event started at the Taylor Ranch off of Cane Creek Road and took riders on a series of challenging climbs and descents through Fairview, Gerton and Fletcher before concluding back at the Taylor Ranch.

The event offered riders a chance to get acquainted with both the terrain of the area and some of its more gourmet food offerings.  Chef Jason Roy of Biscuithead provided a spread for participants in preparation for the day’s ride with a breakfast that included biscuits, gravy, quinoa scrambles and homemade hot sauces (such as a unique and flavorful banana buffalo sauce).  Portland-based Stumptown Coffee Roasters ensured that riders were well-caffeinated with made-to-order coffee drinks and espresso shots.

Just after the 20-mile marker, riders were treated to a picnic lunch catered by Parkway Bistro allowing them a chance to fill their stomachs before ascending up U.S. 74 across the Eastern Continental Divide. Tofu and chicken tacos awaited the riders at the half-way point as the ride descended into Gerton.

Riders finished their metric century (100 kilometers) back at Taylor Ranch and rested in preparation for the evening’s meal. Pisgah Brewing Co. beers and a number of wines allowed riders to unwind during the event’s happy hour.

Dinner was prefaced with appetizers, including spoons of grits laden with braised pork prepared by Anthony Wilde of Crossroads Collaborative based in Portland. Jacob Sessions of Table and Patrick O’Cain of Gan Shan Station (both Asheville-based eateries) collaborated on the meal’s main courses, which included a tomato and grilled-bean salad accented by a fish sauce vinaigrette and chili yogurt as well as lime and grilled tomato barbecue pork served with broccoli raab over sticky rice. Vegetarians weren’t left out — there was the option to have grilled smoked tofu in lieu of the pork. An array of deserts from Karen Donatelli Cake Designs rounded out the evening.

Riders, who hailed from around the country, were given the opportunity to get to know one another while the Typical Mountain Boys provided musical accompaniment.

The ride allowed participants a chance to see the scenic Western North Carolina countryside on an uncharacteristically mild August day.  Approximately 150 riders participated in the ride.

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About Josh O'Conner
Josh O’Conner is an urban/land use planner with a passion for urban agriculture. He can be reached at @kalepiracy or @joshoconner on Twitter or e-mailed at josh.oconner@gmail.com.

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