This must be the place: The wheels on the track go ‘round and ‘round

Pulling off US-11E and into some random person’s backyard last Saturday afternoon, I handed the woman $10 and was directed to park my truck along the tree line behind the rickety garage. 

Stepping out of the vehicle, I could hear the sounds of 110-mph stock cars roaring around the half-mile track across the street at the Bristol Motor Speedway — “The Last Great Colosseum” — in the rolling hills of Eastern Tennessee.

Adventure through 2018: WNC offers excursions for every month of the year

When people praise the Smokies, it’s often the area’s status as a four-season bonanza of beauty that spurs the discussion. From snow-blanketed winters to vibrant-leafed autumns, these mountains dress to impress year-round.

Tackling the Beast: Prepping for a 60-mile mountain bike challenge isn’t easy

out frBy Jamie Arnold • Contributing writer

It’s a 95-degree Sunday afternoon. Most folks are at the lake, or lounging on the couch with a cold beer. Me? I’m on my mountain bike, grinding my way up a 5,000-foot mountain, all because my buddy Don decided to add the Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell to his bucket list.  

Following the vein of cheap tattoos, lost wallets and accidental scars, a beer-induced challenge ended with both of us registered to compete in the infamous July 31 event. Now, two months later, we’re winding our way up a dusty brown gravel wall. A loud truck rumbles past, throwing even more gritty dust into the stifling 90-degree air. I glance down at my wheels to see the slow, never-ending gravel treadmill as I pick my way up the mountain.  

Beat you to the bottom: Race night offers competition and community at Cataloochee

out frAs the sun goes down on the snow-covered mountain at Cataloochee Ski Area, anticipation spikes among the enlightened few who know what Thursday night on the slopes means.

Racing ahead: Successful athletic events bolster tourism

out frFrom paved 5K routes to epic trail runs and triathlons, Western North Carolina is rife with outdoor races of all types. But a peek at the history shows that the bulk of these events are new arrivals on the landscape, most founded in the past decade or so with new ones popping up each year.  

“Sporting events seem to be growing across the nation, and people are interested in taking their families on these trips,” said CeCe Hipps, executive director of the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce. “What better place to be in the great outdoors than Haywood County?”

Sapphire knows how to throw a ‘potty’

fr outhouseSitting on a toilet, Kyle Iezzi is ready for victory.

“The main thing is that I hope we go straight,” the 15-year-old said.

Triathlons aim to make treachorous lake swims safer

out frThe swim leg of a triathlon is notoriously daunting. Of the sport’s three heats — swimming, biking and running — the water is the most brutal and dangerous.

It’s every person for him or herself as the racers jump from a dock or surge forward from shore, creating a sea of flailing limbs and churning water as they jockey to get an early lead off the start. 

It’s all about the schwag: Race organizers get creative with attracting participants

out frYou’ve been training for months. You’ve skipped the kids’ piano recitals and parent teacher conferences; you’ve bailed on dinner with the in-laws (several times) and nights out with the friends — all to adhere to your strict training schedule to prepare for the big moment: the big race.

Bold & Cold: Icycle Mountain Bike Race at Fontana Village promises thrills and chills

By Michael Beadle

If you’re a mountain biker looking for a challenging course that’s as cold as it is fun, check out the Icycle Mountain Bike Event at Fontana Village this weekend.

The Moonlight shines again: Maggie lights up with Moonlight Race

Checking email has gotten a lot more exciting for Wendy Johnson lately.

As the organizer for the 28th Annual Maggie Valley Moonlight Race this year, Johnson sees a message show up in her in-box every time a runner registers on-line. It’s averaging about 15 a day, and Johnson revels in opening each one to see where the runners are coming from.

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