LAKE LURE, N.C. (June 21, 2013): Lake Lure, N.C. continues to win the hearts of athletes and race directors alike thanks to its stunning scenery, well-mapped and challenging courses, and genuinely welcoming community.

IRONMAN© invited Lake Lure to bid as a destination for its 2014 race, which it did so in partnership with Asheville. The Collegiate Community Triathlon chose Lake Lure as the destination for its inaugural competition in 2012, and the United States Masters Swimming (USMS) organization brought its 1-mile Open Water Championship here in 2012 and is coming back to Lake Lure for its 2-Mile Dixie Zone Championship this August. Lake Lure also hosted the first overnight stop for Cycle North Carolina's 2012 “Mountains to Coast” Fall Ride.

The impetus for drawing athletic events and competitors to this small mountain town is primarily due to the growing success of the Lake Lure Olympiad, a summer sports festival anchored by a “3 Races in 3 Days” challenge. Additional events for kids and more casual athletes to medal in are also offered.

Considered by athletes as one of the most scenic race weekends on any calendar, both the views and the races at the ninth annual Lake Lure Olympiad on August 23-25 are breathtaking. Here is what a few athletes had to say:

“I loved Lake Lure. After 50+ triathlons in my life and travelling overseas to race, Lake Lure was the most beautiful venue I have ever been to. I told my friends that I would love to live there someday.” (Grayson Cobb, 2012 Lake Lure Collegiate Community Triathlon)

“While the races are setup the same way I'm used to, I have yet to experience a race environment as welcoming and supportive as these.” (Anonymous)

“My sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and dad all participated in the event, and loved Lake Lure so much we have planned our summer vacation there as a result. The event really is one of the best triathlon experiences we have had, and the weekend long festivities make it so unique and fun for all.” (Lauren Kulp Cary, N.C.)

The bike race up [Chimney] Rock ranks as one of the neatest, most fun bike courses I have ridden as a bike racer, and I have ridden quite a few. Buffalo Shoals Road is magical, so my compliments go to you and your course architect for working it in. (Brad Hecker, Greensboro, N.C.)

Exclusive to the Lake Lure Olympiad is the once-a-year opportunity to cycle 25 miles or run 5 kilometers to the top of Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park in the Race to the Rock. The Park's winding, three-mile entrance road climbs uphill an average of 6-9%, but the stunning 75-mile panoramic views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge at the finish line are well worth the effort. Some past participants have said the ride rivals that of the Tour de France.

About the Lake Lure Olympiad
Presented by Rumbling Bald Resort on Lake Lure and Rutherford Regional Health System, the Lake Lure Olympiad is where competition and vacation meet all in one trip. Since 2005, the Olympiad has donated $220,000 to area nonprofit organizations. Visit www.lakelureolympiad.com or find us on Facebook for more info and to register.

About Rutherford County, N.C.
From world-class adventure to breathtaking scenery, experience all things bold and beautiful in Lake Lure and the Blue Ridge Foothills of Rutherford County, N.C. Plan your trip today at www.RutherfordTourism.com or find us on Facebook