Big names come to the Carolinas for bike race

About 850 cyclists from all over the world converge in the Carolinas for one of the most intense biking experiences. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Monday, more than 800 cyclists, including some big NASCAR names, put the pedal to the metal for an intense bike ride.

It's known as the Assault on Mt. Mitchell.

The final climb to the top is said to be the most grueling, but the cyclists make it look easy.

Participants began the trek in Spartanburg, S.C., just after 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Some of the riders stop at 75 miles, to complete the Assault on Marion. Others bike the full 103 miles, to the summit of Mt. Mitchell, including former professional cyclists George Hincapie and Bobby Julich.

Completing the course in less than 5.5 hours, the winner, 29-year-old Winston David from Greenville, South Carolina.

Winston David, first place finisher, "I was just going my pace up the climb and ended up by myself."

Some big NASCAR names were in the pack, like Jimmie Johnson who convinced fellow NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray to join him this year.

Instead of trying to finish first, his goal was to have a memorable ride.

Jimmie Johnson, "It's been a lot of fun and it's been neat to have a goal for us all to work for. We all started in Daytona in February kind of riding together and everybody building up to this moment."

All riders received support throughout the race from family, friends and even total strangers, getting words of encouragement and even some cowbell.

The change in elevation definitely sets this ride apart from others. Cyclists climb almost 6,000 feet in elevation to reach the finish line.

Assault on Mt. Mitchell Winners:

First place finisher
29-year-old Winston David
From Greenville, SC
Time: 5hrs 25mins 11secs

First female finisher
37-year-old Jenny Leiser
From Charlotte, NC
Time: 5hrs 50mins 15secs

Asheville finisher in Top 10
55-year-old Randy Warren: placed 6th overall
From Asheville, NC
Time: 5hrs 38mins 30secs

Around 8 p.m., full results will be posted here.

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