published Friday, March 4th, 2011

Bike race coming to Dalton

Douglas Kerns struggled to find words to describe why he likes to jump on a bike and spend hours each week in sweat-dripping, heart-pounding, pedal-pushing labor.

“It’s just the feeling of achievement after you accomplish something, you know. You can’t really explain it,” Kerns said. He paused, and then added, “Cycling is very addictive. I’ve tried other things, but always come back.”

Kerns, a Dalton firefighter, plans to race in two events during the Georgia Cup Bike Race Series in Dalton on March 25-27. The three-day event will include a sprint race, a time trial, a criterium race and a road race.

More than a dozen county and city leaders attended a news conference Thursday at the Dalton Freight Depot to hear details about the race. This is the second year the event will be held in Dalton.

“With the history of cycling here in Dalton, it made sense to bring the Georgia Cup here,” said Brett Huske, director of the Dalton Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We increased the size of the race and hope to grow it this year.”

Several longtime races are held in the region, including the Snake Creek Gap race this weekend for mountain bikers. The city has hosted stages on the Tour de Georgia race, and former pro cycler Saul Raisin, who is from Dalton, has promoted cycling events.

Huske said the area and the terrain also are popular with recreational riders.

The Georgia Cup — one of the largest bike race series in the country — consists of eight cycling events held in different cities in the spring. The Dalton event will be the fourth stop and is expected to bring about 300 riders.

Last year, the event brought in about $100,000 in revenue for the city, a number Huske said he hopes to double this year. Having the event over several days should mean people will spend several nights in Dalton, Huske said.

Marketing Director Brady Rogers said organizers expect several pro racers to attend.

Kerns said he hopes eventually the race will become well-known enough to draw some of the big racing names, like several other Georgia Cup races do now.

“If the community wants to come out and have a good time, this is the place to be,” he said. “Its a great area for biking.”

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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