Cycling Championships coming to Columbia County

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 2:21 PM
Last updated 10:12 PM
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After playing host to the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Division II men’s and women’s national soccer championships, Columbia County now has the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships on its horizon, starting in 2015.

USA Cycling, the national governing body for bicycle racing in the United States, and the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau announced Thursday that the county was selected to play host to the 2015 and 2016 championships.

Dates for the event staged out of Wildwood Park in Appling have not been set.

“USA Cycling is excited about bringing our premier endurance mountain bike championship to the Southeastern United States,” said Micah Rice, vice president of national events for USA Cycling.

“As a stand-alone event, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships have never been east of the Mississippi River and the fantastic trails of Columbia County, Ga., will create a great venue for all of our participants.”

Randy DuTeau, executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, dealt with Rice during his time on the Augusta Sports Council when it played host to the USA Cycling Road Championships in 2011 and 2012.

He began talking to Rice about potential events for the area after coming over to Columbia County in 2012.

“About the time we were having those discussions, I had some preliminary chats with SORBA (Southern Offroad Bicycle Assoc­iation) CSRA, which is our local mountain bike organization,” DuTeau said. “They were looking to do a marathon mountain bike race and it just so happened that USA Cycling was going to be putting out that event for bid and so we just kind of combined the two.”

The approximately 65-mile circuit will utilize the Bartram and Keg Creek trails on a course that stretches from the West Dam Recreation Area to Mistletoe State Park. The race is expected to draw 400 competitors.

The USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Champion­ships will complete a two-year run in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2014.

The Columbia County Con­vention and Visitors Bureau plans to emulate that model by developing an outdoor festival that will include a trail-running race, mountain bike demos and other activities to run in conjunction with the national championships.

Local organizers plan to play host to a mountain bike race and trail run on the proposed championship course in 2014, which will serve as a “test run” for the nationals.

“We’re honored to have been chosen by USA Cycling to host
this prestigious event,” DuTeau said.

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crockpot2001 12/19/13 - 04:39 pm
Augusta moving forward through cycling events

Once again Augusta reaps the benefits of cycling and its many disciplines like MTB riding, triathlons, BMX, and road cycling. Racers will be driving and flying in from across the country to compete in this event and spend their dollars along the way. With more events like this coming out the forward thinking Randy Duteau of Columbia County Convention and visitors Bureau, the CSRA presents a more progressive and marketable face.

The cycling resources available both on and off-road in the CSRA are almost limitless. Did you know that the International Mountain Bike association ranks the trails system called FATS (Fork area trail system) as a bronze level center? Yeah, we are a SIGNIFICANT draw for MTB riders. The World Mountain bike summit was held here in Augusta in 2010. I hope the CSRA can continue to grow in the use of cycling and associated events to the betterment of all communities.

Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 12/19/13 - 04:58 pm
Wow! This is really great

Wow! This is really great news! I don't cycle, but I still can be proud that this event will be in our own backyard. Great, great job to all involved! And thanks!

raul 12/19/13 - 05:11 pm
Great job, Mr. DuTeau.

Great job, Mr. DuTeau.

itsanotherday1 12/19/13 - 05:25 pm
These are the kinds of events

These are the kinds of events that help put a nice face on the area. The people attending and supporting tend to be better educated and higher income. (as opposed to say, a tattoo convention or hip hop concert)

oldredneckman96 12/19/13 - 09:23 pm
Be carefull what you wish for!

You know this will bring nuts from all over and they will be playing in traffic all over town. So when you are late getting home because one has been run over and that has traffic stalled….. well this is me saying I told you so! I hope I am wrong but statistics will prove me right.

eurohound 12/19/13 - 09:54 pm
Brief Lesson for Mr Redneck

Thank you for alerting all of us to the potential dangers of people coming from all over and playing in traffic. You will be pleased to know that Mountain biking is not done on roads but actually on trails. Therefore, there will be no concern of interfering with automobile traffic.

Congrats to Columbia County and thank you to Randy for putting in a great deal of hard work to bring this event here. It is nice to see positive news for our area.

mosovich 12/20/13 - 01:29 pm

Five comments into what is FABULOUS news for the entire area and someone has to put a negative comment about it.. Thank you Mr. Redneck for being that person that continues to make our area look like fools because we don't know how to interact with people or be forward thinking.. I supposed you'd be more for an area where growth is at a standstill, there is noting going on and the area was just dull.. Randy and people like him really bring a lot to our community and with that they bring in $$$$ which we all know drives local government. So, instead of posting a comment about people getting run over by cars, how about a simple, "congratulations on your hard work"..

Willow Bailey
Willow Bailey 12/21/13 - 02:32 am
Absolutely awesome!!

Absolutely awesome!!

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