For many years, BUMP and Oak Mountain have played host to one of the best-known mountain bike events in the southeast—the Bump-N-Grind. I remember attending this race in the mid 90’s as a participant and it still is held all these years. The trails are well-maintained using a combination of State Park employees and volunteer help and they still do weekly rides there for all levels of rider. Seeing as they get a good bit of traffic from the greater Birmingham area, maintenance and new trail building are key and Jeff’s team help oversee that. Finding ways to use these trail systems that are close to urban areas for both visitors and local residents alike is an important way to take care of a sports tourism asset that can enhance the value of a community.
Sports Strategies partnered with the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Augusta University to create and host “Own the Woods,” a multi-sport festival and expo that served as a promotional platform and benefit for the medical institution. The event was held September 14, 2019 at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans, Georgia. The event featured a 3-hour mountain bike race and 5-mile trail race, as well as interactive expo with food, climbing wall, and lifestyle activities vendors.
The evening before Own the Woods, cycling advocacy organization People for Bikes sponsored DRAFT, a meetup for people to enjoy beer, while talking bikes and biz, during Own the Woods packet pickup. The event was graciously hosted by the Augusta Sports Council at Augusta and Co.
We were honored to make a presentation on the benefits of sports tourism to Leadership Lincoln, Georgia. The session was held at Elijah State Park along the shores of Clark’s Hill Lake. The session, “Play Lincoln County”, was hosted by the Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, and it offered an immersive education for local stakeholders into the myriad natural assets offered throughout the county, which is advertised as “Georgia’s Freshwater Coast.” Enjoyed the day in your beautiful hometown!
Nothing beats working an event in your backyard, especially when it’s a bike race. I got my start in sports when a friend and I hosted a small bike race at Fort Gordon Augusta in 1992, and it was an honor to keep the tradition going at the 2019 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Augusta May 10-12, 2019.
Since the modest beginnings of our small bike race, Augusta has played host to five USA Cycling National Championships, and Collegiate Nats were the latest in the rich history. The event brought college teams from across the United States to compete in the three-day, four disciplines event: Team Time Trial (TTT), Individual Time Trial (ITT), Road Race, and Criterium. The road race and time trials were held on a legendary circuit at Fort Gordon, and the criterium was held in historic Downtown Augusta.
Race Director Shawn Brett of USA Cycling organized a great race, and the Augusta Sports Council’s local support was excellent. The weather even cooperated to some degree, although the heat and humidity took its toll on riders not used to pedaling through a warm bath.
This being Georgia, it had to rain and, of course, it held off until the final day, which meant the criteriums had more than the typical carnage. The rain did cease for the podium presentations, but as the riders were packing up to leave, and we began to breakdown the venue, the bottom fell out. It was a soggy end for us, but as long as the riders left happy, we knew we’d done our job.