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Bike race set for Saturday

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

BERLIN -- They're coming back and they may be in Lewisburg next year.

Hundreds of bicyclists -- many who were here last year -- will be peddling their racing bikes in The Hell of the South on Saturday morning.

The races starting at the Berlin Fire Hall are modeled after the Paris to Roubaix Spring Classic in France. That race is known as the "Hell of the North" because it's difficult.

"It's probably the biggest road race in Middle Tennessee this year," Race Director Marshall Bassett said Monday. "We've got probably 60 signed up and by race day we'll have 120, I imagine."

Next spring, the Hell of the South may have an event in Lewisburg, Bassett said.

"Maybe on a Sunday around the square," he said. "We could make it a weekend event."

Last year, there were nearly 300 bicycle enthusiasts at the race starting where Berlin Fire Chief Joe Greer says visitors will have food, drink and trade booths available for the bikers and visitors. Friends, relatives, race officials and bike enthusiasts watched the race, helped their friends and enjoyed a crisp morning.

The competitors are amateurs, but their approach is focused and dedicated. Their bikes are the epitome of bicycle technology. Their training has been intense. The start of their races is a sight to behold.

Their cyclist organization is mindful of the community selected for the race. The Berlin Store becomes a basic depot for food, water and supplies.

Some of the race goes into Maury County where the annual Mule Day Festival will be held with its Saturday parade.

Bassett knows about Mule Day and has a low-key comment about it.

"Typically, we don't have much crossover."