Hell of the South bike race a success

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

By Ivory Riner

Staff Writer

Some 224 bikers from all over the United States and Canada competed in the Hell of the South bicycle race Saturday, held in honor of the late Dr. Laray Rector.

After rolling six years in Berlin, Tenn., this was the first year Lewisburg hosted the race. Thad Dehart, co-organizer, was happy with the turnout.

"Everything was great. We've gotten a ton of compliments and rave reviews from riders. Everyone we have spoken to liked this year's course better than the old one," said Dehart.

"One rider said it was the best course he's ever raced."

The men's 22-mile course began the competition. As riders lined up, Dr. Dwayne Fulks, a friend of Rector's, offered some encouraging words:

"To know Laray was to know cycling. He was a strong rider, one who was a lot faster than me," Fulks said.

He reminded the racers to watch out for cars and potholes.

The course included sections of Old Belfast, Fishing Ford, Talley, Spring Place, Snake Creek, Stammer, Ellington Bypass and Higgs roads. Before Saturday's races, many riders came down to take a trial run on the course.

Snake Creek Road in Belfast, with its steep hill and rough pavement, seemed to draw the most attention from competitors.

Marshall Basset, co-organizer of the race, had a few words to share with the racers before they rode off.

"Snake Creek Road is sketchy. You aren't going to win that race," Basset joked.

There were a couple of minor crashes but no one was seriously injured.

"This year's edition of Middle Tennessee's premier race, Hell of the South, did not disappoint," said Andy Reardon, who finished second in his category. "The production value, smooth operation and wonderful roads really made for a top-notch race.

"This has always been an event for all ability levels of cyclists to attend every year and (moving) to Lewisburg made it an even bigger target," Reardon said. "The racing may have been tough, rough and agonizing, just like us racers want, but the beauty of the country roads and hospitality of this town and volunteers really shown brightest."

Lewisburg Recreation Center director Cary Whitesell thanked Fire Chief Larry Williams, Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Fritts, Police Chief Chuck Forbis, Director of Operations Buck Beard, Director of EMS Bill Reuter; City Manager Randall Dunn and Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham for their support.

Marshall County Superintendent of Roads Jerry Williams, Sheriff Billy Lamb and County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett also drew praise from Whitesell for their help.

Sponsors of the race included Richardson's Body Shop, First Commerce Bank, Lewisburg Printing Company, Bingham Engineering, Marshall Medical Center, Walker Die Casting and Cosmolab.

The Belfast Volunteer Fire Department along with the Belfast Lions Club provided concessions and volunteers for the race. City councilmen Steve Thomas and Trigg Cathey, plus Cathey's wife Barbara, volunteered for traffic control.

Other volunteers included members of the Five Points Volunteer Fire Department, Fern Greenbank of Belfast, Angie Barnes of Cornersville, Melissa Garrett of Chapel Hill, Troy Whitesell, Steve Isley and Cory Jewell of Lewisburg.

"Next year we are looking to make this a two-day event and to keep it growing for years to come," Whitesell said.

Hell of the South bike race winners, who they represented and hometown:

Men Pro 1/2

32 Racers registered

1: Patrick Walle, Village Volkswagon Cycling Team, Nashville

2: Andrew Reardon, Sonic Cycling Team, Franklin

3: Ben Andrew, Sante Universelle/Marin Bikes, Quebec, Canada

Men Cat 3

38 racers registered

1: Olivier Lapointe, Sante Universelle/Marin Bikes, Quebec, Canada

2: Matthew Baxter, Clarksville Velo, Clarksville

3: Justin Bird, Papa John's Racing team, Louisville, KY

Men Cat 4

34 racers registered

1: Randall Hoffpauir, I AM Racing Team, Thompson Station

2: Simon Lewis, Village Volkswagon Cycling Team, Franklin

3: Shawn Edwards, Southern Performance, Somerset, KY

Men Cat 5

34 racers registered

1: Lukas Hooper, 901 Racing, Germantown, TN

2: John Wilson, I AM Racing, Brentwood

3: Matt Stefanick, no team name listed, Franklin

Elite Masters

19 racers registered

1: Gene Tolli, Team Velocause, Albany, WI

2: Patrick Harkins, Red Kite Bicycle Studio, Nashville

3: Christopher Cundiff, US Military Cycling Team, Owens Cross, AL

Masters 40+

36 racers registered

1: Zack Solomon, Riverside Bicycle Racing, Clarksville

2: David Baird, Treehouse Racing, Nashville

3: Paul Carter, Riverside Bicycle Racing, Clarksville

Women

30 racers registered

1: Martha Lowe, Team WE, Dover, TN

2: Laura Felicetti, First Internet Bank Cycling Team, Bloomington, IN

3: Jessica Christensen, Team WE, Kingston Springs, TN