Bikers compete in final Hell of the South road race

Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Living up to its reputation, county EMS had to be called for multiple racers who wiped out at the bottom of Snake Creek Road.
Photo by Scott Pearson

The morning proved chilly for racers and spectators, but April 1 made for some hot bicycle racing around Belfast.

The Hell of the South lived up to the name again this year with three racers requiring assistance from Marshall County EMS after serious wrecks, primarily along Snake Creek Road.

Frank Trevieso of Athens, Ga., finished first in the top men’s classification, completing the 72-mile course in under three hours. He took home the $1,000 top prize.

Mary Penta of Bloomington, Ind. finished first among the top female racers after a 41.5 mile trip around the course.

Due to the changing nature of the course every year, the organizers just track finishing positions, not official times.

Despite concerns over competition from another high-level race in Arkansas the same weekend, more than 200 riders entered this year’s race, hailing from as far away as Vermont and Chicago.

“It was another great weekend,” said Cary Whitesell, director of parks and recreation for Lewisburg. “Our volunteers were great. Our sponsors really stepped up, and overall the weekend went well. I’m excited to see what next year brings.”

Lewisburg serves as one of the sponsors of the race, and the organizers have consistently praised the city for their role in putting on the race.

The city still hopes to expand bike racing in town to a weekend event if possible.

Marshall Bassett, one of the race organizers, was telling racers before the start that this would be the last edition of the Hell of the South race.

Bassett and his partner, Thad DeHart, have been organizing the race for seven years, with this year being the third held entirely in Marshall County after a beginning in Maury County.

Bassett suggested that next year’s race would change to a criterion style race, a much shorter lap distance with riders completing many more circuits.

The race could include the downtown square in Lewisburg, making watching the race much easier for spectators and creating more of a festival atmosphere in downtown.

The Hell of the South was only the start of athletic events in the county during April.

Cyclists will get another chance to ride the county roads on April 22 and 23 in the Horton 11, a noncompetitive cycling weekend featuring rides of up to 100 miles.

Obstacle racers get their chance to compete on April 29 when the Nashville edition of the Foam Fest 5K takes place at Wooly’s Off Road in Lynnville.