Plan now to join ride across state

Plan now to join ride across state

Posted: Friday, September 3, 2010 8:02 pm

NASHVILLE — Now is the time to start making plans for the annual Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee, which will kick off its 21st year with a seven-day ride beginning Sept. 12 and will feature a loop through some of Tennessee’s most beautiful landscapes.
Originating at Harrison Bay State Park on the picturesque Chickamauga Lake, this year’s route through East Tennessee will offer a variety of scenery and terrain each day. There will be hills, river valleys and some flat terrain, but the 2010 BRAT promises to be more mountainous than in years past. Cyclists can expect to see beautiful, rural Tennessee scenery and interesting backroads along the way. Riders will camp overnight at approximately four Tennessee State Parks during this year’s BRAT, including Harrison Bay, Fall Creek Falls, Fort Loudoun and Hiwassee Scenic River State Park. The city of Athens and McMinn County will host one overnight stay at Athens Regional Park.
“This annual ride is a unique opportunity for cyclists and one of Tennessee State Parks most time-honored events,” said BRAT director Gary Patterson. “We are very excited that this year’s East Tennessee route and will be riding through some of Tennessee’s most picturesque areas.”
Patterson added that two layover days are planned for this year’s ride, giving cyclists an opportunity to do more sightseeing and enjoy the East Tennessee scenery. Layover days are slated for that Tuesday at Fall Creek Falls and that Friday at Hiwassee Scenic River.
The event will begin with check-in at Harrison Bay State Park starting at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11, followed by a rider’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. On Sept. 12, riders will be introduced to the route with a scenic 75-mile ride to Fall Creek Falls State Park, traveling through Chattanooga, Soddy-Daisy and up the Cumberland Plateau. Riders will arrive at Fall Creek Falls as the park’s Mountaineer Folk Festival is winding down, with plenty to do and see.
On Sept. 13, riders will have a choice to travel either 30 or 60 miles for a Fall Creek Falls Loop Day, including two park loops that will offer a hike to the famous falls and other scenic points or a canoe trip around the lake.
Riders will take a 60-mile trip to Athens on Sept. 14 — offering several downhill miles and one trek uphill, crossing Walden’s Ridge into Dayton and on to Athens.
From Athens, cyclists will head out on Sept. 15 for a 52-mile ride through East Tennessee backroads to Fort Loudoun State Park — one of the earliest 18th century British fortifications. The route will also include Lost Sea Cave.
Riders will leave Fort Loudoun on Sept. 16 and travel 55 miles through the mountainous areas of beautiful Tellico Plans and Reliance, then will follow the Hiwassee River for a two-night stay at Hiwassee Scenic River State Park’s Gee Creek Campground.
The Hiwassee Loop Day will be Sept. 17, offering several choices. Participants can ride a loop up the Hiwassee to the Ocoee River and back, taking a side hike along mountain streams to some great swimming holes. A second option is a whitewater-rafting trip down the Hiwassee River.
Riders will journey west through the Tennessee towns of Benton, Cleveland and Prospect on Sept. 18 for a 48-mile trip back to Harrison Bay — leaving the Hiwassee and heading downstream to the Tennessee River.
“While the BRAT is not a race, it is a significant ride that requires preparation,” Patterson advised. “Even experienced riders appreciate the support staff we offer along the route that can provide assistance and transportation for those who encounter problems or simply can’t complete that day’s mileage. Our goal is to provide an outstanding experience for participants of all ages.”
The 21st Annual Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee is sponsored by Tennessee State Parks, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Cumberland Trail Conference and the Tennessee Park Rangers Association.
A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the Cumberland Trail Conference and the state’s Park Rangers Association, both non-profit organizations.
For registration information or more details about the BRAT, e-mail Gary Patterson at garyw.patterson@tn.gov or visit www.tnstateparks.com/BRAT.
Published in The Messenger 9.3.10

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