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About 100 cyclists join lt. gov. on century ride
Riders from everywhere took part in event
Brian Hill helps Joan Marie Garcia, 7, learn how to ride a bike Saturday morning at Chestnut Mountain Church during the Greater Purpose Century Bike Ride presented by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The event featured charity bike rides, bike safety lessons and an obstacle course.

Two wheels — not four — occupied many Hall County streets Saturday.

About 100 cyclists navigated their way throughout the county along with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle for the first ever Lt. Governor's Century Ride.

"Cycling is a continually growing sport within our state and more and more people are involved," said Cagle, a Hall County native.

The ride began and ended at Chestnut Mountain Church and went through several cities in the county including Talmo, Gillsville, Lula, Maysville and Pendergrass.

Participants were required to pay a registration fee to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Scholarship program.

"It's a great way for me to do something great for our community and have individuals show support for great charities," Cagle said.

Riders had the option of five different courses including a three-mile fun loop, 29 miles, 50 miles, 66 miles and a
100-mile century.

As an avid cyclist for many years, Cagle was excited to spend his Saturday on the bike.

"Cycling is something that I integrate into my workout routine — along with swimming and running — but I try to get on the bike at least three days a week," he said.

"Cycling is great in the sense that it's nonimpact, so you don't get the jarring like you do with running."

Cagle, though, wasn't the only notable figure taking part in the Century Ride. He was joined by Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, as well as eight-time Australian national time trial champion Nathan O'Neill.

"I'm an avid cyclist and bicycle enthusiast," Dimitroff said. "I believe in the health and fitness benefits of cycling."

A day spent cycling allows Dimitroff to escape the daily grind of everything that comes with being the general manager of a professional football team.

"I love the fitness, I love the endorphins. It clears my mind after many, many hours of watching film," he said.

Not only does Dimitroff enjoy riding, he also supports the effect, or lack thereof, it has on the environment.

"I believe a great deal in the environmental effects and the transportation effects of using bicycles and feel very, very strongly about it," he said.

Dimitroff's attempts to persuade some of the Falcons players to join him were unsuccessful.

"I tried to recruit a few of those big offensive lineman to be our domestiques, but no one jumped on board and (Coach Mike Smith) wasn't real happy with me trying to get these guys tired," he said.

Cagle and Dimitroff weren't the only riders, though.

Several cyclists, both locally and from afar, took part in the ride.

Jamie Archer is from Los Angeles but is working on a film project in Atlanta. He said he enjoys participating in rides in the various states he works because it allows him to meet people and explore unfamiliar territory.

"I like to get out and explore the communities and the countrysides," Archer said. "Cyclists are special people and I don't know if I've ever met one that I didn't like."

Wayne Clayton of Winder said he enjoyed the opportunity to cycle while helping with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"I'm an avid cyclist, enjoy the large group rides and it's a good cause, which is the most important thing," Clayton said. "I can ride for free any day I want, but when you can put money toward something and get to ride — that's the biggest key."

Riders were welcomed by cool temperatures, but that certainly didn't prevent any from participating. Many were happy to have relief from the heat.

"It's a gorgeous day and this is an area that I have not ridden in before," Steve Jacobs of Atlanta said.

While many riders traveled from areas outside of Hall County, there were a few local cyclists including Tony Pable of Buford.

"I just came out because it was a good ride organized close by the house and it's an awesome day," Pable said. "I (cycle) pretty regularly. I average about 125 miles a week."

A silent auction was also held to benefit Cagle's Greater Purpose charity. He plans to make the Century Ride an annual event to benefit various charities.


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