Cycling is brought to the City of Jackson for the Outdoor Capital Classic

By Hannah Duffey

For kids growing up in Jackson, Ga., home to around 5,000 people, the only sports options have been basketball, baseball and softball. 

But earlier this year, they got the chance to try out something new when the Outdoor Capital Classic, a two-day race that took place in the heart of the city. 

“Today we are having a professional bike race and it ended up being a great day. It’s great for the city, it’s great for the entire community,” Chief James Morgan of the City of Jackson Police Department said.

Although funding in the school system in town does not have the resources available to start this sport immediately, this bike race allowed kids and adults to get involved and see what it is all about.

Kirk Corsello, a rider for over 30 years, came down to not only race, but to also encourage young riders to get involved in the sport. 

Kirk Coresello with teammates at the Outdoor Capital Classic. Photo Courtesy of Kirk Corsello.

In south Florida, where he started his racing career, cycling is a sport that people of all ages participate in from a young age, so he wanted to start that movement there. 

“I’m here today because this county and the city itself is behind bicycle racing and I want to encourage that,” he said. 

He met with young riders before their race and talked about the importance of bicycle safety.

After the talk, the kids put on their helmets and competed in a one-lap race. As they crossed the finish line, their faces lit up and they expressed how they wanted to keep riding.

Mayor Carlos Duffey, a cyclist of many years, is an advocate to get residents outdoors and expose them to new things, so this bike race was all a part of his mission. 

Mayor Carlos Duffey on the podium with the professional riders.

“What a great day it is to be here with Topview sports and having our first cycling race in the city, it’s a great time for us,” he said. “It’s awesome to have cyclists from all over the country here in our hometown, the Georgia outdoor capital.” 

It was more than just a race, the event was about bringing the community together and encouraging the kids and families to get involved in something in Jackson. 

The city is known for being the home of where the popular show, “Stranger Things” was filmed but now they are known for something new.

This city is the Georgia Outdoor Capital and this race is about a bigger effort to get people outdoors and start to do things like explore the new bike trail, Dauset trails, where the second race was supposed to be held. 

Some of the other cities’ efforts were the new sidewalks so that adults and children have a safe place to participate in outdoor activities. 

This will allow the families to safely take their kids out for bike rides after the race is over.

The kids getting ready for their 1 lap race around the crit course.

The community gathered with their tents and lawn chairs to bond over something new: bicycle racing. 

That feeling and sense of community was overflowing like never before, as they all sat and cheered for riders that they never even heard of until they came onto the race site. 

“There was this woman on the backside of the course who kept cheering for me and she was the only thing that kept me in the race,” Alexis Ryan, female professional cyclist. 

The Criterium, which is a closed circuit that is one mile to one and a half miles long and usually consists of four to six turns, was held on March 25. 

The course challenged the riders with high-speed, challenging corners that separated the peloton several times throughout the race. 

Josh Meyers, from Atlanta, Georgia started cycling years ago after he decided he was done playing traditional sports. He wanted to try something new, so he started riding in the Velodrome in Atlanta. Now he is a dominant force in the men’s peloton and was an influential figure for the young black kids present at the race. 

“Today’s race was super fun and very sketchy,” he said. “Turn three was kind of crazy and you had to take it at the right angle, not too fast, just at the right speed. I raced my heart out and I am proud of my results.” 

And although cycling is a male-dominated sport, Alexis Ryan, a professional cyclist out of Athens, Ga. was someone for the young girls at the race to look up to.

She was the only female to race in the men’s fast-paced professional race and finish. 

“I just raced the professional men’s race and was the only woman,” she said. “It was really brutal and I was hurting. I was just trying to stay with the peloton.” 

This race was something that the small town of Jackson needed and although day two was canceled due to storms, Duffey is certain that families will start utilizing Dauset trails and the sidewalks. 

“This was something that we needed and to have the people come together,” Ledarius Franks said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Be the first to comment on "Cycling is brought to the City of Jackson for the Outdoor Capital Classic"

Leave a comment