Rain doesn’t dampen 100-mile ride

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

De­spite morn­ing storms, the Cov­ing­ton Cen­tury re­turned as a suc­cess Satur­day.

The 100-mile bike ride be­gan at DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege be­fore sun­rise and con­tin­ued throughout the day with an es­ti­mated 1,000 cy­clists par­tic­i­pat­ing from all over Ge­or­gia.

The ex­act num­bers won’t be in un­til early this week, but it was a strong turnout for the race which took a three-year hia­tus af­ter be­ing known as one of the state’s most pop­u­lar rides.

“It went very well,” said Walt Masey, Di­rec­tor of Spe­cial Projects with the South­ern Bi­cy­cle League. “The South­ern Bi­cy­cle League is real proud we were able to be part of this and bring the Cov­ing­ton Cen­tury back to Cov­ing­ton.”

Af­ter be­ing put on an­nu­ally by Project Ad­ven­ture Kids for 22 years, the race stopped when the or­ga­ni­za­tion closed its doors in 2009. The South­ern Bi­cy­cle League then stepped up and is giv­ing pro­ceeds from this year’s race to New­ton County Trails, Home­town An­i­mal Res­cue and Pound Pup­pies ‘N Kit­tens.

Much of the route was the same as it was be­fore the ride’s hia­tus, but Satur­day’s event brought a few changes.

There were more sig­nage along the route, which stretched from New­ton, to Mor­gan and Wal­ton coun­ties, while go­ing through Jersey, So­cial Circle, New­born, Rut­ledge, New­born, Mans­field, Good Hope, Ox­ford and Cov­ing­ton, and there were also four rides be­ing of­fered this time around.

There was the tra­di­tional 100-mile ride, a 66-mile ride, a 30-mile ride and a fam­ily-style 13-mile ride.

“Ev­ery­body seems to have loved it,” Masey said. “It was a great route, sim­i­lar to the ones we had be­fore with small changes.”

Among the es­ti­mated 1,000 par­tic­i­pants were many from the metro At­lanta area, who en­joyed rid­ing in the ru­ral ar­eas of the state, as op­posed to the main roads and crowded neigh­bor­hoods of the city.

Among those leav­ing the city for New­ton County was Dave Mathews of De­catur and Jeff Moore of At­lanta.

“This is like my fifth

time do­ing the Cov­ing­ton Cen­tury,” Mathews said. “It was kind of spit­ting (rain) a lit­tle bit at the start, but when we got here, this place was packed, I’d be shocked if they didn’t have 1,000 riders.”

Mathews and Moore took so­lace from the rain and the usual hus­tle and bus­tle of their city rides in So­cial Circle, shel­ter­ing at the fire sta­tion for about a half hour.

Over­all the ex­pe­ri­ence was one Mathews said he would re­peat again, and it was a ride that the South­ern Bi­cy­cle League will be happy to continue.

Bryan Fazio /The Cov­ing­ton News

A rider re­turns to DeKalb Tech­ni­cal Col­lege af­ter pedal­ing 100 miles through New­ton, Mor­gan and Wal­ton coun­ties dur­ing the Cov­ing­ton Cen­tury on Satur­day.

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