ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - Anniston has a new, and special, bicycle trail. On Wednesday evening, cycling enthusiasts as well as public officials cut the ribbon on the new trail.
This one, however, is the only trail in Alabama rated for competition by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, a league of high school aged cycling teams.
Two local teams made up of high school students, the Cheaha MTB Racing Team and the Jacksonville High School team, were the first allowed onto the trail after the ribbon cutting. This will be their home trail.
We asked a couple of members of the Cheaha Team what they thought about their new home.
"I'm really excited because it's closer to home, so we don't have to, like, stay in a hotel, and drive two hours to race. So it's just a great experience to come out here," says Cheaha team member Tanner Roden.
“I’m very excited because it’s also close to home. And I’ve been told that the trails are really fast and fun to ride, won’t be too hard,” said Cheaha team member Alyssa Fagen, a 13-year-old home school student. Fagen says she joined the team very shortly after she took up cycling.
There’s already a race set up for the track, March 7 and 8, when the second race of the NICA season will be held there.
The man credited with developing the trail, Freeman Fite, cut the ribbon. He brought along his wife, his two small children, and his children's bicycles.
Fite says the course is a beginner course for everyone, even people who haven’t ridden a bicycle in 30 years. He says it was designed so a 12-year-old could ride it.
Anniston and McClellan development officials say it’s the exact thing that demonstrates the money to be made in the area from eco-tourism. The area for years has been marketing itself as a hub for cyclists, and has developed the Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail and the Chief Ladiga Trail, the latter having been once a railroad.