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Twin Rivers Challenge shines
Vivid colors reflected off the gathered bicycles to brighten up an overcast sky on the day of the Twin Rivers Challenge. Despite damp conditions on Oct. 28, cheerful volunteers greeted the tenacious cyclists who filled the parking lots at Tallulah Falls School to experience one of three scenic routes – 37K, 72K and 100K.
The third annual cycling event to benefit student scholarships attracted more than 160 registered riders and raised $50,000-plus, thanks to more than 110 corporate, organization and individual sponsors.
“We’ve had a tremendous leap this year in terms of the amount of money raised for our students and in the number of riders eager to experience the breathtaking fall scenery here in Northeast Georgia,” said President and Head of School Larry A. Peevy. “We were proud to have the support of so many community partners. The riders and volunteers made the best of the damp conditions with a few adjustment in the logistics for the day.”
Fundraising and promotional efforts expanded this year, Peevy said. A 20-plus member volunteer scholarship committee, with the leadership of co-chairs Judy Forbes and Joey Brown, shared the TFS story with their community connections.
“Response was overwhelmingly positive; we added many new sponsors and many of our existing supporters increased their commitment to the scholarship fund,” said Executive Director for Advancement Sonya Smith. “Beneficiaries of this initiative are students from the surrounding areas – these families are our neighbors whose children are able to attend TFS because of this key fundraiser and the school’s generous financial aid framework. These personal stories resonate.”
TFS alum Chris Pic returned to campus for the second year. Pic, a former professional cyclist promoted the ride this year through his network of cycling contacts. Pic and his wife, Tina Pic, who is currently active as a professional cyclist, led the ride in 2016.
"The Twin Rivers Challenge is one of the most scenic and well-organized rides I have ever participated in. Not to mention the special TFS hospitality and the school's ability to support the future education for so many students,” said Chris Pic. “I look forward to being able to help even more in the future.”
Representatives from both the presenting sponsor, Ron Cantrell Construction, Inc., and the meal sponsor, Springer Mountain Farms®, were on campus for the event.
“We were delighted to be a part of this very worthy event. The fact that all proceeds go directly to scholarships for students who may not have otherwise been able to benefit from the TFS experience is very dear to our hearts,” said Ron Cantrell, president of RCCI. “As parents and grandparents of TFS past, present and future students, we see firsthand the impact of this school on the lives of those who attend.”
Both Heather Sinyard and Amanda Chosewood with Fieldale Farms Corporation/Springer Mountain Farms were on campus, serving as grill masters for the post-ride meal.
“...Springer Mountain Farms® was thrilled to be the meal sponsor of such a great event for such a worthy cause,” said Sinyard. “The energy and excitement from riders, school staff and students wasn’t dampened by the weather and we had a great time cooking the chicken for lunch for everyone.”
A platinum sponsor, Susan Nichols of Clarkesville, representing McDonald’s, rode for the third time. This year, she rode with her son John, a TFS freshman. Several other TFS students took the challenge this year.
“The Twin Rivers Challenge never disappoints. Riding with my son and cyclist friends made for a fun trip despite the weather. The leaves were in fall colors which makes this ride so scenic,” Nichols said. “I am really proud of the TFS students John Nichols, Laurel Smith and Colton Hicks who rode their longest ride ever and kept up with the more experienced riders. The organization of the ride, SAG support, safety shuttles travelling the road and the post-ride meal including hot soup reflect the thought and effort put into making Twin Rivers Challenge a first class fall ride.”
Smith, a TFS sophomore from Clayton, took the challenge for the first time.
“The Twin Rivers Challenge is a chance to get outside and put my athleticism to the test. The pain, rain and cold didn't compare to the beauty of the fall leaves reflecting off the river we biked by the whole time,” Smith said. “The weather made it even tougher mentally and physically, but the kind fellow bikers and leaves made it well worth it. In the midst of biking, I realized just how blessed I am for my ability to be able to enjoy little things like this. It brings us together while having a good time and that is all that matters. I would definitely bike it again, no doubt.”
The ride always takes place on the last Saturday in October – Oct. 27, 2018.
For more information, visit tallulahfalls.org.
E. Lane Gresham/Tallulah Falls School
Colton Hicks, a seventh-grader, rode with his parents in the third annual Twin Rivers Challenge, a cycling event for student scholarships at Tallulah Falls School. Hicks and his father Jason Hicks were the first riders to arrive back on campus.