Twin Rivers Challenge a repeat hit
The hills were alive with cyclists on Oct. 27 as the fourth annual Twin Rivers Challenge rolled out from Tallulah Falls School.
A fundraiser for student scholarships, this year’s ride proved again to be a highlight for local and visiting riders and providing a more than $50,000 boost to the scholarship fund.
With more than 120 sponsors, school representatives are pleased with the event’s expanding reputation as the signature ride in Northeast Georgia.
“We are delighted that our guests had such a great experience,” said President and Head of School Larry Peevy. “When we launched this event in 2015, we knew the potential was there for it to grow. The scenic beauty along the route, support for the riders and TFS hospitality makes for a winning combination.”
Again this year, Ron Cantrell Construction, Inc. covered all expenses as the presenting sponsor and Springer Mountain Farms sponsored the post-ride meal.
“Having these corporate partners allows all other sponsorships and rider registration fees to directly benefit our students,” Peevy said. “We are humbled by this response to the TFS story. With the support of so many businesses, organizations, vendors and individuals, it is evident the community understands our mission to provide a top-quality college preparatory education for motivated students, regardless of income.”
One of those students was the first cyclist to cross the finish line this year. Eighth-grader Gavin Atkinson of Sautee Nacoochee, a first-time participant but an experienced mountain biker, pushed hard to finish his route.
“I really wanted to get into road biking. Since the school year started I have been wanting to do this ride...I was excited to also help benefit the school,” Atkinson said. “My favorite part about the ride for sure is the scenery on the back roads; it's just absolutely beautiful. Also on the ride, everyone is super nice to talk to and just in a very positive mood.”
Rider feedback echoed from previous years with many of the cyclists returning again and again.
Clint Williams with Ethicon, Inc. is one of the repeat supporters of the ride.
“Having competed in many events similar to the Twin Rivers Challenge all across the Southeastern United States, I can tell you that I have yet to participate in an event that is organized with the level of enthusiasm, energy and commitment that equals this event,” Williams said. “The level of community engagement is evident as the course layout takes advantage of some of the best roads in the area and all the local people seem eager to wave and support the riders as they roll by and the rest stops are packed with great fuel and excitement from the staff. The most rewarding aspect of the ride is knowing the proceeds from the ride are directed toward advancing the educational opportunities for future students at TFS. As an employee of Ethicon, Inc., the strong sense of community involvement and educational support is the thread that connects great sponsors and great events such as the Twin Rivers Challenge.”
Community co-chairs for the event, Judy Forbes and Joey Brown provide expertise in key areas. Forbes, a TFS board member coordinates fundraising efforts on behalf of the board and cultivates community relations on behalf of the school.
“The Twin Rivers Challenge continues to be a successful fundraising activity to support student scholarships. Without our generous sponsors, however, this project would not provide the vital support system which our students need. Every dollar raised is utilized for scholarships which are provided to approximately 70 percent of our students,” Forbes said. “In the four years of our bike ride, each year we have surpassed our goal and generated more funds than the preceding year. On behalf of the TFS student recipients, I want to thank our sponsors and riders for making this is a memorable and profitable event.”
Brown said he continues to hear compliments about the experience from the cycling community.
“Many riders commented on the beauty of the routes,” Brown said. “Riders also commented on how well the roads were marked along with the great SAG stops. For many, the meal following the ride was the perfect ending to a great day on the bike. Our friends from Florida said they would be back next year and would be bringing others with them. The event continues to impress riders of all abilities.”
The fifth annual Twin Rivers Challenge is set for Oct. 26, 2019. For more information, visit tallulahfalls.org/TRC.