October 2, 2021 saw the return of the famed Bays Mountain Mountain Bike Rally after a hiatus. The rally was once part of Fun Fest tradition, yet fell by the wayside in recent years. The number of mountain bike enthusiast and the Bays Mountain Park's 50th year celebration committee came together to bring the rally back to life.
Resurrected MTB fun
Bays Mountain Park, it's 50th year celebration committee, and All Trails Cycling came together to organize and resurrect the event. Once held as part of Kingsport's Fun Fest during the summer, the event was brought back to life and given a platform to continue forward.
This being the first year of the Bays Mountain Bike Rally's return, it has changed some from the initial Fun Fest event. The format may change again as the event moves forward. The participants in the relay race provided enough feedback for organizers to modify the event as needed. This year's event was done in honor of Bays Mountain Park's 50th anniversary, so the 50 mile (+/-) relay event made sense. Organizers will seek further input from the riders and area bike shops to see how they'd like the Bays MTB Rally to evolve.
Sponsors and support
The event was widely supported from the area stakeholders and the mountain biking community. Truist Bank was the lead sponsor. Other sponsors and supporters who provided raffle items for participants include:
- Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium
- Norris Bicycles
- Trek Bicycles
- Local Motion Cyclery
- Mountain Sports Limited
- Larry's Cycle Shop
- Reedy Creek Bicycles
Further supporters and specialists were on hand during the rally to offer their expertise and assistance as needed. These attendees on site included officials from Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, Norris Bicycles, Local Motion Cyclery, Mountain Sports Ltd., Larry's Cycle Shop, Reedy Creek Bicycles, Shane's Place, and Kingsport Life Saving Crew.
Safety & Support
The Kingsport Life Saving Crew was on hand with EMTs, Paramedics, and cadets in case there were any injuries or medical emergencies during the event. They had both a van to ferry their personnel to the site, and multiple off-road vehicles that were stationed along the course on the mountain bike paths. Thankfully, only a bandaid or two were needed during the event and there no need to transport anyone to the hospital, or administer any emergency care. The all volunteer rescue squad has been supporting the Bays Mountain Bicycle Rally for as long as it has existed, along with other events at Bays Mountain Park, and Fun Fest in Kingsport.
The turnout was very favorable for the return of the Bays Mountain Bike Rally. The initial event which started off the rally began with a Fun Ride. Over thirty participants took part in the fun ride through the park's mountain bike trail system. Riders ranging from the very young to "well experienced" participated in the event. It was an excellent way to start the event. We even saw one of our favorite meteorologists from a local television station participating at the rally.
The 50 mile relay event saw the entry of thirteen different teams! 52 participants took part in the relay event.
"It was really awesome to see the mountain bike community come together to celebrate Bays Mountain Park’s 50th anniversary. We are very fortunate to have the Bays Mountain’s trail system in our backyard and this event offered us a time to come out and say thank you to the park and to also work in some friendly competition! Thank you to all who supported this event, we’ll be back next year!" - Jacob M. Harris, Senior Vice President - East TN Middle Market Banking - Truist Bank.
Although participation in the fun ride and relay event are enough for most who rode during the events, here are the results from the 50 mile relay:
First Place - Momentum Tri-Cities
Second Place - Rescue Racing
Third Place - Reedy Creek Bicycles
The other teams finished in the following order:
- The A-Team
- The B-Team
- The Replacements
- The Bonk Brigade
- Micro Racing
- Cloudy With A Chance of Sprains
- Ferda Girls
- The Strugglers
- FAST (Father And Son Team)
- The Furrow's
Even though I was only present as a spectator, the event was full of fun and energy. The sponsors and participants enjoyed the beautiful day at Bays Mountain Park. You an never go wrong with a day spent here in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee.
Maybe you too will want to get in on the action next year!