Riders enjoy city’s hometown atmosphere

Published 5:00 am Monday, April 20, 2009

The small downtown streets of Brookhaven and the winding roadsof Lincoln County are perfect venues for a bike race, said ahandful of riders competing in this weekend’s eighth annualMississippi Gran Prix.

“It’s a quaint downtown area for our criterium, and it’s not toofar out of town to get a good race with little traffic,” saidTupelo’s Garrett Milne, who competed in his second Mississippi GranPrix this weekend. “(The race) is organized really well and it hasgood courses. And a lot of good riders come to this race – it’s agood challenge.”

Chris Lowry, part of the six-man team Sugar Cycles, of Houston,Texas, also praised the competition drawn to Brookhaven’s annualbike race. He said the venue is a perfect fit for him, as he, too,comes from a similar small town in the Lone Star State.

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“The accents are a little hard to get used to,” Lowry said,smiling at the Deep South drawl of many Brookhavenites. “I’ve hadto ask a few people to repeat themselves. But it’s a good, hometownfeel. There’s a good comfort level.”

Mike Olheiser, of Huntsville, Ala., finished third in Fridaynight’s Bank of Brookhaven Criterium. For him and his Warp 9Bikes.com teammates, Brookhaven is also a comfortingdestination.

“The town is wonderful,” Olheiser said. “It’s always been agreat host to us. It never hurts to come back and suck up some ofthat community support.”