b'Pedalingfor Fun or Serious StatsBy Stefan Cooper queen of the mountains comesvide aid and refreshment stations only with the 78-mile distance. Thethroughout. Local bicycle shops Sally Joines runs half marathons forvast majority of the 400-plus ridersCycology Bicycles and Bike N Tri fun. who make the pilgrimage each yearsupply mechanical assistance.Pedaling a bicycle up Blount Coun- come for the scenery and the socialIn 2019, organizers added a tys famed Wall to be crownedaspect of the Tour. post-ride meal and mixer, an instant Queen of the Mountains? The thing about it is we donthit for the growing number of clubs Thats for someone else. have to do much to make it a greatwhove made the Tour part of their Thats a whole lot of crazy, saysride, Joines said. We live in such aspring kickoff.the mom who is also the organizerbeautiful part of the world. Theyre coming here for the of the countys famed Tour de BlountThe start moved to the Townsendride on Saturday and staying for the bicycle ride. Visitors Center at the entranceweek, Joines said.The searing, 3-mile switchbackto the Great Smoky MountainsIf the walls your thing, have at it, climb up Happy Valley Road is theNational Park in 2017. The parkshe said. Who knows?crown jewel of the annual bicycleas a backdrop was an immediateLast years Queen of the Moun-rally each May. The first male andsuccess. The 25-mile pedal alongtains, a Florida native, soared to the female rider to the top leave with theLittle River Road from there is idealtop from the climbs start at Six Mile events most coveted prize. Its not forfor beginners, the longer distancesBaptist Church without stopping. everyone, but then its not supposedbetter suited for cyclists seeking aMost pause a moment, if only to to be. challenge. gather themselves spiritually.Its a ride not a race, Joines said. With Blount County rated byShe probably had her come to With routes covering 25, 40,Outdoor Knoxville as one of theJesus meeting on the other side of 54 and 78 miles, the Tour, whichbest places to ride in the country,the wall, Joines said. celebrates its 29th anniversary withcommunity and tech support forFor info: www.foothillstriders.orgthe 2021 event, is designed to appealthe Tour is extensive. The Foothill to all riders. The wall and its king andStriders, the event sponsor, pro-28 Basically Blount 2021'