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Cherokee Cycling Ambassadors

I was very honored to ride along Sunday with a team of Cherokee Riders who will trace the historic route of the Trail of Tears.   This was one of many training rides the team will make to ready themselves for the 1,000 mile trek from the original Cherokee homelands in Georgia to their final destination in Oklahoma.  But riding is only part of the training.  Team members also attend classes at the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, so they will carry with them a fuller knowledge of their heritage.  This small team will join a much larger contingent of Cherokee riders from Oklahoma.

Riding Sunday were team members Blain, Casey, Jack, and of course Hugh.  There are other members who I haven’t met, but hopefully I will.  We rode through one of my favorite areas, the ‘Cowee Valley’, and Casey shares he is learning that the valley was an important place for trade before white settlers.  He tells me the Cherokee may have lived in the area as far back as 50,000 years.  We both comment on how drastically the area must have changed and try to imagine a landscape before telephone poles, asphalt roads and modern houses.  Western North Carolina is rich in Cherokee history.  Much of this history has been lost.  Hints of the Cherokee influence can be heard in the names of many, if not most, communities and rivers such as Cullowhee and Nantahala.  Large Cherokee towns and settlements were here long before Europeans arrived.

The Tribe is supporting the riders with not only equipment, but coaching from Carmichael Training Systems.  The coaching is paying off.  Despite the team’s claim to be relative new-comers to road riding, they pulled ahead of me on many of the long climbs.  The newest member Jack, an experienced mountain biker, powered through most of the hilly route on his big chain ring.  Casey, who has been road riding for some time, had no problem racing to the front to catch Blain, who has youthful energy keeping him at the head of the pack most of the ride.   Most inspiring was Hugh, who rode despite recent injuries and proves that experience is no match for desire. 

 Follow along with this journey of discovery:

 Huge Lambert’s Blog

Cherokee Riders

Remember the Removal

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Categories: Featured Riders
  1. April 13, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Thank you Jack. You were incrediblt kind and we enjoyed your company!

  2. The Velo Hobo
    April 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Same here, see ya out there.

  3. April 14, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Awesome!

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